Hi, I need to come up with a skill challenge for an initiation rite into a barbarian tribe. Example:
Endurance Dc15 - Stay some time in ice water in the middle of winter
Do you have any similar ideas?
Encounter 3: Initiation Rites Skill Challenge Level 8 / 10, Complexity 1 (350 / 500 XP) Setup Important NPCs: Sky Lord Canute Brightspear, male human barbarian The trip from the meeting place to a nearby camp, takes about 1 hour of walking. Reaching the top of a small ridge, you see laid out before you a large encampment of cloth huts. The camp is filled with hundreds of people, no doubt the Uthgardt Sky Pony Tribe. In the center of the encampment sits an enormous stone, inscribed upon are numerous carvings that are indistinguishable at this distance. The chieftain’s son leads you down to meet his people. There are many signs of preparation for a feast. Appearing through the throng, a large warrior greets Thalgrim with a bone-crunching hug. Standing back, he drags his eyes to survey you all. “With Uthgar’s and Tempus’s name, I, Sky Lord Canute Brightspear, welcome you to the Sky Pony’s lands; may your spear prove as strong as your arm and fly as true as the winged horses of the Nether Mountains.” Once Thalgrim introduced the PCs and explained the situation to his father, the chieftain gives the PCs a calculating look. It is clear that he approves his son's actions, but that he is unsure the PCs are up to the task. If there is any character amongst the group that look like a weak city dwellers or arcane casters, he shows his contempt, mentioning that not all have to join the tribe to gain the tribes help. Obvious wilderness dwellers and followers of Tempus on the other hand gain his obvious approval, and he tries to actively push them into accepting the invitation. Skill Challenge: Initiation Rites Goal: The PCs attempt to individually pass the initiation rites. Complexity: 1 (4 successes before 3 failures) Primary Skills: Varies. Other Skills/Abilities: Any skill or ability that is not listed here, and the judge thinks it is applicable; a DC 19 / 20 check is needed. Victory: The PC obtains an initiation title depending upon which initiation they performed. A bonus item is earned if at least one PC passes. Defeat: The PC does not obtain an initiation title. They do not gain the chance to receive the benefit of an extended rest. • The PCs engage in an individual skill challenge to try to become accepted into the Uthgardt Sky Pony Tribe by partaking in the initiation rites that allows them to cross Sky Pony lands. • A PC does not have to participate in any of the initiation rites; if they do not participate, they do not earn the story award LURU08 Sky Pony Initiation. • In the skill challenge, the PC makes a series of skill checks, choosing between three different initiations, trying to achieve four successes before three failures. • The Uthgar barbarians worship Tempus, god of battle, and they respect strength, endurance and skill in arms. They realize arcane powers are useful, but distrust wielders of such forces, fearing that these powers control their wielders. They dislike orcs, but at the same time greatly respect their strength and ability to fight. They feel strong contempt for drow and gnolls, but since they believe in the individual they are willing to be proven wrong, although these suffer a -2 penalty on any checks during the skill challenge. They do not care much about race or class otherwise. • The PCs are stripped of everything and placed into Sky Pony ceremonial leathers; no magic items are allowed, only racial traits. • Due to the initiation rites process, no healing surges may be replenished until after the skill challenge. • The Sky Pony Tribe is very honorable about their initiation rites and disrespectable PCs are asked to remove themselves from the initiation rites. • The initiation rites can either be Sky Rider, Fire Walker or Horse Mother/Father of the Sky Pony Tribe. See below for what each test entails. The barbarians gladly explain the nature of each test to the PCs. Part 1: Sky Lord Challenge Scene 1 deals with the initial encounter the PCs have with the Sky Lord of the Sky Pony Tribe. The PCs must convince the Sky Lord to let them partake of the initiation rites. LURU1-5 Beyond the Wild Frontier Page 12 The Sky Lord takes a seat on a nearby stump and glares at you while rubbing his beard in a thinking manner. “So Thalgrim tells me that you think you have what it takes to partake in the initiation rites? Why should I let outsiders partake and cross our land?” Unlike the other parts, the group as a whole can participate in this part. Even PCs who do not want to participate can speak for their friends. 1 success is enough to get all PCs to participate. Failed checks lead to irritation with Canute, but until 3 failures are scored, he tries to hide it. Once 3 failures are scored, he angrily dismisses the PCs. Otherwise he whispers something to the man in charge of each individual rite, making it harder for the PCs to succeed by being less forgiving for mistakes (as per the mechanics they can score fewer failures in the initiation test since they already got 1 or more failures in this part). Sky Lord Canute Brightspear is a wise and cautious leader of his people. He remains calm throughout the questioning, trying to ascertain the motives of the individual characters and their use to the tribe. At first he allows the PCs to take the initiative. Once the PCs convinced him to allow them to take the initiation tests, he keeps interviewing the remaining PCs. At this point those PCS can attempt to convince the chieftain of their individual worth without the risk of failure. Each PC that rolls a success in this phase of this scene gains a +2 bonus on all checks during the challenge as Canute asks those performing the rites to take it somewhat easier to the PCs. Arcana DC –/– (0 success) The Uthgar barbarians disdain and fear arcane powers. They certainly do not understand it well enough for PCs to impress Canute through the application of this skill. Any PC broaching this topic is cut off quickly, but does not earn 1 failure unless the PC keeps insisting on its use. Athletics, basic melee or ranged attack, Endurance, Heal or Stealth DC 19/20 (0 success) The Sky Pony tribe is much more accepting of people that are going to add valuable skills to the tribe. Once accepted, these skills can be used to garner Canute's favor and the +2 bonus that comes with it. It also gives a +2 bonus on any check made to get approval. Failure has no impact on the challenge, except perhaps the laughter of on-lookers. Bluff or Diplomacy DC 13/14 (1 success) Smooth words and good arguments always work. History, Insight or Streetwise DC 19/20 (0 success; 1 check each) While these checks do not help garner success or failure, it does give insight in tribal culture, Canute's personality and showing proper respect to those in power. A success gives a +2 bonus on a check made to convince Canute to allow a PC to enter (PCs can choose when to apply the bonus) or remove 1 failure. Failure results in misremembering something important, resulting in a -2 penalty on the next check that does count towards the skill challenge. Intimidate DC 13/14 (1 success) Direct threats do not help persuade Canute to allow the PCs to participate. He has little to fear from the PCs in the middle of his tribe. If the skill is used instead to impress the barbarians with their prowess or for a more generic intimidate (the PCs are needed to dispose of the common enemy the orcs) then it works. Nature or Religion DC 19/20 (1 success) PCs who show their skill in survival and religious matters during the conversation garner his approval. They also use that knowledge to convince Canute they have a right to join the initiation rites If they fail the check, they show lack of skill, which in itself is not bad, but they were the ones trying to use it to impress the chieftain. Part 2: Initiation Rites Scene 2, 3, and 4, deals with the initiation rites that each PC can partake in. You are led to the center of the encampment where dozens of small fires are being prepared. Three cleared areas attract your attention; the first area holds a felled tree, standing on its end, adorned with many small plants and sprigs; the second area is occupied by a long low pit being filled with a smoldering dark earth; the last area contains a corral, near a large stone, with several decidedly feeble looking horses. Each PC performs an initiation rite, individually, of their choice. The skill checks must be performed in the sequence given. Due to the initiation rites being performed individually, no PC may aid another PC (unless done secretly, but failure results in both PCs failing the challenge and the group as a whole loosing a lot of respect unless the other PCs can convince the tribe of their innocence). If the PCs fail at a test, they cannot pick another until they earn the right for a new attempt (which is not part of this adventure). LURU1-5 Beyond the Wild Frontier Page 13
You join a gaggle of young teen Uthgardt warriors. Around 40 feet away stands a felled tree log, standing on its end, adorned with many small plants and sprigs. Two warriors flank the tree at a distance of 20 feet, spread equally around the log, casually spinning a brace of handaxes. At the edge of the circle sits an old man whose naked upper body is adorned with tribal markings and paintings. The goal of the challenge is to climb up the 20 feet tall tree as fast as possible, and remain standing on the top while the two warriors throw their handaxes in an attempt to knock the initiate from the lofty perch. For the test to succeed each warrior must throw at least 1 handaxe. The old man is the judge of the challenge. He uses a handful of loose sand trickling through his fist to measure time. The man grabs an amount of sand based on the impression they made in the Scene 1 so that they have more or less chance to succeed as per the normal rules of a skill challenge. Note that the PC is expected to remove their armor and shield. Athletics DC 13/14 (1 success) Climbing the tree trunk requires an Athletics check. If the PC fails the check the character takes falling damage as normal (2d10 minus the effects of Acrobatics if applicable). The PC can try to climb up again, but each failure costs time, reducing the chance of succeeding at the test. If 3 failures are scored while climbing the tree the test is over. Otherwise, being allowed to fail less in the remainder of the challenge simulates the loss of time. Athletics DC 13/14 (1 success; 2 maximum) The PC makes himself an easy target for the handaxes. Regardless of success or failure, the PC loses 1 healing surge when being hit by a handaxe. If the check fails the first time while on top, the PC loses his balance but remains standing. If the other warrior still has a handaxe, it is immediately thrown to take advantage of off-balance character. A PC only falls when the PC has scored enough failures to fail the challenge (taking falling damage as normal). Acrobatics DC 13/14 (1 success; 2 maximum) The PC dodges the thrown handaxes. A healing surge is lost for each check failed. In addition, if the check fails the first time while on top the PC looses his balance, but remains standing. If the other warrior still has an axe, it is immediately thrown to take advantage of off-balance character. A PC only falls when the PC has scored enough failures to fail the challenge (taking falling damage as normal). Bluff DC 13/14 (1 success; 2 maximum) The PC pantomimes his actions to throw off the warriors. A healing surge is lost for each check failed. In addition, if the check fails the first time while on top the PC loses his balance, but remains standing. If the other warrior still has a handaxe, it is immediately thrown to take advantage of off-balance character. A PC only falls when the PC has scored enough failures to fail the challenge (taking falling damage as normal).
Before you is a twenty-foot long, three-foot wide trench filled with smoldering dark soil. The intent of the test is clear: to walk over the smoldering dark soil. While marching over the soil, the barbarians chant the Fire Mantra of the Sky Pony Tribe (give Player Handout 1 to interested players). Any PC with any racial fire resistance trait automatically succeeds at this initiation. Heal DC 13/14 (0 successes) The PC is aware of a technique to offset burning the soles of their feet. A successful check grants a +2 bonus; whereas, a failed check grants a –2 penalty to the Endurance check. Arcana or Religion DC 13/14 (0 successes; 1 maximum) The PC tries to remember the Fire Mantra of the Sky Pony Tribe. A successful check grants a +2 bonus; whereas, a failed check grants a –2 penalty to the Endurance checks. Endurance DC 13/14 (1 success) The PC needs to withstand the heat from the smoldering dark soil. The PC makes Endurance checks until the challenge is a success or a failure. A healing surge is lost for each check failed.
Part 3: One Stone InitiationAny PC who succeeds at their initiation rites returns to the Sky Lord and the tribe to acknowledge the passing of the initiation rites and to request permission to obtain the title they have fought for. After the public ritual, the PCs have to take part in a short solemn private ritual with the tribal shamans in which they gain their first tribal tattoo and are told important tribal lore (Player Handout 2).
After the private rite, the PCs can choose to take part in the celebrations, more extended rituals, wait quietly for the morning or leave immediately (see Ending the Encounter). Part 4: Celebrations With the easiest task behind them, the PCs are on to their greatest challenge; pleasing the tribe. Now that they have impressed the Sky Lord and passed the initiation rites, they have an opportunity to impress the rest of the tribe during the initiation celebrations. This scene is mainly for roleplaying purposes, but you can allow the PCs to remove failures and earn new successes of the previous checks through particularly impressive actions. If this turns the challenge into a success, the PCs do not earn the Story Award, but all other benefits of a victory are gained. The most impressive PC is given the Sky Pony Tribe title: “Yizahkol - The Feasting Entertainer”. Have the player write this down for future reference. Ending the Encounter If any one PC succeeds at their individual initiation, the PCs are presented with a +2 watchful spirit totem (low-level version only) or a +3 watchful spirit totem (high-level version only) at the end of the initiation rites. All those succeeding in their initiation rites receive the story award LURU08 Sky Pony Initiation. The PCs now have the following four choices. • Commune with the Sky Pony Spirits: If the PC passed their individual initiation rite, they are invited to a quiet area away from the feasting where the PC communes with the Sky Pony spirits. The PC gains the benefits of an extended rest and is imbued with the Uthgardt Spirits. (+4 initiative bonus till the end of the adventure.) • Party: At the main fire pit, any PC is invited to party with the other tribe members. The PC does not gain the benefits of an extended rest and a healing surge is lost from drinking too much Uthgardt gulletfire. • Waiting: You have decided to wait for the rest of your party members as they commune or party. The PC does not gain or lose anything. • Continue: After the initiation rites, the PCs believe that it is time to continue on and not to commune or party. The PCs do not gain or lose anything. When the PCs decide to continue, Thalgrim escorts the PCs; proceed to Encounter 4. Experience Points The characters receive 70 / 100 experience points each for successfully completing the skill challenge. Treasure If any one PC succeeds at their initiation rite, the PCs are presented with a +2 watchful spirit totem (low-level version only) or +3 watchful spirit totem (high-level version only).