Creating Trials for PCs to Pass

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I have dwarven PC I plan on given an acnient dwarven weapon artifact of a hammer.  The original king of the dwarves used the hammer to inspire his people and unite them under his fair and just rule.  Long story short, the kingdom was lost along with the hammer and the king.  Now my dwarven PC will be locating the hammer to fulfill his characters destiny.  I want to run him through three trials that he must pass to deem him worthy of taking the hammer.  These trials were designed and put in place by the previous king before his death.

I'm thinking one trial should test teh PCs faith in the dwarven gods somehow.

Another trial must demonstrate his inner strenght and ability to lead.

The final test should demonstrate his outward strenght and cunning by fighting a ghost repersentation of the old king.

I want each challenge to have a real chance for actual death for the character.  This is an artificat weapon and should not be given to the character easily.

I like the final trial where he has to fight the old king.  I'm stumped on the other two.

How would you test ones faith in a deity through a mixture of roleplaying and mechanics?  I thought about having him solve a simple riddle that leads him to realize he must willingly give his life.  Once given, he would need to make teh appropiate death saves to come back.  Should he fail, thats it.  Hes dead.  Should he succeed, the he moves on to the next trial.

THoughts on that?  Im not sure else how a character could test their faith.

The second trial was originally for testing th his inner strength and resolve but I come up completely blank on how to accomplish this.

Overall I am open to suggestions on any of this.  My main goal is to present three trials to test whether or not this PC is worth of the artifact.  The trials must have a real chance for death because the reward is so great.


Thanks in advance.
Save or die was a lazy way to create tension.  The fact that you use a riddle, which only tests the player and not the character, makes it worse.
If you are really dead set on the riddle, make it a skill challenge.  But instead of listing a few skills that will help, let the player decide which skills to use.  Then just use the skill dc table.  Failure should never mean death though.  The character simply fails and must wait a level before trying it again.  Basically an in game representation of personal growth.  Just...Don't make a riddle of self sacrifice.  That's too easy to circumvent and it's cliche.  Look up a bunch of riddles and choose something better(google). 

Honestly?  What you typed for the second trial is actually what you are trying in the first one.  Strength and resolve has a lot to do with faith.  In fact, faith often gives the person all they need.  I would try to go with something else...Maybe tie it in with the chosen epic destiny, or paragon if he isn't that leveled yet.

For the third...You don't say what class the guy is, so I can't give you a monster encounter.  If it's melee, then something with regeneration or damage resistance.  Or maybe a controller that can teleport around the place.



Mechanically, if you are following the loot tables in the dmg, it's something the character should have anyways.  Straying too far one way or the other will just create an imbalance.  And the fact that you want a possible character death at each test just tells me that you may have issues with this character or the player running him.  If you do it right, you can put fear in the hearts of your players without giving them SAVE OR DIE.
Thanks MasterCliff.  You've actually helped me more than you probably realize.  I'm sort of an old school gamer having grown up with the older editions.  Save or Die is my natural go to for challenges.  While I've heard of them, I never really got into 4E so was not exposed to Skill Challenges.  I've been doing a bunch of reading on them though and love this method.  Some of the examples I'm finding are exactly how I pictured these trials going.  I'm not a DM who finds pleasure is killing off PCs, I'm just used to the grittier side of old D&D.  Once I get my skill challenges written up, I'll try to remember to post them here to give back to the community.

This may be old news to most people but Google turned this up for me:

www.critical-hits.com/features/skill-cha...


I'll post it here just incase someone hasnt stumbled upon it yet.   


Thanks again. 
Also remember you have other PCs, try making your other PCs help this dwarven one. For example the wizard could do a little History check for the riddle.