Regional Benefits - are they really balanced?

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After playing through every currently released LFR module, (two cons + slot zeroes involved here) a few of us were thinking that the regional benefits were seriously unbalanced.

The example that most struck us was Waterdeep versus the Dragoncoast. Hypothetically, a few city states on the coast and one big city on the coast would yield similarly good benefits to residents no?

Ok both regions get an extra language - yay! thats hard in LFR.

HOWEVER
+2 Diplo is so much better than re-roll an insight check!

This is for several reasons:
1. Most skill challenges have insight as AN ASSIST and Diplo as a PRIMARY skill.
2. Only Trained Characters in the skill + decent wisdom usually have it worth while (e.g: Clerics/Paladins/Rangers) - Which aren't really the sort of PCs one expects from the Dragoncoast...
3. The WORST you can get from INsight is you passive, so its a reroll on a skill that you CAN take 10 on!
4. With how hard it is to get above the curve skills wise, +2 makes a HUGE difference as to those pesky skill challenges, whilst those trained in insight usually auto pass on passive with their ASSISTS.

With the way skill challenges are built, the +2 to ANY skill is so much better. I wish our region was balanced with the others. Is there any way to do something about that?

I get that insight might be a regional thing, but then make it a +2 so its MEANINGFUL please!

I mean Cormyr gets:
Regional Benefit: You add Insight to your class skill list, you gain a +2 bonus to Insight checks, and you gain a +2 bonus to saving throws against fear effects

which is better as well- the Dragoncoast only gets the reroll? no bonus or even TRAINING!!!

It's early in the campaign - lets fix it. I want a Dragoncoast PC, as its my 'local' but I am irritated if I am worse off as a result.
Keep in mind these benefits are from the FRPG - so you're actually requesting WotC to change the rule, not just the RPGA.

[EDIT]
Unless you're specifically requesting more mods take advantage of Insight as a primary skill, and not just an "assist". That's well within the powers of the writing directors
[/EDIT]

It isn't an issue for the campaign admins, or even Chris to work on directly.

Not that this should stop you from voicing your opinion, mind, just make sure you've got the right target audience.

I could see this moved to Running the Realms if you think it might find a broader audience there.
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The example that most struck us was Waterdeep versus the Dragoncoast. Hypothetically, a few city states on the coast and one big city on the coast would yield similarly good benefits to residents no?

If it weren't for that reroll, you never would have realized what you were missing ;)
A reroll is often more effective than a +2 for purposes of getting through skill challenges, I can say that much. It results in a higher average, so unless your chance is pretty sure (that is, if you've almost removed the chance of failing) it's solid.

I've definitely been able to use Insight as more than an assist in skill challenges with my Cormyr character, and I'm not sure his passive Insight has even come up.

Languages are also fairly expensive, feat-wise, so that is some benefit. My second character is from Luruar and his History reroll has been fantastically helpful, ensuring that he's actually succeeded on every History check he's made. And I'd imagine that Insight is at least as helpful as History.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
My second character is from Luruar and his History reroll has been fantastically helpful, ensuring that he's actually succeeded on every History check he's made. And I'd imagine that Insight is at least as helpful as History.

My primary is from Luruar and the only time I didn't end up with a greater than 10 on the die for a history check was the time I rolled double 1s. I still passed that check though. The Librarian knows his History.
My primary is from Luruar and the only time I didn't end up with a greater than 10 on the die for a history check was the time I rolled double 1s. I still passed that check though. The Librarian knows his History.

Heh - then that is perhaps a less useful benefit for your character. Mine doesn't have an Int bonus, so my rerolls are a lot more valuable. I even had someone with a history decently higher than me deferring to me cause he kept rolling 1 to 3.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Keep in mind these benefits are from the FRPG - so you're actually requesting WotC to change the rule, not just the RPGA.

That's what I was trying to find out

This is something that worries me - this sort of thing is out of the hands of the RPGA/campaign folk...

- I really miss the LGCS, it had its flaws but the idea of the LGCS made it feel like a living campaign that was actually LIVING (ie: mutable, and affected by admins and the campaign community)

As to the reroll on a history check, you don't get to 'Take 10' on that as your worst result can you? so your 'kept rolling a 1 or 3 statement seems a bit moot...
As to the reroll on a history check, you don't get to 'Take 10' on that as your worst result can you? so your 'kept rolling a 1 or 3 statement seems a bit moot...

Of course not. But, let's say you need an 8 to succeed, or a 6 if you got +2.

If you get a reroll, then you have a 12.25% chance of failure. With the +2, a 25% chance of failure.

Just to be helpful, examining a range of 3-15 that you might need to roll (which is higher than I suspect I really needed to go, but eh)

Roll +2 Reroll<br /> 3 1 0.99<br /> 4 0.95 0.9775<br /> 5 0.9 0.96<br /> 6 0.85 0.9375<br /> 7 0.8 0.91<br /> 8 0.75 0.8775<br /> 9 0.7 0.84<br /> 10 0.65 0.7975<br /> 11 0.6 0.75<br /> 12 0.55 0.6975<br /> 13 0.5 0.64<br /> 14 0.45 0.5775<br /> 15 0.4 0.51

Those are your % chances of making it. You'll note the reroll is a lot more helpful, except when you need a 2 or 3 (in which case it's 1% or 1/4 of a % worse.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Of course not. But, let's say you need an 8 to succeed, or a 6 if you got +2.

If you get a reroll, then you have a 12.25% chance of failure. With the +2, a 25% chance of failure.

But on a skill like insight, +2 can get you to a +11 at first level if wisdom is your primary stat:

+5 training, +4 Wis, +2 skill.

So 21 on a passive. (autopass skill challenge, which is what Cormyr gives you, compared to Dragoncoast)

A re roll is NOT as good imo on insight... (which auto passes a lot of skill challenge stuff)

NO lets look at the +2 Diplomacy:

Lets look at how easy it is to ramp up other skills: Level 2 Half Elf Warlock:

+2 Waterdeep, +4 Cha, +1 level +5 beguiling tongue + 5 training +3 skill focus

= +20 diplomacy at level 2. so thats a minimum of 21. That +2 made a HUGE difference... (between passing a DC 20 -21, and failing)

Maybe the problem is that the ONLY time skills seem to come up much in mods is during Skill challenges, which is frustrating because you NEED to roll well regardless of how good your idea is, or your role-playing...

I just don't like the way skill challenges have replaced role-playing. I think they are a good idea, but they need work.

IN any case I don't think it can/will be changed as its a WoTc thing, i just wish this sort of stuff was at least PARTIALLY in the hands of the campaign staff. Sure, it may need to be approved, but at least it makes the campaign LIVING.

And the extra language is mostly fluff, as its not like the old days where you can cast comprehend languages at the drop of a hat, so if a mod fails to account for no-one with the language it will be a terrible module. (Can you imagine if a mod needed you to speak shou and there was noone with the comprehend languages ritual? - something that is very likely now that clerics aren't required via warlords etc)

It's mainly a ROLE-Playing boost, rather than a significant LFR benefit... so in terms of 'balancing' benefits its not really as important in my opinion.
*shrug* I really don't see any of them as that spectacular. You could find a great in game reason for any of them. None of them are anything to write home about. Just my NSHO.
Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf
So 21 on a passive. (autopass skill challenge, which is what Cormyr gives you, compared to Dragoncoast)

This is incorrect (PHB179)
1) Your passive perception or insight are never used for successes for a skill challenge, only for what you notice as you walk around and talk to people. They are not skill checks and do not net successes.
2) You cannot take 10 during a skill challenge (or in any encounter, for that matter)

A re roll is NOT as good imo on insight... (which auto passes a lot of skill challenge stuff)

False, as shown above.


= +20 diplomacy at level 2. so thats a minimum of 21. That +2 made a HUGE difference... (between passing a DC 20 -21, and failing)

99.75% of the time, the +2 made no difference over the reroll. And if you hadn't used beguiling tongue, the +2 would have made you fail more than twice as often as the reroll.

Maybe the problem is that the ONLY time skills seem to come up much in mods is during Skill challenges, which is frustrating because you NEED to roll well regardless of how good your idea is, or your role-playing...

DMs can give out circumstance bonuses, or even automatic successes. Further, the average DC is 15, not 20.

I just don't like the way skill challenges have replaced role-playing. I think they are a good idea, but they need work.

They don't replace roleplaying. If your DM is having them replace roleplaying, then you should prompt him that it's bothering you and how to play them out better.

IN any case I don't think it can/will be changed as its a WoTc thing, i just wish this sort of stuff was at least PARTIALLY in the hands of the campaign staff. Sure, it may need to be approved, but at least it makes the campaign LIVING.

I'm happier having the stuff in WotC hands, honestly - _much_ faster and easier access to new and interesting material and _much_ more pressure on WotC to actually fix things (which they've been doing).

And the extra language is mostly fluff, as its not like the old days where you can cast comprehend languages at the drop of a hat

Sure you can. It's a level 1 ritual - in fact, it's _easier_ to cast at a drop of a hat at low level than it was.

It's mainly a ROLE-Playing boost, rather than a significant LFR benefit... so in terms of 'balancing' benefits its not really as important in my opinion.

It's a mechanical benefit to a skill that goes hand in hand with Diplomacy, and Insight has come up more times than Diplomacy in the mods I've played (primarily because it has been helpful in some encounters with no people at all, and has also been helpful in the encounters with people...)

The grass is always greener. If you really object, take Akanul. I'm happy I didn't given how important skill challenges are, but it sure was popular with a lot of players.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
I just don't like the way skill challenges have replaced role-playing. I think they are a good idea, but they need work.

And the extra language is mostly fluff, as its not like the old days where you can cast comprehend languages at the drop of a hat, so if a mod fails to account for no-one with the language it will be a terrible module.

It is perfectly plausible to design a mod that is harder if you don't know a particular language - an intelligent enemy who talks to each other in strange language X. If you speak the language, then they lose their advantage. If they don't speak the extra language of the party(aka Elvish), they might not even realize they're giving their plans away. Ditto for an important clue. My 8 Int Baldur's Gate Half-Elf Paladin speaks Common, Draconic, Giant, and Elvish - there are a range of possible encounters where he'll cause problems.

Also, skill challenges haven't replaced roleplaying. It formalizes things so the entire party participates, whether they want to do so or not. That not is important if there are couple of people who hate to participate in non-combat or the DM makes it very mechanical.
I'll agree that Cormyr probably get's the better deal but, I don't think there is really that big power variance between the three choices. I'm guessing that they probably didn't take the passive skill rules into account when balancing the regions but, It seems to me like the re-roll probably holds it value better than other bonuses as the levels rise.
Why do people have to BOO-HOO that one region's power is more potent than anther's. Who said that they all had to be fair? If you want to be from a specific region then be from there. Why does their regional benefit have to influence you.
If you really want a specific regional benefit then be from the region with that benefit. The last thing that LFR needs is to change the rules in the books we buy so we can make new changes to the rules every year. That was a horrible idea then and it will be one now. I personally don't want to pay good money for a book that I can only use SOME of the rules for in a campaign.
Hmm how about looking at these things as they are meant to be. Flavor for your characters background and roleplaying, Not as a power gaming/power tweaking tool.

Just a thought.
Hmm how about looking at these things as they are meant to be. Flavor for your characters background and roleplaying, Not as a power gaming/power tweaking tool.

Just a thought.

ANd by that note they should be eqal.

Hence my point - its not 'boo-hoo-ing'

And to MwaO: forced role-playing has NEVER worked. I don't see why it would now. People just mumble something about how they use their skill and then sit back. I've seen it already, not much has changed. the moment you start telling people how to roleplay, DnD becomes a video/computer game.
And to MwaO: forced role-playing has NEVER worked. I don't see why it would now. People just mumble something about how they use their skill and then sit back. I've seen it already, not much has changed. the moment you start telling people how to roleplay, DnD becomes a video/computer game.

Honestly, I wish there were no benefits from regions - or if there were, they were replacing benefits in the core rules. But...

No one is forcing people to role-play. It is forcing them to participate. The downside is some people won't participate no matter what. The upside is that you can't have a situation where one player dominates because he's got the magical set of skills.

Depending on your group, it either makes it a lot easier to roleplay or a lot harder. In diplomacy-style skill challenges, it makes things a lot easier. Example: PCs must convince the crazy duke to let them do something.

Diplomacy for the obvious reasons, but using athletics to clean the stables, stealth and thievery to steal the nearby duke's horses and another duke's produce, bluff to convince the lovely nearby princess to give them an article of her clothing...

(Doesn't the 12 labors of hercules kind of feel like a mod in that context...)
ON the topic of the one PC dominating things with diplomacy, That definitely does still exist.

I know a fair few mods where it was the same one or two players with high diplomacy that did all the skill challenge stuff whilst the others mumbled 'assists'.

Seems the same to me as in 3.5/LG, only now there is a chance of rolling low and losing xp.
ON the topic of the one PC dominating things with diplomacy, That definitely does still exist.

I know a fair few mods where it was the same one or two players with high diplomacy that did all the skill challenge stuff whilst the others mumbled 'assists'.

That's not a problem with skill challenges, that's a problem with either how they're being played, run or how they're written up in the mod. People who mumble assists probably aren't going to be into the roleplaying part anyway...you can't blame the system for the players you have.

But easy to stop in multiple ways:
Don't allow more than a certain number of people to try to assist any one check.

Require X successes in Diplomacy, but that doesn't end the skill challenge. You need a success in something else.

Have the skill challenge be timed - you don't get 4 successes in 3 rounds, then you fail or it resets. One player can't possibly do it by himself, assists or not.
- I really miss the LGCS, it had its flaws but the idea of the LGCS made it feel like a living campaign that was actually LIVING (ie: mutable, and affected by admins and the campaign community)

The theory behind why LFR does this is because while Greyhawk is mostly abandoned and the LG team had free reign to do whatever they wanted there and have it become canon by default, the Realms are not. Therefore, LFR had two options- become essentially a divergent canon or accept a whole bunch of "Standard to LFR" rules.

I'm not going to say which approach I prefer at the moment because, well, this early into the campaign it's too difficult to tell- but that's the justification for it.
ON the topic of the one PC dominating things with diplomacy, That definitely does still exist.

I know a fair few mods where it was the same one or two players with high diplomacy that did all the skill challenge stuff whilst the others mumbled 'assists'.

Seems the same to me as in 3.5/LG, only now there is a chance of rolling low and losing xp.

While I'll agree that it's still better for everyone to assist the PC with the highest bonus, I often dreaded playing with bards in LG (a select few aside). Mainly because they were often useless apart from dropping their main buff and made up for it by monopolising all roleplaying encounters. And by monopolising I mean to say, "Oh great- I talk to the Prince and get him to help us. I rolled a 7, so I get... diplomacy 54."

With 4th edition it's a lot easier to get a "worth rolling" bonus (two feats gives you pretty much maxed) even if your charisma is puke-worthy. And skills matter a LOT more in this edition than they did in v3.5, where skill based characters were often jipped completely (especially during the days of Divine Insight- where one low level spell could make a spellcaster do anything skill related better than anyone else, ever...)
In theory, the party shouldn't all be able to assist most of the time. The 'four assists' thing only comes up for certain checks and I'd hope that not all checks in modules were written as group checks(they have to be specifically called out).

Anyhow, skill challenges are new. A lot of people don't know how to run them. This is not surprising. But it's a different topic from a regional benefit that is useful under the rules

I do wonder what's going to happen with skill challenge DCs, wrt to the errata and all.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
And to MwaO: forced role-playing has NEVER worked. I don't see why it would now. People just mumble something about how they use their skill and then sit back. I've seen it already, not much has changed. the moment you start telling people how to roleplay, DnD becomes a video/computer game.

I find that there's a lot of mumbling before die rolls in all aspects of the game.

As for myself, I don't force RP. I do ask the person what they're planning on talking about but I don't make them RP the discussion. However, if they DO go into RPing, I give them a bonus to their die roll.

Oh, and as for the regional feats being balanced - I really don't care. I simply pick the area that would best fit the character and he can come from there, meanwhile he's spent the last 5 years (or 50 if one of the 'immortal' races) in the region I really want him to be from. So my Elf can be from Baulder's Gate for the regional benefit but he can have set up his home these days in the East Rift.
ON the topic of the one PC dominating things with diplomacy, That definitely does still exist.

I know a fair few mods where it was the same one or two players with high diplomacy that did all the skill challenge stuff whilst the others mumbled 'assists'.

As a gm in a diplomacy assist I would usually require players wishing to assist to say something remotely diplomatic rather than mumble "I assist".

If some feel that is wrong that I "force participation" then I have to wonder why someone is there if I have to force their participation. Also if someone with an awesome streetwise, diplomacy, bluff, and intimidate dominates the social skill challenges then that is fine. He will probably be "mumbling assist" in the physical/outdoorsy ones. In the 7 slots I played in with a ranger at COSCON this past weekend I was able to actively participate with trained skills in all but two skill challenges. You can't be the hero ALL of the time.

A famous man once said "The sun don't shine on the same dog's a$$ everyday"
I'll admit - if you were _forced_ to get a benefit based on your geographical location, it would matter a lot more how they compared to each other, and in particular it would be bad for some characters.

But each of the regions has a benefit for some character type.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
That's not a problem with skill challenges, that's a problem with either how they're being played, run or how they're written up in the mod. People who mumble assists probably aren't going to be into the roleplaying part anyway...you can't blame the system for the players you have.

Actually, the problem is inherent in the mechanic of skill challenges. If your character is not good at an appropriate skill, you either
A. hurt your party by contributing a failure (which hurts roughly twice as much as a success helps)
B. play what has been described as magic teaparty. "I use athletics to hold the map upside down so that the mage and warlord can get a different perspective on it." "I use endurance to cleverly mask how bored I am by this tedious phase of negotiations and to pretend my butt doesn't hurt." You can spin whatever BS you want in order to use a skill that you won't hurt the party by using, but it doesn't change the fact that most of the time, you are not being creative, but are rather BSing and you know it, the DM knows it and all the rest of the party knows it. For many players who value story and character, that is the opposite of role-playing.
C. You mumble an assist and hope that the DM soon moves on to a part of the module where the mechanics do not work against the story.

But easy to stop in multiple ways:
Don't allow more than a certain number of people to try to assist any one check.

This can be helpful but it does not necessarily encourage roleplaying. It may well encourage two people rolling and four people mumbling assists or three people rolling and three people mumbling assists. Alternatively, it may encourage playing magic teaparty (as described above).

Require X successes in Diplomacy, but that doesn't end the skill challenge. You need a success in something else.

Have the skill challenge be timed - you don't get 4 successes in 3 rounds, then you fail or it resets. One player can't possibly do it by himself, assists or not.

These two things strike me as the perogative of the writer rather than the judge. Yeah, I know, "DM empowerment" and all that. But I'm going to completely rewrite idiocy like the hook for Radiant Vessel of Thesk a LONG time before I take it on myself to guess at how putting a time limit on skill challenges will affect the odds of success. (I must say that I detest that intro with a passion that far exceeds even my distaste for poor mechanics or annoying monsters in some other mods; that level of silliness pretty much defeats the purpose of D&D for me). For that matter, adding a time limit will also force you to explain the time limit. That's easy if you are racing against three evil cults to find the buried artifact and there are three slave ships full of pirates whose buddies you just killed returning at any time. On the other hand, if you are planning on sneaking into a forbidden zone after a several week trip into Sembia, it does not seem that even spending a full day observing the setup and preparing for your Mission Impossible Breakin/Ocean's Eleven Scam/Bourne Identity triple-cross is inappropriate.

I would be more comfortable requiring a success in an additional skill, but again, it does not seem either appropriate or likely to be effective to arbitrarily do so. First, it emphasizes the numbers game even more to say "OK, you've talked to XYZ and have made him into your ally, but I'm still going to require an... um athletics check... no, wait, I guess insight, streetwise, or intimidate are appropiate check as well in order for you to win the skill challenge." If you are going to give clues as to the appropriate skills in your description and let the characters react to that, your players are already roleplaying. If you have to tell them you need another skill, you've already lost transparency. Requiring a success in something other than one key skill also seems unlikely to change much. Most characters have more than one skill that they are good at and, at most, it will force a different player to roll while the other five players mumble "assist."
B. play what has been described as magic teaparty.

Thank you. This is exactly what I have been feeling, and I thought I was the only one...
As a gm in a diplomacy assist I would usually require players wishing to assist to say something remotely diplomatic rather than mumble "I assist"

I was once allowed to assist with my PC by having her shut up

Gomez
I was once allowed to assist with my PC by having her shut up

Awesome.

I'd much rather have "magic tea party" than four people assisting every check. "well, I'm an Int 8 fighter who is habitually wrong at everything, but I guess I can assist your Arcana by suggesting what's wrong" - yeah, no, I'd rather _never_ make Arcana checks with that character.

That said, you could always use one of several skill challenge alternatives (for example, Stalker0 has made a few options at enworld).

You could also apply the errata to the skill challenge DCs, and then nobody would need to assist. Or y'know, maybe one max.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Actually, the problem is inherent in the mechanic of skill challenges. If your character is not good at an appropriate skill, you either
A. hurt your party by contributing a failure (which hurts roughly twice as much as a success helps)
B. play what has been described as magic teaparty.

What you're describing as magic teaparty is bad roleplaying. As in "I'm being forced to do something, so I'll say something stupid out of character for laughs.

C. You mumble an assist and hope that the DM soon moves on to a part of the module where the mechanics do not work against the story.

Or D. You roleplay just as much as the person making the primary skill check and do an assist. Or E. You get creative with a peripheral skill that could be applicable.

It is a choice to mumble instead of roleplay.

First, it emphasizes the numbers game even more to say "OK, you've talked to XYZ and have made him into your ally, but I'm still going to require an... um athletics check... no, wait, I guess insight, streetwise, or intimidate are appropiate check as well in order for you to win the skill challenge." If you are going to give clues as to the appropriate skills in your description and let the characters react to that, your players are already roleplaying.

Or in the description of the skill challenge, the writer makes it part of it. It doesn't matter how much you may have convinced XYZ that he wants to be your friend if the challenge also requires that you fix some problem for him.
MwaO: when a good skill challenge comes out, then I will happily be proven wrong. Until then I maintain that the mechanic needs a lot of work.

As I said - skill challenges are a GOOD idea - However the only good ones I have seen have involved a large goal that needed completion rather than a smaller task such as 'convince the baron' and don't get me started on the 'skill challenge' mechanic for disabling traps... I am sick of traps as intelligent sentry guns in fights.
Radiant Vessel -- Thievery and Dungeoneering apparently not allowed
MwaO: when a good skill challenge comes out, then I will happily be proven wrong. Until then I maintain that the mechanic needs a lot of work.

Obviously personal tastes vary, but Claire and I are proud of the skill challenge we created for WATE1-1. Assuming the DM follows suggestions, the skill checks will naturally flow from the role playing and the investigation. There are some skills suggested other than the normal interaction skills, and the players may think of others. I know the WotC R&D staff who played at Claire's table at Gencon were impressed.

Keith
Keith Hoffman LFR Writing Director for Waterdeep
Obviously personal tastes vary, but Claire and I are proud of the skill challenge we created for WATE1-1. Assuming the DM follows suggestions, the skill checks will naturally flow from the role playing and the investigation. There are some skills suggested other than the normal interaction skills, and the players may think of others. I know the WotC R&D staff who played at Claire's table at Gencon were impressed.

Keith

It was very good - we didn't realize we were in a skill challenge until a good distance into it.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Metagaming Skill Challenges 101:

When the DM starts making tick marks after each Skill Check, you're probably in a Skill Challenge. While the Investigation was better done than many, it was impossible not to notice.
Heh - our DM wasn't doing that ;) I probably wouldn't be doing it, either, as a DM.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Obviously personal tastes vary, but Claire and I are proud of the skill challenge we created for WATE1-1. Assuming the DM follows suggestions, the skill checks will naturally flow from the role playing and the investigation. There are some skills suggested other than the normal interaction skills, and the players may think of others. I know the WotC R&D staff who played at Claire's table at Gencon were impressed.

Keith

Bald 1-1 was much better than most. My only problem with most of the mod was with some of the wording of the plot hook (cosmetic really, and no writer can please anyone)

- My issue was with the fight - it really messed up some of our newer players who needed convincing on the system.

Save the toughies for the 3-4 band, not the 1-2 band, that's my feedback.

As far as skill challenges go, make sure you add a bit that says "if a PC can justify the use of another skill, you should allow it" - some DMs need to be told that. Many shouldn't need to, but SOME do.
As far as skill challenges go, make sure you add a bit that says "if a PC can justify the use of another skill, you should allow it" - some DMs need to be told that. Many shouldn't need to, but SOME do.

DMs should be across the DMG before running LFR games. It's not reasonable to expect the duplication of rules from the PHB or DMG in the module.

By that I mean, your skill challenge example is touched on in the DMG...
Joe Fitzgerald | joerpga[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au LFR Global Administrator
DMs should be across the DMG before running LFR games. It's not reasonable to expect the duplication of rules from the PHB or DMG in the module.

By that I mean, your skill challenge example is touched on in the DMG...

Joe, you know as well as I do that not all judges have read the DMG... or even exercise their right to change things. As such, occasionally this sort of stuff needs to be explicit. A few GMs I have had recently have stated 'its not listed as a primary' even when a player has come up with a good idea.

A few GMs really don't like being told they are wrong either, even if they blatantly are - as I know you are aware of...

What is important to remember is that a module is something that is to be disseminated across the world, to experienced LG judge and newbie alike, and as such these little things make a huge difference. That's just my opinion on skill challenges. I know you are a big fan of them, I just feel that they need more work...
Joe, you know as well as I do that not all judges have read the DMG... or even exercise their right to change things. As such, occasionally this sort of stuff needs to be explicit. A few GMs I have had recently have stated 'its not listed as a primary' even when a player has come up with a good idea.

A few GMs really don't like being told they are wrong either, even if they blatantly are - as I know you are aware of...

What is important to remember is that a module is something that is to be disseminated across the world, to experienced LG judge and newbie alike, and as such these little things make a huge difference. That's just my opinion on skill challenges. I know you are a big fan of them, I just feel that they need more work...

The only problem with that is - where do you draw the line? Where do you stop printing rules from the core books "just in case" the players/dms haven't done their homework and read their rulebooks?

Remember, you can always appeal to the Senior GM if its important, and you should always give the Senior GM judge feedback.

If the GM and Senior GM are one in the same, it may be best to roll with their decision at the table, then discuss it later (less confrontational that way). You can make your points, and even show them the relevant portions of the rulebooks at that time (and without using up gametime to do so ).
WolfStar76 Community Advocate (SVCL) for D&D Organized Play, Avalon Hill, and the DCI/WPN LFR Community Manager DDi Guide

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Well - it's probably reasonable to stress to judges to run skill challenges in an enjoyable fashion, which means that only allowing a few specific skills often with restrictions on how many times you can use them (like, I've been at tables where we literally went through every skill trying to find the ones the mod wanted)

At other tables, I've presented a good idea that surprised the DM and gotten an automatic success. At a couple tables, I've had a DM who just didn't like the rules for skill challenges and we RPed out the whole thing. Been very erratic so far.

For online, I've been getting a little tripped up by skill challenges so I've been going to discuss some good ways to handle them in that format.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director