3 years ago ::
Jun 30, 2010 - 3:17PM
Aug 17, 2009
This is a Skill Challenge I ran recently for my group. It was the first 'explicit' skill challenge I have ever run. It went quite well, at least from the DM's perspective
. I thought I'd share it so other DMs could inflict it on their own players!The Setup:
The party enters a large room filled with mirrors. There are so many mirrors that it is difficult to tell the layout of the room or what configuration they are in. But stumbling blindly through the room poses its own danger: these mirrors are enchanted, and gazing too long at them will cause the unwary to fall prey to their illusions!
Four successful group Perception checks (medium DC) are required to get through the room. After three failures the party finds themselves back at the start of the mirror maze and must try again or find a different route.
Each individual that fails a perception check endures the following attack:
Level+2 vs. Will; no damage, but the target believes they are under attack by some feared enemy (the target is treated as dominated for the purpose of their next action).
On a successful mirror attack: The DM describes in vivid detail the threat coming towards them. Be dramatic and pick things that the PC would have personal enmity towards. This will encourage the player to continue to attack even as they catch onto the trick.
The player MUST attack the threat with at minimum an At-Will power (remember, they count as dominated). The target is of course an illusion. Instead of hitting a monster, roll a d4 or d6 to determine another member of the party who is attacked (I just assign the player to my left as 1 and go around the table). Follow the damage and effect rules for the power used.
Breaking Mirrors: Each mirror broken gives everyone a +2 bonus to the next perception check. Characters who have been dominated or made a skill check that round cannot attack a mirror.
All skill checks besides Perception take a standard action.
Dungeoneering or History: Medium DC one-time check and the players realize that attacking the mirrors might break some of them and help them to navigate the room successfully.
Arcana or Religion: Hard DC once per player. Grants a +2 Will defense against the enchanted mirrors until the end of the challenge.
Success: You stumble suddenly into another corridor leading out of the hall. Abruptly freed from the barrage of reflections, you blink and begin to reorient yourself and take in your new surroundings.
Failure: You stumble suddenly into a corridor leading out of the hall. Wait, this looks familiar. Surely this is the way you came in?
I love this skill challenge even though it drove my players crazy (or perhaps because of that!). It works best as an explicit skill challenge, i.e. tell your players going in that they will be making group perception checks and that they need four failures before three successes.
Don't tell them about the mirror domination, though. Let them figure that out for themselves! Once players realize that they are attacking their friends and that the monsters are illusions, it may be necessary to describe the mirror attacks as dominating to keep them attacking.
There are no physical skills associated with this challenge because in my mind this is a test of will. Still, try to reward players for their creative ideas.
In the original version of this that I used the players were pursuing someone through a tower and had to follow them through the mirror maze. Regardless you want to give them a compelling reason to attempt it. Maybe they're trapped and it's the only way out?
1 year ago ::
Dec 21, 2011 - 12:16PM
Jan 11, 2007
This is rather clever and I plan to use it, thanks.