The Dungeontech blog series offers advice and mechanics to Dungeon Masters who want to introduce advanced technology into the heroic fantasy campaigns typical of a Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign. This article presents some Skill Challenges for use in a Tech campaign.
The expanded use of traditional skills allows for the expansion of skill challenges. Skill challenges should be utilized where a group of adventurers can work cooperatively to accomplish a task in a manner that does not primarily involve combat. Following are some skill challenges carefully tailored for characters in a tech campaign.
Sabotage a Siege Engine Level 5
Skill Challenge 1,000 XP
Deep in the enemy camp, you must render their war machine useless, without the enemy becoming aware of your presence.
This assumes the party can sneak into the camp, which could be a skill challenge of its own.
Complexity: 1 (4 successes before 3 failures)
Primary Skills: Athletics, Dungeoneering, Thievery
Secondary Skills: Perception, Stealth
Victory: The object is sabotaged.
Defeat: The enemy discovers you before you finish. Combat ensues.
Athletics DC: 12
You bash the machine in a manner that will cause the most damage with the least noise.
Arcane or Dungeoneering DC: 12 (usable once)
Studying the machine, you find a weak spot.
Perception DC: 17 (usable once)
You hear guards approach and silence your companions in the nick of time
Stealth DC: 17 (usable once)
Your silence causes the guards to fail to see you.
Thievery DC: 12 (trained only)
You adeptly dismantle a good portion of the machine.
Charge a Turret Level 15
Skill Challenge 6,000 XP
At the top of a hill, your enemy lies behind a protective wall with a narrow slit through which a machine gun strafes the ground before you. Once you reach the turret, you can confront him, but you have to get to him first.
This skill challenge is mostly a movement challenge. There must be a time limit to the challenge. Perhaps the party must disable the turret before the larger army arrives. Also, the Dungeon Master should be cognizant of the ability of players to teleport or fly, which could obviate this skill challenge altogether.
Complexity: 2 (6 successes before 3 failures)
Any individual player character that fails a Skill check loses a healing surge.
Primary Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Stealth
Secondary Skills: Dungeoneering, Insight, Perception
Victory: The party reaches the turret and may commence combat against the troops stationed within. The player character who garnered the most successes arrives first. Each other player character is distant from the turret five squares for each success less than that possessed by the first player character to arrive.
Defeat: The party is forced to retreat and is unable to reach the turret.
Acrobatics DC: 18
You dodge and weave between cover and the strafing gunfire towards the
Athletics DC: 18
You barrel forward leaping and charging towards the turret.
Dungeoneering DC: 23 (usable once)
You notice a defect in the turret’s construction that gives you a momentary
Stealth DC: 16 (once failed, cannot be used again.)
You sneak and wind your way up the hill, using the terrain to hide your approach.
Insight DC: 25 (usable once)
The pattern of gunfire reveals a predictable pattern you are able to exploit.
Perception DC: 23
You see a portion of terrain that the gunfire is unlikely to reach and it gets you a bit closer.
Navigate an Asteroid Field Level 25
Skill Challenge 35,000 XP
Your starship emerges from light speed a little farther from the planet than you anticipated – you materialize inside an asteroid field!
As a crew, the party must navigate the ship through a massive asteroid field. This works best if each character takes a position on the ship based on their best Skill.
Complexity: 5 (12 successes before 3 failures)
Primary Skills: Nature, Perception, Thievery
Secondary Skills: Dungeoneering, History
Victory: The ship successfully emerges from the field.
Defeat: The ship is damaged and must make an emergency landing on an asteroid for repairs. After an extended rest, the party may try again.
Dungeoneering DC: 28
Chief Engineer: You keep the engines burning and are able to shift more power to the shields before an asteroid hits.
Nature DC: 24
Science Officer: Your scans reveal that some of the asteroids are fragile. By directing the weapons at those asteroids, you pulverize them before they reach the ship.
History DC: 28
Archivist: Your review of the computer files reveals logs of other ships that have passed this way and the methods they used to avoid collision.
Perception DC: 24
Command: With the far sight of command, you can see gaps in the field where you direct the navigator to pursue.
Thievery DC: 24
Navigator: Your adept handling of the controls helps you navigate the deadly meteors.