Skill Challenges as the basis of a whole new, rules-lite system?


4th Edition

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What the subject said. I've run RPGA combat using skill challenges and they were remarkably...refreshing (and WAY, WAY, WAY faster than DnD, 3.x, or Pathfinder combat.)

Sovereign Court

Faster because everyone just rolled dice and declared if they passed/failed without any RP to go alongside it? YMMV but in my experience 4E skill challenges take just as long if not longer than equivalent activities in 3.5/PF. That said, they do let everyone have a chance to shine so Kudos there.


I haven't tried skill challenges often enough as a substitute for combat, but if done right, I agree they are pretty straight forward and would be faster than combat based on the simplicity. The benefit of course is the built in experience system to determine difficulty and reward. I would always encourage roleplaying regardless if it is combat, or something else. I am glad you enjoy them, as just the concept, regardless if you like the mechanics, opened a whole new avenue for me as a DM.

Based on on all the discussions I have seen on what system is better, i.e. all editions of D&D, I am going back to my roots by looking at systems like OSRIC and Lords of the Labrinyth, so see how things have changed over the years.


Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
Faster because everyone just rolled dice and declared if they passed/failed without any RP to go alongside it? YMMV but in my experience 4E skill challenges take just as long if not longer than equivalent activities in 3.5/PF. That said, they do let everyone have a chance to shine so Kudos there.

I gotto say if you've got no RP in your skill challenges then you may need to re-read the DMG on Skill challenges.

The use of each skill chalenge does require some serious RP input from the players even more player controlled narrative.

E.g:-
PLayer 1: 'I'm going to try and talk the guy round by using Streetwise for banter "Look fella, I know Urgen head of the guild if you understand me and not helping will make him upset". The player rolls his skill check to see how well him banter goes down.

The DM then react's to the skill check result and RP's the NPC's reply.

This is obviously a short term RP encounter so a long term encounter would be much more narrative, e'g:-

The group is trying to sneak through a hobgoblin infested area without drawing attention, intent on getting to the leader's caves.

Player 1: 'Moving through the area we need to navigate our way so Nature check to pick the right path.

DM: 'Yeah roll a nature to navigate but because your avoiding the goblin patrols you find your selves needing to climb up steep hills, jump gullys and the like so you'll need an athletics check to keep your speed up.' Player 1 rolls Nature, player 2 rolls Athletics with help from player 3 & 4.

Player 2:'We need to keep are heads down so we'll need to keep our eyes open for goblins and sneak past them' the players decide that player 4 is best at spotting goblins(Perception) and player 3 is pretty good at Stealth.

DM asks for the Perception and Stealth rolls.

Failing 3 skill checks(and the skill challenge) can result in a really tough fight at the goblins cave as the goblins get the word back to their boss.
Failing 1 skill check could mean a loss of a healing surge from injuries from goblin javlins or sling stones.


Not sure what this would exactly be, but it does raise interesting questions about MASS COMBAT SIMULATION using skill challenges.


Duncan & Dragons wrote:
Not sure what this would exactly be, but it does raise interesting questions about MASS COMBAT SIMULATION using skill challenges.

One of the best Skill Challenges I have played in was done for Mass Combat. It certainly can work in that regards.

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