Skill Challenge Rules

Skill Rules

In an effort to add more strategy and structure to skill challenges, as well as facilitate creative and fun adventures, I’m laying down a few ground rules to apply to skill challenges, as well as marking how they are different from skill checks.

Note that when I mention experience, I mean for my own internal count of when you should gain a level. It generally follows the same rules as regular experience advancement (10 monsters of your own level to get enough XP to gain a level), however it might be delayed or advanced by a bit to coincide with major plot points.

Skill check -

  • Normally only requires a single one time use of a skill by either a single party member, or by everyone in the party
  • Is required as a direct cause of in game stimulii. IE, something happens in game and you have to roll a skill check to deal with it.
  • Doesn’t directly reward experience/isn’t counted as part of the required number of encounters to reach the next level
  • Can rarely result in death/severe consequences (rolling a 1 when trying to jump across a 20 foot chasm that is 100 feet deep), but more likely will result in penalties to rolls in the future, loss of surge, or more challeging encounters in the future.
  • DC of checks will be tailored to the type of challenge, ability of party to pass, plausability of action. Most forced checks (endurance) will probably be in the easy range, so someone who is trained with a decent ability modifier will automatically pass.
  • Assisting other people is encouraged for single use skills (picking a lock, climbing a rock to scout the savannah).
  • Skill checks will not be called for things that are required to succeed to advance the plot. Those will either happen automatically or be part of a skill challenge.
  • Passive insight and perception skills will give you cluse about what skills to use and when. If your passive perception is high enough to spot a trap, you will be given a clue to tell you look around, which you may fail if you roll low enough.

Skill Challenge -

  • While the challenge as a whole is used to advance the plot or overcome an obstacle, each indiviual roll has no specific meaning to the whole of the game. They represent smaller goals/problems/solutions that you come up with to eventually achieve the required outcome.
  • This allows greater flexibility in describing what is happening to achieve the goal. Rather than using what is explicitly describing, you can come up with whatever action you feel best brings out your character and creates an exciting and creative narrative.
  • Rewards experience/counted as an encounter for determining when you will gain a level. The more complex the skill challenge the more experience you will recieve.
  • You will recieve experience for the challenge no matter if you succeed or fail.
  • Failing will (almost) never result in the immediate death/end of the quest. It will provide more obsticals in the form of additional encounters, more challenging encounters, loss of surges, loss of equipment, or change how the story unfolds
  • DC’s of the skill checks inside of the challenge will default to medium. If the difficulty is something other than medium it will be told to you before you roll.
  • Challenges can be split up into multiple sessions, with the failures rolling over from a previous session of checks. Successive Challenges can also affect each of with the outcome.
  • Challenges can also be a part of combat, taking the place of monsters, or allowing the fight to proceed easier. Generally, succeeding on a standard action skill check will be at least as useful as an encounter power as long as the challenge is completed successfully by the end of combat. Most in combat challenges will be small, and either complexity 1 or 2.
  • You may not know what skills to use for an in combat skill challenge without first using a minor action knowledge skill check to determine what skills to use. These checks are not part of the skill challenge, and failing on them will not impact your number of failures for the skill challenge.
  • If if you don’t know the exact primary skills to use for a challenge, you can still try anything that seems reasonable as long as you have a description of what you are trying to do. This goes double for creative uses of non-primary skills in regular skill challenges.
  • To succeed a skill challenge you have to succeed on a certain number of primary skills before failing 3 primary skill rolls.
  • Secondary skills are available to provide benefits, such as bonus’ on the next skill used, re-rolls, double successes or removal of a failure. Generally, secondary skills for bonus’ are easy or medium, while larger benefits, such as double success’ as hard difficulty. Failing a secondary does not apply a failure to the skill challenge, but it may give some other penalty.
  • Complexity | Successes | Failues
  1. | 4 | 3
  2. | 6 | 3
  3. | 8 | 3
  4. | 10 | 3
  5. | 12 | 3

Skill Challenge Rules

Silt and Sun Pymamin