Do people like skill challenges?

  • I know a lot of people (myself included) hate on 4e, but one of the cool things to come out of it, in my opinion were the skill challenges mechanic.

    I was thinking of doing non combat tasks with pseudo combat rules(using Science! attacks versus Mysterious Anomaly's AC type thing), and remembered the skill challenge system.

    Was this something a lot of people enjoyed? Or do people typically prefer doing a roll and handwaving the hours spent on it as downtime bullshit so I can go kill mooks?

  • I enjoy skill use having something more to it than a chance at success.
    I'd like choices, interesting choices including more than just doing something quickly or carefully.
    I'd a chance to do things my characters way, to show that ways strengths and weaknesses.
    It might be nice to support some risk taking (betting).

    I'll look through the examples and comment on this specific approach when I get a a chance.

  • Pitcrew

    I love skill challenges.

    Of course, I also love 4E, so take that as you like it, but skill challenges (even if the math was a bit wonky, and pre-written modules often tried to make them so restrictive as to be useless) were a wonderful system, and one I use with glee.

  • Cool. I'm thinking of incorporating skill challenge like things for expeditions on Alien Shores.

  • Pitcrew

    Star Wars: Saga Edition also has skill challenge rules. They're rather in-depth, and I've never actually used them, but they're there.

  • Call me old but doesn't this just go back to 1e's Rule of Two?

    Anything outside rules is attributed a +2/-2 to the roll (or inversely the difficulty number).

    John the fighter cooks for the king .... High difficulty. He's been training and cooking for the party, +2 John, there is a shortage of cummin in the kingdom, -2 John, John flirts with scullery maid she pitches in, +2, the king remembers Johns rescue of the his daughter, +2 ... Etcetera etc. Etc. Figure any circumstance that helps or hinders that you like. Heh, 3e called it circumstance bonus even (or synergy if it came from other pcs, but same thing).

    Feels like we just find ways to make it more complex but it boils down to the same thing.

  • Well that's just it, how do you make it so it doesn't boil down to the same thing? Otherwise just roll your die and move along.

  • @SG I used them a great deal when I ran a 4E game, and have actually carried that on to 5E.

    That said, I never used them in the way they're presented in the book, which is terribly flat and useless (roll this or a couple skills a bunch of times, hope you get X succ before Y fails).

    I used them in a much more involved way, probably similarly to some of the ones on the link you give (I definitely took inspiration liberally from blogs at the time), or even more complicated than that. Generally I'd write up a whole slew of specific actions with different skills at different DCs (sometimes scaling on margin of success as well, etc). Some would gain successes toward 'winning' the challenge, others would grant bonuses to subsequent rolls, address secondary RP objectives, modify combats that would get triggered along the way, etc. Often characters could spend combat resources (surges, power uses, spell slots going on to 5E, etc) to get bonuses or could pick up statuses (like Exhaustion in 5E) that would transfer over. I experimented with a whole lot of different formats, and some worked really well, but it was also a huge amount of prep each time and they weren't very re-usable.

    Basically they were a goto when the players wanted to do something really large-scale and sweeping in the campaign, or for setpiece battles or a few other things impossible to model in a fun way in the normal rules. But they were replacements for whole sessions or large parts of them, not ways of handling smaller things like chases etc unless they were really spectacular.

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