JP On Gaming

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

4e Fixing Skill Challenges: Part 1

There are a number of things I could see to fix skill challenges in LFR. I’m sure home-game DMs of 4e campaign do those things, and make them a valuable addition to their adventures, instead of the Xp sink they currently are. LG had what many people referred to as the OTA (Obligatory Thug Encounter) well LFR has the Filler Skill Challenge. It often has a reason to be there, but a quick DM text would usually achieve the same result.

When I first read about skill challenges, I saw them as a storytelling tool. Where the players could assist in telling how the story went. Simply by telling PCs "you need to get out of town, how do you do it?" Or "You must now find the jewel thief in the capital!" Most would begin to form plans and methods on how to accomplish this. In the days before skill challenges, it was common place.

I thought the two would be integrated together to form a coherent -and unique- story. I was *VERY* excited about them. But like most things with 4e/LFR reality came crashing down. It was not the case. Hard-cased, boxed text incrusted challenge whose result for success had about as much impact as rolling a ‘1’ on an attack.

This series of post will feature a number of ideas I have to make challenges more interesting and a better storytelling tool without breaking any of the rules!

In short, skill challenges have a lot of potential, and can be implemented in a number of ways. They should not be seen as an xp-dump or a "boring part", but as a great tool for storytelling. By varying the way you implement your challenge it can be all it promised to be, even in the strict confines of LFR.


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