4E Heavy Concrete Data on 4e's Skill Challenge System (long, lots of tables) - Page 9

# Thread: Heavy Concrete Data on 4e's Skill Challenge System (long, lots of tables)

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Originally Posted by Spatula
You can definitely use aid another. The DMG specifically mentions it, but seems to imply that using it is a feature of certain challenges (which it then doesn't provide examples of, so who knows - that section is very vague). The other bit is that many of the skill challenge templates have as their only Easy check an aid another-like mechanic - except that an Easy DC will always be at least 10 (or, at least 15 by the RAW), and it looks like if you fail that check you give a penalty rather than a bonus. So why would you use that if you could just aid another, which is always DC 10 and has no penalty for failure? *shrug* Hard to say anything definite, one way or the other.
None of the examples had Aid Another but some of them did have those examples of Easy DCs Aiding. Based on the text you mentioned, the only possible conclusion I can draw is that the aforementioned aid another on a skill challenge and the +2/-2 roles given in certain challenges are one in the same. In other words--making an Easy DC to give a +2 or a -2 is the Skill Challenge equivalent of aiding another (and what's more, the wording is such that you can never actually get more than +2 from it). If this is correct, then that does fix the problem of the wildly fluctuating Aid Another possibilities (since it can now contribute either nothing or +2 instead of a scale going from nothing all the way to +8), but it doesn't fix the DCs-too-hard problem.

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pg 75 "Group Skill Checks" specifically discusses everyone using aid another and one person making the skill check. "Sometimes a skill challenge calls for a group skill check." That's why I said it's vague.

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Sorry but not only should this analysis be taken with a grain of salt, it should be taken with the whole shaker.

The idea of analyzing all skill challenges mathematically is flawed. Every skill challenge is meant to be unique, and tailored to the individual party, per the DMG. There is no such thing as an 'average' skill challenge.

Saying that parties generally have a 8.73% chance to win an average skill challenge is like saying they have a 8.73% chance to win an average combat. What's an average combat? No such thing. The term is way too vague to have meaning, let alone be statistically analyzed. In this case, it simply means your concept of an 'average skill challenge' is flawed. By the DMG, an average skill challenge is one in which the the party has roughly the chance to win it that the DM desires for them to have (since he has prepared it custom, for that party).

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Originally Posted by Entropi
Sorry but not only should this analysis be taken with a grain of salt, it should be taken with the whole shaker.

The idea of analyzing all skill challenges mathematically is flawed. Every skill challenge is meant to be unique, and tailored to the individual party, per the DMG. There is no such thing as an 'average' skill challenge.

Saying that parties generally have a 8.73% chance to win an average skill challenge is like saying they have a 8.73% chance to win an average combat. What's an average combat? No such thing. The term is way too vague to have meaning, let alone be statistically analyzed. In this case, it simply means your concept of an 'average skill challenge' is flawed. By the DMG, an average skill challenge is one in which the the party has roughly the chance to win it that the DM desires for them to have (since he has prepared it custom, for that party).
I think this comment is too short-sighted. 4e skill challenges are not nearly as complex as 4e combat. For example, there are no "skill challenge conditions", like dazed, weakened, or immobilized. The DM sets a DC, PCs have a modifier to their roll drawn from a very limited group of sources which don't significantly fluctuate (ability modifier, racial modifier, 1/2 level, feat bonus, item bonus, power bonus, situational DM bonus), and there's nothing that tremendously complicates analysis like terrain or movement on a battle mat.

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Originally Posted by Dave Turner
I think this comment is too short-sighted. 4e skill challenges are not nearly as complex as 4e combat. For example, there are no "skill challenge conditions", like dazed, weakened, or immobilized. The DM sets a DC, PCs have a modifier to their roll drawn from a very limited group of sources which don't significantly fluctuate (ability modifier, racial modifier, 1/2 level, feat bonus, item bonus, power bonus, situational DM bonus), and there's nothing that tremendously complicates analysis like terrain or movement on a battle mat.

I appreciate that, but you are still missing the quintessential point, even though you mentioned it yourself.

The DM sets the DC. Of each individual skill check. With consideration for his characters, and their skill values.

No universal analysis can know those variables. Therefore, any analysis which presents an 'average' chance of success for skill challenges is flawed.

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Originally Posted by Entropi
The idea of analyzing all skill challenges mathematically is flawed. Every skill challenge is meant to be unique, and tailored to the individual party, per the DMG. There is no such thing as an 'average' skill challenge.
How about published scenarios you purchase and expect to be ready-to-run?

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Originally Posted by Entropi
The DM sets the DC. Of each individual skill check. With consideration for his characters, and their skill values.
If you set the DC based on the character's skill, and not on external circumstances, what incentive is there for the players to raise their skill values? You pay something for skill training (one of a limited number of feats, in case of 4E), and what do you gain in return, if your DC goes up automatically just because you did purchase it?

"Oh, it's no use improving my Diplomacy - it will just be more difficult to use it if I do..."
Last edited by Tuft; Wednesday, 11th June, 2008 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Spelling

8. Originally Posted by Entropi
I appreciate that, but you are still missing the quintessential point, even though you mentioned it yourself.

The DM sets the DC. Of each individual skill check. With consideration for his characters, and their skill values.

No universal analysis can know those variables. Therefore, any analysis which presents an 'average' chance of success for skill challenges is flawed.
I'm beginning to understand why Wulf is getting frustrated with this thread. It's obvious that many people (not just you Entropi) do not read it in its entirety before posting. This tends to infuriate those of us who are paying close attention, looking for answers in the murky world of math.

As to your point Entropi - what this whole thing about is the chart on page 42 that the DMG states is used for Skill Challenges. They are not 'variables'. The chart doesn't say "N+5" where N=a character's skill score. They are not variables. Because of that, you CAN model probability.

Are you suggesting that the DM ignore this chart, and set arbitrary numbers? There's something to be said for that, the DM is the referee, right? But think of it this way. The chart is a guideline, meant to give a DM an idea of what the DC's should be. These numbers are off. That can't be questioned (sorry if you disagree there, but the math is very very sound). Now what we have to come up with is what those numbers should actually be.

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Originally Posted by Entropi
I appreciate that, but you are still missing the quintessential point, even though you mentioned it yourself.

The DM sets the DC. Of each individual skill check. With consideration for his characters, and their skill values.

No universal analysis can know those variables. Therefore, any analysis which presents an 'average' chance of success for skill challenges is flawed.
According to the rules in the DMG you don't set the DCs yourself. You use their table. Also, setting the DCs yourself is not as easy as it sounds because of how the math works. Which is why I wrote my longish post above with advice on how to use the rules in a way that will actually work.

10. Originally Posted by Tervin
According to the rules in the DMG you don't set the DCs yourself. You use their table. Also, setting the DCs yourself is not as easy as it sounds because of how the math works. Which is why I wrote my longish post above with advice on how to use the rules in a way that will actually work.
I would never just use the numbers in a general catch-all table without running it through my DM "does it make sense" filter first. As far as I understood that table it was just meant to be a good starting place for coming up with numbers when a player wanted to try something not covered by the rules. It's unfortunate that they then suggest using those numbers for skill challenges.

For me I was pretty much planning on doing something like you, just less formalized. I'd use the table to get some starting numbers and then see if my actual players could easily, moderately, or hardly succeed depending on if that's what I was trying to accomplish.

I also think we need to remember that failing a skill challenge isn't a TPK, it's just supposed to mean things will now be more difficult for the group.

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