Opposed Skill Challenges




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  1. #1
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    Opposed Skill Challenges

    • In an opposed skill challenge the players don't score failures when they fail a check. Instead the DM tests the characters' passive skills in order to score failures.


    • The complexity of an opposed skill challenge equals the number of characters.


    • The DM tests the characters a number of times equal to one half the complexity. If the complexity is an odd number or if there are many players the DM rerolls some of the tests.


    • The DC and the test modifier is tied to the current tier of play.


    Complexity visavi #tests
    2: 1
    3: 1 +1 reroll
    4: 2
    5: 2 +1 reroll
    6: 2 +2 rerolls
    7: 3 +1 reroll
    8: 3 +2 rerolls

    DC
    Heroic: 20
    Paragon: 25
    Epic: 30

    Test modifier
    Heroic: +10
    Paragon: +15
    Epic: +25
    The DM rerolls translate roughly to a +5 bonus in this range.

    In an opposed skill challenge players role-play what they do and try to score successes by rolling skill checks. In order to win the players need to accumulate a number of successes equal to the complexity. Each player will in turn have a chance to advance the group toward the common goal.
    The DM can turn down unsuitable suggestions.

    The DM will try to oppose the group by testing the characters' passive skills. The DM test the characters a number of times based on the number of players (see table Complexity visavi #tests). The DM should reroll any failed test if allowed. He can reroll against the same character or test another character. Anything that works against the group can be used as a test. The DM should be aware that the tests used has a great impact on the atmosphere of the game.

    If the players score a number of successes equal to the complexity before the DM scores half that number in failures the players win, otherwise they lose. If the complexity is rounded down the first player to score a success gains an action point.

    Example
    The three foolhardy halfings Din, Clamor, and Bedlam decide to paint the Lidless Eye of Gruumsh on the Pelor bell-tower - as a joke.



    The DM notes the characters are in the heroic tier so the DC is 20 and that there will be 1 test at +10 per round (with reroll).

    Din: First of all I need to get a grappling iron up there. Heave-ho!
    DM: Roll athletics.
    Din: 14+10. That's 24.
    DM: Alright, the grappling iron is fastened right where you want it. You gain an action point, by the way.
    1 success 0 failures

    Clamor: I try to shimmy up the rope.
    DM: Roll athletics.
    Clamor: 17+7. That's a 24 too.
    DM: You climb to the top of the rope and you're right next to the great bell.
    2 successes 0 failures

    Bedlam: I try to throw a bucket of paint to Clamor.
    DM: You waste a bucket of paint. Sorry, there's just no way you can throw an open bucket of paint 50' up in the air.
    Bedlam: Oh man...
    2 successes 0 failures

    DM: The bell is heavy and actually wavers in the wind ever so slightly. Clamor need to readjust his position or risk being knocked off the building!
    10+10. What's your passive acrobatics Clamor?
    Clamor: 20.
    DM: No need to reroll that. The weight of the bell pushes you away. You are slipping...
    2 successes 1 failure

    Din: Can I use my action point, as an interrupt?
    DM: Sure.
    Din: Well, in that case, I'll...
    DM: Yes? Clamor is losing his grip!
    Din: I shout "You lose your grip and I'll kill you!"
    DM: Knight's Move, huh? Roll intimidate.
    Din: Yup. 6+9. Nooo!

    Clamor: Nooo!

    DM: Thud!
    skill challenge lost
    DM: Make a save to catch yourself.

    Designer's views
    Since the complexity equals the number of players most skill challenges will be over and done with during the second round. I think this is okay. First you spend one round setting things up and then every thing is resolved in round two. Particulary with fewer players the complexity is rather low and so the challenge can be finished almost before it started. This is quite alright. Perfect execution, and all that. Just add more challenges.

    The DM rerolls can be substituted for a +5 bonus for those who like adding more than they like to roll dice, it pans out the same. Mind you, it is possible for the DM to direct a reroll towards a new character if he wants to. In this way the DM can test two characters for the price of one.

    In a skill challenge who goes first can be determined by initiative or the DM can just go with the flow. Whomever comes up with an idea gets to act first. Moreover the time-aspect is important. Some activities take longer and the DM should be aware that "round" might not actually be a round. A round can be mere seconds, hours, or even years. It's all handled in the narrative.

    Of course, whenever a skill challenge is won but there remains things to do narratively the players can just go ahead and do them without further die rolls.

    Forked from: Skill Complications: A Combat-Like Approach to Skill Encounters
    Last edited by Frostmarrow; Thursday, 17th July, 2008 at 05:56 PM. Reason: The Spiders's input

  2. #2
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    [[OPPOSED SKILL CHALLENGE STATBLOCK TEMPLATE]]
    Opposed Skill Challenge Name
    Flavor text (context and goal in story terms)
    Setup: Context and goal in game terms. (Tier DC:# Mod:# Keywords).
    Opposition:
    • List 3 passive skills to test. (Flavor text. Passive skill)
    • (Flavor text. Passive skill)
    • (Flavor text. Passive skill)

    Success: What happens if the PCs succeed?
    Failure: What happens if the PCs fail? What’s the cost?
    [[END OPPOSED SKILL CHALLENGE STATBLOCK TEMPLATE]]

    Example:
    Painting The Bell
    Paint the Lidless Eye of Gruumsh on the tower bell of Pelor - as a joke.
    Setup: Heroic DC:20 Mod:+10. Moonlight. Minute. 50 feet.
    Opposition:
    • The heavy bell's swinging is a hazard to climbers. Passive acrobatics.
    • The Sun God's janitor returns from the outhouse. Passive stealth.
    • Painting in this awkward position is strenuous. Passive endurance.

    Success: The characters earn bragging rights and can chuckle away.
    Failure: A minor inconveniance, such as being spotted, befall the characters.
    Last edited by Frostmarrow; Tuesday, 8th July, 2008 at 05:07 PM.

  3. #3
    This is looking good Frost! Im not sure I understand the dm rerolls though. If the DM makes a test and it fails against passive does he then reroll the check?

    Also is the system designed so that the pcs go first and then the DM makes his tests or can the DM make a test as a reaction to what the PC's are doing and visa versa?

  4. #4
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    Yes the DM gets to reroll if he fails to beat a character's passive skill. He can opt to reroll against another character even. The reroll mechanic is instead of adding a +5 to certain checks, in order to balance the challenge.

    Reacting is okay as long as the DM holds on to any test that would end the challenge, until all players have had a chance to act.

  5. #5
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    Ignore Frostmarrow

    pdf

    A .pdf worded a little differently.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Frostmarrow; Saturday, 19th July, 2008 at 11:01 AM.

  6. #6
    This is terrific: short, sweet and full of gaming goodness. Thank you for taking the time to compose the PDF.

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