4e Skill Challenge playtest

LostSoul

Adventurer
Hey All;

Inspired by this thread, I want to try out running a 4e Skill Challenge.

We'll be using the D&D XP pre-generated PCs, found here. This sets the maximum number of players at 7 - the minimum I'd like to run with is 4. (I'm including the DM in that count.)

We can either run with vagabundo's situation found in the original thread (corner the shapechanger before he kills again), or come up with something else. Either way.

We'll hammer out the exact rules we are going to use here as well.
 
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Graf

Explorer
Starting a 4e game on the boards now, would really like to play/try this system out before I have to run it.
[edit: will take Tira]
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
Awesome.

Do you guys want to run through the suggested challenge ("Find the shapechanger before he kills") or do you want to come up with something else?
 

Graf

Explorer
I really like the shapechanger idea, but partially because I have an idea for how I want to catch it.

1. I'm not playing Tira as some sort of demon-worshiping soul-eating psychotic, I know that's the norm but I think it's boring/weird. I'm thinking troubled mage-type.

I think Tira will try to work together with the border guard to spread a rumor (streetwise?) that she knows a ritual that will reveal the creature's current form to her before dusk (bluff).
She'll wander around the town acting weird and "collecting important items" and dirt from "key locations". If she's convincing she's hoping to smoke the creature out (once dusk falls she figures the creature will be able to sneak away, hide with impunity).

I haven't looked at the skill rules yet, I'm just thinking about what your average creative-player would try to do.
Key things:
Working with the border guard (both to help spread rumors and to ensure that people believe she's a "powerful mystic the king sent")
using streetwise to stir up rumors
using bluff to convince people (and hopefully the creature) that she's the real deal.

If Erias' player likes he can pretend to think that "calling upon such powerful dark forces is inappropriate" and try to convince the good towns people to tell him of strange behavior so that it's not necessary to "resort to such dark magics".

Just riffing.
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
Graf said:
I really like the shapechanger idea, but partially because I have an idea for how I want to catch it.

That's one vote for the shapechanger idea.

Graf said:
1. I'm not playing Tira as some sort of demon-worshiping soul-eating psychotic, I know that's the norm but I think it's boring/weird. I'm thinking troubled mage-type.

Why is Tira troubled? We can work that into the skill challenge.

In other words - Tira is a protagonist. What does she want?
 

Graf

Explorer
I agree with the protagonist statemetn, I've just seen a few 4e games where people have her running around demanding souls and attacking everything in sight.
And her quote is something like "I want to eat your soul for my dark master".

Not my bag.

But a bit troubled is fine, maybe she doomed her (accepted dark power) soul so that she could save her town from a raid by gnolls. She helped drive off the gnolls but the town basically rejected her. So she's bitter about that, she likes that she's powerful and loves to project the aura of power but can take it too far refusing to admit her own flaws.
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
Graf said:
But a bit troubled is fine, maybe she doomed her (accepted dark power) soul so that she could save her town from a raid by gnolls. She helped drive off the gnolls but the town basically rejected her. So she's bitter about that, she likes that she's powerful and loves to project the aura of power but can take it too far refusing to admit her own flaws.

Sounds cool. I've been playing Prime Time Adventures recently, so I'm thinking of PCs as protagonists by default. (In that game, you'd have something like this on your character sheet: "Issue: Acceptance". Conflicts would focus and explore that Issue.)

So: did I get it right? Is "gaining acceptance" the reason why Tira adventures?

More questions: Who did Tira threaten - who did she scare so much that he/she forced her out of town?

At times, I'm going to throw in some DM thoughts in sblocked text. You might want to read it after we play through all this. (This one isn't a big deal, though.) Just a look into why I'm doing what I'm doing.

[sblock]I framed the question the way I did - "Who did Tira threaten" - instead of a more general "Why was Tira kicked out of town" because I wanted a leading question. I'm trying to make sure that I get some conflict, and an antagonist, out of the answer.

The reason I'm asking these questions at all, even for a single, simple "skill challenge" is because I want to know what the players are interested in. Once I know that, I can frame the challenge in a way that grabs their interest (or at least try!). For example, if Tira is interested in being accepted, failures on her skill checks will often result in having people shun her.[/sblock]
 

Graf

Explorer
I'm very cool with that especially since you made the link to PTA.
Let's say she threatened her fiancé after he challenged her decision to pact. She was drunk on power after her victory and he was the local lay priest.
He saw her decision as a return to the worship of older darker gods.

Things got out of hand quickly. She wouldn't back down.
Maybe she'd been the town trouble-maker before and he'd helped to set her back on course?
of course developing a sense of responciblity is what drove her to pact eventually.


Love rping this sort of stuff.
(gonna be offline for 24 hours, sorry!)
 

Storminator

First Post
LostSoul said:
Awesome.

Do you guys want to run through the suggested challenge ("Find the shapechanger before he kills") or do you want to come up with something else?

I'm cool with the shapechanger challenge.

Now I need RP hooks heh? Alright.

Erias is a zealot. While well meaning and a do-gooder, he drove his fellow townies and the "high priest" (it was a small village, the high priest isn't very high) crazy with his aggressive sermonizing. He converted the mayor's son to Amaunator (from Bahamut), and his priestly leaders decided it was a good time for Erias to take an extended vacation.

So he was sent on a noble quest to convert people in 5 towns to Amaunator within one year's time. Come on heathens! Time to get right with God!

PS
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
Storminator said:
I'm cool with the shapechanger challenge.

Now I need RP hooks heh? Alright.

Erias is a zealot. While well meaning and a do-gooder, he drove his fellow townies and the "high priest" (it was a small village, the high priest isn't very high) crazy with his aggressive sermonizing. He converted the mayor's son to Amaunator (from Bahamut), and his priestly leaders decided it was a good time for Erias to take an extended vacation.

So he was sent on a noble quest to convert people in 5 towns to Amaunator within one year's time. Come on heathens! Time to get right with God!

PS

Sounds cool!

I wasn't going to ask for RP hooks, but I'm not going to turn them down! I like the tension between the two PCs: He's a zealot in the service of Amaunator. She's a troubled servant of the dark gods. Together, they fight crime! ;)
 


Saishu_Heiki

First Post
RP hooks for Skamos:

I am drawing largely from the quote on top of the pre-gen character sheet ("This isn't as easy as it looks. I wouldn't expect you to understand.").

Skamos has always been bright, outpacing his peers at any academic pursuit. His ease of learning combined with his burgeoning arcane talents have convinced him that he is simply working on a higher level than the normal people surrounding him. It is not a conceit, it is an acceptance of what he has seen throughout his life - the hypothosis has never been disproven.

Unfortunately, his lust for knowledge and the bitterness of those without his skills made staying where he was untenable. He travels the world, seeking lost and forbidden knowledge. After all, if anyone is able to understand it it must be him, right?

[Meta: driven by a desire for lost knowledge. He is not conceited (he is not Gregory House), he simply operates with a larger set of givens for a problem than others, and hates explaining what he feels is "obvious". He enjoys having allies and will be loyal to them, but so far he has yet to make a lasting connection with another person.]
 

LostSoul

Adventurer
Saishu_Heiki said:
If you are still looking for players, I would love to get into this.

FYI: I would like to play Skamos.

Come on in!

Saishu_Heiki said:
RP hooks for Skamos:

Sounds cool!

Now that I have three players, I'm going to start customizing the backstory for these PCs. The goal is still going to be something like "Corner the bad guy before he kills the town Elder".

More later.
 

jelmore

First Post
Got room for one more?

If so, I'll take Kathra the fighter (so we have each role covered).

I'll work on RP hooks this afternoon if I get the time.
 


Graf

Explorer
LostSoul said:
Sounds cool!

I wasn't going to ask for RP hooks, but I'm not going to turn them down! I like the tension between the two PCs: He's a zealot in the service of Amaunator. She's a troubled servant of the dark gods. Together, they fight crime! ;)
Hehe. This gonna be crazy.
It makes the most sense to say that we were probably traveling together because nobody else wants to be around us?

Looking forward to seeing what everybody else brings to the table!
 

jelmore

First Post
Kathra was groomed from an early age as a shieldmaiden, a hereditary (and valued) calling in her family.

When she picks up her shield and the warhammer her father's sister (another shieldmaiden) gave her on the day she swore the oaths of fealty, she is all business. She takes her duty as a shieldmaiden seriously, and throws herself eagerly into battle -- almost to the point of recklessness.

Although she has earned the honor and respect of the male dwarves she has fought alongside, she finds that many non-dwarves hold little esteem for the dwarf shieldmaiden; the last human who scoffed at the idea of "dwarves who hide behind their women" ended up with a broken nose and some bruised ribs before Kathra's companions could pull her off of him. When she is among other dwarves, or traveling with companions who hold the "proper respect" for her calling, she relaxes, and has been known to crack a joke or two.
 


LostSoul

Adventurer
Alright, recruitment is closed.

Our party of adventurers is:
  • Storminator, playing Erias;
  • Graf, playing Tira;
  • Saishu_Heiki, playing Skamos;
  • jelmore, playing Kathra.

I am thinking about this for the (player-known!) backstory:

Your party was two larger when you set out to the Lost Tomb of Mardokh: in the Tomb's final chamber, your stout companions Riardon and Corring were struck down when you were betrayed by the foul "skin dancer" Shalmanisar. "He" fled with a relic from the Tomb, and for the past week you've been chasing him across the wildlands.

You have arrived at the small walled village of Belturin, tired but hopeful that you have finally caught up to your quarry.

OOC: I think I'll use this colour for OOC DM speak.

Now, I'm going to suggest that the goal of the skill challenge is "Corner Shalmanisar and stab him in the face." We can negotiate that intent, but the final approval rests in my hands.
 

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