Plane Sailing said:Don't misunderstand me - I'm not laying this at the feet of the playtesters at all!
My concern is that WotC probably played their cards so tight to the chest that of the dozens of playtest groups, very few actually had even the opportunity to test this. I think that many of the playtest groups were probably testing scenarios rather than the rules.
I also wouldn't be surprised if this was out there but just never got used. These "make a bunch of rolls" skill systems have been around for a while in other games and always look much better on paper than they play in real life.
At the table you just change one die rill into several die rolls. That gets tedious.
What makes combat fun isn't just the die rolling, but the fact that every die roll is the result of a decision the player or DM makes -- and it's seeing the results of your choices that makes it interesting.
But the skill challenge system has, at best, one tiny decision: what skill do I roll? And that's an easy decision -- the one with the highest bonus that is relevant -- so it's barely a decision at all.
Players and DMs realize how boring this is quickly, and then don't bother with the challenge system in the future -- thus it never gets really play-tested. Even moreso if the challenge system proves to usually result in failure for some reason of mysterious math.
But the rest of the game works really great and is very fun, so people just ignore the parts that need more thought.