Stalker0's Alternate Core Skill Challenge System: FINAL VERSION 1.8!

Doc Aquatic

First Post
I'm really impressed by this system, Stalker0, and I can't wait to use it in the game I'm running. Even aside from the more balanced math, I love the tactical options you give player characters to help their skill checks, which helps make skill challenges in line with combat in terms of the options players are given. Great job!
 

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Keenath

Explorer
I'm heartily impressed, Stalker0!

How flexible is this system when you start throwing off-level PCs into it? If I plan a level 4 skill challenge, and everyone's only level 3 when they get there, how does that alter their chances? Could I offset that by dropping the complexity one level? What about getting level 5 or 6 characters into a level 4 skill challenge versus bumping the complexity up? Is a 2-levels-higher party appropriate for a complexity 4 or 5 challenge?
 

Stalker0

Legend
Keenath said:
I'm heartily impressed, Stalker0!

How flexible is this system when you start throwing off-level PCs into it? If I plan a level 4 skill challenge, and everyone's only level 3 when they get there, how does that alter their chances? Could I offset that by dropping the complexity one level? What about getting level 5 or 6 characters into a level 4 skill challenge versus bumping the complexity up? Is a 2-levels-higher party appropriate for a complexity 4 or 5 challenge?

A regular party of two levels higher should be able to tackle a complexity 5 challenge and have a solid win rate.

In general, dropping the complexity one level will tighten up the win rate when your bumping up the difficulty. The challenge will still be a bit harder for the party than a standard skill challenge, but should work fine.
 

Keenath

Explorer
Well, okay. I built a quick little monte-carlo testing program in VB to try out some variable adjustments.

I built a level 10 party along the same lines as Stalker0's example party -- one awesome skill guy, two moderately-good ones, one moderate-low (-2 below the moderate-good ones, equivalent to an armor penalty or lower ability score), and one awful (untrained and using an non-focus skill). The 'awful' guy always provided assistance (I really can't use the term "guiding light"...) to the second-lowest guy, so his checks don't count towards success or failure but might give the moderate-low guy a +2 to bring him up to moderately-good.

The program takes into account one Bold Recovery attempt per turn, made by the guy with the highest bonus. Technically you could have multiple bold recovery attempts made by different players if you had multiple final failures in a single turn, but that would add a layer of complexity -- so just assume they always fail those attempts. Also, this whole thing ignores the use of Heroic Surges, so the actual success rates will be slightly higher if the players want to spend resources, and it ignores any skill-boosting utility powers, which could theoretically convert a "moderate" to a second "good" skill user, or boost the low guy to a moderate. Whatever. Those are too situational to try to figure in.

In any case, this is what my little die roller came up with:

Given an on-level challenge the success rates were as follows:

Comp 1: 75%
Comp 2: 66%
Comp 3: 60%
Comp 4: 55%
Comp 5: 50%

The last two don't seem too awful; a second good skill user or lots of surge use could easily kick those up quite a bit.

Adding 1 to the DC (or, equivalently, running into a challenge designed for a party 1 or 2 levels higher) has the following success rates:
Comp 1: 66%
Comp 2: 53%
Comp 3: 45%
Comp 4: 39%
Comp 5: 33%

So I definitely wouldn't recommend using the higher complexities against a lower-level party. Adding 2 to the DCs (or using a party 3 to 4 levels lower) results in a massive drop in success rates, down to around 50% for complexity 1, so I really wouldn't do that.

Subtracting 1 from the DC (equivalent to hitting the challenge with a slightly higher-level party) provides these numbers:
Comp 1: 83%
Comp 2: 77%
Comp 3: 74%
Comp 4: 71%
Comp 5: 68%

So that's just fine even without any surges.


Given those numbers, I think it would be appropriate to calculate XP as X+1 monsters of that level, where X is the complexity -- thus complexity 1 is the same as 2 monsters, complexity 4 is equivalent to an on-level Solo (requiring significant resources and maybe some luck to beat), and so on.
 
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Tellerve

Registered User
So, which system are you going to use Stalker0? This one or your Obsidian version? And any chance you'll .pdf this version, or have you and I just missed it?

thanks,

Tellerve
 

Stalker0

Legend
So, which system are you going to use Stalker0? This one or your Obsidian version? And any chance you'll .pdf this version, or have you and I just missed it?

thanks,

Tellerve

My group will be using the Obsidian system. In fact, the reason I designed Obsidian is because my group liked the skill challenge idea, but they wanted a system that was more "invisible". They also really didn't like how failure works in the original system (and core system). So far, they have loved the new system, so they will be using that one.

As for a pdf, there is a pdf of this system within the thread. Work has ramped up for me a lot lately, so I haven't had time for much else, but if I get time I will make a cleaner pdf version.
 



Gwarh

Explorer
Thanks and Kudo's Stalker0 for all your hard work. I am gratefull and will be trying out both your Skill Challenge systems soon enough in game.

Just a minor point and of course it's all a matter of opinion, but I felt some of the terminology used in your Alternate Core Skill Challenge System "ACSCS" would benefit with more intuitive name/titles perhaps. So here are a few ideas I was mulling over for my own printout of your system. Posting them more for fun really than in an effort to encourage you to change anything.

Guiding Light is now "THERE'S NO I IN TEAM" or "TEAM PLAYER"
Heroic Surge is now "HEROIC EFFORT"
The Time of Trials is now "LAST CHANCE" or "CRUNCH TIME"
Bold Recovery is now "BOUNCE BACK"

I just felt for me at least, the names were not entierly intuative. And wanted my players to get a feel for what they did/represent with just a glance at there names.

Also

Like one or two others I like the idea of more than one person being able to aid a task. But also see it's rife for abuse as the rule stands in the Core DMG as written.

How about allowing Aid Another but making the DC equal to the "EASY" test at the given level, and setting a cap at 3 players aiding the Lead roller. With each Aid giving a +1. Might be a bit arbritrary, but 3 sounds like a fair number. To many Cooks in a Kitchen ruins a Cake so to speak.
 
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