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Stalker0's Obsidian Skill Challenge System (NEW VERSION: 1.2!!!)


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Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
New version looks good.

Only used Obsidian for one skill challenge, but it was a big success.

You can read exactly how it went here.
 

Harr

First Post
I just tried it again myself and I'm not seeing any problems. What version of Acrobat are you using?

When I wrote that post I was using Adobe Reader 7.5, since then I have updated to the latest on the Adobe website which is Adobe Reader 9.0.0, and I still get the exact same error.

The error is "Adobe could not open (filename) because it is either not a supported file type or because it has been damaged (for example, if it was sent as an email attachment and wasn't correctly decoded)."

Strange, since looking around at the thread it seems everybody can read it but me :(

EDIT -> Ok, never mind, I took the reader through the whole "online updater" thing and now it works. Yay. Good thing too because I did not want to go without this particular bit of house ruling ;) Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Harr

First Post
Quick question, didn't see it addressed in the FAQ: If I want to do away with the whole "Primary" skill thing... that is, I want the players to be rolling all their skills as they are, without any +2 encouragement to choose a particular one... should I change the DCs at all? Maybe substract 1 from the DC, or substract 2? Or just leave it alone?
 


dammitbiscuit

First Post
Quick question, didn't see it addressed in the FAQ: If I want to do away with the whole "Primary" skill thing... that is, I want the players to be rolling all their skills as they are, without any +2 encouragement to choose a particular one... should I change the DCs at all? Maybe substract 1 from the DC, or substract 2? Or just leave it alone?
The system is pliable enough to swallow up a few +2 or -2 modifiers being thrown around above or below the curve. Simply be generous with a +2 for appropriate, heroic, or well-described actions, and don't sweat the details or overworry.
 

dammitbiscuit

First Post
I have a minor issue with the naming of some things - the math behind everything is great, but I don't see what's "Bold" about spending an action point to get a re-do on something you failed at. I'd call it Heroic Recovery or Impossible Comeback, or maybe something more actiony, like Bounce Back, Action Rebound or "Rally!".

"Unburdened" could maybe use a name that more descriptively evokes the image of a character exerting himself to power through his movements so that the platemail he's lugging around is no more restrictive than spandex. Or, maybe, an italicized description of such actions could be put after each Player Option, much like powers' flavor texts.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Quick question, didn't see it addressed in the FAQ: If I want to do away with the whole "Primary" skill thing... that is, I want the players to be rolling all their skills as they are, without any +2 encouragement to choose a particular one... should I change the DCs at all? Maybe substract 1 from the DC, or substract 2? Or just leave it alone?

If you don't like primary skills at all, you may consider downgrading the DC by 1, I wouldn't go with 2 though.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I have a minor issue with the naming of some things - the math behind everything is great, but I don't see what's "Bold" about spending an action point to get a re-do on something you failed at. I'd call it Heroic Recovery or Impossible Comeback, or maybe something more actiony, like Bounce Back, Action Rebound or "Rally!".

"Unburdened" could maybe use a name that more descriptively evokes the image of a character exerting himself to power through his movements so that the platemail he's lugging around is no more restrictive than spandex. Or, maybe, an italicized description of such actions could be put after each Player Option, much like powers' flavor texts.

Any suggestions?
 


77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Simply be generous with a +2 for appropriate, heroic, or well-described actions, and don't sweat the details or overworry.

That's what I do, and it tends to work well. It discourages players from repeating the same action over and over again, which is boring.

Sometimes I will announce 2-3 primary skills -- but each person can only get the +2 bonus once. This also cuts down on repeat actions, but preserves most of the benefit of having a primary skill.

Also, if the nature of the challenge changes from segment to segment (it was a chase scene, but you caught the guy, so now segment 3 is interrogation), you can change primary skills then.

-- 77IM
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
I just totally ignored the primary skill thing and it seemed to work fine. Even without it, our groups have succeeded at all three skill challenges we've gone up against. One of those challenges was with a stat-rolled rather than point-buy group however, so we're a couple points above the curve anyway.

Also converted my DM to Obsidian in last night's game. He said he likes it way better than the one in the book that he's been trying to use.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I just totally ignored the primary skill thing and it seemed to work fine. Even without it, our groups have succeeded at all three skill challenges we've gone up against.

Its funny because for a while my group has been destroying skill challenges left and right, and I was beginning to wonder if my challenge DCs were too easy.

Then last session we just squeaked in a partial success, and had an abysmal failure the challenge after wards.

Probability does work itself out eventually:)
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
Have I mentioned that I like the system you've cooked up?

One of my RPing buddies just said he looks forward to skill challenges as much/more than combat now! My group is pretty combat-oriented, so that's saying alot.

Keep up the good work.
 

Lakoda

First Post
Its funny because for a while my group has been destroying skill challenges left and right, and I was beginning to wonder if my challenge DCs were too easy.

Then last session we just squeaked in a partial success, and had an abysmal failure the challenge after wards.

Probability does work itself out eventually:)

Maybe it's just me and how I run games but I look for the PC to succeed about 75-80% of the time. I want their failures to be memorable, because lets face it that is what they remember (or more specifically recovery from that failure).
 

Morgan_Scott82

First Post
I had a phenominal experience with Obsidian on Saturday.

I'm the DM of an ongoing undead heavy game, since I started the campaign planning phases I've been envisioning a session where the PCs are called to some kind of summit, where the representatives of the various nations of the world debate what to do about the growing undead problem. However I was reluctant, because I knew that session would involve almost no combat and lots of skill challenges. After seeing the way my players approached the DMG skill challenge system (I use Diplomacy, throw dice, was that a success? No roleplay) I wasn't looking forward to running this session. For a while I considered scrapping that element of the game and changing my plans, but ultimately I ruled that out and started planning what I feared would be a boring session.

Then I found obsidian.

I gave my PCs a problem: Get the representatives to vote with them to declare war on the undead, I told them how many votes they'd need to have the war resolution pass, and told them who was leaning which way in a preliminary vote. I told them they had time to schedule four meetings with representatives before the council reconvened. It was amazing to watch my players digest the information I'd given them and formulate a plan. The back and forth, the questions they had for me, the internal party debates, absolutely great!

I'd designed a skill challenge for each of the representatives, when the PCs approached them we played through the obsidian skill challenge. It was great, it was roleplaying. It was basically a compound skill challenge, the vote on the war resolution was the larger, with each representative swayed to their cause a success towards the larger goal, with each representative played out in its own skill challenge.

As an added element I'd worked out ahead of time how each of the representatives felt about the others, if you tried to bring together people who dislike on another things were harder. As the PCs build their coallition who they'd already recruited weighed on the difficulty of swinging new people. When they approached a representative each of that representatives allies they already had in their camp reduced the DC by one, each of that representatives enemies increased the DC by 1. Knowlege of who liked who could be picked up in bits and pieces throughout the session.

The introduction of Obisidian, a few colorful characters, and a few props, made what I was worried would be the most boring session of my campaign into one of the most enjoyable for me at least.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Any suggestions?

I favor obvious names. It's easier to each to the players and easier to talk about. I don't think I've ever mentioned "Bold Recovery" but on several occasions I've asked "Do you want to use an action point to reroll that?"

Bold Recovery -> Action Point Reroll
Brazen Action -> Lower Defenses
Unburdened -> Ignore Armor Penalty? Suppress Armor Penalty? Skill Surge?
Going for Broke -> Actually, I like this name; High Stakes would also be appropriate. Double Success would be more obvious though.

-- 77IM
 

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
I favor obvious names. It's easier to each to the players and easier to talk about. I don't think I've ever mentioned "Bold Recovery" but on several occasions I've asked "Do you want to use an action point to reroll that?"

Bold Recovery -> Action Point Reroll
Brazen Action -> Lower Defenses
Unburdened -> Ignore Armor Penalty? Suppress Armor Penalty? Skill Surge?
Going for Broke -> Actually, I like this name; High Stakes would also be appropriate. Double Success would be more obvious though.

-- 77IM

Second what he said. We do the same in my group. If I said Bold Recovery, they'd stare at me blankly until I said "AP reroll."

It's like all those flash interfaces you'd see on websites a few years ago - they were really creative and neat, but most of the time people will take simple, clean, and obvious over creative and obscure.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I think your system makes a lot of sense, and I would like to congratulate you on your writing. I can tell how much crunching is going on behind the scenes, and that inspires confidence! :)

Now, a request! Could I hope for a condensed sheet, detailing just what you need in play (once you've digested the idea behind the system as well as the examples and mechanics).

From a quick overview only, what the DM needs would include (feel free to change this as you see fit):
* a (condensed) summary of "the basic skill challenge" on page 3
* the "primary skill concept"
* most if not all of page 4
* "Determining Skills Allowed for a Challenge" on page 5. That mental skills are go for mental challenges etc need no elaboration.
* "Awarding XP"
* Regarding "Player Options" (from page 3), I would say it could be useful to present this from another angle, instead explaining what an AP can be used for in a challenge, or what happens on rolling 20, etc.

If you could cram all of that into as little as one sheet (two pages) I'd be both impressed and grateful... And I think it would make Obsidian even better and easier to use! :)



Zapp
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I favor obvious names. It's easier to each to the players and easier to talk about. I don't think I've ever mentioned "Bold Recovery" but on several occasions I've asked "Do you want to use an action point to reroll that?"
I third that! :)
 

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