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

Thanks for the link. I did read it, but I'm afraid I'm still confused. How did you, as the GM, play the bear as simultaneously soothed and intimidated? Or did you decide that one canceled out the other, and if so, how did you decide which one got priority?


I just prompted the players to say what they were doing and had each one roll immediately after declaring. I can see that it might have taken away some of the suspense, but the all-roll-at-once option just seemed like too much work for the GM. Maybe it depends on the nature of the challenge, but it seems like most challenges (especially social challenges) would not be quite so jumbled that everything would have to happen at once.

Particularly if there are knowledge checks involved--the GM would have to remember "Okay, Mary says she's making a knowledge check" while Bill, Bobby, and John all declare their actions; then the GM has to pay attention to whether Mary succeeds or fails at the end of the round and give her appropriate feedback if she makes a success. Then Bill, Bobby, and John can't do anything based on Mary's knowledge check until the next round after that. Have I got that right, for the classic Obsidian system?
Well, I don't want to speak for Stalker0 as to how he intended it or how he does it. In a fast-paced scenario, like say a chase where the PCs have to decide quickly I might well have them all roll simultaneously, one dodges left, the other dodges right, suddenly they find themselves separated. Its the kind of thing that happens. The alchemist drops a flask so he can pull out his wand, the dwarf lights a match, oops!
 

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Stalker0

Legend
Well, I don't want to speak for Stalker0 as to how he intended it or how he does it.

The number one thing I learned from developing Obsidian...is that my opinion doesn't really matter. Its not about how I use the system, its about how you want to use it.

The strength of Obsidian is that its a framework. I give you the mechanical tools and I bake in the math for you. But the narrative and how you want to use the system are at your control. If a bear is simultaneously soothed and intimidated, maybe they cancel out, maybe its soothed but gives that failed player the constant evil eye, or maybe you go with how the group is doing in the challenge currently....and of course there is always none of the above.

Feel free to play with the system the way you want, and simply use the math guidelines I've given you to keep the system in check (for example, playing with a +1/-1 here or there is fine...but don't start using +3s or the math gets out of whack).
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Thanks for your help, everyone! I think I've got more of a handle on the system now. I guess at this point, the best thing for me to do is just to run some more challenges and get a feel for how they work best for my group.

However, since I have managed to attract the attention of the creator of Obsidian, could I just run a couple of my original questions by you, Stalker0? I know I can adapt the system to my group, but I just want to be sure I understand the system in its original form and don't reinvent the wheel unnecessarily. If it's not too much trouble, could you give me your thoughts on (1) why you had everyone roll at once for each round (i.e., what is gained by doing that) and (2) how much of a change you typically introduce into a situation between rounds in a standard three-round challenge?

For example (and I'd be happy to hear from others on the board as well): Would you have a different obstacle for each round that can be resolved in that one round? If so, what if more than half the group fails rolls on that round--do you repeat the obstacle, go on to the next, or make them deal with two obstacles at once in the round after that? Or do you keep the basic situation the same and just describe it slightly differently? And if you do that, do you have any tips for keeping it fresh?
 

Stalker0

Legend
If it's not too much trouble, could you give me your thoughts on (1) why you had everyone roll at once for each round (i.e., what is gained by doing that) and (2) how much of a change you typically introduce into a situation between rounds in a standard three-round challenge?

As far as everyone rolling at once, the main reason is presentation. If everyone rolls at the same time, the group tends to succeed/fail together. If you do it sequentially, then it becomes a single person who finishes the challenge with a success or a failure.

Math-Wise there isn't too much difference, so run the challenge the way you desire.

To your second question, it really depends on the challenge. Some challenges make sense to do one obstacle at a time, others are better served with a big challenge that you chip away at.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Thanks for your help! I know it may sound like my questions are overly nitpicky, but well, one of the ways I learn how to do things is by studying how other people have done them. I wanted to be sure I understood what you guys were doing before trying to make my own modifications.

(Speaking of modifications: I didn't tell them whether they'd succeeded or not until everyone had rolled for all three rounds. However, I suppose eventually they'd figure out the number of successes needed!)

My group's on hiatus until after New Year's, but I'm sure I'll get plenty of chances to experiment further with skill challenges once we start up again. And I feel like I'll have a better handle on what I'm doing now. So, thanks again, and happy holidays to you all!
 

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