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Stalker0's Obsidian Skill Challenge System (Update: Version 1.1) Now with PDF!!


First Post
Love the system! A few questions and comments

I love this system; I think it's much better than the RAW for ease-of-use and also keeping the game flowing without as much tactical metagaming getting in the way.

I have a few questions about the DC progression chart. Would it be possible for you to post your raw data so that we can see how you came to the numbers in the chart? In particular, the L10-13 plateau is quite strange, especially with the +2 jump at L14. There's another +2 jump, at L8. Where do those artifacts come from?

I think it would be a good thing to flatten those jumps out, by adjusting a +1 or -1 on either side of the jump. If you do that, you get a level for every DC value. As a result, when you set a particularly hard or easy challenge (with a higher or lower DC than you'd expect for a given party level), it's easy to figure out the XP to give; look up the level for the adjusted DC, and give the same XP as you'd get for a monster combat of that level.

On a related note, a suggestion for the Combat section; with open ended combat challenges, the skill challenge part of the encounter basically takes the place of a number of monsters, depending on how many successes are needed, for both difficulty balance and XP reward purposes. Use the Partial Victory number, and look up the number of players for that value; that's the number of monsters to replace. So a skill challenge that requires 3 successes in the middle of a combat replaces 2 monsters (and grants 2xLevel XP), and one that requires 6 successes replaces 5 monsters (so it would only be appropriate in a combat against 6 or more characters).

One more question: how much information do you give the players in a skill challenge? Do you tell them the primary skill and the complete list of usable skills, or do you let them infer that from the role-playing and descriptions you give them?

For example, an encounter I'm working on has the party searching a garbage dump outside a goblin mining camp for treasure (after successfully defeating some monsters in the dump). The legal skills are: Athletics (lifting heavy junk out of the way), Endurance (sifting through disgusting garbage without losing your lunch), Dungeoneering (knowing what would be expected to find in a mine's dump), and Nature (knowing what would be expected to find in a goblin camp dump), and Perception (of course). Intially, the primary skill is Endurance; once a character has succeeded at an Endurance check, their primary skill becomes Perception.

In that scenario, do I tell the players about the Endurance/Perception mechanic, or do I just describe things in a way that might suggest it?

The same question holds for informing the party about the risks associated with partial victory. For the victory conditions of this challenge, with any victory, they find some treasure buried in the trash: a discarded tapestry that would be valuable if restored, and a magic robe. A complete failure results in finding only the tapestry, but it's damaged beyond repair. A partial victory has them find the treasure, but the characters have to save or contract Filth Fever from rooting around in the trash. Should I warn them about the risks of Filth Fever, or just assume that they'll know that rooting around in a trash heap could be dangerous?
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