Welcome to Part 3 of the Skill Challenges of War series. Today's edition is brought to you by me, Mad Brew, from the Labs that bears my name. Currently I am running Jonathan through a series of experi... err, trial testing that he, uh, volunteered for over in the Labs. So since he is incapaci... err, indisposed, I wanted present one of several skill challenges I have created for The Core Mechanic.
Jonathan introduced the concept in Part 1, and then suggested a table of generalized modifiers for use with war skill challenges in Part 2. This time we actually present a simple skill challenge for use with D&D 4th Edition, though I think these skill challenges could be easily adapted to any d20 game system. For more information about running skill challenges, I recommend you read the "Skill Challenges" section of chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide (p 72) and the errata for the DMG to see the updated rules.
Diplomatic Mission Reconnaissance
You have been sent on a diplomatic mission to secure assurances against aid to your enemy and possibly forge a treaty in alliance between your nations . However, your superiors do not trust this nation to keep its word and you have been given special instructions to gather “additional” information.
The PCs must discover the true intentions of the nation they are visiting under the guise of diplomats. This will include uncovering troop movements, assignments, and intercepting any communication between this nation and your enemy. This skill challenge is left fairly open so that the Dungeon Master can dictate where the nation’s interests lie.
Setup: You must uncover as much information about your host’s true intentions before you are discovered.
Level: Equal to the level of the party.
Complexity: 1 (requires 4 successes before 3 failures).
Primary Skills: Bluff, History, Stealth, Thievery.
Bluff (Moderate DCs): You use your charm and diplomat status to open up the lips of a few officials revealing recent visitors of state as well as current troop locations.
History (Easy DCs): You brushed up on this nation’s history before the mission and you are aware of that this nation needs to import several key natural resources. You can easily check the source of these materials at the market to see if your enemy is currently trading with this nation.
Stealth (Moderate DCs): You sneak into the courts at night to discover if anyone is having clandestine meetings with enemy officials and to eavesdrop on important members of state.
Thievery (Hard DCs): You break into the military headquarters to find documents that may inform you about training, movements, and future operations. Failing this approach ends the skill challenge and the nation becomes hostile if it was not already so.
Success: The PCs have uncovered enough information to ascertain the general intentions of the nation; they receive a major advantage in the next skill challenge that involves this nation and the war effort.
Failure: The PCs failed to gather enough information to determine the nation’s intentions.
 Modified Blackwall Map from Wizards' Map-a-Week