December 18, 2008

The Skill Challenges of War - Part 5: ...The Body Will Die

Hi, I'm gamefiend from At-Will. I've been doing a lot of writing and design regarding skill challenges in 4th ed. When Jonathan invited me over to his section of the world to do even more skill challenges, I was delighted to join in.

Jonathan introduced the concept in Part 1, and then suggested a table of generalized modifiers for use with war skill challenges in Part 2. Michael gave a great application of skill challenges in war with Part 3 and Part 4. What follows is the first of several skill challenges I designed to be run during the course of a war-based campaign or adventure.

... The Body will Die

The enemy commander is in sight. If you can get to him, you can slay the enemy by taking its heart. The only thing that stands in your way are his troops and his elite bodyguards. It is an ancient doctrine of war that if you kill the head...

Complexity 5 (10 successes before three failures)

Encounter Level: PC Level+4

Goal: Reach the Enemy Commander before three failures are acquired.

Powers of War
Players can expend powers to get bonuses to a skill check. When expending powers, have the players describe how the power is being used. For each type of power used, the following bonuses are gained:

At-Will: +0 to skill check
Encounter/Utility: +3 to skill check.
Daily: +5 to skill check.

Skills Used: Endurance, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Bluff, Perception, History.

Endurance (hard DC, maximum of one success ): Hard fought battles are won by those still standing. You will not be the first to fall.

Diplomacy (hard DC, maximum of two successes ): You inspire your own troops so that they will fight with increased fervor.

Intimidate (hard DC, maximum of one success ): As the battle rages, you make your challenge known to the commander. You also make it known that you have no time for his minions.

Bluff (hard DC, maximum one success): You use clever battlefield trickery to put the enemy in difficult positions. +2 to your next skill check.

Perception (hard DC, maximum one success ): You survey the field and adjust to new realities on the ever-unfolding field of battle.

History (moderate DC, maximum one success ): Your knowledge of tactics can be put to use right now.

Full-On Assault (Basic melee attack vs (troop AC+2)): You and your troops fight valiantly to push forward. If you fail this check, your party loses two healing surges.

Clever Tactics (Intelligence+4 versus (troop will+4): Your troops fight with bravery and wit, flanking and countering your foe's every move. If you fail this check, everyone in your party loses two healing surge.

Success: You reach the enemy commander and prepare to do battle with him.

Failure: The party is still stuck in the thick of battle. The enemy commander continues to wreak havoc on the battlefields with his strategies and abilities.


  1. This is excellent guys, really.

    I am nabbing this and turning it into a skill challenge word template.

    THIS is exactly what I envisioned with skill challenges.

    Every failure a real loss.

    Every failure a nick from the traps blades.

    Every failure a group of bad guys who got through.

    Time to let the old imagination go to work. Excellent work - again :)

  2. Thanks for the props Donny - of course, I didn't write it - i just picked a good writer. Mad props goes to Mad Brew and gamefiend for this series. I've really enjoyed working with them.


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