January 7, 2009

The Skill Challenges of War - Part 12: Forcing a Surrender

The Skill Challenges of War is an ongoing series here at The Core Mechanic written by me, and two excellent guest bloggers: MadBrew and Gamefiend. Please check out the previous posts in the series and let us know what you think or if you are planning on using any of these skill challenges in your game. Previous articles in the Skill Challenges of War series are under the label WAR.

You vastly outnumber the enemy, but they have managed to build an effective defensive perimeter and are not going to surrender easily. Your choices are to completely annihilate them at a potential great cost to your own soldiers lives, or force them to a surrender through by other means.
The PCs and their company have managed to corner the enemy, although the final stretch of victory escapes their grasp. The enemy has holed up in defensive location that has proved nearly impossible to force them out of. The PCs must decide to either make one last and bloody push towards victory, or suddenly change tactics and possibly get the enemy to lay down their arms.

SETUP: You must get the enemy to abdicate their position either by destroying them or forcing a surrender.

LEVEL: The PCs’ level +1.

COMPLEXITY: 2 (6 successes before 3 failures).

PRIMARY SKILLS: Bluff, Diplomacy, Insight, Intimidate, Stealth.

Bluff (Hard DC): The PCs and their forces feign a withdraw from the area in the hopes of drawing the enemy out into the open. A success indicates the enemy sends a scouting party out to assess the situation. If the PCs choose to continue baiting them, then this opens up a Stealth check to remain undetected and possibly bring forth the entire enemy force from their positions. Alternatively, if the scouting party is attacked and destroyed, this counts as a second automatic success for the challenge and provides a +2 bonus to the next next skill check. A failed Bluff check indicates the enemy senses your ruse and continues to defend their position. A failure also places a -2 penalty on any future attempts at using Bluff in this way.

Diplomacy (Moderate DC): After heavy losses on both sides, the PCs decide to parlay with the enemy to attempt a reasonable discourse. A failure using this method indicates the enemy is either willing to fight to the death, or that they do not trust the PCs enough to lay down their arms. A success not only counts towards the challenge, but also opens up Insight to be used for additional successes.

Insight (Moderate DC): The PCs skill with negotiations proves an advantage and they manage to gain some key insight into the enemies motivations or goals. A success does not count towards the challenge, but allows the next use of Diplomacy to count as either two successes or no failures (on a failed Diplomacy check).

Intimidate (Hard DC): The PCs and their company make a terrifying show of force just beyond the reaches of the enemies most skilled archers. Knowing the end is coming, his weakens the hearts of the enemy and forces some to desert their positions. A success indicates that some of the enemy soldiers desert their positions and flee the area (to be later captured by the allied forces). A failed attempt only hardens their hearts pushes them to fight to the death.

Stealth (Hard DC): The PCs send in an assassin to kill the commanders of the enemy troops. A success indicates the mission was a success and one of the mid-level commanders has been killed. A failure indicates that the assassin was found and captured, placing a -2 penalty on further attempts to use Stealth and prevents any further effective use of intimidation to get them to surrender.

SUCCESS: The PCs are victorious and either force or negotiate a surrender of the enemy forces, which are all taken into custody.

FAILURE: The PCs fail to get the enemy to lay down their arms and must destroy them through attrition. Their overwhelming forces guarantee a victory, but at great cost. Each PC will use all their daily powers and encounter powers during the battle, and the next Skill Challenge of War will suffer from a -2 penalty on any skill check that relies on force strength for successes.

Got something else to add to this skill challenge? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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