Author Topic: 4e Skill Challenge question  (Read 5442 times)

joecrak

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4e Skill Challenge question
« on: March 02, 2011, 06:07:11 PM »
I've a question about skill challenges (clearly), mostly when they are done in the middle of combat.  I know using a skill in combat is normally a standard action, though I'm ruling them as minor actions, is that generally considered the same for the skill challenges?

i.e. in a typical 4 success before 3 failures, while the rest of the party is fighting off some enemies, and 1 or two people are trying to escape the fast current of a river they fell into, or turn a device that's attacking them into one that will benefit them, do the PC's only get the 1 standard action check per turn?  (though obviously if done as a minor they could have up to three).

What do all of you typically do?
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Tadanori Oyama

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Re: 4e Skill Challenge question
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 06:17:42 PM »
I make Skill use a Standard Action comperable to an attack.

By my 4E system math it takes between 4 and 8 hits solid at-will hits to kill a monster, that can change depending on class and build, whatever. So, it should take the same number of standard actions to deal with a skill challenge equal to one monster. The more successes needed, the more standard actions needed, and the more dangerous the challenge should be.

The points is, a skill challenge is just another monster in the fight, just not one you can kill with a sword. It has defenses (Skill DCs) and it has hit points (Successes required). It provides a chance for players less interested in conventional combat to do something productive during a fight, like disarming a trap that goes off each round or navigating the raging river while the fishpeople swarm your friends.

Mckma

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Re: 4e Skill Challenge question
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 07:41:32 PM »
I make Skill use a Standard Action comperable to an attack.

By my 4E system math it takes between 4 and 8 hits solid at-will hits to kill a monster, that can change depending on class and build, whatever. So, it should take the same number of standard actions to deal with a skill challenge equal to one monster. The more successes needed, the more standard actions needed, and the more dangerous the challenge should be.

The points is, a skill challenge is just another monster in the fight, just not one you can kill with a sword. It has defenses (Skill DCs) and it has hit points (Successes required). It provides a chance for players less interested in conventional combat to do something productive during a fight, like disarming a trap that goes off each round or navigating the raging river while the fishpeople swarm your friends.


I definitely like the idea of skill challenges as monsters.  But you do need to make them like monsters (i.e. damaging and worth their while to complete).  Otherwise they are just going to ignore them or shrug them off until the other monsters are dead...

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: 4e Skill Challenge question
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 08:00:25 PM »
Right. I like traps as Skill Challenges, where they might fire arrows each round, or use a magical ability. Things like an out of control boat where PCs get slid by the GM if somebody doesn't keep the boat from smashing against rocks is another good one (after the first time you slide somebody into a flank between two Marauders they'll learn their lesson). Status effect creating challenges are cool but add to the bookkeeping.

beowuuf

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Re: 4e Skill Challenge question
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2011, 03:00:32 AM »

While skill checks as minor actions is good to avoid depircating skill checks as useless in combat, and are also good if a skill challenge represents a 'niggle' during combat, I think otherwise a skill use for a skill challenge that counts as a success needs to be a standard unless action.

Sure, your tanks can try to give some +2 bonuses to the real checks with minor use, but they shouldn't be both killing the monsters and solving the side-challenge too. Let your 'non-combatants' have some glory, or make it a tactical choice that your heavy hitters need to make to either deal with a creature directly, or solve the skill challenge (I assume this will help with the combat as a whole).

Along the lines of skill challenges as monsters, don't be afraid to have the success actually generate damage/status effects. The thief actually needs to trap his tools in the complex lock so becomes immobile, destroying the runes actually inflicts damage (or at least rolls an attack) for successfully disenchanting them. It makes the skill challenge not some boring thing you just roll for, but a tactical process itself. Does your healer need to support them or the fight, can secondary checks be used to increase your defenses or decrease damage, do you need a 'guard' PC to stop monsters taking advantage, etc.

VoodooTwiztid

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Re: 4e Skill Challenge question
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2011, 07:30:39 PM »
Most of the skill challenges I run don't happen in combat, but I have had a few, picking a lock, climbing to a hard to reach vantage point, reloading a cannon they've never used before. As far as actions, I Play it by ear. For the lock picking I let him use 3 minor actions in a turn. Granted if he left his task he'd have to start over. For the climbing I let him use 2 move actions per turn & the cannon was standard actions since they've never used one before.