I’ve been giving lots of thought to the skill challenge… I’ll try to whip one up while writing the post.
Warning: I might not succeed – this might fail! How exciting!
Choosing the Basic Skills
There are three ‘areas of expertise’ I figure matches the scenario:
- Interrogation. Players ask around town for clues about the children’s whereabouts.
- Tracking. Players look for clues such as footsteps or other tracks.
- Investigation. The logics behind figuring out what happened. Sounds weak, but makes sense in me noggin’
From there, looking for basic skills to check should be easy…
- Interrogation: Streetwise makes most sense. I assume that everybody willingly cooperates – its just a matter of finding the right person to talk to. This allows me to basically disregard diplomacy, bluff, intimidate and insight.
- Tracking: Nature works best. They’ll be able to find tracks. Dungeoneering could be interesting, but we’re not in a dungeon, so I tend to want to disregard.
- Investigation: Perception here fits good. Allows to spot elements. I could consider history as well. Maybe there are cases of disappearing children in the past or in nearby towns?
This gives me basic skills to start working with: Streetwise, Nature and Perception.
Failure vs success
Success means that the players figure that kobolds have taken the children away and get to the lair
Failure means that the players don’t find the traces – they get lost in the woods and get ambushed by kobolds. On one of the kobolds, they will find orders to find children and bring them to the lair with a crude map detailing how to get to the village from the lair… which players can backtrack.
Potential Skill Checks
Talking to people
Streetwise, easy DC. Will get you to know that the children usually play around the well.
Looking for clues near the well
Nature, hard DC. Will let you track the children’s steps towards the nearby guard station. DC is hard, because there’s too much traffic from someone else than an exceptional tracker to find anything.
Perception. Moderate DC. Notice a sleeping guard nearby.
Diplomacy. Moderate DC. Get the guard to admit that he was sleeping at the time the children went missing.
Intimidate. Easy DC. Get the guard to admit that he was sleeping at the time the children went missing.
Tracking in the woods
Nature. Moderate DC. Find children tracks near the guards’ post.
Nature. Easy DC. Find Kobold tracks near the children’s tracks.
Nature. Easy DC. Follow Kobold tracks all the way to the lair.
I’m missing material to get the players all the way to tracking the kobolds and I’m missing elements to make the actual tracking work… for this reason, I haven’t yet figured out how many successes should be needed to succeed at the challenge. Maybe the two parts should be separate challenges?
What is certain is that doing this exercises is allowing me to expand the scene. The one thing that strike my imagination best is the possibility of failing at tracking… and it turns out that I find the fail situation rather appealing, even if it is less heroic.
Admin from At-Will has just sent me a preview of a skill challenge he built based on this situation and he gave me a lot of cool ideas to complete. Maybe I’ll do so in a later post. He did split the challenge in two separate steps.
I’ll link to his challenge when he puts it up.