Skill Challenges Part 3

June 11, 2009 at 4:00 am (D&D, Games) (, , , )

In my last Skill Challenges post I wrote about making Skill Challenges (SCs) more like combat by adding penalties.  In this post I am going to address the other side of that concept and talk about adding rewards to your SCs.


I feel that if you are going to add more difficulties to your SCs then it is only fair to balance that with rewards equal to the potential for damage.  Again, this balance of carrot and stick is similar to how combat feels.  Players know going into combat that at the end of it they are going to have a nice XP boost and probably some treasure to share out.  If your players know that they will be receiving similar rewards from a SC they will involve themselves just as much as they would in a combat.


Just because the players deserve an equal reward in SCs does not however mean that you need to hand out the same rewards.  Experience points are always a good way to go and you should hand out the XP that the DMG suggests at the end of a SC but it hardly makes sense to hand out gold for successfully discovering that the evil cultists hideout.  A better alternative is to give the PCs some special bonus that will help them in the next combat.


The simplest bonus you could give your players is a +1 or +2 to combat rolls.  A small bonus like this is good for low DC SCs.  For more difficult SCs you may want to give your players a one encounter special Power.  An example of a good one encounter special Power might be to give a party the At-will Power to deal 1d6 fire damage on top of their normal melee attack as they were given containers of liquid fire by a merchant who wants them to stop the thieves who stole from him.  Another example of a special Power might be an Encounter Power that will cause any undead the player touches to immediately disappear owing to an amulet of power that a priest gave them to help end the undead threat.


The rewards you hand out for completing a SC should reflect both the goal of the SC and the PCs actions during the SC.  Who noticed what the PCs were doing while they were trying to accomplish their goal and might be willing to lend a helping hand?  What knowledge did they obtain while doing the SC that would help them prepare for what lay ahead?  Give the PCs things that will help in the short term and help them win the encounters that will lead to long-term rewards.



This is the end of my Skill Challenge posts for now.  My next article will be on adding tension and speed to your combats by making them more like Skill Challenges.


-J.B. Mannon

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