View Full Version : 4ed First Skill Encounter

2008-06-27, 09:47 AM
I thought of an absolutely awesome encounter last night. My players will be second or third level by the time this happens.

Some people are breaking into vaults with alarming frequency. They are actually tunnelling up through the floor of underground vaults, taking whatever they can, and collapsing the tunnel behind them. The players have to figure out why. That is the first encounter, they must investigate the crime scene. I need to know what kind of skill checks would be used. I was thinking knowledge: Dungeoneering or Stonecunning to notice that the stone collapsed only a few minutes after it was opened, or Knowledge: Nature to find trace fluids.

If they get enough clues they realize the burglars are actually a Giant Worm that digs through the walls, allowing someone to grab the loot and flee.

Then they have to set up a sting to catch this perpatrator. They can chase the thing, or try to scry. I'm at a loss for skills here.

The climax of the story is that they find out that a Dragonbron that calls himself the Earth King is riding a giant worm and stealing jewels. The players must chase the worm through underbrush as the Earth King rides him (the worm moves at about 10 mph, and doesn't burrow because it's trained not to when it is ridden.) Ideas for obstacles? Ravines to leap? Thorns to plow through? Having the halfling rogue ride on the shoulders of the dragonborn paladin and use his sling? Does damage slow the worm?

Eventually, one or more of the players can jump on top of the worm and throw the Earth King off. I'm hoping half the party fights the Earth King and the other half goes after the worm because it swallowed some important valuables and they need to get it back. The fight with the Earth King involves lots of hit and run on his part, being a melee ranger. Pretty straightforward fight.

For the others, they must chase/ride the worm, which tries to shake them off. If they get enough skill checks, the worm decides to ignore it's training and burrow, scraping off the players. However, the tunnel leads to the Earth King's secret underground base, cut off from the outside world except by tunneling. While there the players must fight other earth creatures like a Kruthik or Xorn, with a climatic battle against the worm itself, with nowhere left to flee. After the players kill the worm, they are free to loot the various plundered valuables.

2008-06-27, 10:05 AM
So, you're going to want some chain checks here.

Challenge 1: Crime Scene
Dungeoneering to inspect stonework of course, but you'll want a Perception to notice the fluid traces and then either Nature to identify the beast (if natural). Gather Information can be used to find witnesses who can talk about loud noises (Nature check to identify).

Challenge 2: Catch a Thief
No skill check here - this is a straightforward encounter. Let them set it up, throw a combat encounter, and then use a chase.

Challenge 3: The Chase
Perception is used for tracking. A failed pursuit will lead the PCs into a trap tunnel which results in an encounter battle, or perhaps a rockslide of some sort. Getting the real path can be done after this extra encounter.

Challenge 4: The Battle
I'd suggest against an actual chase scene here - it's a difficult combat to set up. If you want, Athletics check here, with a failure requiring Healing Surges to "catch up" if you really want to. Eventually the worm is going to have to be cornered for a fight.

Challenge 5: Ride the Worm
If you must, Nature Checks are used for Handle Animal. You can make them take Acrobatics checks to keep their balance if they fail Handle Animal checks, if some damage done with a fall. Any one character who gets the sufficient number of Nature checks without falling off has tamed the beast.

How's that?

2008-06-27, 02:10 PM
Sounds very good. I never thought of using endurance checks to keep up.

The combat occurs in the forest when the Earth King is knocked off, and the worm shouldn't be tamed because it will lead the players back to the Lair.

No one else is interested? I thought this was super cool.

2008-06-27, 03:56 PM
I suggest watching the movie "Tremors". :smallbiggrin:

2008-06-27, 04:06 PM
For the chase you can modify the guidelines set up for a chase in the DMG. Endurance, athletics, or acrobatics checks to try closing the gap (endurance for just straight sprinting, athletics for plowing through obstacles, acrobatics for jumping over or moving through obstacles, etc.), with perception or nature checks on a success granting a +2 to the next check (noticing a shortcut through a grove of trees, etc.).