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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Default 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Hello!

    The discussion in this thread about how to make a tall cliff into an interesting encounter got me thinking. In most of the games I've played, skills like Climb and Jump have been useful, but using them hasn't been too exciting. You figure out the DC, your roll the dice, and you either fail or succeed. Sometimes you describe how you fail or succeed, but it all boils down to those one or two die rolls. In most situations this is great; expediting these things is what skills are for. But sometimes you want a little something more.

    For example, I played a scout in a campaign once. Another party member (a neanderthal barbarian) and I were sailing on an arctic sea when the ship was destroyed by a white dragon. We wound up on an iceberg within sight of the shore, but with no way of getting there except jumping between small floating chunks of ice. Between the barbarian's high strength and my high skill ranks and base speed, both of us were making the Jump checks, so it could have been a matter of moments; just a few die rolls. But we really got into roleplaying the skill usage. With his high strength but fairly low Jump score otherwise, the barbarian would take these desperate running jumps, landing heavily and splashing water on the top of the ice. With my high speed and much higher Jump score, I was bouncing lightly from ice floe to ice floe. It ended up being one of the most memorable moments from the campaign.

    So that's what this thread is about. I thought it might be helpful for DMs to have lists of different types of skill-based obstacles with which they could put in their players. I'll do my best to maintain the lists, and we'll hopefully end up with some useful charts that DMs could even use for rolling random obstacles. Let the brainstorming commence!
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-01-29 at 08:36 AM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Appraise

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|25+|That object the villain is carrying looks awfully familiar. Could it be a relic or item of legacy and power? - by Pandiano
    2|25+|The object seems magical when you check its aura, but something about it just doesn't feel right. Is there something about the craftsmanship or quality of the item that's tipping you off? Is it even really magical? - by Pandiano
    3|20|Can you guess the amount of money someone can spend due to his clothing, jewelry etc? - by Pandiano[/table]

    Balance

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|20|The elves don't want just anyone entering their realm, so the only way to cross the river rapids on the border is by walking along a single strand of rope stretched from one bank to another.
    2|22|Your party is being chased by bandits. You have to stand on the back of a runaway carriage to fend them off with your bow.
    3|15+|The only way to access the monastery is by traversing several miles of glacier. Unfortunately, the glacier is riddled with crevasses and gets slipperier by the day as spring moves on into high summer in the mountains.
    4|12|An old rope bridge spans a chasm or river. Balancing on it is easy enough, but the rope is fraying and the wood is rotten. There is a 10% chance that a portion of the bridge breaks with each failed balance check. If the total weight the bridge is currently supporting exceeds 500 lbs, the percent chance increases to 25%. - by Pandiano
    5|15|You need to get to the bottom of a steep/slippery incline quickly - slipping and rolling would take too long and would probably lead to subdual damage. This requires a combination of balance and jump checks. - By Seharvepernfan
    6|15|You've escaped from the castle dungeon, but the only way out requires crossing through the great hall. Difficult under the best of circumstances, but unfortunately there's currently a feast taking place and you can't afford to wait for people to leave. So you have to balance on the rafters and hope nobody sees you. Each failed balance check requires a new Move Silently check at a -4 penalty.
    7|17+|The cave you need to enter is behind a massive waterfall. Small, water-covered stones lead to the cave mouth, but they're uneven and slippery. Closer to the cave, they pass under the falling water, requiring a new Balance check (DC equal to the original DC + 5) to navigate as the water crashes down on your head.
    8|12+|A steep slope of jumbled, moss-covered boulders leads to a cliff face. Traversing the boulder field is difficult, with irregular surfaces and slippery moss.[/table]

    Bluff

    {table=head]d100|Description
    1|You knew that getting into the drinking contest with the dwarf was a bad idea. But now you're drunk and have to try to convince everyone that you're feeling fine. Unfortunately, every drink gives you a -2 penalty on your Bluff check. - by Pandiano
    2|Fake being unimpressed of damage taken due to resistance or DR, while being actually hurt by it. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Climb

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|26|60-70 feet of really hard climbing at the base of a sea cliff. Wave action has eroded a very steep overhang that goes back into the cliff about 50 feet but only climbs about 30 feet above the waves. Lots of stalactite-like features make climbing possible, but the overhang makes it possibly the hardest pitch on the cliff.
    2|28|Pulling over the edge of a steep overhang onto a slightly-less-than-vertical lip where you can get some rest.
    3|17|30 feet of moderate climbing at the base of a sea cliff. A narrow extrusion of harder rock has resisted erosion, creating a narrow prow formation that can be climbed with holds on either side of the prow.
    4|10|90 feet of easy-moderate climbing in a chimney. A dried-up river carved out a vertical chimney about twice as wide as the average adult human's shoulders. Smooth and somewhat shallow, but very climbable.
    5|23|100 feet of blank slightly-less-than-vertical face with small handholds. Difficult to climb but the angle of the wall makes it easier. 5 or more ranks in Balance gets you a +2 synergy bonus to your Climb check.
    6|20|55 feet of slightly overhanging face with large eroded pockets. Good holds but very tiring.
    7|22|75 feet of vertical face with hard mineral extrusions. The extrusions form in horizontal ridges, resulting in regular holds that, while small, are easy to grab.
    8|18|A narrow spire just a few feet from the main cliff has collapsed, creating an inside corner. You can wedge yourself in the corner and balance. Fairly easy to climb.
    9|19|45 feet of gently-overhanging wall interrupted by limestone stalactites. Easy climbing but the stalactites are somewhat fragile and will crumble if used too extensively or if climbers are too heavy. 10% chance that the stalactite youíre using breaks. 25% chance if your total weight (including gear) exceeds 200 lbs.
    10|Varies|Someone else has climbed here before you and left old pitons. The Climb DC decreases by 4 if you use the old gear, but itís risky; if you fall, thereís a 75% chance of each piton breaking.
    11|25|65 feet of fist-width vertical crack. Very difficult to climb at first, but if you specify that youíre jamming your fists and feet inside the crack, the DC lowers to 21
    12|19|A tower has collapsed against the main headwall, creating a small triangular tunnel 10 feet wide at the base and 30 feet tall.
    13|35|A smooth face with very few holds.
    14|20|A large protrusion on the wall behind which you can jam your knee, allowing you to rest your arms. You get a +2 circumstance bonus on the next Climb check you make, as long as it is within the next 5 minutes.
    15|Varies|There is a large circular hollow in the wall, approximately 10 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep. You can climb in and rest for a while, but climbing out again requires a DC 23 Climb check. Climbing around the lip of the hollow requires a DC 20 Climb check.
    16|Varies|The section of wall youíre climbing is covered in damp lichen, seeping water, or a thin layer of ice. The DC of the climb increases by 5.
    17|27|A smooth, blank face is split by a parallel-sided crack wide enough to fit 2 or 3 fingers. The DC decreases to 21 if you specify that youíre jamming your fingers inside the crack.
    18|DC -2|The rock face youíre climbing is composed of a gritty, textured rock like sandstone.
    19|DC +2|The rock face youíre climbing is composed of a smooth rock like quartzite.
    20|Varies|The rock surface fractures in wide, parallel columns. You can climb inside corners at DC 17, chimneys at DC 13, or prow-like formations at DC 22.
    21|24|The rock face is undulating and bulging but has few obvious hand holds. If you have 5 or more ranks in Balance, you gain a +2 synergy bonus on your Climb check.
    22|32|The major feature of the rock face is a roughly-parallel crack of uncomfortable width, forcing you to wedge yourself uncomfortably inside and shimmy up.
    23|13|Thin trees, roots, and branches interrupt the rock face at frequent intervals. They grow out of cracks and on narrow ledges, making the face easy (if dirty) to climb.
    24|10|The rock face is interrupted by wide ledges every several feet, making it very easy to climb.
    25|23|A dome of gritty but more-or-less featureless rock with a steep but significantly less than vertical incline. Characters can make a Balance check at the same DC instead of a Climb check if doing so would be beneficial.
    26|29|The inside corner you are climbing curves to one side, becoming a difficult roof 10 feet long that you must either traverse around or climb straight up and over.
    27|20|Small waterfalls dot the surface of the rock face, flowing through deep cracks in the stone. They have frozen in the winter weather, forming large icicles. Conditions are perfect; not too cold nor too warm, so you can easily use these icicles to supplement your normal handholds, as long as you have a hand ax or similar tool.
    28|25|As #27, save that the temperature is colder than is ideal, making using your ax difficult on the ice. The ice is brittle and tends to shatter when struck, so characters below you must dodge falling ice (1d6 points of damage for every 20 feet fallen, Reflex save DC 15 to negate).
    29|20|As #27, save that the temperature is warmer than is ideal, softening the ice. You can still use it to make upward progress, but there is a 25% chance that an icicle will fall when you put weight on it. The chance increases to 50% if your total weight (including gear) exceeds 200 lbs.
    30|15|A large waterfall flows over the cliff during the summer, but after several months of winter, the waterfall has frozen solid, allowing you to use a hand ax or similar tool to make hand and foot holds for climbing.
    31|20|Snap! The rope bridge you were crossing broke. You must succeed on a DC 10 Reflex save to grab the rope as the bridge falls, and a Climb check to cling on as it crashes into the cliff wall.
    32|Varies|A vertical chute rises 75' straight up - with a trap at 60' which, when triggered, fires "Dispel Magic" at CL 5. A person using Levitate or Fly may be ... dismayed. The chute starts in the middle of a 10' high ceiling, so to get up it without magic requires a vertical Jump of 3' or so (DC 12), followed by climbing rough stone (DC 15 each), followed by a DC 20 Disable Device check ... or just keep climbing to the top and lower a rope. - by Shining Wrath
    33|Varies|A furnace-chute in a dwarf stronghold that rises hundreds or thousands of feet through the mountain until exiting high on the mountainside with a grate. The climb checks themselves can be as easy or as hard as you prefer, but the real difficulty is endurance. Also the grate at the top, it doesn't exactly just "open". - by Seharvepernfan
    34|17|You're being swept along with the current of the river toward a towering waterfall. Branches and logs have fallen in the river. A successful Climb check will let you haul yourself against the current and escape from the water.
    35|DC +2|You've run into a dead end and have to backtrack. Down climbing the face you just scaled is more difficult than you anticipated.
    36|Varies|Roll again on the chart until you get an appropriate result. The next section has the features you rolled, except that you have to traverse horizontally instead of climbing vertically.
    37|DC +2|One of the holds you're using breaks and you have to catch yourself before you fall.
    38|DC +4|You've lost your grip and are sliding rapidly down the (slightly-less-than-vertical) wall. You need to catch yourself, but gravity is working against you.[/table]

    Concentration

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|20|A simple puzzle on a door is under a constant blur-like effect and a concentration check is needed to focus on the details to not reset it by accident. - by Pandiano
    2|20|A killer plant/beast/ghost in a cave environment reacts with rage to emotions, but ignores calm creatures. Check to pull yourself together and not attract attention. - by Pandiano
    3|15-25|Decipher a movement pattern of swinging sawblades in a hallway. This reduces the tumble/jump check to avoid these blades from 25 to 15. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Decipher Script

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|30+|A cyphered text is just a few points on a geographical map. These points are not cities or towns, that is just a distraction. They are star formations if connected correctly with lines that lead to the solution. - by Pandiano
    2|10|Decipher someone's horrible hand writing. - by Pandiano
    3|20|Discern the emotional state of a writer from his hand writing while creating the letter. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Disable Device

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|Varies|You mus sabotage a cart to break a few hundred metres down the road. Your disable device check is opposed by the Search check of anyone examining the cart. - by Pandiano
    2|15|You jam a sword in its sheathe so that it requires a full round action to rip it free. - by Pandiano
    3|20|You place a piton in a climbing session so that it holds for a while but breaks at the second/third use. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Disguise

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|17|You disguise your holy symbol and clothing insignia as belonging to a different god as you try to infiltrate a temple. - by Pandiano
    2|15|Your water skin contains potent alcohol, but you add substances to disguise it as tea or another innocuous beverage. - by Pandiano
    3|Opposed|Disguise as someone else with a hideous scar. Then use Disguise Self to assume the same face without the scar. So people who see through the illusion think they have seen through your disguise since the scar is a plausible thing to hide. - by Pandiano
    4|Varies|You attempt to fake serious injury or illness, either on yourself, on an ally, or on a corpse left to be found. A DC 15 Heal check gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on your Disguise check. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Escape Artist

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|20|You've escaped from a prison cell and must travel through a narrow sewer pipe to safety.
    2|30|As #1, but the sewer is blocked with grates every 20 feet.
    3|25|You need to sneak into a walled city with guards at every entrance by hiding inside a barrel. The only barrels available are just a little too small...
    4|18|As you make your way through the forest, your path is blocked by clinging vines or a tangle of massive spiderwebs. You must free yourself in order to move forward.
    5|15|While traversing a field of fallen boulders, your foot slipped and is stuck between two large rocks. Pulling it free is difficult, but not impossible. For added fun, insert a charging monster into the mix to rush the PC.[/table]

    Forgery

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|Opposed|Somehow combine Survival and Forgery to fake traces of a dangerous creature. - by Pandiano
    2|25+|Combining Forgery with a Craft skill, you fake the appearance of a relic or otherpowerful item. - by Pandiano
    3|Varies|You manipulate a legitimate document so that bears hints of forgery and is falsely discarded as a fake. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Gather Information

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|15|Spread rumors by asking the wrong questions intentionally. "Lets not talk about the baron, but...are there vampires around here? No? Ah, good good." - by Pandiano
    2|20|Use Gather Information, Bluff, and Disguise to impersonate a bard and try to imitate Bardic Knowledge. - by Pandiano
    3|25|Find inconsistencies in the background of an infiltrator in the local officials. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Handle Animal

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|20-25|Your party has been hired to move a herd of valuable domesticated creatures. En route, you're attacked by bandits intent on stealing the animals. You have to work frantically to keep the animals under control, despite them being startled and attempting to run in all directions. - by Phaederkiel
    2|15-20|Make an animal comfortable and tired so that a rider loses a few rounds in a case of an emergency start. - by Pandiano
    3|15-20|Make an animal hyped up and lacking in concentration or hard to handle. Dogs want to play, horses want to run and work out etc. - by Pandiano
    4|19|Discern how well trained an observed animal is. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Intimidate

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|15|Scare the crowd out of the way to run freely. - by Pandiano
    2|HD+WIS modifier|Irritate a person to lose his train of thought for a moment and be interrupted in a speech for example. not usable in combat - by Pandiano
    3|HD+STR modifier|Scare someone backwards out of combat. ("social bull rush") - by Pandiano[/table]

    Jump

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|Varies|You are stranded on an iceberg. The only way to get to shore is jumping from one small floating ice chunk to another. Some are only a few feat in diameter, some are larger. Incorporate Balance and weather-related difficulties.
    2|24+|While climbing, you run out of obvious hand holds. There is a large ledge about 3 feet above you, but you'll have to jump...
    3|15+|The ground is crumbling beneath your feat as you run along a narrow stone bridge. You must jump from chunk to chunk wherever supports still stand as pieces of the bridge fall into the chasm below.
    4|Varies|The ledge you need to reach is just beyond your grasp with a normal high jump. But maybe you can kick off a nearby wall to get an extra boost.
    5|DC +4|The platform you're standing on is collapsing as you leap for solid ground, making it difficult to get purchase for a truly strong jump.
    6|Varies|A series of unstable elevators require you to time your jumps perfectly. The first Jump check is DC 10. Each subsequent jump increases the DC by 5. Additionally, upon landing each jump, you must make a DC 20 Balance check. If you fail the Balance check, the amount by which you fail is added to the DC of the next Jump. - by Shining Wrath
    7|Varies|You're standing high in a tree, maybe on a branch, maybe on a platform, and you want to get to the bottom quickly. Climbing would take too long, and falling all the way would be lethal, so you're best option is to jump branch-to-branch to the bottom. Some are farther apart than others, some may be weak, sometimes the best option is on the other side of the tree - which can be a tricky jump. At each jump, you need to make a balance check when you land to avoid slipping, and some of these branches are covered in moss. - by Seharvepernfan
    8|Varies|The hallway you are standing in leads to a perfectly-straight chute leading down. Climbing is next to impossible. The next landing down the chute is about 20ft. down; the ceiling of that next landing is about 10ft. below the floor of the landing you are on. You can either hang and drop down, grabbing the floor of the next landing - a tough climb check (probably requiring a dex check to grab the landing), or jump across the chute and hit wall about halfway between your level and the next one down, then jump off the wall and land on the next landing, a tough jump check (also probably requiring a dex check). - by Seharvepernfan
    9|Varies|You see 8 watchtowers positioned close to each other, 4 on either side of a narrow stone bridge. They're close enough that you think you might be able to jump between them. The need to do so becomes more intense when goblins in the towers begin to fire at you and a dangerous creature starts to chase you into the towers and across the bridge. The fact that several goblins fall to their deaths further impresses upon you the dangers of jumping between the towers. - by Phaederkiel
    10|Varies|You're being swept toward a towering waterfall. Branches of nearby trees are overhanging the lip of the falls. Throw yourself out over the edge to reach the branches and pull yourself to safety.[/table]

    Sense Motive

    {table=head]d100|d100|Description
    1|18|Recognize a fighting style from a famous master on his apprentice. - by Pandiano
    2|15|Notice a hidden dialect of common to discern the home region of someone. - by Pandiano
    3|15|Recognize cultural oddities in behavior for a bonus to social checks or to avoid a penalty. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Slight of Hand

    {table=head]d100|Skill Check|Description
    1|Opposed|A standoff! Both of you want an item, and neither of you is willing to compromise. But the crossbow he has pointed at you is making a pretty good argument. The only way to stay alive and prevent him from getting the item is to throw it off the cliff. But if you succeed on a Slight of Hand check, you can palm the item or throw it so that it gets caught on a ledge or branch just out of sight. - by Pandiano
    2|Opposed|Fake drawing your weapon, so that the opponent draws first and appears as the aggressor. - by Pandiano
    3|Opposed|Manipulate the markings on a tactical or treasure map while it is observed to lead someone astray. - by Pandiano
    4|Opposed|Slip a substance into a vial that someone is about to use (an antidote to the weapon poison, water down alchemists fire and the like). - by Pandiano[/table]

    Survival

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|15-20|prepare a natural location to appear as a perfect resting place, while it is not (due to ants, wildlife paths, water holes.etc.) - by Pandiano
    2|Opposed|Hide a improvised shelter from sight. A successful DC 15 Hide check gets you a +2 bonus on your roll. - by Pandiano
    3|30+|Incite a stampede reaction from local wildlife on a large scale. - by Pandiano
    4|17|Use your knowledge of river flows and geography to find the calmest current and deepest water in the pool at the base of a waterfall, gaining a circumstance bonus on any checks made to swim safely or direct your fall to a safe location.[/table]

    Swim

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|20+|You must maneuver across or down an area of rapids, avoiding rocks and fallen logs that litter your path. Frequent Swim checks are required to avoid obstacles and fight the strong current. - by Pandiano
    2|25|You are caught in a whirlpool! You have to swim at least one quarter of your base speed in order to avoid being drawn into the vortex and at least one half of your base speed to make progress against its pull.
    3|Varies|Something or someone has fallen in the water and needs to be fished out. Regardless of how still or stormy the water is, it is difficult to swim while holding something in one arm. You take a -2 penalty on your Swim checks until both (or all) your arms are free.
    4|17|The treasure you seek is in a cavern nearby. However, the only entrance to the cavern is a narrow tunnel filled with rushing water. You have to wiggle and swim against the current to make it into the cave.
    5|20+|You have, for some reason, fallen in a river and are being carried downstream towards a thundering waterfall! You have to swim against the current to try and make it to the bank before you go over the cliff.
    6|20|You're about to go over a waterfall with jagged rocks at the bottom. The only way to survive the fall is to throw yourself as far out as possible and land in the deep pool beyond the rocks. A successful DC 15 Jump check grants you a +2 circumstance bonus on your Swim check.
    7|15|As you plummet through the air, the water beneath rushes up to meet you. Striking the water at the wrong angle deals 1d4 points of subdual damage for every 10 feet of your fall. A successful Swim check allows you you to enter the water safely.
    8|15+|With a giant splash, you enter the water. The pool isn't as deep as you had anticipated, so you have to quickly recover and avoid plunging deep enough to crash against the jagged rocks that line the bottom.[/table]

    Tumble

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|25|He's escaping! You're chasing down a fleeing opponent when a tall carriage passes in front of you. Going around would let him get away, so you have to slide underneath the vehicle and between its wheels to pass through quickly. - by Lord Il Palazzo[/table]

    Use Rope

    {table=head]d100|Skill DC|Description
    1|Varies|Fake an easy to open knot while it takes 3+ rounds to open it. A successful DC 15 Slight of Hand check grants a +2 bonus on your roll. - by Pandiano[/table]

    Multi-Skill Challenges

    The Bridge of Death - by Shining Wrath
    A long bridge made of rotting wood and ropes. At the far end, baddies with bows. Behind the party, more baddies with various pointy things, chasing them. The party might not win if caught. The baddies with bows are no match for the party, if the PCs can only engage them in melee. So ... run across the bridge, or divide the party with the pursuit drawing near.

    When they run across the bridge it breaks in two and half of the party winds up on each piece. Neither piece is long enough to reach the bottom of the deep crevasse. To avoid coming off the bridge as it swings down to a vertical orientation requires a DC15 Tumble check. Failure means the character moves 1' toward the end of the bridge for every point by which the check was failed, and must keep checking until they succeed in grabbing something. If they go off the end of the bridge it is a long way down, and those who cannot feather fall or fly are dead. Clinging to the wreckage requires a DC8 Strength check every round. Climbing the wreckage requires a DC10 climb check. The baddies with pointy things are climbing DOWN on their side (and at least one should fall to a messy death, just to add tension).

    The River Crossing - by Cruiser1
    Your party is on one side of a river. Nearby is a rickety bridge. A PC can swim across the river (Swim check), jump across it (Jump check), or use the bridge (Balance check). The DC's depend on the roughness of the water, the width of the river, and the quality of the bridge (which should be hinted at by DM description). Other skills can apply positive circumstance modifiers to crossing methods, e.g. a Knowledge (Nature) check gives hints as to how to avoid river hazards (descreasing Swim check DC), and a Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) check allows one to better understand the swaying bridge or repair it somewhat (decreasing Balance check DC).

    The Snatch and Grab - by Phaederkiel
    Your party is low on funds but needs crucial supplies and must move quickly (either running or riding) through a bazaar, grabbing things before vendors and the city guard can catch you. Reflex saves to either dodge things and either dex checks or sleight of hand to grab things in full speed. And you might end up with some things you didn't expect. Even botched saves or checks might result in interesting items.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-03-25 at 11:42 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    I like your idea of giving inspiration for skill challenges.
    Personally I enjoy challenges that have a variety of options.
    Climb the cliff or Balance on the slim path.
    Swim through the torrents or jump the slipery stones.
    Bluff the stupid Ogre or beat him in a duel of wits...unarmed. :-)

    Or varied circumstances like your ice jumping example, a spot check reveals, that the next chunk of ice is gonna break in two from the next impact so you'll need to decide who jumps first, since the second jumper will have more difficulties.
    Or someone can clear the path to make tings easier.
    The percent chances are also interesting, like an old rope bridge, that has a 50% chance of collapsing with each person that fails a balance check, compensatable by a use rope check.
    Et cetera.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Thanks! I've added your ideas to the lists. Hopefully we can make this a useful resource for DMs everywhere.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Along this same vein, how do y'all make chase encounters more interesting? A good chase scene is extremely iconic, but in DnD it is resolved by a series of dexterity checks (assuming speeds are the same). This is very boring. Any suggestions?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by limejuicepowder View Post
    Along this same vein, how do y'all make chase encounters more interesting? A good chase scene is extremely iconic, but in DnD it is resolved by a series of dexterity checks (assuming speeds are the same). This is very boring. Any suggestions?
    Ha! I love chases. Some humble suggestions as basic examples:

    Foot vs Foot:
    - The classic cart-in-the-way; Jump check to dive headlong over the cart or a tumble check to slide underneath without getting crushed or climb to slow poke over it.
    - Crowds; They can be an obstacle and an asset. Tumble or Intimidate to avoid being blocked by people and grapple/trip checks to throw them im the way of the pursuer.
    - Split Ground; One party is on ground level, the other on the roofs. Jump checks to stay on the roof, spot and sense motive to anticipate directions if the roofrunner ist briefly out of sight.
    - The Uninvolved; The chased angeres the random barbarian, that turns to the pursuer since they also sprint along; the guard wants to know whats up and chases the original pursuers.

    Mount on Mount
    - Equal Mounts; Knowledge(Local/Architecture/Dungeoneering) to discern shortcuts and cut of or lose the other party
    - Let your Mount swim through climb over the obstacle or make a daring jump which is faster but brings a chance to injure the mount.
    - Unequal Mounts: Use the assets of speed/flight/climbing/jumping or brute force of your mount to your advantage

    Foot vs Mount:
    - Linebreaker; The chased ones may tumble through the crowd/underwood, but your warhorse dashes through the obstacle with a strength check.
    - Slipper; Creatures on foot can fit through passages, that mounted ones can not pass, but them are quite fast to get around.


    General:
    - Superior Terrain Knowledge; The chased knows where the traps/watery mud holes/thin ice spots are. Spot checks on the run to see or sense motive to imitate the chased one's movement to avoid those dangers.
    - The Daredevil: Try an escape/catch via a daring finish that gets you away or caught like the jump from a very high roof to the ground or another roof, a desparate dive down a waterfall or the epic tumbling to get on the other side of that stampede.
    A worthy finish of a good chase.

    Some ideas right out of my head in my lunch break. Tell me if you need more :-)


    Edit: In regards to the DCs, the higher ones and riskier should give you an advantage. In the cart example, the climbing might be easier (DC 5-10 to make it in time, depending on the cart and its load) but slower, while the sliding bears the chance to be crunched (DC 20, damage from the cart if failed by 10 or more) but is quite fast, while jumping over it might be the hardest (DC 25+) but is the fastest. Not reaching the DCs results in an early end of the chase or lost time/distance. Modify those as you deem applicable.

    If the PCs are the pursuers the could win/lose:
    Climbing: Win=lose 5ft. (wich cancels out if the cased one also decides to climb and makes his check) Lose=lose 15ft.
    Sliding: Win=win 5ft. Lose=lose 5ft. Lose by 10 or more=lose 30ft and 3w6 hp
    Jumping: Win=win 10ft. Lose=lose 15ft.

    These are not carefully ballanced, but made up on the fly and might need revision, but I hope my intentions are noticable.
    Last edited by Pandiano; 2013-01-29 at 10:39 AM.

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Oh and in addition to the chases: Fast paced music, speed metal or violin can make an interesting chase awesome. Add colorful descriptions of moving elements in the surrounding and an awesome chase can become epic.

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    This thread may prove both fun and useful. Well done, Mephibosheth!

    Climb / Jump / Disarm Trap
    A vertical chute rises 75' straight up - with a trap at 60' which, when triggered, fires "Dispel Magic" at CL 5. A person using Levitate or Fly may be ... dismayed. The chute starts in the middle of a 10' high ceiling, so to get up it without magic requires a vertical Jump of 3' or so (DC 12), followed by two turns of climbing rough stone (DC 15 each), followed by the Disarm Trap check of DC20 ... or just keep climbing to the top, and lower a rope.

    Tumble / Endurance / Climb
    A long rotten bridge. At the far end, baddies with bows. Behind the party, more baddies with various pointy things, chasing them. The party might not win if caught.

    The baddies with bows are no match for the party, if they can but engage in melee. So ... run across the bridge, or divide the party with the pursuit drawing near.

    When they run across the bridge it breaks in two, and half of the party winds up on each piece. Neither piece is long enough to reach the bottom of the deep crevasse.

    To avoid coming off the bridge as it swings down to a vertical orientation requires a DC15 Tumble check. Failure means the character moves 1' toward the end of the bridge for every point by which the check was failed, and must keep checking until they succeed in grabbing something. If they go off the end of the bridge it is a long way down, and those who cannot feather fall or fly are dead.

    Clinging to the wreckage requires a DC8 Endurance check per round.

    Climbing the wreckage requires a DC10 climb check. The baddies with pointy things are climbing DOWN on their side (and at least one should fall to a messy death, just to add tension).

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Thanks for some great examples! I've added a new category for things like Shining Wrath's tumble/endurance/climb example, which I'm calling the Bridge of Death. I'll try to write up a chase-related multi-skill challenge based on Pandiano's suggestions.

    I hope you're right, Shining Wrath. I think that DMs would very much benefit from being able to throw obstacles like many of these into their campaigns. Hopefully more people will throw out ideas and we can get some respectable lists. With the exception of Climb, the ones so far are looking pretty shabby...
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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    @Pandiano: This looks great bro, thanks. I've never actually done a chase scene because of the reasons mentioned above, but now I really want to.

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    There's always the classic video game Jump ... Jump ... Jump sequence where each Jump has to be timed correctly. Maybe a Jump DC for the first jump of 10, and then a DC 20 Balance check, and if you miss the Balance check the amount of the miss gets added to the next Jump.

    So:
    1. Jump DC10
    2. Balance DC20
    3. Jump DC15+miss from (2)
    4. Balance DC20
    5. Jump DC15+miss from (4)


    Pretty tough unless you've got both Jump and Balance well-trained.

    Then for any series of physical checks, you can add Endurance checks of increasing difficulty - and as with the Balance checks above, each failure adds the margin of failure to the next physical check. So:
    1. Jump check DC10
    2. Endurance check DC10
    3. Climb check DC10+miss from (2)
    4. Endurance check DC12
    5. Swim check DC10+miss from (4)
    6. Endurance check DC15
    7. Climb check DC15+miss from (6)


    If you aren't a low-armor strong person you are in trouble.
    Or you just Fly over it

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Added the moving platform jump series. Nice job!

    What do you mean by Endurance checks? Con checks? Fortitude saves? Am I just blanking on something obvious?
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    Lightbulb Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    You figure out the DC, your roll the dice, and you either fail or succeed. But sometimes you want a little something more.
    I find that what makes skill checks interesting (and other parts of D&D for that matter) is having choices. Instead of "obstacle requires this check of this DC", or even "complex obstacle requires check X of this DC, then check Y of that DC", there should be situations allowing the PC's to pick how they want to address it, which then requires different checks.

    For example, the classic river crossing: Your party is on one side of a river. Nearby is a rickety bridge. A PC can swim across the river (Swim check), jump across it (Jump check), or use the bridge (Balance check). The DC's depend on the roughness of the water, the width of the river, and the quality of the bridge (which should be hinted at by DM description). Other skills can apply positive circumstance modifiers to crossing methods, e.g. a Knowledge (Nature) check gives hints as to how to avoid river hazards (descreasing Swim check DC), and a Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) check allows one to better understand the swaying bridge or repair it somewhat (decreasing Balance check DC).

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    smile Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Added the moving platform jump series. Nice job!

    What do you mean by Endurance checks? Con checks? Fortitude saves? Am I just blanking on something obvious?
    Ooops. Someone must have hit me with a Ray of Stupidity just then, because Endurance is a 4e skill

    Probably Con or Fort checks as you say. The idea is that if you lack Constitution you start getting tired having to do one thing after another and start losing skill.

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Don't forget, you can have tumble obstacles as well, like a hole in a wall. During combat, you want to move into the other room quickly, but the only way to get there in time is through the hole, but if you just move through it normally, it'll take too long, so you need to jump/dive through it without screwing up. Or you're jumping across a alleyway, but the window on the far wall is smaller than your upright body, so you need to angle yourself just right to land in the hole, it's also at a lower elevation, making the feat even more difficult.

    Actually, I'm not sure if those would be escape artist or tumble.

    The Forever Chute: A furnace-chute in a dwarf stronghold that rises hundreds or thousands of feet through the mountain until exiting high on the mountainside with a grate. The climb checks themselves can be as easy or as hard as you prefer, but the real difficulty is endurance... Also the grate at the top, it doesn't exactly just "open".

    Get to the bottom of the tree: You're standing high in a tree, maybe on a branch, maybe on a platform, and you want to get to the bottom quickly. Climbing would take too long, and falling all the way would be lethal, so you're best option is to jump branch-to-branch to the bottom. Some are farther apart than others, some may be weak, sometimes the best option is on the other side of the tree - which can be a tricky jump. At each jump, you need to make a balance check when you land to avoid slipping, and some of these branches are covered in moss.

    A lesser version:
    Spoiler
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    Run down a steep slope: You need to get to the bottom of a steep/slippery incline quickly - slipping and rolling would take too long and would probably lead to subdual damage. This requires a combination of balance and jump checks.


    No elevator? The hallway you are standing in leads to a perfectly-straight chute leading down. Climbing is next to impossible. The next landing down the chute is about 20ft. down; the ceiling of that next landing is about 10ft. below the floor of the landing you are on. You can either hang and drop down, grabbing the floor of the next landing - a tough climb check (probably requiring a dex check to grab the landing), or jump across the chute and hit wall about halfway between your level and the next one down, then jump off the wall and land on the next landing, a tough jump check (also probably requiring a dex check).

    I can come up with more later.
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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Seharvepernfan View Post
    Don't forget, you can have tumble obstacles as well, like a hole in a wall. During combat, you want to move into the other room quickly, but the only way to get there in time is through the hole, but if you just move through it normally, it'll take too long, so you need to jump/dive through it without screwing up. Or you're jumping across a alleyway, but the window on the far wall is smaller than your upright body, so you need to angle yourself just right to land in the hole, it's also at a lower elevation, making the feat even more difficult.

    Actually, I'm not sure if those would be escape artist or tumble.

    ... SNIP ...
    I would think that if someone or something is actively opposing you it is escape artist, but if it's just a hole in the wall it's tumble?

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I would think that if someone or something is actively opposing you it is escape artist, but if it's just a hole in the wall it's tumble?
    It's escape artist to move through tight areas, right?
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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by Seharvepernfan View Post
    It's escape artist to move through tight areas, right?
    Yeah, squeezing through tight spots is escape artist. Since tumble is used in combat to move through threatened spaces, I'd use it in a chase scene for things like moving between the wheels of a wagon or cart that crosses your path or avoiding other possible attacks and hazards ("An angry old half-orc comes out of the bar, swearing under his breathe about all this ruckus. As you pass within his reach, he decides to take a swing at you. Roll a tumbe check to avoid his attack.")

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Will other skills be added to this at some point?

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Chase scenes:
    I do mine as combat most of the time, but I move the whole battlefield under the characters, and only characters with high movement can move laterally or even go circles.
    This way you can have a coach center of your battle, enemies on horses who draw closer to the coach, inflame it and board it, Riding characters doing riding challenges, fighting characters defending the coach, someone needs to handle animal the horses...
    I did this and it panned out great.


    Another great way for skill challenges in chase scenes are handle animal and ride checks for catching escaping cattle. Imagine the players are cowboys and get attacked. They have to save the cows, too.
    Good about this is that you can give many more targets than you have players competent with the task. And so even the cha:6 wizard needs to do the handle Animal checks.
    You can give more rewards the more cattle your players save.


    lastly: Reflex saves to either dodge things or either dexchecks or sleight of hand to grab things in full speed. I had my Players gallop through a crowded market and they ended up with a lot of funny random loot. Interesting is here that you can give items for botched reflex saves also. One player didn't dodge the vendor fast enough and got wound into a big sheet of linnen which helped her survive the desert.


    --------------------------------

    jump checks:
    put two watchtowers closely to each other, so that the players COULD jump the distance. I did this on a bridge, 8 towers alltogether, 4 towers on each side of the bridge, 2 on each end and 4 on the middle. Then I put goblins into the towers that terrifiedly tried the jump when the players came up the towers. Some made it, some fell on the bridge, some fell screaming to the chasm. (Having an Npc try the challenge and fail gives a good sense of dread and urgency to the players). Then I put in a Dragon, which could go into the towers to hunt players, making them jump...
    Fun times.

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    I like your additional categories like the Multi Skill Challenges. Do you mind to create a category for the Alternative Skill Challenges I suggested? I feel they are not good represented in the table. Also you forgot the ride skills :-)

    A few thoughts on skills not yet covered:

    Appraise:
    - DC 25-30+ to discern a relic or item of legacy in the posession of an enemy or to see through a fake magic aura.
    - DC 20 guess the ammount of money someone can spend due to his clothing, jewlery etc.
    - DC varies: In combination with search,investigate a crime scene, judge the skill of an archer due to his precision etc.

    Bluff
    - DC 15 (increasing) fake to be sober in a drinking contest whlie being tipsy/drunk/dead drunk.
    - DC 15 fake to throw the valuable map down the cliff in the water, while making a DEX check to let it land safely in the branch of vegetation right below the cliff.
    - DC (damage taken x2) Fake being unimpressed of damage taken due to resistance or DR, while being actually hurt by it.

    Concentration
    - DC 20; A simple puzzle on a door is under a constant blur-like effect and a concentration check is needed to focus on the details to not reset it by accident.
    - DC 20; a killer plant/beast/ghost in a cave enviroment reacts with rage to emotions, but ignores calm creatures. Check to pull yourself together and not attract attention.
    - DC 15-25 decipher a movement pattern of sawblades in a hallway. This reduces the tumble/jump check to avoid these blades from 25 to 15.

    Decipher Script
    - DC 30+: A cyphered text is just a few points on a geographical map. These points are not cities or towns, that is just a distraction. They are star formations if connected correctly with lines that lead to the solution.
    - DC 10 decipher someone's horrible hand writing ;-)
    - DC 20 discern the emotional state of a writer from his hand writing while creating the letter.

    Disable Device
    - DC (varies, contested with search) sabotage a cart to break a few hundred metres down the road
    - DC 15 jam a sword in its sheathe so that it requires 2 standard actions to rip it free.
    - DC 15/20 prepare a piton in a climbing session so that it breaks at the second/third use.

    Disguise
    - DC 17 Disguise your Holy Symbol(Trickery God) as a Holy Symbol(unfunny God) to trick people.
    - DC 15 use fruit sirup to disguise your booze in the waterskin as tea :-)
    - DC (contested) The Double Bluff: Disguise as someone else with a hideous scar. Then use Disguise Self to assume the same face without the scar. So people who see through the illusion think they have seen through your disguise since the scar is a plausible thing to hide.

    Forgery
    - DC (contested) together with Survival (take the lowest check): Fake traces of a dangerous creature
    - DC 25+ and Crafing: Fake the appearance of a relic.
    - DC (varies) manipulate a legitimate document (as a testament) so that is bears hints of forgery and is falsely discarded as a fake.

    Gather Information
    - DC 15 Spread rumors by asking the wrong questions intentionally. "Lets not talk about the baron, but...are there vampires around here? No? Ah, good good."
    - DC 20? in combination with bluff: Disguise as a bard and try to imitate Bardic Knowledge to others.
    - DC 25 to find inconsistencies in the background of an infiltrator in the local officials.

    Handle Animal
    - DC 15-20 make an animal comfortable and tired so that a rider loses a few rounds in a case of an emergency start
    - DC 15-20 make an animal hyped up and lacking in concentration or hard to handle. Dogs want to play, horses want to run and work out etc.
    - DC 19,5 discern how well trained an observed animal is.

    Heal
    - DC (CR) fake a "mortal wound" on a corpse from a wild creature. (CR is the DC)
    - DC 15 + Disguise: fake a dire wound or injury on self
    - DC (varies) imitate disease symptoms

    Intimidate
    - DC 15 scare the crowd out of the way to run freely.
    - DC (HD+WIS-modifier) irritate a person to lose his train of thought for a moment and be inerrupted in a speech for example. not usable in combat
    - DC (HD+STR-modifier) scare someone backwards out of combat. ("social bull rush")

    Sense Motive
    - DC 18 recognize a fighting style from a famos master on his apprentice.
    - DC 15 notice a hidden dialect of common to discern the home region of someone
    - DC 15 recognize cultural oddities in behavior for a bonus to social checks. (or to avoid a malus)

    Sleight of Hand
    - DC (contested vs Sense Motive) fake drawing your weapon, so that the opponent draws first and appears as the agressor.
    - DC vs Spot manipulate the markings on a tactical or treasure map while it is observed to lead someone astray.
    - DC 25-30 slip a substance into a vial tha someone is about to use (an antidote to the weapon poison, water down alchemists fire and the like)

    Survival
    - DC 15-20 prepare a natural location to appear as a perfect resting place, while it is not (due to ants, wildlife paths, water holes.etc.)
    - DC + Hide vs Spot: Hide a improvised shelter from sight.
    - DC 30+ incide a stampede of flight reaction from local wildlife on a large scale.

    Use Rope
    - DC (varies) Fake an easy to open knot while it takes 3+ rounds to open it.

    ....

    Sorry, my creativity is out for a moment :-)

    Pan

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    Will other skills be added to this at some point?
    Apparently!

    I think the charts are up to date. Please let me know if I've missed anything Pandiano, I didn't see any of yours that I've missed. Let me know what ones you're talking about. I didn't put up your chase suggestions because that seemed like a different (though related) topic. Maybe, if the opportunity presents itself, I'll write up a post compiling suggestions for running chase scenes.

    And keep the new ideas coming! Remember that we're especially looking for interesting, multifaceted, flavorful, or just plain fun skill challenges that DMs can throw in front of their players.
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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Has anyone a good Idea how to make going down a waterfall a good skill challenge (except for proffession : Sailor, which noone ever is going to have)

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    I guess it depends what you want to do with it. Swim comes to mind right off the bat. They might be in the water and trying to avoid going over the waterfall (so, swimming against the current, a DC 20 at least Swim check) or going over it and having to avoid the jagged rocks at the bottom, maybe allowing them to make a Jump check to gain a circumstance bonus on the Swim check to control where and how they go over the actual lip of the waterfall. They might be able to make an additional Swim check to avoid subdual damage from falling. Water has surface tension after all and I can tell you, as a former diver, it hurts a lot to hit it the wrong way even from a fairly low height, so a Swim check to enter the water in the right orientation wouldn't be inappropriate. And maybe another Swim check to avoid hitting the bottom, where there are inevitably jagged rocks that can cut or bruise them .

    You could work other skills in too. Maybe there are branches hanging over the waterfall they could use to pull themselves up (a Climb check). Maybe they have to jump to catch them as they're going over the edge, requiring a Jump check to reach and a Climb check to grab. Survival and Knowledge (nature) might help them find the places in the current where they can more easily move or the spots at the base of the waterfall where they could most safely land. Maybe there's a cave behind the waterfall that contains a valuable/powerful object. Slippery stones leading to it require Balance and Jump checks, which just get harder for the last 10 feet or so as they're under the waterfall itself and being buffeted by the water.
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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    And now, let's look at this sideways and see what pops out.

    What checks should be used for the following common fantasy scenarios

    1) Steering a boat down a fast river
    1a) With Rocks
    1b) With monsters
    1c) With monsters and rocks, or possibly monsters that ARE rocks

    I'd say a Dex check to steer, a Reflex save to avoid something in the water, a Str check to make a sudden course change (because you're really pushing hard on the tiller or steering oar), and a Con check to not get worn out by hours of this

    Riding a creature you never expected to ride, like a Giant Eagle that swooped down and saved you from Goblins

    Ride check, obviously
    K(Nature) to know what it is you're riding. Addressing a Giant Hawk as "Mr. Eagle" may not be prudent
    Diplomacy to get the Eagles to take you where you want to be taken, or Bluff - but the consequences of a failed Bluff check might involve a sudden need for a Feather Fall spell

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    Default Re: 1001 Interesting Skill Obstacles

    Quote Originally Posted by limejuicepowder View Post
    Along this same vein, how do y'all make chase encounters more interesting? A good chase scene is extremely iconic, but in DnD it is resolved by a series of dexterity checks (assuming speeds are the same). This is very boring. Any suggestions?
    Pathfinder actually has some really good stuff on this.

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