Skill Challenge: On the Road

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 5, 2009

The PCs need to travel cross county as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence.

Setup

Presented below are three possible reasons for the PCs to be engaged in this skill challenge.

  • Escaped criminals have stolen horses and are heading for the boarder. The PCs are commissioned to recapture the criminals before they escape jurisdiction.
  • Framed for a crime they did not commit, the PCs are to be arrested by local authorities. They will not have an opportunity to clear their names if they stick around so they flee… for now.
  • The PCs receive word that they are needed urgently back home. They immediately hit the road.

Complexity

4 PC level (requires 10 successes before 3 failures).

Primary Skills

Arcana, Athletics, Nature, Endurance, History, Nature, Perception, Religion, Stealth.

  • Each skill can only be used to accomplish 1 success towards the overall skill challenge unless noted otherwise.
  • Skill checks denoted as assist do not count as a success or failure towards the overall skill challenge.

Healing surges lost though failed skill checks cannot be regained while the PCs are camping in the wild (unless otherwise noted). Healing surges used to regain hit points lost during combat encounters are regained normally after an extended rest.

Secondary Skills

Heal, Insight, Perception, Stealth

Group Checks

The PCs must complete all three group skill checks as part of the skill challenge.

Athletics (hard DC +4)
Group check

The party spots a shortcut through difficult and hazardous terrain. To travel this way, the lead character must make a successful Athletics check. Up to three PCs can assist providing a maximum bonus of +6.

  • Up to two PCs can assist by using Nature to keep the animals calm in place of Athletics.

Success: The party has saved two hours by taking the shortcut.
Failure: Some of the horses will not proceed through the hazardous terrain.

  • A failed check of 5 or less means no time was gained by using the shortcut. This does not count as a failure on the overall skill challenge.
  • A failed check of 10 or more means the party had to turn back and take the original route. This adds an additional 1d4 hours to the original route and counts as 1 failure.

Nature (hard DC +4)
Group check

A large flying monster passes overhead spooking the horses. The lead character must make a successful Nature check. Up to three PCs can assist providing a maximum bonus of +6.

  • One PC can assist by using Athletics to keep their animal in check by sheer strength instead of Nature.

Success: The party can use the horse’s adrenaline surge to their advantage and gain 1 hour on their journey.
Failure: The horses become impossible to manage and run around haphazardly.

  • A failed check of 5 or less means that the animals are brought under control after a 30 minute rest.
  • A failed check of 10 or more means the horses took off in different directions, possibly even bucking a rider or two. The PCs need to bring all the horses back and calm them down. This adds an additional 1d4 hours to the journey.

Stealth (hard DC +4)
Group check

The party learns of an approaching wandering monster and fighting is not an option. The lead character must make a successful Stealth check. Up to three PCs can assist providing a maximum bonus of +6.

  • One PC can assist by using Nature to find natural terrain assist with camouflaging the party, or one PC can use Nature to keep the animals calm and quiet. Only one Nature check can be used to assist in place of Stealth.
  • One PC can assist by using Perception to keep lookout for the exact moment when the threat is upon the party.

Success: The PCs remained undetected and can continue on their intended route without significant delay.
Failure: The monster notices the PCs and then chases them. The PCs are forced to flee in the wrong direction. It takes 1d4 hours before the monster gives up or the PCs put sufficient distance between themselves and the threat.

Individual Checks

Arcana (moderate DC)

You realize that you have inadvertently entered the natural habitat of a Feywild creature.

Success: The PCs are able to adjust their route to avoid an encounter with the creature and not loose any time in the process.
Failure: The PCs spook the Feywild creature. It defends its territory scaring the horses and forcing the party to turn back. The horses are difficult to control for the next 1d4 hours reducing movement by 50%. The time lost back tracking and coaxing the mounts results in the lost of half a days travel.

Athletics (moderate DC, maximum of 2 successes)

Your experience on horseback allows you to provide guidance to some of your less experienced companions.

Success: Your pointers allow everyone to ride more comfortably for the entire day. The PCs can get by with 1 less hour of rest tonight.
Failure: Your companions misunderstand your directions and the day’s ride is extremely uncomfortable. Everyone looses 1 healing surge.

Endurance (hard DC)

You take on extra responsibility during the next extended rests. Setting up camp, cooking, guard duty, breaking camp, etc.

Note: A PC who makes this check successfully cannot attempt to do so again for one week.

Success: The PCs can get by with 2 less hour of rest.
Failure: The PC who failed the check feels sluggish and fatigued. He takes a -1 to all skill checks and defenses until he gets an extended rest in a real bed or 4 extra hours of sleep.

Heal (moderate DC)

You can treat a PC suffering from fatigue, exposure to the elements or other condition resulting in the loss of healing surges.

Note: Use of this skill will not count as a success or failure in the overall skill challenge.

Success: The treated PC regains one healing surge. Only one PC can be treated per day by the same character.
Failure: The treated PC shows no improvement and requires an additional 1 hour of rest tonight.

History (hard DC)

You recall the location of nearby ruins used during the war. The ruins will provide the PCs with safe shelter for the night.

Success: You find the ruins. All PC can get by with 1 less hour of rest and will regain their maximum healing surges after an extended rest.
Failure: You are unable to find the ruins and have to spend another night camping in the open exposed to the elements. All PCs loose 1 healing surge until they take an extended rest in a real bed.

Insight (easy DC, assist)

You realize that some of the less experienced riders in the party are not faring well. Perhaps an experienced rider can provide some pointers to make the journey more comfortable. +2 to the next Athletics check.

Nature (moderate DC, maximum of 2 successes)

You earn the trust of the horses, making the journey easier that day.

Success: The PCs are able to push the horses an additional 1 hour before requiring rest. This check can be attempted again after three days have passed since the last successful check.
Failure: The horses are fatigued. They require an additional 1 hour of rest.

Nature (moderate DC)

A trained PC can try to predict the weather.

Success: You accurately predict a pending storm. The PCs have ample warning and allow themselves suitable time to find shelter before the storm hits.
Failure: Your weather prediction is inaccurate. The PCs are unaware of the pending storm and cannot find suitable shelter before it begins or the PCs buckle down early to avoid a storm that never comes. Either scenario results in a delay of 1d4 hours.

Nature (moderate DC)

You attempt to forage for food.

Success: The fresh meal does wonders for everyone’s morale and the PCs can get by with 1 less hour of rest.
Failure: The PCs consume something hazardous. Sick game, contaminated water, poisonous berries, etc. All PCs must make an Endurance check (easy DC) or become sick for 1d4 days. Sick characters loose two healing surges until they recover. A successful Heal check (hard DC) will cure the illness in 1 day.

Perception (hard DC)

You attempt to find a short cut.

Success: You notice a game trail that results in a short cut. The PCs can get by with 1 less hour of rest.
Failure: The game trail ends up taking you in the wrong direction. The time lost back tracking results in the lost of half a days travel.

Perception (easy DC, assist)

You see or hear signs of wild game.

Success: You provide a +2 circumstance bonus to the next Nature check made to forage for food.

Perception (easy DC, assist)

You see or hear signs of a pending storm.

Success: You provide a +2 circumstance bonus to the next Nature check made by a trained PC to predict the weather.

Perception (easy DC, assist)

You realize that some of the less experienced riders in the party are not faring well. Perhaps an experienced rider can provide some pointer to make the journey more comfortable. +2 to the next Athletics check.

Religion (hard DC)

You recall the location of a nearby church (active or abandoned). The church will provide the PCs with safe shelter for the night.

Success: You find the Church. All PCs can get by with 1 less hour of rest and will regain their maximum healing surges after an extended rest.
Failure: You are unable to find the church and have to spend another night camping in the open exposed to the elements. All PCs loose 1 healing surge until they take an extended rest in a real bed.

Stealth (easy DC, assist)

You try to move undetected towards wild game while hunting for food.

Success: You provide a +2 circumstance bonus to the next Nature check made to forage for food.
Failure: You are unable to remain silent and scare the game. The next Nature check made to forage for food suffers a -2 circumstance penalty.

Success

The PCs arrive at their intended destination on time or ahead of schedule or they overtake their quarry.

Failure

The PCs arrive too late to accomplish their primary goal or are overtaken by their persuers.

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