Skill Challenge: The Waiting Game

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 7, 2009

The PCs are to rendezvous with an escaped prisoner and get him safely across the boarder.

This Skill Challenge can easily be adapted for any scenario where the PCs need to wait in hostile territory for the delivery of any item, person, hostage, etc.

Setup

The lord’s nephew was arrested on trumped up charges and imprisoned while visiting the neighboring country. He is to be executed as a political statement. The PCs are part of a coordinated escape plan. Their job is to meet the prisoner in a remote location and transport him safely and secretly across the nearby boarder.

The prison break is supposed to happen at sundown. The PCs have been instructed to get back across the boarder undetected by sunrise with or without out the prisoner.

At sundown, the DM should roll 2d4 to determine how many hours the PCs wait before the prisoner shows up. If the result is 8 then the escape attempt was unsuccessful. Do not inform the PCs if this happens. Let them decide what course of action to take at sunrise.

Complexity

4 PC level +2 (requires 10 successes before 3 failures).

Once 10 successes have been achieved, the PCs should receive full XP for successfully completing the skill challenge even if they rack up 3 subsequent failures before the prisoner arrives.

Primary Skills

Athletics, Bluff, Endurance, Heal, Intimidate, Nature, Perception, 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.

Group Checks

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

Stealth (hard DC)
Group check

Every hour spent waiting the PCs must make a group Stealth check to remain undetected.

  • One PC can make only 1 group check each hour (regardless of the skill).
  • One PC cannot make the same group check in two consecutive hours.
  • One PC can earn a maximum of 2 Stealth check successes towards the overall skill challenge.

Success: All PCs remain undetected.
Failure: The party is detected by a local resident or some form of threatening wildlife.

Endurance (hard DC)
Group check

Every hour spent waiting the PCs must make a group Endurance check (hard DC) to stay alert.

  • One PC can make only 1 group check each hour (regardless of the skill).
  • One PC cannot make the same group check in two consecutive hours.
  • One PC can earn a maximum of 2 Endurance check successes towards the overall skill challenge.

Success: All PCs remain alert.
Failure: All PCs must save or become fatigued (save ends). If successful they shrug off their inclination to sleep. If they fail then they start to nod off and suffer the following effects:

  • -2 to all skill checks
  • -1 to all defenses
  • -1 to all attacks

The PCs can save each hour if a successful group check is made. If engaged in combat then they can save each round.

The results of consecutive failures are cumulative. After three consecutive failures the PCs all fall asleep (and fail the skill challenge).

Individual Checks

Each PC can attempt to gain 1 success each hour through an individual check (normal assist rules apply).

Athletics (moderate DC)

Climbing atop a rock or a large tree gives you a better vantage point. You can spot approaching danger and the prisoner. +2 to Perception.

Athletics (moderate DC)

Once on the move, you are able to cover more ground more quickly.

Bluff (hard DC)

If discovered by any locals you come up with a convincing cover-story.

Note: If the party is discovered they can try to talk their way through things once using Bluff or Intimidate and achieve a maximum of 1 success between the two skills. If discovered a second time any attempt to talk results in an automatic failure.

Heal (easy DC)

The chily night air is affecting the PCs. A successful check allows you to render aid and counter these adverse effects.

Intimidate (moderate DC)

If discovered by any locals you come up with a convincing cover-story.

Note: If the party is discovered they can try to talk their way through things once using Bluff or Intimidate and achieve a maximum of 1 success between the two skills. If discovered a second time any attempt to talk results in an automatic failure.

Nature (moderate DC)

You find fresh water and edible plants.

Nature (easy DC, assist)

You find suitable places for the PCs to hide without disrupting the local animal population. +2 to Stealth.

Note: An assist can be attempted in this manner once before each group Stealth check.

Perception (moderate DC, maximum 2 successes)

You spot a potential danger or a really good hiding place.

Success

The prisoner reaches the PCs and they make for the boarder as quickly and quietly as possible.

Failure

The PCs are detected before the prisoner rendezvous with them and they are forced to improvise. They can travel deeper into foreign territory and try to intercept the prisoner or they can retreat.

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