Skill Challenge: “X” Marks the Spot

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 9, 2009

The PCs acquire an old treasure map. They are determined to find the lost treasure. However, the map is really old and it’s quit difficult to read.


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

  • A retired adventurer, unable to leave home due to age or injury, hires the PCs to recover a buried item depicted on his old treasure map.
  • The PCs find a treasure map and uncover enough information to believe it’s the real deal.
  • The PCs are competing with another group of adventures to locate a lost artifact. The PCs have acquired a treasure map which they believe will lead them to the item first.


3 PC level +1 (requires 8 successes before 3 failures).

Primary Skills

Arcana, Diplomacy, History, Nature, Perception, Streetwise

  • 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.

Secondary Skills


Arcana (moderate DC)

Some of the writing and markings on the map are magical in nature. You are able to decipher some details identifying an important landmark.

Diplomacy (moderate DC, maximum 2 successes)

You make friends with some of the locals and they share stories of thier adventuring days. Some of their details provide clues to deciphering the map.

History (moderate DC, maximum 2 successes)

Your knowledge of this geographic area and its history give you insight into numerous landmarks and structures depicted on the map.

Insight (hard DC, assist)

An off-hand comment sparks an epiphany. Suddenly you look at the map with a different mind-set and you have a moment of clarity. The gibberish makes sense and you can identify some of the details on the map. +2 to your next check.

Nature (easy DC, maximum 2 successes)

You are able to identify natural landmarks depicted on the map.

Perception (hard DC, maximum 2 successes)

You recognize an important structure or landmark on the map that still exists today.

Streetwise (moderate DC)

You find an expert on ancient maps/cartography. He is able to decipher many of the symbols and details. +2 to you next check.


The PCs decipher the map and know where the item is buried. They arrive at the site before any other interested parties.


By the time the PCs decipher the map, someone else has already beaten them to the treasure. Now they have to figure out how to handle the competition and recover the item.

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