Skill Challenge: Find and Repair the Warforged Scout (Part 1)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on July 23, 2009

When a Warforged dies it isn’t always dead. This was especially true during the last war. Just because a Warforged was damaged and fell to the ground during combat didn’t necessarily mean that he was gone forever. It took time for living, breathing commanders to get used to the concept that some of their soldiers were constructs. When retreat was necessary and bodies were left behind on the battlefield, inactive Warforged were often abandoned along with the soon-to-be-rotting corpses. But in some cases the fallen Warforged could still be repaired, if only someone with the appropriate skills made the attempt.

The stories of the Warforged scout named Obsidian are well know and often repeated. Obsidian had an uncanny ability to infiltrate places no living scout could. His exploits have been told and retold since his untimely destruction during the final months of the war. However, new information leads some to believe that Obsidian was not completely destroyed and may in fact be repairable. If he is repaired, knowledge he possesses could be harmful to many nations if it comes to light.


Below are three possible ways to get the PCs to undertake this mission. These are only suggestions and DMs should feel free to come up with their own adventure hook if none of these suit the PCs in your adventuring party.

  • The PCs are hired by their former commanding officer. Obsidian was a scout for their side during the war. They are charged with finding Obsidian’s remains, repairing him as best they can and bringing him home. If the PCs served in the war, then this could be a favour called in by a friendly comrade or an order from an embittered commanding officer.
  • The PCs learn that members of a foreign army are searching for Obsidian’s remains. Should they discover Obsidian and repair him, they will gain access to the secrets he possesses. This could be both embarrassing and dangerous for the leaders of the PC’s homeland.
  • The PCs are approached by House Cannith and asked to recover Obsidian’s remains. His success as a scout was no accident, he was special and House Cannith wants him back. The PCs are given an item to compel Obsidian to obey when he’s reactivated. If any of the PCs posses the Mark of Making or are affiliated with House Cannith this task is not optional.

This skill challenge is presented in two parts. In part 1 the PCs need to find and gather Obsidian’s five primary components. In part 2 the PCs need to reactivate the inert Warforged. This can be run as two different skill challenges or one large skill challenge. The choice is left up to the DM.

Part 1 – Finding Obsidian’s Remains

The PCs are provided with a map and a rough location in which to begin searching. The battle in which Obsidian fell raged for days and covered a lot of ground. Their search may take hours or even days with no guarantee of success.

Obsidian’s body was broken into five pieces. Head, torso, right arm, left arm and lower extremities. In order to reactivate him the PC must find at least four components including the head. Any attempt to reactivate Obsidian without his head or with fewer than four components automatically fails. Any PC playing an Artificer or possessing the Mark of Making feat knows this automatically. A PC trained in Arcana knows this with an easy DC Arcana check.

The PCs need to make two successful skill checks before they find one of Obsidian’s components. As long as they keep making successful checks then they find another component after each success. If they incur a failure then they need to make two more successful checks before they begin locating additional components again. Obsidian’s torso is the first component found. His head is the third, fourth or fifth component found. The DM can choose when the head is found or the DM can roll 1d6 and on a 5 or 6 the PCs find the head.


3 PC level +0 (requires 8 successes before 3 failures)

The PCs earn full XP for part 1 of the skill challenge as long as they earn eight successes before three failures. If they find four of Obsidian’s components (including the head) with fewer than 8 successes then they also earn full XP.

If the PCs accumulate eight successes before finding all of Obsidian’s components they can choose to keep looking. They won’t earn any additional XP for part 1, nor will any new failures count against them. Failures from this point onward only mean that the PCs need to get two more successes before they discover another of Obsidian’s components.

Primary Skills

History, Nature, Perception, Stealth

Other Skills

Arcana, Insight, Streetwise

Arcana (moderate DC, assist)

A trained PC can use components from Obsidian as a divining rod. A successful check provides +2 to the next Perception or Nature check made to locate another one of Obsidian’s components. The PC gains a +1 bonus to Arcana for each component they touch while making the check (maximum +2).

History (moderate DC, maximum of 3 successes)

You know a great deal about the campaign in which Obsidian was destroyed. This may include the locations of camps, battlegrounds, victories and retreats. It is possible that a PC even participated in the battle himself.

Nature (hard DC, maximum of 2 successes)

The countryside has grown-over since the fighting stopped. The fields and ruined structures bare little resemblance to what they might have looked like years earlier. Your understanding of nature allows you to spot signs of debris hidden among the overgrowth.

Perception (moderate DC +2, maximum 4 successes)

Your keen eyes notice signs of gaps the fields. This may indicate that some sort of debris has prevented the tall grass from growing evenly.

As the wind shifts and the grass sways, you spot a glint of sunlight reflect off of something in the nearby field.

DM’s note: On the second failed attempt using Perception to find Obsidian’s remains the PCs instead find a piece of a different Warforged. This failure can be removed if a PC makes a moderate DC Arcana check, a moderate DC History check or a hard DC Insight check to realize or confirm whether or not this component belongs to Obsidian. If they fail to realize their mistake, Arcana checks made to locate Obsidian suffer a -5 penalty. Any PC who fails an Arcana check for this reason immediately realizes this is not a piece of Obsidian and the failure from the Perception check remains.

Stealth (moderate DC, maximum 2 successes)

You know how to think like a scout. You look for routes that someone trying to remain unseen might have taken during the battle.

Streetwise (easy DC, assist)

If the PCs decide to ask about the battle, the battleground or Obsidian before leaving the city on this mission they can easily find information that will make their task easier. A successful check leads the PCs to a war veteran who can provide additional details to their map. +2 to all Perception and Nature checks made to find Obsidian.


The PCs have recovered Obsidian’s head and at least three other components. They managed to accomplish this without running in to any other interested parties. Now they need to figure out how to put Obsidian back together and reactivate him. See Skill Challenge: Find and Repair the Warforged Scout (part 2) tomorrow at Dungeon’s Master.


If the PCs accumulate three failures before they find four components or the head, they are noticed by competing adventures. The DM can decide if it’s an ambush or if parley is possible.

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