A Dark Sun Skill Challenge: Crossing The Chasm

by Wimwick (Neil Ellis) on June 9, 2010

D&D Encounter season two kicks off tonight. Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you know that season two is set in newest 4e campaign setting Dark Sun, scheduled for released later this summer. With this in mind we’re bringing you our very first encounter set in Dark Sun. And this wouldn’t be Dungeon’s Master if it the encounter was anything but a skill challenge. The following encounter is intended for use within Dark Sun, but can easily be adapted to fit any campaign world.

Crossing The Chasm


Travelling through the wastes of Athas is a perilous proposition. Only prepared travellers even consider making the trek. It isn’t just the various monsters that can kill the unaware, but the harsh environment as well. Arcane magic has despoiled the landscape, twisting it and creating unexpected terrain to contend with.

Each round in this skill challenge incorporates approximately 10 minutes of game time as the PCs traverse the terrain. DMs may wish to include a minor combat encounter during the skill challenge if they would like to increase the difficulty and increase the tension.


5 PC level +0 (requires 12 successes before 3 failures).

Special: As the PCs attempt to cross the chasm the sun is beating down on them. The PCs are sweating profusely making their grip slippery and perspiration drips into their eyes obscuring their vision. Each round every PC is required to make an Endurance check (moderate DC) to overcome the adverse effects of the environment. Failing the check results in a -2 penalty to whatever action they take that round. These Endurance checks do not count as successes or failures towards the overall skill challenge.

Primary Skills

Athletics, Endurance, Nature, Perception

Athletics (moderate DC)

The PC uses their ability to jump and climb to traverse the chasm, allowing the party move across the terrain. This skill can be used a total of 4 times during the skill challenge.

Endurance (hard DC)

With the sun beating down on them, the PCs shrug off the effects of fatigue and continue on even though their mind is telling them to stop. This skill can be used a total of 6 times during the skill challenge.

Nature (easy DC)

The PCs can use their knowledge of natural terrain to pick the best route across the chasm. This skill can be used a total of 4 times during the skill challenge.

Perception (moderate DC)

The PC is aware of the intended destination, ensuring that the party doesn’t deviate to far off course while traversing the chasm. This skill can be used a total of 2 times during the skill challenge.

Secondary Skills

Acrobatics, Endurance, Heal

Acrobatics (hard DC)

As the PCs climb across the chasm it’s possible that at least one PC may slip and fall. A successful Acrobatics check will remove 1 failure sustained during the skill challenge.

Endurance (hard DC)

Sometimes you need to carry the entire party on your back if you aim to be successful. Not all of your companions are as tough and rugged as you. A successful Endurance check in this manner will remove the – 2 penalty that any 1 PC has incurred due to failing the mandatory Endurance check required each round.

Heal (hard DC)

You recognize the signs of fatigue in your companions. You can make a Heal check to relieve any pain they are experiencing. Use of Heal grants a +2 to the next Acrobatics, Athletics or Endurance check during the skill challenge.


The party has navigated the chasm successfully and continues with their journey.


You emerge on the other side of the chasm. However, finding the best route took you way off course. You’ve inadvertently added as much as a full day to your travels. Alternately, the party emerges in the middle of a monster’s den. Let the combat ensue.

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1 Kenneth McNay June 9, 2010 at 11:16 am

i’m going to be using this tonight for our session as the party must seek out the cave site of an older heroing group and must move through a wilderness challenge of travel and climbing.

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