A multifaceted blog on RPGs

The Second Dwarven Gate, An Encounter And A Skill Challenge

In D&D 4E on January 31, 2009 at 1:47 am

The Dwarven Gate Puzzle seems to be a popular post, and not only because it was linked to by gnomestew (thanks guys!). So I thought I’d give you an update on the ongoing adventures of the heroes in the subterranean dwarven city of The Opal Mines. The city and adventure might deserve another post, but right now I’m going to focus on an encounter the characters had  with a second gate down in the mines. This gates was the entrance to the a temple built to an old insect god. On the way in towards the temple, they had been attacked by Kruthik (MM 170) and now they entered the actual temple grounds. Read on for the combined encounter and skill challenge of the second dwarven gate.

This gate was described as a hallway, four squares wide and ten squares across. On a successful Hard DC Perceptions check, a character would notice the slits in the walls on both sides, almost at the ceiling. Those who made the Perception check would be able to act in the ensuing surprise turn, as a portcullis rattled down behind them and another one in front of them, trapping them in the hallway. The encounter consisted of two Troglodyte Impalers (MM 252, reskinned as dwarves with arbalests, reskinning is your friend) and a skill challenge, Raising The Portcullis. In the skill challenge, each attempt at a skill was a standard action, the successes had to be alternating Medium DC Athletic checks to raise the portcullis and Medium DC Thievery checks to try to jam the mechanism so that it stayed open. Dungeoneering could give a +2 to Thievery. A total of eight successes were needed to raise the portcullis and in the mean time, the Impalers sat in their superior cover doing their favorite pastime of impaling the characters. When the characters had raised the portcullis enough, they could go prone and crawl under it, they could then run to the stairs in the room inside of the hallway and get to the impalers, engaging them in close combat.

I didn’t count failures in this Skill Challenge. Instead, with each failed roll a Kruthik Swarm minion (a monster I created using the excellent Monster Maker from asmor.com) crept and slithered from the cracks in the walls attacking the characters. The combination of a Skill Challenge and combat with failure leading to more minions attacking played out pretty successfully and this is definitely not the last time I’ll use skill challenge in combat. Do you have any experience combining combat and skill challenges?

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