Slaying dragons and other beings is all well and fun, but sometimes your players want to take a step away from their job as murder hobos to do something less violent. Tabletop games include a lot of violence by their nature, but that’s not all they’re good for. An equally large part is the social aspect of the game. You know, the actual role playing. This can be handled by simply acting in character, so you could also add a challenge that doesn’t involve beheading someone. Well, most of the time at least. These challenges take the form of rolls. The success of these roles is determined by a character’s skill in all things, rather than skill in combat.
Challenge rolls are much like attack rolls, but the challenge tackled isn’t combat related. These rolls test each character’s skill. So how do we properly test the skill of our players? By designing challenges that are fun to overcome. These challenge rolls should be catered to your player group. It’s no fun watching a group of barbarians try to figure out a magical lock, or making a wizarding group push a boulder uphill. Analyze your group. Design your challenges in a way that gives each player a chance to shine. Give each batter a turn at the plate, and you’ll have yourself a home run of fun.
Multiple challenge rolls can also be rolled together into a challenge encounter. Much like an enemy requires several good blows to go down, scenarios need several challenges overcome before the bigger problem is solved. A classic way to implement challenge encounters is through the use of puzzles. When building dungeons, one doesn’t simply lock a door with a padlock. If they want their treasure safe, that treasure will be safe guarded by puzzles that stump our adventurers. Multiple challenges for multiple locks; that’s how a true dungeon is designed. Another good time to use a challenge encounter is when there is a mystery to solve. Clues need to be tracked down, witnesses need to be interrogated, and the culprit must be apprehended. Some great challenge encounters can last an entire session and make for a real fun time.
Not all problems have to be solved with steel. A lot of them can be overcome before your sword ever leaves its sheathe. By showing your players this through the use of challenge rolls, you can lessen the chance that they’ll go murder hobo all over your favorite npcs. They will start to appreciate the finer points of the game and everything will start to feel richer. It’s a rewarding experience, let me tell you. By adding challenge rolls, you can enrich the game for all of your players. When that game comes, keep those dice rolling high!
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