The Challenge of Skill Challenges
Skill challenges are one of many concepts that 4th Edition introduced to the Dungeons & Dragons game. As with any new tool in the game, a DM needs time, practice, and practical experience to master them. In many ways, the R&D department at Wizards of the Coast has undergone the same growing pains and learning experiences with skill challenges, much as DMs all over the world have. A new mechanic like the skill challenge system takes experienced DMs back to their first days behind the screen, learning mechanics on the fly and figuring out what works through hard-earned experience at the gaming table. If you've tried to design and run a skill challenge and had a bumpy ride, you're not alone.
This column aims to share with the typical D&D gamer what we at Wizards have learned about skill challenges. Judging by the Living Forgotten Realms adventures run at Gen Con and by multiple threads on the message boards, people have tons of questions about the rules and, more importantly, how to implement them.
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About the Author
Mike Mearls is the Lead Developer for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. His recent credits include H1: Keep on the Shadowfell and Player's Handbook II (v.3.5).