Skills Challenge (Void Ocean – Pathfinder)

This is the custom skills challenge numbers used on our podcast All Roads Tavern. These numbers are helpful in setting up special non-combat challenges. Like, chases, negotiations or long travel times.

Lvl     Easy    Average     Challenging     Hard        Epic
1        6        11            16           21          26
2        8        13            18           23          28
3       10        15            20           25          30
4       11        16            21           26          31
5       13        18            23           28          33
6       15        20            25           30          35
7       16        21            26           31          36
8       18        23            28           33          38
9       20        25            30           35          40
10      21        26            31           36          41
11      23        28            33           38          43
12      25        30            35           40          45
13      26        31            36           41          46
14      28        33            38           43          48
15      30        35            40           45          50
16      31        36            41           46          51
17      33        38            43           48          53
18      35        40            45           50          55
19      36        41            46           51          56
20      38        43            48           53          58

The Easy Average Challenging Hard and Epic descriptions are pulled from Paizo’s table on Designing an Encounter CR adjustments.  Not all game are created equal though.  If this is not challenging enough the formula I ended up using is (1.67 x APL) + 5 for the Easy path, and for every stage higher you just add 5.

What Characters can use –

You can use any skill, save or attack that your Character has.  Any bonuses from items, feats, or special abilities can be applied.  A Caster can use up a spell slot to give a bonus equal to the spell’s level, the spell’s effect is merely thematic.  The group can call upon a note worth NPC with the group (typically one important enough for their own character sheet) once per challenge to grant a single Hero Point.

A Skills Challenge is completed when the party has accumulated enough successes or failures.  The Number of successes or failures can vary, but typically the number of successes should equal about twice the number of PCs and the number of failures should equal half the number of PCs, rounded up.

All of this can of course vary, see below for examples from the show.

In Void Ocean #10 “If You Were Me, What Question Would You Ask?” the crew had to beat a Skills Challenge against a fish filled with luck.  In this instance, I put the DC up pretty high, removed the ending through failures, and changed the condition of success to be three successful rolls in a row.  I did this because it had a big impact on the feel of the Skills Challenge by making it literally a battle of luck.

In Void Ocean #13 “We’re Starting to Hallucinate” Stacey forgot her character sheet, making it rather hard to participate in the Skill Challenge.  So instead of having her own turn in the challenge, once per round, she could describe how she assisted someone, and grant them a Hero Point.  Doing the Skills Challenge this way allowed Stacey to participate and provided a nice boost to the party’s ability to achieve success.

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