[D&D 4E] Making skill challenges fights over narrative control

edited October 2008 in Story Games
It's a pretty simple idea on the surface. Inspired by Houses of the Blooded and Inspectres (mostly HotB since that's what I've been reading), what would happen if you turned the pass/fail of a skill roll into win/lose narrative control. A success means the player can establish a fact. If the roll was to Intimidate a shop owner, then the player could say one fact the shop keeper told him, or something else entirely like "I get there to find his dead body, still warm."

Completing a skill challenge still has the same rules. 3 failures and it's over, or getting the necessary successes to beat it.

Now, there are some potential tweaks. Like not having the DC scale up, but letting players take a -5 for additional wagers (power to state additional facts). Providing "style" points for establishing facts that add complications, make things harder, or are just plain cool. But I'm mainly curious if anyone sees potential pitfalls that I'm missing in the basic idea of turning D&Ds success/fail into narrative control as far as skill rolls, and especially skill challenges go.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • Posted By: Alvin FrewerIf the roll was to Intimidate a shop owner, then the player could say [...] "I get there to find his dead body, still warm."
    Hmmmm. So why would character's skill in intimidating be a factor in determining the player's narrative control over things that don't have anything to do with intimidation?
  • Posted By: BenhimselfHmmmm. So why would character's skill in intimidating be a factor in determining the player's narrative control over things that don't have anything to do with intimidation?
    Good question. Like forms in IAWA or Virtues in HotB, skills could limit what you can do. Although that might make some skills, like Perception and Insight way more widely applicable than things like Athletics, Acrobatics, and Healing. Of course, seeing how important Wisdom is from Wick's liberal use in the book, maybe that's not a huge problem for Perception and Insight especially (since in straight D&D games they tend to get used a lot).

    The determining factor could be one of intention. Before you roll, you're fully intending to intimidate the shopkeeper. You might even think "If I succeed, I'm totally finding his corpse" but there's always the chance you won't succeed. This would allow things like making an Athletics roll to climb a wall, and upon success saying that before you get to the wall the city guard arrest you. In a sense, since you have narrative control, you can also say whether or not you fail at the task. And finding a dead body instead of a living person does mean you can't succeed at the task. The main difference is that as far as the Skill Challenge goes, even a narrated failure counts as a Success for the Challenge.
Sign In or Register to comment.