Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving Skill Challenge, Let's Eat!

Let’s Eat – A Thanksgiving Skill Challenge

Given that in the United States Right now, everyone is preparing for their big Turkey day, getting ready to sit down with the family and fight over the biscuits and mashed potatoes, I feel a bit down. I am living in Japan, as most of you know, and right now, my Thanksgiving will probably be spent eating Ramen from a cup. Given my utter jealousy for all of you at this moment, you should fee happy that I have decided to write a little Thanksgiving Skill Challenge up for some 4e D&D. With that, let’s eat!


Note regarding level
This skill challenge is suited to any tier of play. All you need to do is adjust the DC’s to fit the level you are dealing with.

Once a year, each year, the King holds a massive banquet for adventurers and heroes at the Palace. This feast is in celebration of all their hard work for the kingdom throughout the year. The player’s may have done something good for this kingdom in the past, or they may be just wandering through, looking for something to do. Either way, they are generously given an invitation to the castle to take part in the festivities.

During the feast, the Players may be given an opportunity to get information out of the king or other nobles/adventures. They may also have the chance to earn some temporary increases to their stats for getting their fill – or, they may end up as a lethargic sleeping mess.

How does the challenge work?
This is a special type of skill challenge. It doesn’t use the traditional rules for skill challenges as presented in the DMG. However, it is very similar. During this challenge, the player’s have a chance to earn points with every success, which are tallied at the end of the challenge to find out how well the player did.

Part I – Taking their seats.
During the first part of the Skill challenge, the players must find their seats. They have the chance to use several different skills to get a better seat at the table.

Any player may use Diplomacy (DC – Hard) on the King in order to get a chance at a better seat at the main table. A success on this skill check earns the player 1 point. A failed result subtracts 1 point.

If the player sits down at the far end of the table, after having succeeded on a Diplomacy Check with the King, they are asked, by the King, to sit at his table. This earns the player an additional point.

If the player sits down next to the King, he or she will be asked to move, losing him or her one point.

A player may also use Bluff or Intimidate (DC – Medium) in order to get a better seat. Doing this grants a +2 Bonus during Part II of the Skill Challenge.

Part II – Getting a Good Whiff
Although a great feast has been prepared, some of the food is significantly better than the rest, some of it is almost on the same level as poison. There are several ways for the players to determine which food is good, and which food is filth.

All of the cooks are lined up near the wall of the hall in which the banquet is held, a player that passes an Insight Check (DC – Medium) notices that several of the Chefs look worried and some look very pleased when their creations are presented on the table. A success on this roll earns the player 1 point, a failed result subtracts 1 point.

The player’s may also attempt to discern through their senses which food is good and which food is bad – they can make a Nature check (DC – Easy), or a Perception check (DC – Medium), to determine which food is particularly bad. A success earns the player 1 point, a failed result subtracts 1 point.

Also, some of the food has been magically enchanted to taste better and be more nourishing. An arcane check (DC – Medium) grants 1 point on a success, but does not result in the loss of a point on a failure.

Part III – Get the Good Stuff
Once the players have all gotten a good look at the food, the King says a few words and then the feast begins. The Banquet is a massive brawl for the best food. Everyone wants to get as much as they can.

The Players can use Athletics, Acrobatics, or Stealth (DC – Easy) to try and get their hands on the best food. A Success here results in a +2 Bonus to all checks made in part 4.

Part IV – Eat until you drop
The final part of the skill challenge involves everyone eating until they literally pass out from all the food that they are taking in.

During this part, the player’s each take turns going around the table making endurance checks, which get progressively harder the longer they eat. The first round, the DC’s should be Easy, then, increase the DC’s every round. During the 3rd Round, the DC’s should be Medium, and by the 5th, they should be very hard. Each round that a player gets a success on an endurance check, he or she gains 1 Point. If a player fails an endurance check here, they lose 1 point and must make a save vs. lethargy (basically a death saving through, except that no player receives any kind of benefit to the roll i.e. a 10 or better saves). If you fail vs. lethargy, you go to sleep and lose 1 point and you may no longer make any rolls during the skill challenge, thus forcing the player to tally the score. A player may voluntarily stop eating at any time and tally their score.

Part V – “Never have I seen a more lethargic bunch of adventurers in my life!”
After all the players have either fallen asleep from lethargy, or chosen to stop making endurance rolls, the challenge ends and all the player’s scores are tallied. The challenge grants the following results.

Lethargic Curse –

Any player that fell asleep from eating in Part IV gains the lethargic curse which lasts until the player’s take their next extended rest. The lethargic curse incurs a -2 penalty to all athletics and acrobatics checks, a -2 penalty to initiative, a -1 penalty to speed, and if the character moves more than his or her speed in a single round i.e. through running or charging, than he or she must make a save or become weakened until the beginning of his or her next turn.

King’s Favor

Any character that was able to make 5 successful endurance checks during Part IV
gains favor with the king; the king offers to aid the player’s endeavors,
supplying them with weapon and armor from the royal armory (at market
price). The King will also grant information more freely to the
character’s if they seek it out.

Banquet Champion

If any player makes more than 5 Successes during Part IV, the player who made
the most successes during part IV is declared the champion over-eater of the
banquet (note: it does not matter if they gained the lethargic curse or
not). The Banquet Champion earns the King’s Favor, but also gains a Prize
of treasure and gold equal to the gold granted by one creature of the player’s
level (he is not forced to share this gold either). Also, the Banquet
Champion is given a year’s supply of trail rations inside a specially crafted –
“Belly of Holding” which is described below:

Belly of Holding Level 1 Wondrous Item, Rare
This stretched and tanned pig’s stomach is greasy, but it
smells really, really good.

This Belly of Holding acts as a lesser
version of the bag of holding. It can only hold food or other items which
are used to provide nourishment. Any item which does not fit this
description, which is deposited into the bag, is immediately vomited out and is
covered with yellowish-green slime. However, any food item which is stored
within it is kept in perfect condition and never goes bad. The belly can
hold an infinite amount of food and the bag’s weight never changes.

Benefits of Being a Great Big Over-Eater
The Benefits/Penalties of Eating at the Banquet can be found below and are based off of the number of points each player received during the feast. Each of these effects last until the player takes an extended rest.

0-1 Point -1 Penalty to Reflex, Lethargic Curse
2 Points -1 Penalty to Reflex, -2 Penalty to Athletics and Acrobatics Checks, -2 Initiative
3 Points -1 Penalty to Reflex
4 Points -1 Penalty to Reflex +1 Morale Bonus to Fortitude
5 Points -1 Penalty to Reflex +1 Morale Bonus to Fortitude and Will
6 Points +1 Morale Bonus to Fortitude and Will
7 Points +2 Morale Bonus to Fortitude and Will
8 Points +1 Morale Bonus to Attack, +2 Morale Bonus to Fortitude and Will
9 Points +2 Morale Bonus to Attack, +2 Morale Bonus to Fortitude and Will
10 Points +3 Morale Bonus to Attack, +3 Morale Bonus to Fortitude and Will, +3 Morale Bonus to all skill checks, +1 Action Pont, Temporary Hit Points equal to One Second Wind.


I hope you enjoyed this skill challenge. It was fun writing it. I can’t wait to run it myself. Stay tuned tomorrow for another world event – “The Astral Black Market Firesale”

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