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Skill Challenges in 5e
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Skill Challenges in 5e


Skill Challenges…

The 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons has its proponents and detractors, and I have no intention of rehashing edition wars here. Like most players and DMs who have played many (if not all) editions, 4e has its good points, however, and the skill challenge is arguably 4e’s best kept secret.  5th Edition doesn’t make use of them, and I cannot for the life of me understand why, except that 4e challenges don’t directly port over to 5e without modification. There’s math involved in 4e challenges (shocker) that doesn’t translate into 5e’s bounded accuracy.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them in your 5e game. You don’t need 4e’s math to balance them, for reasons which will become apparent.  

This book gives you the background and advice to make your skill challenges fun and engaging. And they add a great deal of spice to your existing 5th Edition D&D game!  So don't wait—give skill challenges a try at your table. 

Also by R P Davis:


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Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
Tim B April 17, 2019 5:03 pm UTC
Prolific Dungeon Masters Guild writer and editor R P Davis has released Skill Challenges in 5e as a conversion of the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition mechanic to the bounded accuracy of 5th edition. It comes complete with examples and a stat block of sorts. Looking for a structured system for handling complex investigations, challenging social interactions, or simply a way to measure the challenge difficulty of non-combat encounters to award experience points for something other than killing monsters? This is gonna be your jam.

Rating: Content 5/5 and Form 5/5

Read the full review here:
Customer avatar
ROBERT D April 17, 2019 5:30 pm UTC
Thanks, Tim!
Customer avatar
Tahu N February 11, 2019 5:06 pm UTC
Very few actual rules here - for someone who hasn't the foggiest what a skill challenge is, this is a good explanation. But anyone wanting actual guidelines on creating them (beyond a single chart showing that obviously more successes = a harder challenge), you're gonna have to look elsewhere.
Disappointing, but I guess I got what I paid for.
Customer avatar
Terry W February 07, 2019 1:26 pm UTC
Oh, man, thank you! Skill challenges were about the only mechanic I really liked from 4E, and was surprised they weren't included in 5! Good on ya for taking it into hand! I will be using this in my games for sure.
Customer avatar
Justin H January 31, 2019 8:42 pm UTC
Our show Crit Academy just got a hold of this beauty and did an entire episode on it. You can listen here! We truly believe 4e's skill challenges was one of the single best features to come from it. Robert has done a phenomenal job writing up this document to help DM's bring this powerful concept to 5e. This a 5 star product and must have for any 5e DM.

*Currently its not letting us leave a rating or a review.(maybe because of maintenance being done) We will sure to copy this over to the review section when it lets us.*
Customer avatar
ROBERT D February 01, 2019 8:44 am UTC
Thanks, Justin! That's high praise indeed!
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DJ M January 10, 2019 2:38 am UTC
Happy to see Skill Challenges from 4e get some 5e love.

The sample skill challenge you use is from my website Dungeon's Master. The reference link you've used in the product is wrong. Can you please update it and/or credit the author Neil Ellis.

Skill Challenge: Negotiations

Thank you.
Customer avatar
ROBERT D January 10, 2019 10:13 am UTC
Thank you for alerting me to this oversight. I'll make the correction as soon as I can.
Customer avatar
Frédérik R January 02, 2019 1:59 pm UTC
Very nice module! What's your advice on dealing with providing help (i.e. the Help action) during a skill challenge? Do you allow it in your games? Do you ask your players whose characters lend a helping hand to make a regular ability/skill check that will affect the outcome of the skill challenge instead?
Customer avatar
ROBERT D January 02, 2019 3:22 pm UTC
Thank you! Usually, the Help action is perfectly acceptable, provided the character using the Help action is proficient in the skill being references.
Customer avatar
Wheelercub L January 09, 2019 4:29 pm UTC
We regularly use Skill Challenges of various types and really enjoy the mechanic. At our table, first the team pics someone to make a skill challenge roll. Then in order to "help" that person, each player must state how they plan to do. The main guideline is that they can only use skills they're proficient in, class abilities, or spells first giving Advantage on the main roll, and then lowering the DC by 2 for every successful check (each person rolls their help action vs the same DC). This reinforces the choices players make when creating their characters. Plus the person making the roll can only use any given skill proficiency one time. So a 5/3 challenge would require different players to use their preferred skill proficiency (one might use stealth, another uses athletics, another uses history, etc) forcing them to get creative and take turns making rolls.

Separately, other skill challenges may be designed to allow a single player to use the same skill multiple times (i.e. a 10/3 stealth...See more
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on November 27, 2018.