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My D&D party will be going to a town with a festival in it. Generally during festivals there may be some games that are going on, kind of like small carnival type games or "mini games", ones that also may be of chance or just showing off some skill.

I'd like to come up with some skill challenges for the group based off a variety of these types of games. Something simple that lets the group use skills outside of a dangerous situation and in a more fun environment.

Is there a list or already created encounters for such types of games in a book or pregenerated session? I don't want them to be anything super complicated, something just easy to do for the party to have fun with for a short bit.

While I'm looking for some that specifically use the D&D 4E skills for my situation I can also easily adapt them from another system so answers do not need to have 4E specifically in mind.

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Not sure if I should request this question to be broadened, or if I should post a whole new question, but I'd be interested in similar answers for Pathfinder/3.5. I'd also be interested in what sort of games of chance/skill were in historical festivals. –  Pulsehead Jun 13 '12 at 17:31
If you have a DDI account, I ran this (wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/duad/20100317) with my group and they loved it. It's a race from one side of a city to the other. –  madrius Jun 13 '12 at 17:32
@Pulsehead Give it a day or two to see what the answers here look like. If it doesn't solve it for you, post the question specific to your needs. If you're in a time crunch, skip to the posting your own question bit. –  AceCalhoon Jun 13 '12 at 17:34
@Pulsehead I was hoping to keep the question D&D system agnostic. I think though that even if it's 4E skills mentioned they could easily be swapped with a Pathfinder/3.5 equivalent. –  The Jug Jun 13 '12 at 17:52
Just so everyone answering has fair warning: imma downvote everything that is not an already-created list, because the question is very specific about that. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 13 '12 at 18:25

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #325, "Unusual Customs and Festivals" is full of things that could easily be turned into skill challenges.

Why have yet another footrace or archery contest when you can have a rousing Cheese Rolling contest, a longboat-pulling contest, or an all-village game of Bottle Kicking from here to the next village after the ceremonial Hare Pie Scramble?

As a bonus, the festivals and customs are all real-world examples, despite the oddness of them. For more inspiration you can look up their actual history; for example: Cheese Rolling (Wikipedia).

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I also wanted to point to Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns based on its description, but it's a $10 PDF and I haven't tried it so I can't personally speak to its usefulness for this purpose. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 13 '12 at 18:21

Archery is always a good one that is easy for a GM to run. Make the target a bullseye with concentric rings. Make the rings to the bullseye high challenge ratings (CRs) with the bullseye being the highest. Each round the archers get 3-5 arrows. Bullseye is top points and points declining as rings move out. 3-5 shots and add up the points. You can do round robbin or elimination. For higher level characters make the challenge ratings higher by making the target further away. And make the challengers tougher. For a gambling aspect have the PCs have to put money in the pot to enter.

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Come to think of it you can also do a hatchet toss in a similar method for those characters that have thron weapons. –  MattKor Jun 13 '12 at 19:47

This seems like a good community wiki question with one answer that has any new ideas added to it through edits.

I'll start the answer with this suggestion:

A drinking game where they all put money into a pot and each gets a mug of sludge from a fish tank that hasn't been cleaned. There can even be some dead fish in the tank. They have to beat a 15+ (Or higher, you set it) constitution or fortitude check to keep the toxic water down. If they win they get the pot, if they don't, they get sickened for an hour or so and the house keeps it.

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This exact game is part of the Pathfinder First Adventure Path - Rise of the RuneLords - Burnt Offerings. It takes place in a local Sandpoint tavern called the HagFish - named after the pet hagfish that lives in a murky tank.The challenge it to drink the tank water. If you survive you get the coin held in a dirty sock hanging near the tank. –  MattKor Jun 13 '12 at 19:36
@MattKor Yes, that's it exactly! –  Kalamane Jun 13 '12 at 19:56

All old school carnivals have the hammer strength test. You swing a hammer that hits a lever pushing a weight up a pole with the goal of ringing a bell at the top.

This isn't that interesting in its self, but some strong man could taunt the biggest looking player into a competition. Then you could do a challenge strength check vs his the other PCs could help or hinder with there own Taunts/Intimidation/Diplomacy

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