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So I've got a party of 6 who regularly will jump in automatically to 'Aid Another' when someone makes an individual, out-of-comabt skill check.

Perception the room for traps? Aid Another. History or Arcana on the musty old scroll? Aid Another.

Currently it's set at a static DC of 10 against a d20 roll, on a success it gives the person attempting the check a +2 per success, up to 4 successes (potential +8). Failures count as nothing.

It's while the PCs aren't under duress, they're not being attacked, there's no real pressure as such and so they can take their time doing so (or take 10 for the check).

I want to modify this to make it a bit more risky to attempt an aid another - failure to aid another on a religion check and your attempts at 'help' become confusing or distracting, resulting in less or even incorrect information being provided.

How do you all handle this as a DM? Do you punish failed rolls? Do you make the DC's for aid another higher? Do you only allow others trained in the skill try and help, but in tradeoff provide a larger bonus? Are there other ways of handling it?

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Players failing knowledge checks does not mean you lie to your players, simply they can't remember or can't seem to get the ritual quite right. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 16 at 13:12
    
@JoshuaAslanSmith: Do the rules say that? I regularly lie to my players... or at least misinformation, so they can't assume the opposite of what I tell them on a low roll. –  Mooing Duck Apr 16 at 18:08
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Knowledge check: "Failure: The creature doesn’t recall any pertinent information. The Dungeon Master might allow a new check if further information comes to light." Source: wizards.com/dndinsider/compendium/… –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 16 at 18:14
    
Now if they we're being bluffed by an npc and it was an opposed check w/insight then yeah lying is appropriate but that's about the only time. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 16 at 18:16

2 Answers 2

Aid Another is not broken...

That perception check example you give, its supposed to work that way 100 percent. Conceivably the players could also just stand in a room and continue to roll perception checks until they get a number they like. If the situation has no inherent danger punishing a failed skill roll should have no consequences.

A creature can affect a particular check only once using the aid another action. However, up to four creatures can use aid another to affect a single check. In certain circumstances, the DM might decide that only fewer than four creatures—or even no creatures—can try to aid a check. For instance, it is unlikely that more than one creature can assist in picking a lock.

From the Compendium all 5 of the other party members can't help at once and there are some guidelines for limiting it further due to physical necessity (you can't have 5 people trying to pick a lock at the same time, for example).

Also, in case you missed it, Aid Another's difficulty is:

DC: The assisting creature makes a skill check or an ability check against a DC equal to 10 + one-half its level.

Don't modify the core rules of Aid Another

At best a player can only add +2 if their role is successful and they could in fact make it harder by (-1) if they fail. Don't increase or decrease the bonuses. You can however restrict availability as you see fit and also dictate which skills or Stats are applicable to help out.

Create skill challenges & skill checks in combat that force different players to do different things at the same time

A classic example would be needing to close a portal to hell while hellish minions spew out of it. Anyone in the party can take a standard action to try to do an arcana check to start closing the gate, but then they aren't attacking. Likewise anyone who is aiding them is also loosing out on their standard action.

The pure skill challenge might consist of a situation where all of the PCs need to be doing something to solve the problem and their are real consequences on the line. Perhaps the inn caught fire and now they are trying to rescue everyone inside, have players take turns 1 at a time describing what they are doing to try to help and increment against them the effects of the fire as things get worse. Failure may mean they save one less person, take damage, or valuable items are lost to the flames, but helping someone else will cost you a turn in the skill challenge.

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Aid Another has actually been errata'ed to be more risky.

From the Compendium:

In some situations, creatures can work together to use a skill or an ability. A creature can help another make a skill check or an ability check by taking the aid another action. Given a choice, a group of adventurers should have the character who has the highest ability modifier or skill check modifier take the lead, while the other characters cooperate to provide assistance.

Aid Another Action: Standard action. When a creature takes this action, it chooses a target adjacent to it. DC: The assisting creature makes a skill check or an ability check against a DC equal to 10 + one-half its level. Success: The target gains a +2 bonus to the next check using the same skill or ability before the end of the assisting creature’s next turn. Failure: The target takes a -1 penalty to the next check using the same skill or ability before the end of the assisting creature’s next turn. This penalty represents the distraction or interference caused by the failed assistance.

A creature can affect a particular check only once using the aid another action. However, up to four creatures can use aid another to affect a single check. In certain circumstances, the DM might decide that only fewer than four creatures—or even no creatures—can try to aid a check. For instance, it is unlikely that more than one creature can assist in picking a lock.

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