There is a breakdown here, I think, between big skill challenges and small skill challenges. So for big skill challenges, follow Gamefiend's direction in his All In The Cards post. For each skill challenge do the following:
- Outline the major challenge, in the example this is crossing a desert"
- Give some failures. In his example this involved loosing surges and time and equipment.
- Come up with some situations that represent the crossing, these are your cards and have primary and secondary skills.
Really this is standard how to run skill challenge stuff.
Off the top of my head, here’s another example.
Objective: Find the ritual used in the 3rd epoch of the rising of the star Aderean to bind the “King of Sighs and Tears.” By the wizards of the 14th Potentate of Pussiance from the texts found in the Library of Incolsolate Mourning.
Failures: Summon a demon, take more time, earn the enmity of a librarian
Card 1: Navigate the Bureaucracy
Primary Skill: Diplomacy
Secondary Skills: Arcane, Insight
Card 2: The Library is its own, scary ecosystem
Primary Skill: Nature
Secondary Skill: Dungeoneering, Arcane, Perception
The second post is a little different, and can be used for all skill resolutions. It's basically a back and forth to force folks to be more narrative. I recommend a token of some sort (maybe a big crystal) that starts in a neutral spot. The gamemaster starts with a negative narrative and pushes the rock towards the player (that’s your negative 2) the player than narrates how cool they are and moves the rock back to the neutral spot. Because I’m a nice gm I might allow them to move it towards me (getting a +2) if the table all enjoys it or I really like the idea/roleplaying.
So if I continue the above example, if the card turned over is “Navigate the Bureaucracy” I might say “The assistant head librarian in charge of visitor services brings out the paperwork, a large stack that requires a poetic composition in the style of the 2nd dynasty.” I move the stone, that’s a -2.
One of the players grins, and points out that they passed their exams in style and takes the brush and in an elegant hand writes a formal poem that alludes to the story of a recalcitrant librarian (sort of like our assistant) and the terrible things that happened to them when the King of Sighs and Tears last rose. She then roleplays a little bit of back and forth with the librarian, rather scarily. The table is appreciative so not only do they get the +2, they get an additional +2.