I understand the 4E rules for skill challenges, including the revisions in DMG2. But when I read the "examples of play" it strikes me that the players in the examples are suspiciously good at picking actions and skills exactly as foreseen in the skill challenge as written.

If I start a skill challenge like any role-playing encounter with a description of a situation, and ask "what do you do?", I get answers that are not easy to fit into the rules corset of a skill challenge. For example shouting "help, thief!" to stop a thief instead of using a skill, or using a power (see also How do I work Powers into Skill Challenges?). Especially after some of the more obvious skills have been used up, I rarely get a player idea which in any way fits with the remaining skill checks demanded by the challenge.

I would like to learn how to run a skill-challenge without suppressing my players' creativity and forcing them to just roll dice. I thought I might improve my skill-challenge handling by reading/hearing/watching examples of real, well executed skill challenges. Are there any good examples of skill challenges in an actual play description, podcast, or video somewhere?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ fwiw, this is why many DMs drop Skill Challenges entirely. \$\endgroup\$
    – DampeS8N
    May 9, 2014 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The critical hit podcast had some pretty creative skill challenges back in their day. Haven't keep up though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cole
    May 9, 2014 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tobold do you have D&D Insider access? \$\endgroup\$ May 9, 2014 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've written two articles on Skill Challenges: bankuei.wordpress.com/2009/05/02/4e-skill-challenges-made-easy bankuei.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/… \$\endgroup\$
    – user9935
    May 9, 2014 at 17:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tobold Your question, as it's currently phrased, is only answerable with play recordings, and eliminates the possibility of someone describing based on their 4e sessions how they tend to work out, how they can be handled and what you can do about it as a player or as a GM, which could even be more useful than a podcast. It might be worthwhile opening the question up to those. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2014 at 1:18

1 Answer 1


I listen to a podcast called Critical Hit: A Major Spoilers Dungeons & Dragons podcast. They play 4e and they have a skill challenge about once every 3 episodes. It's good entertainment, very informative, and I certainly learned a lot about GMing Skill Challenges from it.


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