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reading some of the Published Adventures for 4e I've found some Skill Challenges to have some obscure elements, such as using Endurance to give a friend a +2 to the roll on their turn, or making an automatic fail with a skill in order to give an ally a bonus.

So it makes me wonder, how much are players supposed to know regarding skill challenges? I mean, I can't see them possibly getting to know that.

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Dungeon Master's Guide, pg. 74, Running a Skill Challenge

Begin by describing the situation and defining the challenge itself is not all that different from running a combat encounter[....] You describe the environment, listen to the players' responses, let them make their skill checks, and narrate the results. The skill challenge description outlines the skills that are useful for the the challenge and the results of using them.

However, it also classifies skills as primary and secondary skills and the example in the DMG indicates secondary skill effects that clearly aren't meant to be known.

pg. 75, Informing the Players

You can't start a skill challenge until the PCs know their role in it, and that means giving them a couple skills to start with. It might be as simple as saying, "You'll use Athletics checks to scale the cliffs, but be aware that a failed check might dislodge some rocks on those climbing below you." If the PCs are trying to sneak into the Wizard's college, tell the players, "Your magical disguises, the Bluff skill, and knowledge of the academic aspects of magic -- Arcana, in other words -- will be key in this challenge."

Therefore I'm fairly certain the primary skills are the only ones you're supposed to share. Primary skills are the "obvious choices" for completing the challenge. Secondary skills are the exceptions and may only be used once per character (at most). Per the DMG, though, you should allow your players to use any skill (even one you hadn't listed in your writeup, though at a higher difficulty) provided they come up with a way to apply it.

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4e is a full disclosure system.

4e is a tactical combat engine whose "fun" is focused on making good informed decisions. To make that possible, it assumes players have the information they'd need to make informed decisions. This is why every creature knows the consequences of any power used on it (Rules Compendium page 90); the mark mechanics are an excellent example of forcing "bad" choices, and would behave totally differently if a marked creature had to guess what kind of action the defender will penalise.

So if a mechanical option is available to a player, they should know about it upfront unless the GM has a really good reason for withholding it--whether it's reasonable for the player's character to know that thing or not.

The exception is when one mechanical option will unlock another, which is fairly common in skill challenges. In this case, the players get to know that there are obscured options and how to discover them. This shifts the tactical choices available to them by creating a sense of the unknown, but it still avoids the "You didn't ask" and "You have to guess" situations which 4e prefers to avoid. That is, when something is unknown, the method for discovering it is still made explicit. (For example, if a player wishes to learn the vulnerabilities of a monster he must make a DC 25 Knowledge check with the appropriate skill.)

(As an aside: 4e skill challenges as presented are not very robust. They require a great deal of customisation to be interesting and the maths underlying them are shaky at best. I suggest using an alternate skill challenge system designed by players. There are several to choose from. I used this one).

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