So I will be putting my group through a final exam in their knight training. I wanted to have each trial in the exam based off of one of the six Dungeons and Dragons attributes.

I figured that Strength could be obviously a simple fight or something and that Charisma would be some sort of conversation encounter. Dexterity could be a series of obstacles or something.

How would you go about running Constitution, Intelligence, and Wisdom? I was thinking a puzzle or something for Intelligence and letting them make intelligence rolls for hints.

Thing is, I don't want to exclusively rely on simple skill checks for each encounter. How could you go about doing this?

I am sorry if this has been answered before and if it has, I would appreciate a link. Thank you for your time.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Miniman, SevenSidedDie, Wibbs, Purple Monkey, GMJoe Mar 23 '15 at 2:08

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Some things to think about:

  • Does the party have to win all of the challenges? If not, what are the consequences of losing?
  • Are the challenges for one character at a time?
  • Can they help each other?

These will help you design the difficulty of the encounter in a way that matches your objectives - if every character MUST succeed in ALL challenges, with no help, then you're going to want to make them easier than if the party can match challenges to characters and can get away with losing some of them.

Ideas for skill challenges

STR: Wrestling could be a better fit than fighting. I would allow Athletics rolls instead of straight STR checks. You could also cheat on this one by oiling yourself up to make yourself harder to pin.

DEX: Climbing something (Acrobatics) or evading falling objects (Acrobatics again). You could make this one a race and allow for clever planning of a route to influence the outcome.

CON: Enduring hardship such as frigid water, holding your hand over a candle flame, or holding your breath.

INT: Puzzles are hard to run. One I've used before is the "find the lightest stone" puzzle: Player is given 12 apparently identical stones, but one is hollow. How can they find that stone if they're given a balance scale but only allowed 3 measurements?

One solution: Compare 4 against another 4. If either group is lighter, the stone is in that one. If neither is, then it's in the remaining group of 4. Split the group of 4 into two pairs of stones, then compare the two in the lighter set against one another.

WIS: Detect lies (Insight) might work. You could link this one with the CHA challenge - the player gets conflicting advice on how to influence the target, and must decide which is the truth and which is a lie, with the result granting either Advantage or Disadvantage on the CHA check if used.

CHA: Persuade the judges that they're fit to be knights. Or deceive them, if they're not really fit.


Asking players to just roll ability checks is a bit boring. Make sure you give them some choices and consequences. Give them a safe path, a risky path with more rewards but greater chance of failure, and a really risky path with more rewards but a chance of knocking them out of the competition.

For example, a test of balance.

There is an obstacle course of balancing beams and ropes and nets in front of you. You must pass through under a certain time. The time it takes to complete the course is 30 seconds minus how much you pass the DEX (Acrobatics) check. There are 3 paths through the course. One path is reasonably safe, but slow (a DC 10 check); one path is a little more challenging (DC 15) but faster (your finishing time is 30 seconds minus twice the amount you pass the check); the third path is also challenging (DC 15) but extremely fast (30 seconds minus thrice the amount) but is dangerous (failing the roll causes damage which eliminates the player from the competition for the day).

For example, a test of stamina.

There is an underwater tunnel they must swim through. They can choose to take it safe and slow (requiring CON (Athletics) checks to represent holding their breath) or they can take it fast and dangerous (STR (Athletics) to represent trying to swim fast, failure means drowning, in addition to failing the challenge).


It might be possible to combine challenges and assign points for how well they fulfill each one. A certain number of points is necessary to be considered 'successful'. For example:

STR+INT: lift a stone onto a platform it is sitting next to. The stone is too heavy to use brute force, but there is a stick and a smaller stone to use a lever and a fulcrum. Or, depending on the technology level in your campaign something similar using pulleys.

DEX+CON: A foot race over a significant distance, but portions of the race is through slippery oil. Or, the old lumberjack challenge of standing on a log in floating water with someone else and trying to get them to fall off while you remain standing.

WIS+CHA: The player must make a morality decision (this man has stolen money to pay for his daughters medicine, should he live, die, be exiled, etc). Convince a group of judges/jurors of the decision. Or, the player is held captive by a large Ogre or other monster and must convince the creature to let him go or slip out of their lair. There could be several ways to do this, some borrowed from fantasy stories. For example, the player could try and get the creature drunk (if they are an Ogre) in a drinking contest.

It might also be possible to combine this idea with individual challenges.

INT: Riddles are a classic staple of fantasy so should fit the bill for nearly all INT challenges. You can find plenty with a google search so won't bother with that here. One challenging one is a dice game: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petals_Around_the_Rose

CHA: Try to tell a tale of heroism and might (it doesn't have to be true!) that is more entertaining than someone else. Another is to simply try and tell a good joke. If you think your players might struggle with this, let them know about it before-hand so they can think about it. You'll have to come up with some yourself as part of the 'opposition'

WIS: One classic conundrum is two children feuding over a cake and who should get the bigger slice of cake. Allow the first one to cut it and the second one to choose which piece they get is the typical solution.


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