Category Archives: D&D fourth edition

Spinning a narrative around a skill challenge

(Part 5 of a series, which begins with Evolution of the skill challenge.) The Dungeon Master’s Guide 2’s example skill challenge shows the Dungeon Master responding to each success or failure in the traditional DM role─by telling the players what happens in the … Continue reading

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The Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 remakes the skill challenge

(Part 4 of a series, which begins with Evolution of the skill challenge.) Just a year after fourth edition’s debut, the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 upended the original skill challenge. The new material makes just one specific revision to the original rules: … Continue reading

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Speed factor, weapon armor class adjustments, and skill challenges

(Part 3 of a series, which begins with Evolution of the skill challenge.) The first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons included lots of rules that no one uses: weapon speed factor, weapon armor class adjustments. A little of that tradition lived … Continue reading

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The skill challenge: good intentions, half baked

(Part 2 of a series, which begins with Evolution of the skill challenge.) The forth edition rules make the encounter the central activity of the Dungeons & Dragons game. The Dungeon Master’s Guide says, “Encounters are the exciting part of … Continue reading

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Evolution of the skill challenge

When Dungeons & Dragons fourth edition came out, I found a lot to like, and one thing I hated: the skill challenge mechanic—not the underlying idea of giving non-combat activities center stage, but the rules framework of the original skill challenge. As … Continue reading

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Battle maps take over Dungeons & Dragons

Early versions of Dungeons & Dragons always included miniature rules for movement, range, area effects, and even for actions similar to attacks of opportunity. But I never witnessed those rules in action. They seemed to require miniatures. Collecting miniatures cost … Continue reading

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Two Problems that Provoked Bounded Accuracy

One of the key design features of D&D Next is something the designers call bounded accuracy. Bounded accuracy reins in the steady escalation of bonuses to checks and attacks that characters received in earlier editions. I love bounded accuracy. To … Continue reading

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