Skill Challenge: World Series

I know it’s a little late, but in honor of my team winning the World Series, I’ve crafted a skill challenge.  In the midst of crafting this challenge I finally got around to to reading the skill challenge of the DMG2. It’s really well written and I a must for any DM writing or customizing their own challenges. I’m a little annoyed at Wizards because this all should have been in the first DMG instead of their vague references to skill challenges. This chapter helped me significantly transform the skill challenge from just a little play on a theme to one I would actually want to play in, myself. I think having the characters participate in some sports would be an interesting way to get them involved in the world.

World series

a baseball game

The party is approached by Winterhaven Lieutenant Oren Thatchbeard. It seems the Fallcrest Gorgons are in town for a little friendly baseball competition against the Winterhaven Yetis in a best three game series. The Gorgons have a reputation for playing dirty. It’s suspected but unprovable that they are behind the sudden illness that has the Yetis down a number of players (equal to the number of party members). If only there was some way the party could help out and take their place and keep Winterhaven’s honor.

The Yetis will take any win they can get, but want to sweep the series. Every three successes means that the Yetis win a game, but any failure causes the Yetis to loose that particular game. The final game requires a 4th success: the succesess through the 11th in the challenge bring game to tied in the bottom of the 9th. The final check will get the one of the players a game-winning home run. Although broken up into three parts, this is not designed to be a “Progressive Challenge” because each part plays the same.

Level: Any.
Complexity: 4 (requires 10 successes before 3 failures).

Primary Skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Bluff,  Endurance, Insight, Intimidate, Perception.
Acrobatics (moderate DC by level) The character makes a diving catch, grabbing a short-hop for a double play. Or the character makes a leaping catch keeping a Gorgon’s ball from leaving the park. This skill can be used once per game.
Athletics (group roll, moderate DC by level) This represents basic batting, catching, and running. The whole party must make the check and it is successful if at least half the characters make it. This skill can be used once per game.
Bluff (moderate DC by level) The character has managed to set up a good set of signals and you catch the Gorgon’s batter off guard for a strike out. This can be used successfully twice before they catch on.
Endurance (group roll, moderate DC by level) Sometimes the best thing to do is just wear down the other team. Your pitcher stays strong and the Yetis destroy the relief pitcher. This roll can be used once per game.
Insight (hard DC by level) You catch a base-runner stealing or figure out that the opposing pitcher is going to throw a curveball over the plate and you smash one out of the park. This skill can be used to gain 4 successes in this challenge.
Intimidate (hard DC by level) The Gorgon’s are here to win, but you manage to stare them and get the crowd to chant “Gorgons suck” enough times that they start to crack. This can be used successfully twice before they catch on.
Perception (moderate DC by level) You catch on their signals, or notice the pitcher’s hands before the ball is thrown and get a good run-scoring hit. Or the characters catch some words of planning in the opponent’s dug out. This skill can be used once per game.
Special: A character can make a basic ranged attack with an improvised weapon against a hard DC for a success once per game. This represents that character doing a good job as pitcher. Failing this means the opponent takes the ball out of the park.

Secondary Skills: Arcana, Diplomacy, Nature, Stealth, Streetwise, Thievery
Arcana (hard DC by level) A character mage hands a ball just fair when it should have been foul. A moderate bluff or stealth check by the same character can be made first to make this check against a moderate DC instead. Failure means the umpires deliver a warning and all checks go up a difficulty class for the rest of that game, but a success counts as a success for the challenge. This can be done once per game until the character gets caught and warned.
Diplomacy (hard DC by level) You successfully convince an umpire to make a call in your way. Negate a failure or give another character +2 bonus to his next primary check.
Nature (easy DC by level) You notice how slippery the turf is and where it is uneven. Give a +2 bonus to Acrobatics or Perception check this game.
Stealth (moderate DC by level) The character is able to take a lead unnoticed by the opposing pitcher, get a +2 bonus to your next athletics check this game.
Streetwise (moderate DC by level) This has to be done before a game. You hear enough about the opposing players that you’re able to hand Lt Thatchbeard a scouting report. Grant a +2 to each player on any primary check, once per game.
Thievery (hard DC by level) Steal a base. Success means you get into scoring position and when you get batted in, it’s the winning run. Failure means you get caught and your out ends the game.

Success: For each successful game the part will win 1/3 of parcel’s worth of gp as a prize. Winning all three games means they are awarded a trophy (either an art item or a baseball-themed magic item) by Lt. Thatchbeard, and the party members gain fame and bonuses to social challenges while in Winterhaven.

Failure: Each failure ends the game, and the people in town have nothing nice to say about the characters for the rest of the day, or their stay if it they loose 2 or three games, and get a -2 to social checks.

It would be fun if failure means that a brawl erupts and the party has to fight the Gorgons. Turning a baseball team into a set of enemies with different abilities would be an interesting extension of this article. I’ll keep in mind for the future though. You have your brutes with bats, strikers with fast pitches, team manager leader, umpire controllers, etc.

I am going to be on holiday for the rest of the week. I have set a new article to be published here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5pm while I am out. I won’t be able to approve or respond to any comments in that time. Cheers and have a good American Thanksgiving.