Skill contests – a damn fine example of play

Hello all! Following up on the description of the new skill system, I thought it best to put together an example tying it all together. If you need a refresher on the mechanics, you can go here first.

Dwyrion the Dwarf (race) is a Foppish Noble (background), and he’s also a Rogue (class). Dwyrion, confident that he can extricate himself from any danger with his intellect and charm, has decided to slip away from his bodyguards and take a stroll through the site of an ancient battle. This has rapidly proved to be a mistake, as almost immediately, he is accosted by a hill tribe that has come to scavenge metal from the corpses of long-dead soldiers. Acutely aware that he can’t fight his way free, Dwyrion decides that the best course of action is to talk his way to safety.

With that, a Skill Contest begins.

Because this is a social challenge, Dwyrion’s relevant attribute is his Presence, which has a score of 1. He, like all heroes, has the basic Skill Action Tenacity. His Foppish Noble background grants him the actions Noble’s Gambit and Do You Know Who I Am? Finally, his Rogue class provides him Always A Contingency. Dwyrion’s running short in Influences, which are used to modify Skill Checks – he only has two Research remaining, no Inventory, and no Contacts.


This is a moderate contest, and so Dwyrion is faced with 1 Obstacle and 2 boosters, in addition to a contest modifier. The modifier is revealed: Repercussions. All of the GM’s actions in this contest will be increased by 1. The Obstacle and its two boosters remain concealed.


To begin the contest, Dwyrion and the GM roll the Tier Die – at the Adventurer Tier, this is 1d6. Dwyrion’s die comes up 4; the GM’s a 5. The Dwarf doesn’t like his odds. Contests are won and lost on their action scores, and even with his high roll on the Tier Die, with the difficulty of the contest being so high, there’s a chance that the Hill Tribe will ignore his pleas and feast on his bones.

The best start our Dwarf can manage now is an Action Score of 7 (combining his roll of 4 with Noble’s Gambit Action Score of 2 and his Presence of 1). Dwyrion acts first, as he’s the one who initiated the contest. He opens with Noble’s Gambit. Dwyrion decides to capitalize on Gambit’s bonus and spend Influence to boost his score even higher; he spends 1 Research Influence (Research may only be spent when playing an Action, and is replenished when taking a Long Rest, to the tune of 2 + Wit), increasing his Action Score to 8.

The GM chooses a response, in this case of the Wrinkle type, which can be played to counter a Skill Attack. The GM’s Action Score is a 10 (5 from the roll, 4 from the Enough Words Wrinkle, and 1 from the Repercussion effect), which is two higher than Dwyrion’s. Because his Gambit is trumped, Dwyrion crosses off the Research he used in his opening, and then loses one additional point. He has no remaining Influence.


The Dwarf begins to sweat. He’s only got one Skill Action that can be used to counter the Wrinkle, his Do You Know Who I Am? Interrupt. Even then, his Action Score is insufficient: combining the Action Score of 8 (4 from his roll, 3 from the Interrupt, and 1 from his Presence Score). Dwyrion plays the Interrupt, resigned to his fate. Though he’s to be killed, cooked, and eaten by the Tribesmen, he’ll at least go to the light knowing that he’s not large enough to feed the whole tribe.


The GM reminds Dwyrion that this is a social contest. The effect of the Interrupt triggers, and Dwyrion is able to re-roll his Tier Die for this challenge. Because he rolls with Advantage, Dwyrion gets to roll a d8, rather than a d6. Dwryion makes a plea to the gods, and then the die is cast. A seven! His new Action Score is 11. (7 from the roll, 3 from the Interrupt, 1 from Presence). The GM’s second booster is unable to counter a Skill Interrupt, and the contest concludes.

Dwyrion the Dwarf is safe, for now.

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