June 4, 2010

4E Skill Use- Insight

In my current 4E sandbox I determined the players needed some way to gauge the strength of potential opponents before they actually engage them. In a sandbox the encounters are not placed with the level of the characters in mind so it is easy to be outmatched quickly if the players are not careful.
I decided on Insight because this is more than a simple Perception; it is more about coming to a conclusion after observation. The character watches an opponent, sees how they carry themselves; how self-confident they are, how they handle their weapons, how alert and on guard they seem.
This use of the skill is used when there is a chance for conflict in a standard encounter format. It is not meant to determine if a village of 100 orcs will be dangerous (they will be). This is more for determining if the party can handle the orc guards at the gate of the village or one of the patrols around the village.


Threat Assessment
Make an Insight roll to determine how dangerous a group of potential opponents could be.


Swordgleam said...

I like this idea. What would the DC be based on? It seems like if it's based on the encounter's power level, the party is most likely to fail in the worst possible situations. But I'm not sure what else you would use, besides some kind of static DC for everything.

I can also see players trained in Nature or Dungeoneering or Arcana wanting to use their monster knowledge checks to similar effect. Perhaps let them give a bonus to the insight check with a successful mosnter knowledge check? They might not know how tough this particular swamp thing is, but they do know that swamp things with orange ridges are probably older and the ones with yellow ridges are adolescents.

Callin said...

In hindsight having a static DC number based on the characters level vs the targets level would better serve the intent.

I chose Insight because it was about interpreting the information. Something similar could be done for the other skills you mentioned. Nature-"I remember in my youth the druid instructor mentioning that particular type of bear was highly dangerous and if I am remembering right, it will kick our butts!"

Tourq said...

I like the idea, and have used something similar in the past. Sometimes, I have flot-out said, "You guys are outclassed, and should not get into that fight." Other times I've said that it's a cakewalk. Mostly, I don't think this should get the players killed. Either they know the encounter level, or they don't. I don't think they should be able to mistake a deadly encounter for an easy one. I think that's how I typically go.