I’ve been puzzling over the idea of different kinds of Challenges that an adventurer or group of adventurers might attempt, and how they can be structured. Obviously, there are the few I’ve already devised, like the Combat, Negotiation, Creation/Construction, and the Camping/Traveling Challenges.

I think I finally figured out a pattern to them, and an idea of how to implement them across the board. First of all, I’m not really designing these Challenges for Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons anymore. There will inevitably be some crossover between the two, but I don’t want to waste time with Fifth Edition on the horizon.

In particular, I was addressing the idea of dungeon-crawling, or more generically, adventuring as its own Challenge. I’m going back and forth between “Exploration” and “Investigation,” and they both only sort of define the kind of Challenge I’m looking at. Ultimately, it will be a Perception Challenge that directly keys off the terrain itself.

That leaves me with the question of what the Camping/Travel Challenge is exactly supposed to represent. Really, it’s a Survival Challenge, whether it takes place in a town or settlement, or on the road, or in the wilderness. You’ll roll Survival, unless you’re specially enabled to replace Survival with Cultures in town.

I want to call the Survival Challenge an “Expedition” Challenge, because it involves looking for food, water, and work to support yourself in a place that distinctly isn’t home. Maybe your character isn’t necessarily an outsider in some places, but I haven’t really accounted for that in the rules yet. You’re generally assumed to be a traveler.

I have a list of twelve skills that I use: Academics, Athletics, Creation, Cultures, Deception, Discipline, Initiative, Intuition, Perception, Persuasion, Survival, and Theatrics. They’re designed for an ancient world, not a modern world or a medieval one like what Dungeons & Dragons uses. Things are simpler, rougher.

I have some vague ideas for what the other Challenges will be. I think Discipline and Initiative will serve as the basis for a couple tactical- and strategic-type Challenges. I think Deception will serve for a subterfuge, seduction, or infiltration Challenge. Academics for research, Cultures for law and trade, and Intuition for philosophy.

Eventually, I hope to cover a broad spectrum of Challenges for player characters, starting mostly from the top-down, but some systems will be more detailed in the beginning. Exploration and Combat will probably receive a lot of attention from the start, and I want to include lots of interesting details for “crafting.”

Lots of ideas. Lots of systems at work.