You know, I’ve been trying to think of a way to make the Exploration Challenge work in the context of a dungeon, and I think I was trying to do too much, too quickly with the idea. I forget which thoughts entered my mind in what order, but something to do with Clue tokens gave me the idea for a multiple-Challenge dungeon crawl. Let me back up a little and explain a couple things first.

In Arkham Horror, the stirrings of Evil beyond the comprehension of man causes gates to other dimensions to open periodically, bringing terrifying monsters into the city of Arkham. If too many of these gates open, the Eldritch Abomination fully awakens and brings total destruction to Arkham. Often times, Arkham’s destruction is inevitable.

To fight back, the investigators defeat the creatures invading Arkham, gather Clues throughout the many locations, explore the other dimensions, close the gates, and seal them using the Clues they’ve uncovered. The odds are against the players (mathematically, if not thematically) but if they cooperate, they might save the day.

To break down the math, about one gate opens every three rounds. Assuming the monster that comes with the gate isn’t a problem, it takes two rounds to explore the Other World, and a third round to close it. It takes five Clue tokens to then seal the closed gate, assuming the skill check succeeded in closing it.

Now, I like the idea of an Exploration/Investigation Challenge, but it seemed to me that there was something missing from it. I figured that, comparable to Arkham Horror, the “closing” portion deserved its own Challenge, in addition to a standard exploration of a given location. Both Challenges could run simultaneously, at that.

It might look like this:

Complexity Two Challenge (six successes)
Primary Skill: Perception

Mystery Challenge (no, really)
Complexity One Challenge (four successes)
Primary Skill: Relevant Knowledge skill

The Mystery Challenge would be a “nested” Challenge, whose success may contribute to the success to the overall Challenge (Exploration/Investigation) but whose success is determined separately. It’s entirely possible to complete the exploration without solving the mystery, but it’s obviously worth more if you complete both of them.

Currently, I’m looking at the main Challenge (Exploration) as being the sort of thing you can’t really “fail” unless you decide to abandon it — for instance, it might become too costly to continue — but the nested Challenges can be hit-or-miss. It should be possible to nest Combat Challenges within an Exploration.

If you look at the whole thing as if it were in Arkham Horror, you can figure that the number of checks needed to explore and close a gate is equal to two, plus two per “encounter,” which is two for each round you’re in the Other World, plus the one in which you close the gate. To “seal” it, maybe you have to actually “succeed?”

I mean, let’s say that experience is awarded based on trying and eventually gaining enough successes to complete the Challenge. If you score a couple failures, it costs you something, probably healing surges. Nested Challenges can be failed though, and to properly seal the gate at the end, you have to pass the Nested Challenges.

I’m going to have to do some math and get back to you.