Dungeons & Dragons Online

Start of Combat Intelligence Skill Checks

I realized in a response to a question on another post of mine I gave an example that has made my players feel that their intelligence skills mattered and discouraged looking up stat blocks for monsters.

When combat begins (or when a creature shows up if you use waves) have the players roll predetermined skills of either arcana, history, nature, or religion at a pre set DC. If the player passes, have them look at the monster stat block for thirty seconds to a minute. On their turn they can say a short sentence to help the party.

Were helmed horrors used during the last great war in your setting? Tell the players when they initially encounter it to roll arcana or history that way 1-to-2 players have a chance of knowing something. I've set staggered DCs where around a 14 the player checks for 30 seconds and around 19 they get a whole minute to look at the stats. These DCs could be adjusted depending on party composition and stats.

If a player passes you can add a few sentences of flavor for why their character knows this. Did the fighter with a soldier background pass as a history check, describe that they've encountered this before during the war and how they saw an entire unit crumble before it. Did the wizard with the sage background fail the arcana check, were the documents erased from the archives or did they sleep through that lesson? If they got close, is it right on the tip of their tongue?

Read more:  Am I a victim of a bad DM?

Not every encounter or monster should have this treatment, save it for the mini boss or big bad on this section of the campaign. If you have a custom stat block, save it so players can look at it, or tell the party it is beyond comprehension and something unnatural.

This has helped prompt roll play, world questions, and resolved a certain someone from looking up stats ahead of time. Most importantly, it has made my players who picked intelligence skills feel that they matter a little more. Many have likely seen XP to Level 3's intelligence video and how the stat feels underwhelming. This was my partial answer to it.

Source: reddit.com

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