Well now. That was interesting. Tonight's game was short and sweet. It was a reorientation exercise and reminder of what had happened when we last played this campaign nearly a year ago. Towards the end of that, however, we were commissioned by Doodles (Providers of Business to Adventurers) to go and help out an old lady who had a problem on her farm.
We're good guys, we help out and naturally we set off. We found the farm and were greeted by a tough looking farm hand who wasn't about to let us in until he was convinced we weren't going to scare the old lady or laugh at her fears. Skill challenge! I'm a fan of this occasionally maligned feature of 4e. Done well, they provoke good role-play and a lot of lateral thinking - both of which were needed here.
You would think that a reasonable skill set would include diplomacy, streetwise and insight and you would be correct. Those were indeed the primary skills. That was when there was a communal intake of breath as we looked confidently at our character sheets and realised that only one of us was trained in streetwise, none of us were trained in diplomacy or insight and the highest Charisma score among us was 10. Panic ensued. Luckily we have a DM who is both forgiving and willing to listen to suggestions, however bizarre.
"Has he got a bad back or corns or something I can heal to help him be more receptive to us?"
"I can run around him for a really, really long time and demonstrate my unwillingness to give up?"
"I can tell him stories about other nasty things we've defeated to inspire confidence in us."
"I have a decent nature check - would flattering his farming skills help?"
We blundered on, narrowly making it with a few very lucky aid another rolls and a lot of rather poor rolls on the skills we elected to use for our primary checks. Twas ever thus. Even so, the glow of satisfaction on finally being allowed through the door to see one old lady equalled the thrill of winning some battles. D&D is sometimes very strange. But I love it.
EDIT: I just noticed that in the previous post I warned myself about disrespecting the dice. I should have kept my fingers off the keyboard. Most the really horrible rolls in that skill challenge were mine.