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'Skill-Challenge' is a term that has a specific meaning in certain systems, and until recently it was exclusively used in tandem with an appropriate system tag. However, a question has been posted asking about Savage Worlds using the tag, and this concerns me. The closest equivalent for a 'Skills Challenge' in Savage Worlds is 'Trait Test', and it feels wrong to use a tag with incorrect, and in my view confusing terminology.

Is there an issue here, and if so how should we resolve it?

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We should keep it, but keep it exclusive to D&D 4e.

  1. This is a useful tag for 4e players to search on, since there are a lot of problems with Skill Challenges (perceived or real) that create debate and questions. That's pretty much the only criteria we need for a tag to have value. So we should keep it.

  2. This term is exclusive to 4e. Though in theory the phrase "skill challenge" could be used to describe stuff in other games, in practice it is not. Since we name tags according to how the larger RPG community uses them, this tag should be exclusive to 4e and removed from non-4e questions it appears on. (And on that note, it should have its tag wiki fixed to reflect that exclusivity.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've proposed the tag wiki change, so hopefully it'll be sorted soon. \$\endgroup\$ – Dakeyras Jan 16 '14 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dakeyras Approved. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 16 '14 at 17:31
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As far as I know Skill Challenge is specific to D & D 4th edition. That's really narrow, one edition of one game probably does not need it's own tag for a specific mechanic. As D&D moves away from 4th edition this will be a more and more niche tag which also reduces its value.

I'd recommend removing it as a tag. A quick glance at the list of items tagged with it show only a handful of items that aren't 4e and many of the 4e questions have skill challenge in the question title so search should reveal them just fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ To the contrary: 4e's skill challenge system is something that people would search on. It's certainly a term that gets googled a lot, simply because there's a lot of supply and demand for discussions about skill challenges specifically. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 15 '14 at 23:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ If they search won't the title get the same result? \$\endgroup\$ – mirv120 Jan 16 '14 at 19:15
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I'm not sure as to why there is such an emphasis on locking out other systems from what is a descriptor about a rules mechanic that can span systems, if not specifically by "name".

I'd consider a D&D Skill Challenge's mechanics to be "a party of PCs perform tests of their choosing multiple times, and failure or success is determined by attainment of a certain amount of successes before a certain amount of failures" - this can be easily applied across other systems without any specific D&D requirement, so in terms of maintaining its rules mechanic meaning, it doesn't need to stay solely with D&D.

In Savage Worlds, if my hacker needed to hack a system actively defended by a security expert, I'd challenge their skills by trying to roll a better "knowledge: hacking" result, or if my rogue needed to sneak past a guard, I'd consider Stealthing past him while he tries to Notice me a challenge where we roll against our relevant skills. I know this might come down to semantics (I think the OP is mixed up between what a Trait Test is for and what his skills are for, for instance) but I'd appreciate as people may refer to such situations in such a way, not strictly staying true to how a system might word the term.

As I've hopefully demonstrated, there's two ways of looking at this that provide a requirement for the tag, where it is applicable across systems (regardless of how accurate they are to defined system names for such mechanics).

If I needed to see Skill Challenges within a system regardless of what I meant by a "Skill Challenge", I'd ensure my search included the relevant system tags, rather than wanting a tag (that could apply cross-system to any situation where skills are compared against each other or where skills are repeatedly rolled until a criteria is reached) specifically reserved for a given system, which seems like a close-minded approach.

Abstraction of a tag would then also help those who wanted inspiration from other systems, and don't necessarily find such inspiration in the one system they're using; you want help devising a D&D skill challenge, but the D&D posts aren't doing it for you? Find other systems' skill challenge-like situations with !

A slightly less helpful contribution would be to create system-specific skill challenge tags, and could be argued that if skill challenges in dnd-4e are so specifically reserved, the tag should instead be , but this would require editing of existing, incorrect tags.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, I'd never heard the phrase skill challenge before 4th edition D & D and I don't hear it used anywhere else. We can argue that technically the mechanic exists across many systems (and it does) but it's only called that for 4th ed. \$\endgroup\$ – mirv120 Jan 16 '14 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ The use you're describing is normally covered by the [skills] tag; adding 'challenge' to the word is redundant... unless you're talking about 4e, which has special mechanics for challenging skills. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 16 '14 at 22:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mirv120 I meant the use of the phrase informally, as in within a gaming group or a general conversation between roleplayers, rather than an official rulebook heading; I thought that intent was clear in my post. I guess it boils down to who you know; I've talked with people who have RP'd for over 30 years and they talked about skill challenges (as a term to mean something else) long before 4e was even thought about. \$\endgroup\$ – Ardavion Jan 17 '14 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I apologise if there is already a tag to cover skills in general and opposed skill checks/"incremental skill success/failure criteria" across systems, I'm not fully aware of all available tags. I'd stand by a more specific tag in that case, though, i.e. dnd-4e-skill-challenge since the rule/mechanic/concept for the tag is specific to dnd-4e, yet the tag itself is system-agnostic; I wasn't aware it exclusively referred to D&D until I googled it. Also, I'd typically search skills with an accompanying system tag to pare down any "unnecessary results" for my needs. \$\endgroup\$ – Ardavion Jan 17 '14 at 9:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ dnd-4e-skill-challenge isn't a good tag. I expect the question to be already tagged dnd-4e and either skill-challenge or whatever the tag for the generic skill challenge concept would be. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Jan 22 '14 at 17:25
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The description of the tag is (at the time of writing this answer):

This tag marks questions that involve the player character's skills and abilities being challenged by the GM in a non-combat way.

This does not have any system attached to it, and makes sense to be used for all systems.

Does it need to be system specific? I think not, a skill-challenge in D&D might be a specific type of conflict resolution, but the concept of a skill-challenge is universal.

I don't think there is an issue as it currently stands.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As someone who knows Savage Worlds but doesn't play or know the terminology for D&D, the skill-challenge tag has no meaning to me, and it would not occur to me to search for it in relation to Savage Worlds questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jan 14 '14 at 11:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Tag descriptions are usually made by some random user, not an authority. Appealing to non-existent authority doesn't work. "Skill Challenge" is a term that did not see print AFAIK until 4e made it a thing, and it still doesn't see print outside 4e AFAIK. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 15 '14 at 23:28

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