Salutations nerds. We’re back again with another set of flash skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and this time we’re talking about Medicine. If you ask me this is one of the more neglected skills in 5E D&D since there are so many healing spells to cast. Of course a couple of these could be solved with a quick healing spell but the vast majority of them require an actual skill check and this is, in fact, the idea. The idea here is to give you a few small encounters based around a skill challenge you can drop into your 5E D&D game to slow the action down and give characters a chance to flex their skills they don’t get to use perhaps as often. Let’s get to it, shall we?
5E D&D Medicine skill challenges
The party finds an injured person on the street and no one else seems to want to help. This person has a rash up one arm and on part of their neck and it turns out those who might have aided them were concerned it might be catching. A successful Medicine check reveals it was an allergic reaction to the straw the person was sleeping in recently.
Use When. This one can be set up over time or dropped on the party suddenly. Mentioning this person a couple of times as part of the background as the party goes back and forth about their other business is one approach. The more you mention this person the more likely it is someone walks over to check it out and it will be the more satisfying for it because they’ll feel like they’re taking the initiative.
Result of Failure. This one is going to end up being trial and error. Give them other potential causes for the rash. Tell them it might be fleas or an early symptom of lycanthropy if the role is super low. Eventually they’ll find the real cause. An unchecked ailment can lead in lots of directions.
A child in town comes down with an ailment and can’t keep anything down. This has happened more than once to different children and sometimes repeating so it’s not an illness they’re building an immunity to. A successful Medicine check reveals it was food poisoning from a bad batch of beef that’s still in the inn’s stew. Pouring it out and starting over fixes the problem. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a terrific opportunity to put cooking utensils to work too!]
Use When. As with most of these, when you need something to slow you down or break up the monotony of a small town sequence.
Result of Failure. Maybe one of the adventurers eats the stew and has to make a Constitution saving throw.
A man was hanged in his tavern room. People suspect it was suicide but a successful Medicine check reveals defensive wounds on his hands and signs of a struggle, revealing it was, in fact, murder. He was sleeping with his traveling companion’s wife.
Use When. When isn’t an appropriate time for a murder most foul?
Result of Failure. The companion gets away with it. The stakes are pretty low for the party.
Making a Fuss
An NPC makes a fuss about having been stabbed by another character in a crowd. The motive isn’t important here — it could be anything. Political rivals, fighting over a lover or maybe someone was just hired to remove the man. The point is a successful Medicine check reveals the stab wound is three days old and not fresh. Ergo they were not stabbed just now and the accused probably didn’t do it.
Use When. Things are getting slow and you need a quick faff.
Result of Failure. Don’t be surprised if adventurers find a way to figure it out anyway, but an innocent person could potentially get carted off to jail.
There’s a person in the local tavern with a terribly obnoxious albeit harmless cough. It’s persistent. It goes on every time the adventurers are in there, sometimes over their conversations. A successful Medicine check reveals how to treat it and give the party some peace and quiet at the tavern.
Use When. You want something lighthearted to break up the tension a little bit.
Result of Failure. I hope you have fun coughing and interrupting your players.
And there go the Medicine checks. As always if you decide to implement any of these please let me know how it went in the comments below, and of course as always, stay nerdy! We recently started a Community Spotlight on our weekly Nerdarchy the Newsletter and we want to know what you’re up to around your gaming tables. Do you routinely diagnose illness and injury with Medicine skill challenges in your games? Did you find inspiration from one of our videos, website posts or products? Let us know! Comment on this post, tag us on social media or send us a message and share your stories and images. We love making all sorts of content for you and we want to hear about your adventures too. You get a special coupon for $9.99 when you sign up for the newsletter too. If you want to grab your own copy of this great mini you can grab a copy here.