Salutations, nerds. We’re back with another set of five flash skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This time we’ll be tackling Nature, which covers quite a few things. Per usual the point here is not to send 5E D&D characters on some epic quest but instead to give them a momentary diversion for those moments in the game where they’re breezing through the adventure too fast and you need to slow things down, or when you have a player who keeps trying to roll a certain skill when you don’t have anything for it so you can give them a little spotlight. So, without further ado, Nature checks.
5E D&D Nature skill challenges
A local woman’s garden patch has started dying since her neighbor built a fence and started acting strangely. She suspects he’s practicing dark magic. A successful Intelligence (Nature) check reveals the plants aren’t getting enough sunlight because of the fence, and making it about a foot shorter solves the problem.
Use When. You want to display mounting paranoia in a community about dark magic.
Result of Failure. This depends on how bad it is but there’s a good chance this one ends in an unfortunate witch hunt.
Birds of a Feather
All of the birds in town flock to a certain spot around dawn. The people are suspicious of this activity but investigation of the soil and a high enough Intelligence (Nature) check reveals it’s just because there used to be a pig pen there and a lot of earthworms were attracted to the area. The birds are just gathering there because of the abundant food.
Use When. Like the above instance this one is good for when you want to display mounting paranoia in a community, but it’s also pretty good for instilling paranoia in characters if the patch of earth happens to be outside the inn where they’re staying.
Result of Failure. It’s pretty low stakes. Paranoia stays high. People might try to shoo the birds away.
A shopkeeper has an infestation of beetles in his store room he would like removed. They’re not particularly damaging anything but they do reproduce pretty quickly and no one wants to shop in a store with an infestation. A successful Intelligence (Nature) check reveals you can lure them out with cabbage. The grateful shopkeeper is more than happy to reward this removal with coin or an item from the shop.
Use When. You need characters to collect a MacGuffin item but they either don’t want to spend the coin or don’t have enough. Alternatively if they’re one of those groups who likes to roleplay though their shopping trips and you need something to break up the monotony of buying things.
Result of Failure. If they can’t figure out the cabbage trick they’ll probably try something else. Poison maybe, or you could make them a swarm of insects (beetles) or giant fire beetles and make it a combat encounter.
It’s The Berries
The party is on the road and needs something to eat. There’s a convenient field full of delicious looking berries and an Intelligence (Nature) check determines if they are poisonous.
Use When. You have a travel sequence going on and people are doing things like hunting and gathering.
Result of Failure. Depends on how dark you want to be. This could be anything from a case of the runs to fever and hallucination all the way to death saves.
Off to the Races
There’s a local dog racing track and one of the prized hounds has been acting unusual and isn’t moving as fast as it should be. The owner suspects she’s been poisoned. A successful Intelligence (Nature) check reveals she’s not poisoned, she’s just going to have puppies. This is still technically the rival team’s fault, but the dog, rather than its owner.
Use When. You need a quick diversion or something light hearted to break up a string of overly serious events. Or, you know, if one of the characters wants a puppy.
Result of Failure. It won’t take them long to find out the truth anyway so the stakes are a little bit low here but this one is low risk high reward. After all every party has the one player who always wants a pet. Not that I am this player or anything…ahem.
Alrighty, so that’s all I have for you today! Go forth and place Nature based skill challenge stumbling blocks into the paths of 5E D&D characters. As always if you try any of this please let me know in the comments below because no adventure plan survives first contact with the players. And of course, stay nerdy!