A skill challenge is a way to handle a non combat encounter and allows the players to use their characters skills to overcome obstacles. It can be used as a way to describe traveling, handling large social encounters, or events like a chase scene.
The GM will set a DC and the players must roll skill checks to beat the DC. A GM will choose a certain number of skill rolls needed to overcome the challenge. The resulting numbers of successes and failures defines the outcome of the challenge. More successes means the players have an easier time with the encounter, and more failures means a harder encounter.
When making a skill challenge check, no player can go twice in a row, and no player can use the skills already used, until at least 3 seperate skills have been used. A player must explain how that skill is used to overcome the challenge.
Standard DC for a moderate skill challenge is DC 13-15
A standard number of rolls is 3 or 5, choosing an odd number so there is always a tiebreaker.
Example traveling sc
5 rolls, DC 14
5 successes – beneficial encounter, merchant, ruin a treasure
4 successes – nothing, arrive on time
3 – easy encounter
2 – moderate encounter
1 – hard encounter