By Skill Alone definitely has some sound advice, although a lot of it feels like I have read it before. I also feel the author is very limiting in his view of skill challenges - they are not only good for "crossroads" in the adventure, there are many other uses. The various (and quite detailed) examples of use of skill challenges are decent enough, but the DC's are very hard. Harder than the original WotC numbers. For example, a level 6 skill challenges with DC's at 20 and 28 will necessitate that players roll extremely high to make the skill challenge. At the end, we get some alternate uses of skills (some feel more alternate than others) and some new rituals, and one of them is definitely to be avoided. Rituals that give clear combat advantages/bonuses is a bad idea, since at higher level, they can be cast easily and without ever feeling the cost of the ritual. Overall, I think that if you have big trouble getting ideas on how to make skill challenges, this is a pretty useful product. If you do not "get" skill challenges, this won't do a big difference for you. If you are comfortable with skill challenges and use them already, there might only be a few good things to take from this product. On a completely unrelated note (and IANAL), I think that 3PP's should avoid using WotC IP (like Bane), just to be safe.
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