This small scenario is designed for use with my game, A Wanderer's Romance, but could be easily adapted to suit other systems.
You need someone in a position of power who has something to offer that the characters desire. For our example we have an Emperor looking for someone to fill the position of island champion, a prestigious honour indeed. To succeed the challenger must defeat the current champion in the Emperor's Trial. This is split over three contests.
For the first round the Emperor will choose the contest. If you're short on ideas roll a d6. Listed after each type of contest are the skills that could be used within.
- Debating philosophical ideas- Religion/History (quoting others), Deception (bluffing) or Oratory (confidence in presenting ideas).
- A race to the top of a mountain - Survival (finding a shortcut), Athletics, Geography (knowing the best path).
- A drinking contest - Resist Toxins (not many other options for this one besides cheating!)
- Creating a work of art worthy of the Emperor - Poetry, Calligraphy, Cooking (if you can pass off a great dish as art)
- Hunting the largest stag in a nearby forest - Tracking, Archery, Storytelling (if you can exaggerate the tale of the catch it might sway things your way)
- An arm-wrestling contest - Athletics, Intimidation (with your face that close to your opponent it must come in handy)
The winner of this first contest will choose the nature of the second contest. The third contest will always be a duel to the death, but the location and time of the duel will be chosen by the winner of the second contest. Consider the option of allowing the victor to also choose the weapon to be used in the duel or set additional stipulations.
To save the rest of your group from missing out you could have the island champion instead be a group of champions, with the PCs entering as a team and choosing an entrant for each contest, with no one being allowed to compete twice.
Look forward to a new Use This every Sunday!