I'm supposed to run Core 1-9 for a local RPGA group tomorrow night, and the map for the skill challenge was so lame, I had to take a shot at it. I blew up GIMP a couple of times and had to start over, but I'm pretty happy with the result:
Most of my time was spent getting the crevasse to look right, like something to be afraid to fall into. The objects are courtesy of CSUAC. Background and technique courtesy of torstan's tutorial at newbiedm.com.
The skill challenge is a 4th Edition D&D mechanism. Some say its the death of roleplaying in 4e, some say its a way to include skill tests in your role/roll play. Essentially, you have a goal to achieve, and you have to achieve a certain number of successes, before you have three failures.
For example, in this skill challenge, the PC's have to achieve four successes before three failures.
Test 1- Just to get in this room they need to use Diplomacy or Atheltics to convince the Abbot of a temple of Oghma to let them take the test, "I'll rassle ya for it!"
Test 2 - Once on this map, the PC's enter lower right. They have to cross the ravine, but only one bridge works, so they use History or Arcana to figure which bridge is safe (its has to do with the history of a certain group of mages). The far side of the ravine is cloaked in powerful magic to prevent flying or teleporting.
Test 3 - Once across, they have to read the tablet and figure out which of the urns to place on the near pedestal, which takes Religion or History.
Test 4 - Moving the urn is quite painful, so that takes an Endurance check, in order to open the alcove.
In the alcove they find a scroll with some information they need.
Not all skill challenges are this short, some can cover days, others can be written to abstract mass combat, or chase scenes, or infiltrating a city, things like that. Failure comes with consequences that aren't completly win/lose, and so don't derail the game just because the players can't roll well.
PS. well, when I printed it, I didn't make the ravine dark enough. I'll be updating that in a couple of days, if anyone wants this map to run this module, send me a PM.