- The adventurers meet the lord of the local Dwarven stronghold. In gratitude for their assistance, he invites them to play a game of billiards . . . with a difference.
- The adventurers are invited into the local Dwarven stronghold. Long deserted, it has been recently “acquired” by a local thieves’ guild. The new lord of the stronghold is a powerful gnomish rogue named Jebwyn Laughingshadow. At this point in the campaign, the adventurers should have provided some assistance to Laughingshadow, either intentionally or unwittingly.
In gratitude for this assistance, whatever its form, Laughingshadow grants them an audience. When the adventurers are ushered into his presence, they are surprised to find him in a room with a billiard table in the center of the room. He is sitting on a tall, high-backed stool at the far end of the table. Some or all of the adventurers may not recognize the table for what it is, depending upon their background. However, the table is an exquisite example of its type: expensive wood with inlays of ebony, ivory, and precious metals. The cue sticks hanging on the wall are made from matching woods with mithral fittings. On the table itself are sixteen spheres — each one the size of a human’s fist and each one a different color — and a wooden triangle, which matches the table and the cue sticks.
- The gnome explains that the game is a reward for their recent assistance (possibly to the adventurers surprise and/or horror). They are to choose one representative who will play a game of eight-ball against Laughingshadow. He explains (if necessary) the rules to eight-ball. Each ball that the adventurer’s representative successfully shoots into a pocket, they may keep; if the adventurer wins the entire game, he also wins the cue ball and any other ball remaining in play on the table. Upon closer examination, each of the billiard balls is a different precious stone.*
1: Amber-500 gp (yellow)Logistically, the players and DM take turns “shooting.” The DM and the chosen Player should each roll a d20; the highest roll shoots first. Each “pocket” requires a touch attack against AC 25 and then a Dexterity check, DC 15 + the number of the ball the Player wishes to attempt to pocket. The 8 ball, of course, must be the final ball attempted. For a successful break, the first shooter must successfully go through this process with the DM rolling 1d8 to determine which ball has the potential of being pocketed. If the first shooter does not successfully pocket a ball, the attempt is duplicated by the second shooter.
2: Sapphire-1,000 gp (blue)
3: Jacinth-1.500 gp (red)
4: Oriental Amethyst-1,000 gp (purple)
5: Ruby-1,500 gp (orange)
6: Jade-500 gp (green)
7: Alexandrite-500 gp (brown)
8: Black Pearl-5,000 gp
9: Oriental Topaz-1,000 gp (yellow)
10: Star Sapphire-500 gp (blue)
11: Fire Opal-1,500 gp (red)
12: Black Sapphire-1,500 gp (purple)
13: Carnelian-500 gp (orange)
14: Emerald-1,000 gp (green)
15: Tourmaline-500 gp (brown)
Cue: White Pearl-5,000 gp
(1) The balls are grouped 1-7 and 9-15, just as if they were “solid and stripes.” The Chosen Player, and only the Player, may make an Appraise check of two balls prior to starting play. A shooter cannot choose a different group once play has started.
(2) Only one ball may be pocketed per turn; blame it on the friction and physics of the gemstones.
(3) The turn changes between shooters after each attempt regardless of the shooter’s success, or lack thereof.
(4) On each turn there is a 10% chance that the shooter accidentally sinks the 8 ball. If this happens, the game ends.
(5) The game is won by, of course, sinking balls one through seven, then sinking the 8 ball after “calling the pocket.” In order to successfully “call the pocket” the DM assigns a number 1-6 to each pocket, then rolls 1d6 to determine the winning pocket. If the shooter makes a successful attempt at pocketing the 8 ball, the shooter must then roll 1d30. Every six numbers on the d30 correspond to DM’s d6 roll: 1 through 5 = 1 (d6); 6-10 = 2 (d6); 11-15 = 3 (d6) and so forth.
The table and balls are enchanted. Any attempt to remove the balls from the surface of the table will cause the table and all balls to vanish, including balls already pocketed and won by the Player. Any threatening action or attack against Jebwyn Laughingshadow and he will speak an activating word, causing the table and all balls to vanish.
- Jebwyn Laughingshadow: Gnome Rogue 20; Chaotic Neutral; Init +5; AC 19 (+4 Greater Shadow Chain Shirt); 90 hp; Saves: Fort +7, Ref +17, Will +6; Speed 30 (Boots of Striding & Springing); Attack: Spear +19 (1d6+3 /x3) or Crossbow, light +23 (1d6=1/19-20 x2); Full Attack: Spear +19/14/9 (1d6+3 X3)
or Crossbow, light +21/21 (1d6+1 /19-20 X2) range 80; Base Attack/Grapple: 15/13; Abilities: Str 15, Dex 20; Con 13, Int 14, Wis 11, Chr 16; CR 20
*Much thanks to Jeff Rients and Jeff’s Gameblog for his listings of gems and precious stones, and suggestions for relative values (which values were adjusted slightly for the billiard balls).
This is the sixth of 26 adventures that I will be sharing over the month of September. They are designed for use with edition 3.5 of the world’s most popular fantasy RPG, although they can be easily dropped into any fantasy setting (or modern/sci-fi setting with a little work). These posts are a part of Asshat Paladin’s OSR Short Adventure Challenge , and utilize his Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Format.