Three Card Monte (CR 6)

Deus Ex  

The Setup:

The PC’s have made their way to civilization with all that it has to offer. That includes people that want to dupe unsuspecting adventurers out of their hard earned treasure. Alvise Isidoro is one of these people. He’s not out just to get the PC’s money, but anyone without sense enough to know that the game is rigged. The game is always rigged.

The PC’s are wandering into the glorious metropolis of Crimson, center of capitalist endeavor in this part of the world. Outside the gate there’s a commotion of whooping and hollering as they approach. A crowd has formed beside the gate and an attractive young woman is cheering while scooping up a handful of gold off a small table. As the group gets closer, they can see her put several handfuls of gold coins into her coin purse.

The young woman is Iviya Sarenya, an adventurous young swashbuckler, Alvise’s shill, and bodyguard. The money she’s scooping into her coin purse belongs to Alvise and most of the crowd know it. As people in the crowd start betting in her place, she counts her newly acquired money.

The game is easy. Someone places a bet on the table. Alvise shows three cards: the ace of clubs, the ace of spades, and the queen of hearts. Then he turns them over and rearranges them back and forth across the table, mixing them as he goes. He asks the bettor for which they think is the queen. Alvise turns over the cards, if the bettor has picked the correct card, he awards them double the bet (1 gold piece gets an additional gold, 2 gold pieces get an additional 2). As the PC’s watch, several of the crowd step up and take their chances.

The next game begins, repeating the process. The PC’s find they can follow the cards easily, a perception check DC 10 will tell them which card is the queen of hearts. The people from the crowd that bet, fail often. Why are they failing? The game seems easy. Because Alvise has paid them to lose, they’re paid a small amount to bet money he has given them to look like the game is fair.

If the pc’s watch for long enough without playing, Iviya steps forward to speak to anyone looking interested. “How do they lose?” she says with an accent. “Can they not see the cards in front of their faces?” Another player loses and she throws up her hands. “It’s always in the center when he scratches his ear, that’s his tell.” Sure enough, on the next bet Alvise scratches his ear and the queen appears in the center. This is a mislead, Alvise placed the card in the center so that the PC’s will trust Iviya.

When one of the characters step up to make a bet, the real game begins. Alvise is gruff and somewhat rude to the new player, luring the player into wanting to take the man’s money just to show him up. Alvise uses sleight of hand to deal the cards, and it’s virtually impossible to see his subtle movements from the PC’s side of the table. Alvise is a master at sleight of hand (+14 skill) and bluffing (+10 skill) and will use these abilities to control where the card ends up (the table and positioning gives Alvise a +5 circumstance bonus on his Sleight of hand raising the total bonus to +19). The betting character can attempt to figure out where the card is with an opposed perception roll.

When Alvise has taken enough of the characters money (10 gold pieces is enough) or things are starting to look tense, Iviya will call out that the city guards are coming and the whole crowd will scatter.

If someone wants to start trouble, Iviya is there immediately to protect her master and will defend him with force, stopping the attackers long enough for him to get away then fleeing herself.

Note: As a combat encounter this is not a CR 6. Alvise is not a combatant and will not stay around to fight. Iviya is a strong one on one opponent but will quickly be overwhelmed by a party of adventurers. As a skill and Roleplaying encounter, Alvise should provide a suitable foil to any party of around 5th or 6th level.

Download Three Card Monte CR6 (685 downloads)

The Bad Guys:

Alvise Isidoro, the Shuffler

Alvise Isidoro    CR 3

XP 800

Male human expert 5

CN Medium humanoid (human)

Init +3; Senses Perception +7


AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 (+3 Dex)

hp 20 (5d8)

Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +3


Speed 30 ft.


Str 9, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 11

Base Atk +3; CMB +2; CMD 15

Feats CosmopolitanAPG, Deceitful, Skill Focus (Sleight of Hand), Stealthy

Skills Acrobatics +11, Appraise +8, Bluff +10, Diplomacy +7, Disguise +9, Escape Artist +9, Knowledge (local) +9, Perception +7, Sense Motive +7, Sleight of Hand +14, Stealth +10

Languages Common, Dwarven

Other Gear gambler’s kit, 300 gp

Special Abilities

Iviya Sarenya

Iviya Sarenya    CR 4

XP 1,200

Female human swashbuckler 5 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Class Guide 56)

CN Medium humanoid (human)

Init +10; Senses Perception +6


AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge, +1 shield)

hp 35 (5d10+5)

Fort +1, Ref +8, Will +0

Defensive Abilities charmed life 3/day, nimble +1


Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)

Melee mwk rapier +12 (1d6+2/15-20+5 Precision)

Special Attacks deeds (derring-do, kip-up, menacing swordplay, opportune parry and riposte, precise strike, swashbuckler initiative), panache (3), swashbuckler weapon training +1


Str 13, Dex 18, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 12

Base Atk +5; CMB +6; CMD 21

Feats Defiant LuckARG, Extra PanacheACG, Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (rapier)

Skills Acrobatics +9 (+5 to jump), Bluff +9, Climb +3, Diplomacy +9, Escape Artist +9, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (local) +8, Perception +6, Ride +5, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +5, Swim +2

Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven

SQ dare (), swashbuckler finesse

Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (2), wound paste; Other Gear +1 leather armor, mwk buckler, mwk rapier, stubborn nail, backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, flint and steel, hemp rope (50 ft.), mess kit, pot, soap, torch (10), trail rations (5), waterskin, 141 gp

Special Abilities

Charmed Life +1 (3/day) (Ex) Choose to add Charisma bonus to save before roll is made.

Defiant Luck (1/day) Reroll a natural 1 on a save, or force a reroll of a critical hit confirmation roll.

Panache (Ex) Gain a pool of points that are spent to fuel deeds, regained on light/piercing crit/killing blow.

Quick Draw Draw weapon as a free action (or move if hidden weapon). Throw at full rate of attacks.

Swashbuckler Finesse At 1st level, a swashbuckler gains the benefits of the Weapon Finesse feat with light or one-handed piercing melee weapons, and she can use her Charisma score in place of Intelligence as a prerequisite for combat feats. This ability counts as having

Wound paste (5 uses) Target affected by stabilize spell.


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