Students of Strixhaven EP 16 – The Silkball Playoffs

The episode continues with the party arriving at the Silkball stadium. The best way to describe Silkball is like a combination of dodgeball and lacrosse. For those interested, Ben and Michelle have created a set of rules for the game which you can download for free here, along with some game maps:

Here is a summary of the rules/gameplay:

  • Teams play to best of three game rounds, meaning a team must win at least two game rounds to win the game outright.
  • Players can win a game round by:
    • Getting all players of the opposing team ‘out’ (hitting them with a silkball); or
    • Scoring three goals in a game round
  • Attackers make an attack with their ‘Silkball Stick’, which is a weapon, so it allows a character to use their strength modifier. If the character is proficient in Silkball, they can also apply their proficiency modifier.
  • Defenders make an opposed Acrobatics check against the attacker’s attack roll to avoid getting hit by a silkball, winning ties.
    • If the defender beats the attacker and does not already have a silkball in their net, they can roll a 1d10. On a 9 or 10, the defender has caught the silkball in midair, and the attacker is out and must immediately leave the field. Rolling a 1-8 means the silkball has landed near the defender.
  • An attacker may shoot at the goal with a silkball, which is opposed by a goalie if one is present. If successful, up to two players on the attacker’s team may re-enter the field if they were previously ‘out’.
  • Roll modifiers apply depending on the distance between attacker and defender.

The field itself is 120 feet in length, with a dotted line at the half-way mark. On opposing ends of the fields, large posts are set up with freshly woven spider silk, which makes for the goal netting. Aurora, the fifth player for their upcoming game, approaches and asks them if they are ready. The party enter into a short training montage with Edolkar and Aurora showing Arth, Khorvus and Trix on how to use the ‘Silkball Sticks’.

Sometime later, Lerrv, the small goblin wizard, approaches along with his team. His team include Oldys, Shri, Tolfkin, and Malathion. Khorvus and Edolkar saunter up, trying to intimidate the group. Khorvus flexes, much to the delight of Nihal watching in the audience. Two large humanoids, made of metal, approach the groups and introduce themselves as One and Three, warforged beings that will be facilitating as referees for the game. Trix asks what happened to “Two”, and is stared at by Three. Trix knows that these constructs are native to the world of Eberron. As each group is directed to their sides of the field to start the game, they are asked for their team names. Lerrv indicates his team is the Witherbloom Wyrms. The party debate quickly on what to call themselves, and reply with: The Bow’s End Bashers.

The pre-game round initiative roll commences, which decides the first five players to receive a silkball from the field. For game round 1, this is: Aurora, Edolkar, Khorvus, Malathion and Shri. The players position themselves on the field, intermixing throughout their sides of the field. Arth chooses to stay in the goalie zone for their side, while Thofkin stays in the goalie zone on the opposing side.

Everyone re-rolls initiative to kick off the game. Aurora is up first and throws her silkball at Malathion, making a weapon-based attack with her Silkball Stick. Malathion dodges, and doesn’t get a chance to catch the ball as his net is already full. Oldys runs up, grabs the silkball which has just landed on their side, and throws the silkball at Aurora, getting her out. Trix moves forward, grabbing the same ball, and pegs it at Shri on the opposing side. Shri dodges, but doesn’t catch the ball as she also has a ball in her net. Khorvus approaches, throwing a ball at Malathion and gets him out. Shri scoops up a ball, and pegs it towards Trix. Trix dodges, but doesn’t catch it. Lerrv approaches, also throwing towards Trix, and gets her out. Thofkin stays in the goals, and chooses to Remain Vigilant, providing a defensive bonus at the next incoming goal attempt. Edolkar throws from a distance towards Shri. She catches it in midair, sending Edolkar out and bringing Malathion back in near the end of the field. With many members of his team now out, Arth spends his main action Remaining Vigilant, to defend against an incoming goal. As a bonus action he uses Call to Arms, and encourages Khorvus to take a shot at the goals on his next turn.

In the next turn order, everyone re-rolls initiative. Trix is out, so delays her turn until if she gets back in. Khorvus follows the recommendation by Arth and throws long to try and hit the goals. Even with the bonus from Arth, it is not enough to beat Thofkin. Fortunately, Thofkin doesn’t catch it and Khorvus remains in the game. Malathion sprints, finishing his turn closer to the middle of the field. Thofkin passes one of the nearby balls closer to his team, and chooses to Remain Vigilant. Oldys throws a silkball at Khorvus. Khorvus dodges, but doesn’t catch the ball. Lerrv also aims at Khorvus, and Khorvus dodges again, but he can’t quite catch it. Shri attempts a third shot from their team towards Khorvus, which hits and sends him off the field. This leaves just Arth remaining on the field for the Bow’s End Bashers. On his turn, Arth lines up and takes a goal-to-goal shot, which fails spectacularly. Somehow, Thofkin fails to catch it, keeping Arth in the game (for now).

Into the third round, Shri begins and tries for a shot at the goals. Arth defends, but misses his chance to catch the ball. Arth swoops in, grabbing the ball at his feet and tries for another goal-to-goal shot. To everyone’s surprise it lands and he scores a goal! Two players from the team are eligible to be brought back in, so Khorvus and Edolkar step back into the field. The silkball remains attached to the goals, and one of the warforged referees throws a new ball into the middle of the field. Malathion chooses to remain defensively on the field. Oldys runs in to grab the fresh silkball, remaining in the No Throw Zone. With no balls, Lerrv stands awaiting a volley. Edolkar and Khorvus positions themselves closer to the middle of the field.

Entering into the fourth round, Oldys steps out of the No Throw Zone, and pegs his silkball towards the goals, scoring successfully. This leaves this game round at 1:1 for goals. Edolkar steps forward, passes a ball to Khorvus and steps closer to the middle of the field to peg another ball at the goals. Thofkin catches the ball and sends Edolkar off to the sidelines. Khorvus runs forward with the silkball passed to him by Edolkar, and lands a hit on the goals, leaving the score at 2:1, in favour of the Bow’s End Bashers. Trix and Edolkar step back into the end of the field. Shri moves in, grabbing a fresh silkball from the No Throw Zone. She throws it at Khorvus and misses, but he doesn’t catch it in time. Arth grabs a nearby ball, passing it to Edolkar, and Remains Vigilant. Thofkin passes a silkball to Lerrv and Remains Vigilant. Lerrv throws a silkball at Khorvus, which he dodges but doesn’t catch. Trix, freshly into this round, steps forward and takes a shot at the goals. Thofkin isn’t quick enough, and she lands a hit, giving them third and final point they need to win this game round. The referees blow their whistles in unison, and the small crowd gathered in the stadium cheers the Bow’s End Bashers on as they regroup and take a short break.

During the break, Aurora congratulates the team on doing well. Khorvus tries to cast Bless to provide a bonus to a few members of the team, but draws the attention of one of the referees who approaches and checks for magic casting with Detect Magic. The party are able to bluff their way out of the situation, and Khorvus ends up blessing a jug of water instead. As a part of the bluff, Edolkar sculls the water, becoming the sole beneficiary of the spell.

The two teams prepare themselves on the field for the next game. Pre-round, they roll off and determine who gets the balls to start: Oldys, Thofkin, Lerrv, Aurora and Trix. The players position themselves before kick-off. Oldys starts, and hurls a silkball at Arth. He dodges, but doesn’t catch it. Aurora throws a ball at Thofkin and gets him out. Lerrv pegs a ball at Arth, and gets him out. Trix passes a ball to Aurora, grabs another ball, and throws it at Lerrv. Lerrv dodges, and doesn’t catch it. Shri aims at Trix, misses, but Trix misses the ball. Malathion stays in the goals and Remains Vigilant. Edolkar lines himself up in the goals, and uses Call to Arms to inspire Aurora to “hit someone holding a ball”, as well as using Remaining Vigilant.

In the next turn order, Trix grabs and passes a ball back to Khorvus. She moves, grabbing another ball and throws it at Shri. Shri dodges, but doesn’t catch it. Oldys grabs a silkball off the ground, aiming at Trix. She dodges, but doesn’t catch it. Lerrv moves towards the centre of the field, grabbing a ball and hurls it at Trix, but she fails to catch again. Shri tries another attempt towards Trix, and gets Trix out. Khorvus aims for the goal net, which skips past Malathion and hits the corner of the net, scoring one point for the Bow’s End Bashers in this game round. Trix and Arth are brought back into the field. Aurora hurls a ball at Shri, and gets her out. Edolkar steps forward, passes a ball to Trix, then moves back to the goal zone and Remains Vigilant. Malathion Remains Vigilant, and uses Call to Arms to encourage Lerrv to take a shot at the goals. Arth sprints into the field, grabbing a silkball from near the middle of the field.

Moving to another turn order, Trix passes a ball to Aurora. Malathion continues to Remain Vigilant, and maintain his previous encouragement to Lerrv. Arth comes in, and belts the ball at Lerrv. Lerrv sidesteps, but doesn’t catch it. Aurora attempts a goal shot, but fails. Malathion catches the ball and Aurora is sent to the sidelines. Khorvus sprints inward, grabs a ball, and runs back to further onto their side of the field. Oldys proceeds forward and targets a more stable target: Arth. He gets out and sent to the sidelines. Edolkar grabs a ball, then pegs it to the other side, landing a goal in one of the corners where Malathion can’t reach in time. Arth and Aurora step back into the field. For this game round, the Bow’s End Bashers lead with 2:0. Lerrv sees an opportunity given Edolkar did not remain vigilant, and shoots for the goal. He hits, bringing the score for this game round to 2:1, and bringing Shri and Thofkin back into the field and sprint closer to the middle.

Proceeding onwards, Malathion remains in the goals and Remains Vigilant. He shouts to Thofkin to hit Edolkar and get him out. Khorvus lines up a ball, and just misses, with Malathion swooping in and grabbing the ball in midair. Trix grabs a ball and passes it back to Arth. Aurora sprints, grabs a ball and finishes in the No Throw Zone. Thofkin grabs a ball and passes it to Shri. Arth hurls a ball at Lerrv and gets him out. As Lerrv begins to depart the field, he whispers something under his breath while looking at Arth. One of the referees notice, and shout that magic has been cast. Lerrv speaks privately with the warforged, who then announces Lerrv’s team has been penalised for trying to cast Deafness. Malathion rolls across his silkball to the party’s side of the field, and play resumes. Oldys grabs a ball and pegs it at Aurora, who gets out. Edolkar, who still has access to the Bless bonus, lines up a short to try for the game-winning goal. The ball flies through the air, with the crowd going quiet as they watch in anticipation. This quickly changes into cheers from the crowd as it lands in the goal and the Bow’s End Bashers win the game.

Most of the opposing team congratulate the party and shake hands. Lerrv however remains stubborn, and directs his posse to withdraw after a few hostile words. The referees, One and Three, approach, congratulating them on the win and record this in the College records. Darius, carrying Fleet, approaches and shares in celebrations. Jeremus, having mostly recovered from last night’s poisoning, wanders up to the group. He indicates he had arrived in time to watch the last few minutes, and praises Edolkar for his Silkball skills. Jeremus offers to purchase the first round of drinks at the Bow’s End tavern, and the party begin walking off the field.