Hi there fellow GMs!
This thread is primarily for IG GMs, if you're a player, it might be an idea to not read any further...
IG: Fire of Creation is quite vague on the gambling games offered at Silverdisk Hall. I can appreciate that word limits mean that Paizo can’t write out Numerian gambling without word blow-outs. But I’ve also seen a few queries from like-minded GMs who are wondering how to handle the gambling RP that takes in place in this fantastic genre-fusion adventure.
So I’d like to share the game I used for my own campaign. It seemed to work very smoothly, and although my players beat the house, it also offers a deal of risk as well. Presenting, “Torch Take-All”!
The game is essentially 21, otherwise known as blackjack. All players are actually playing blackjack against one another, but they are also playing against simulated NPC opponents. I limited the number of NPC opponents to four. If you go higher, the winnings pool will be substantially larger.
HERE'S HOW YOU PLAY:
0. The PC's are given 100 tokens by credit at the beginning, however give them the option to buy more tokens before the game starts if they want to risk even more.
1. Announce that the PCs are locked into the table for one round. One round equals five plays. Once the round is over they can cash out, however if they lose all their gold they must either buy more tokens or be thrown out of the establishment. PCs may not give tokens to their friends during a round. Nobody is allowed to show their cards to anyone else until the hands are revealed.
2. The table decides how much everyone has to bet if they want to play. I would recommend 20-50 gold per player. Everyone must match the amount (remember to include the NPC players!) The PCs get to decide this amount. If it is too much for them, they can sit out and not be involved in this play. You cannot sit out if the minimum bet of 10 gold is going ahead.
3. Deal two cards to each PC. They then get to check their cards.
4. Secretly roll a D10.
<Dice result of 1 to 4: NPCs hands have BLOWN!>
<5 – The NPCs highest score is 17 with two cards held>
<6 – 18 (two cards)>
<7 – 19 (two cards)>
<8 – 20 (two cards)>
<9 – 21 with two cards>
<10 – 21 with three cards>
5. Before the players have a chance to accept another card from the dealer, any PC with Sense Motive is allowed to make a check. Success means they get a sense of their NPC opposition and whether there is a 21 in play (a roll of 9 or 10) The DC becomes higher (DC25) if the amount bet is over 20 gold as the NPCs take more care to hide their emotions.
DC 20 - Either disappointment (blown), feigned confidence (17-19) or delight (20-21)
6. Once the sense motive checks are over, the PCs can then accept additional cards one at a time until everyone is either sitting, or blown.
7. Announce results! Of course, if you hold more cards, you beat someone who holds your score with less cards. If your results are still tied, both are declared the winners, and they split the pool. If everyone blows, the House takes the entire pool.
8. Shuffle the cards and start again!
Although this has worked well for me in-game, I’d be keen to amend it to increase the danger or include more skill usage.
I realise that this does not simulate a casino running at a profit. This is more to provide a simple, stream-lined gambling experience to the PCs.
Hope this helps!
Thanks, I like it. So, if they make their sense motive, then they get the disappointment/feigned confidence/delight information? What do you tell them if their fail their sense motive?
I spent quite a bit of time scouring the internet for games and it was hard to find much. Then my players didn't want to gamble. They did however talk to Garmen Ulreth for a bit (never understood why he offered them gold just to watch them gamble - seemed a little contrived)
Here are the games I found in my search. They were not posted with enough detail to actually play them, so I augmented them a bit. Not sure if they favor the players or the house. I also put my own comments in parentheses at the end)
Rules are as follows: Every one Ante's up a set amount (typically 1 to 5 coins) then rolls a D8 and records the number. Then a second round of Ante occurs. A second round of D8's are rolled and recorded.
At this point the players can either sit on their number or roll again with the goal to be the closest to BUT not exceed 15. Draws either split the pot in the case of player vs. player or the House wins draws. We normally didn't make the player ante for additional rolls beyond the 2nd but it makes sense to "buy" any extra rolls, alternatively you can just have a single bet for your entire round of rolls just like you would with blackjack.
Here's the catch... rolling a 1 kicks you out and you lose, just as if you had exceeded 15 (or 21 in Blackjack). The crowd normally crows out in either jubilation or regret "Dirty one eye!" if the loser doesn't already do it, with appropriate swear words for his ill luck. (hmm, maybe it would work better if everyone could see everyone else's rolls. After the first roll, you get to bet again/have to match other people's bets or drop out. If you roll a one, the house gets your money.)
Dice game that was most fun for everyone I found worked with two D6. If the number came up two even numbers, you got double your money back, if it came up two odd numbers, the 'dealer' got the pot. If it came up one odd one even, everyone got their money back for that round. (hmm, seems like a break-even sort of game)
Ante up. Roll 2 D20. Place your bets or fold. Maximum bet is 3x the ante. Each player rolls a 3rd dice - if the number is in between the highest and lowest number (house wins ties) then the player wins.
The game is started by everyone paying an ante. Then they secretly roll their D100 and keep the results hidden. The goal is to have the highest result. After everyone has rolled once they can choose to pay the ante again to roll again. After the second roll, everyone takes turns betting, staying, or folding. Only a set amount (normally the ante) can be bet each time, and the GM can alloy as many rounds of betting as he would like.
You can throw in bluff and sense motive checks if you want, but the information given by the GM (who can see the results) should never be more then "His number is higher/lower then yours."
My players weren't all that interested in the encounter but as it needed to get played out to introduce Garmen.
I did slots... basically the players roll 3 d6 and if all three line up on the same number they win that number in money back. So at 10gp a roll, three sixes nets you 60gp etc.
Thankfully my players weren't that interested in attempting to cheat the system. Though I did have one who did try, he was some kind of fate bard thing, I don't remember. He had some ability that allowed him fate points that he could adjust his die rolls. So I made it so if he spent a point he could adjust one of the three die up or down a number.
It was still heavily weighed in favor of the house and they quickly lost all the voucher money while Garmen watched them.