Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gambling In RPGs: Wild West

Card playing and gambling were a mainstay in any western milieu so I wanted to make that a quick and simple option in my upcoming campaign.  However, after looking around the interwebs I was unable to find a satisfactory solution.  I wanted to keep the gambling in-game, quick and not side-track from the reason we all gathered in the first place, to role-play some wild west action and not sit around playing cards.  This is based on using Go Fer Yer Guns! but should be adaptable to any other RPG.

So here is what I came up with...

I'm basing the gambling 'mini-game' on Poker Dice but since this is being planned for a western style game I've switched the dice to playing cards; 9, 10, J, Q, K, A of all four suites as well as added a few additional elements. Since one of the hands in Poker Dice is 5 of a kind, I've added the two Jokers as wild cards. Thus 26 cards, 4 short of the 30 options in Poker Dice but I think that will work fine.

This 'mini-game' scene represents the entire 'poker' or gambling session for the player. The player 'antes' up the amount of money he wishes to gamble away. This would be a one time 'in' and wins and losses are based on this amount.

The GM deals 5 cards to the PC(s) and 5 cards to himself. The first two cards are face down and the last three are face up. This gives the outcome a bit of suspense and an option for players looking to cheat. The players are allowed to look at their face down cards.

These 5 cards are the only cards the players get with the following exceptions. The player can decide to use his Pick Pocket (cheat) ability to attempt to cheat to win the hand OR to use his Card Sharp ability to either cut his losses or enhance his winnings. He has to choose one or the other. The choice is made after the cards are dealt.

If the character (PC or NPC) have a Pick Pocket (cheat) ability they can try to cheat by rolling a Dex check + bonus + level directly against the victim's Intelligence check + bonus + Level.

A failure means that the slight of hand failed and the cheater was caught. Role-play accordingly - accusations shouted, guns drawn, bullets fly!

If they win then the player gets to trade in either or both of his face down cards to be dealt new ones. That will be his final hand.

All cards are displayed and winning hands are based on standard Poker Dice results. The winners and losers then roll on the charts below for final outcome.

Roll D12 +/- INT Modifiers

0 or less - Broke Even
1 - +20%
2 - +40%
3 - +60%
4 - +80%
5- Double your money
6- Double +10%
7- Double +30%
8- Double + 50%
9- Double +70%
10- Triple
11- Triple +Victim's weapon
12- Triple +victim's treasured item
13- Triple + weapon + Treasured item
14+  -  Triple + weapon + Treasured item + debt

Roll D12 +/- INT Modifiers

0 or less - Loose all money, weapon, boots, treasured item + debt
1 - loose all money, weapon, boots, treasured item
2 - loose all money, weapon, boots
3 - loose all money, weapon
4 - loose all money
5- 90% of money
6- 80% of money
7- 70% of money
8- 60% of money
9- 50% of money
10- 40% of money
11- 30% of money
12- 20% of money
13- 10% of money
14+  -  Break Even

Now, if the player(s) had chosen NOT to cheat during the hand, they can influence the roll by adding their INT bonus. By the same token, the dealer can, if he had chosen NOT to cheat, apply his INT bonus as a subtraction to the player's roll.

I did a quick test of the above and it worked pretty well and was quick. I'll give it another couple of run-throughs just to be sure. If anyone sees any issues or has any other ideas let me know. This should be able to be adapted to most other RPGs as well.

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