I posted the following in the G+ community and I thought I would share and gain opinions here as well, in case some of you are not in the G+ torchbearer community.
So I was thinking about the gambling a little bit more and came up with this thing using +David Gallo suggestion on using something similar to Haggle. This system would replace the Gambling section in the book.
As tempting as it was to create a Gambling skill, I decided to work with the skills already in the game. People can use Gambling-wise if they really want to be good at gambling.
This is an unfinished idea. I’m looking for opinions on the idea itself, the Ob numbers I’m using, the minimum and maximum betting ranges, and any other ideas that might make this gambling system gel nicely.
The idea is to provide a gambling system that doesn’t take up a lot of time playing, gives you the opportunity to risk your cash for an opportunity for more cash, a system that doesn’t overshadow the torchbearer game itself, allows players to feel like their characters are gambling, and feels like it’s a part of the torchbearer game instead of playing a different game.
While in the town phase, if a player wants to gamble their well-earned cash, they are charged a Lifestyle Cost: +1. They must then choose to play a game of chance or a game of skill. Gambling is always done individually. Rather than making multiple test, make one gambling test for your entire stay in town.
Games of Chance
These games rely completely on luck and are usually set up in favor of the house.
The player stakes cash dice (coins, objets d’art, gems, etc.) on the outcome of the game. The maximum stake is 3D. To simulate the outcome of a game of chance, roll 2d6 with no modifiers.
2-6: You lose your stake.
7-9: You break even.
10-11: You double your stake OR Let It Ride.
12: You triple your stake OR Let It Ride.
Let It Ride gives you a chance to win even more. Reroll the dice and use the following results instead:
2-3: You lose your stake.
4-7: You break even.
8-9: You triple your stake.
10-11: You quadruple your stake.
12: You quintuple your stake!
Cheating on a Game of Chance
You can make a Criminal test to cheat at games of chance against an Ob 3. If you succeed, you roll 3d6 and use the best two dice. If you fail, you are caught cheating! Bad things will happen…after I figure out what those bad things are.
Games of Skill
Games of skill involve the character calculating odds, reading other people’s tells, bluffing, and enduring long hours or boredom between short moments of intense stress while appearing unfazed the whole time. These games usually pit players against players instead of against the house.
When playing in a game of skill, the GM first determines the local gambling scene. The gambling scene fluctuates all the time and good gamblers know which games to play in and which games to stay out of. Once the gambling scene has been determined, it stays at that level during the entire town phase for all the players. The next time players return to town, the GM determines a new gambling scene when someone wants to gamble.
Gambling Scene (1d6)
1: Cons – (Ob 7) (Minimum Stake – 2D) The scene is filled with cheaters and conmen. It’s guaranteed that you’ll be losing your stake in these games.
2: Sharks – (Ob 5) (Maximum Stake – 5D) The scene is tough right now, filled with lots of strong players.
3: Dead Money – (Ob 2) (Maximum Stake – 1D) The scene is filled with people just giving away what little money they have.
4: Fish – (Ob 3) (Maximum Stake – 3D) Pretty standard scene, should be easy to make some money.
5: Tuna – (Ob 3) (Maximum Stake – 4D) Pretty standard scene, with a chance to make some real money.
6: Whales – (Ob 3) (Minimum Stake – 5D) The scene is filled with players who lose lots of money, but only play in high stake games.
After the scene has been determined, the player puts up a stake of cash dice (coins, objets d’art, gems, etc.) on the outcome of the game.
The player may choose to make a Manipulator test or the player may cheat at the game and make a Criminal test. If successful, you may choose to keep the result that you roll 3d6 on the Gambling table or the next higher result. If you failed, subtract your margin of failure from your result. If you cheated and was successful, roll 4d6 and use the best three dice. If you cheated and failed, roll 4d6 and use the worst three dice and subtract your margin of failure from your result. Other players could help you, but only with the Criminal skill. This would mean that you are cheating even if you are using the Manipulator skill yourself.
I’m still in the process of writing up the 3d6 table (similar to the Haggle table). Instead of having numbers 3 through 16, I was thinking of having numbers 0 through 19 since these numbers are possible with the margin of failure and the success bonus. Numbers 0 through 2 would be some hard shit which can only be earned by failing. Maybe if you used the Criminal Skill you are taken out back and roughed up for cheating. You lose all your treasure from the shake down and are Injured! While someone using Manipulator might only gain the Afraid condition from a shakedown. Most of the spots in between would be variations of increasing or decreasing your stake and lifestyle points, while the 19 spot would have to be something on par with the 18 spot. I’d want to make it a hard choice and not an obvious “take the 19” choice.
So I would love to hear some feedback while I fill out this Gambling Table.