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.

Some thoughts:

Why have any “no change” results? Either take their stake or give them windfalls.

There should be “you lose your stake 3x over because you just couldn’t stop, if you can’t or won’t pay, get +lots to lifestyle maintenance”.

What would feel like “gambling” to a player? What’s the essential nature of the feeling you’re trying to capture?

Try gamble with lifestyle costs, not cash. The player shouldn’t walk out of town with more than they brought.

That was the whole start of the gambling topic on the G+ post before it got turned into more of a discussion on how to create gambling rules. The rules on gambling in the book doesn’t talk about what should be at stake, so I was wondering what everyone else was using. I went back and forth in my head on whether to use lifestyle, cash dice, or resources. On that post (which you posted in) someone pretending to be the creator of the game chimed in and said that they stake cash dice on the outcomes of the gambling games mentioned in the book. After giving it more thought, I agreed that using cash dice was probably the best thing to use. With the games of skill table, you’ll find that lifestyle cost will also be affected in some of the results. The thing with gambling is, sure you might walk out of town with more than you brought in this time, but the odds should be in favor of the house and the majority of the time you be leaving with less than you started.

Actually, it’s not the feeling of gambling to the player I’m trying to capture. That’s already represented in the book as is. In the book you choose a game and the players play those games. The feeling I’m trying to capture is the one where the feeling of gambling is from the character’s point of view. As a recreational casino poker player myself, I know that a more skillful card player will more successful than someone who doesn’t have poker playing skills. A character in torchbearer with a high manipulator skill should be better at bluffing and controlling a poker table than someone with a low manipulator skill, yet this isn’t represented in the current rules.

Last month, I called off work and went to the casino to play in a poker tournament. I went in at noon and paid my $100 entry fee. A few hours later, and some bad moves and/or bad beats later, I lost the tournament. I took a break, ate some food, and used the restroom. I returned to a cash game and sat at that table for the rest of the night trying to win back my tournament money and the money I lost in my first few hands at the cash game. I finally did it though, I left the casino at midnight with all the money I lost and no more. I spent 12 hours gambling and at the end I was mentally exhausted but I broke even. Technically however, I didn’t really break even since I had to call off work to go, thus my lifestyle cost increased by +1.
The point I’m trying to make is, sometimes while gambling, the best that you can do is to break even.

In the game of chance, the idea is to let fate decide if you win or lose. I wanted something quick and easy to represent a game of chance. So things like losing more than your stake or increases in lifestyle isn’t really represented here. However, in the game of skill part, I’m trying to capture that exact feeling. On the table there will be things like losing more than your stake and increases/decreases to lifestyle maintenance. That’s the plan, just trying to fill in all the blanks on the table and make sure they are entertaining and capture a lot of the feelings involved with skillful gameplay.

I was going to edit my post, but apparently something is wrong with the edit function.

Anyway, I forgot to mention on the “lose your stake 3x over because you couldn’t stop” part. What I was also going to say was, the gambling roll, regardless if it’s a game of chance or a game of skill, is a once per town roll. This is the total result of your gambling time while in town. So the reason of losing money because you couldn’t stop playing is considered part of the roll. The overall result from your time playing is what we’re looking at, how you got there should be explained through roleplaying.

I was pretending to be the creator of the game? :confused:

Growing up, I was told to never trust people on the internet. As far as I know, you’re a hot bikini supermodel mistress chick pretending to be Thor and trying to lure me into your fantasy world of dungeons, whips, and dwarves.

All kidding aside, I was just trying to avoid the name dropping and avoid coming off as “this is what Thor said, so it is law” vibe.

EDIT: Looking over this post and this is a little awkward…I mean, there are no whips, what I meant to say was dungeons, improvised leather straps, and dwarves.

Combining different aspects of everyone’s idea from the G+ for gambling and came up with this:


Lifestyle Cost: +1 per gamble.

The GM either predetermines or rolls for the OB for each gamble. Add any Evil GM factors to the Ob.

1 Cons – (Ob7)
2 Sharks – (Ob 5)
3 Dead Money – (Ob 2) – All winnings are halved, rounded up or equal to your stake, whichever is more.
4 Fish – (Ob 3)
5 Tuna – (Ob3)
6 Whales – (Ob 3) – Must stake at least 5D to play in this game.

Select a number of Treasure Dice you have. These items are considered gone and is known as you Stake.

Test Manipulator or Criminal then roll on the following table. If you tested with Criminal also add your margin of success to the roll.

3-8 – You earn, in silver coins, an amount equal to your stake.
9-12 – You earn, in silver coins, an amount equal to your stake +1D.
13-15 – You double your stake in silver coins.
16-17 – You double your stake +1D in silver coins.
18 – You triple your stake in silver coins.
19+ – You quadruple your stake in silver coins.

Failed Manipulator Test: You do not roll on the table and your stake is gone.

Failed Criminal Test: You do not roll on the table, your stake is gone, gain the Injury condition, add an additional Lifestyle cost of +1, and you cannot gamble again until the next Town Phase.

Or maybe instead of halving the Dead Money, all winnings are in Copper Coins instead of Silver!