View Full Version : DM Help Card games in a fantasy world

Prince Zahn
2015-11-03, 04:27 PM
So in this adventure I'm going to run for a few friends, I want there to be a card game which is there as a gentleman's game. Problem is I don't think I got a good idea for one It should be a game that is short, interesting and does not break suspension of disbelief (i.e. I'm not going to stop my session and tell my friends to play hearthstone or something). In needs to be able to be played in the narrative and use standard playing cards.

If I had the money I would look into 3 Dragon ante or something and save the trouble, but it's not realistic over a Skype session anyway.

My questions:

Does anybody have any experiences or advice to share about using cards in the middle of a session?
Do you think it's possible to have a card game in a campaign and not break suspension of disbelief?
Does anybody have any ideas for a game I could do with this? I don't mind a made up game if the rules aren't too difficult.

2015-11-03, 04:38 PM
We used 5 card draw variant of Poker in one of our sessions. Each hand is fairly short and it would be easy to make it high stakes quickly or keep it low stakes for longer play.

We were playing against a mob leader for our release so it's very lucky that we won our 1 hand.

2015-11-03, 04:40 PM
I don't think I would recommend playing out the card game within the rpg session. Whatever you choose it will break the flow, also it won't be the game they came to play.

To make matters worse, my perception is that the games that are truly "gentlemen's games" (and not euphemistically) are not quick. The classic example is probably Whist.

I think you need to come up with some in-game simulation of the card game, and how to do that is quite a question, and will depend on a lot of factors, not least the system you will be playing.

I thought of "profession: gambler" for D&D 3.5, but actually I think that is something different. A skilled gambler may not be that good at whist, but will be very good at reading the other players (and possibly how their luck is flowing). It's a skill that will be very useful, but not necessarily one that all of the player will have, quite possibly the best players for something like whist may not actually have ranks in it...

Lvl 2 Expert
2015-11-03, 05:57 PM
To prevent it from breaking the flow I'd suggest something as short as possible, but it should still give players the idea that they're doing more than just randomly betting or using a simple optimal playstyle without any choices. Because for some reason I can only think of dice games right now: Crown and Anchor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_and_Anchor) might be too simple, something like bluff poker/liar's dice/mia/mexen (there are a lot of different rule sets in circulation for most of these types of games, due to a lack of official tournament play, but think "what Davy Jones' crew played in Pirates 2").

For card games, perhaps some form of poker with a quick resolution to a round as DireSickFish suggests. You get five cards, you can pick which ones to trade in for new ones from the stack. At the same time, some form of betting is done. Everyone gets their replacement cards, people show their hands to see who won. Maybe have the standard be to play only a single hand whenever the game is played, or give players a very limited amount of game money to bet with per game, like three tokens or so (a little more if you're simulating either a drinking game or a strip game. Make sure to have some sort of stat that measures embarrassment).

2015-11-04, 04:57 AM
Just as an aside

We once in a game while infiltrating an army camp to find out the Villains plans dropped off a Deck of Many Things (AD&D 2) into the sergeants mess tent. We then got the DM to play a round of cards (5 card stud) with us (6 players) and used the results

Its amazing what a couple of minor DEATHs will do to an Army:smallsmile: