Friday, July 15, 2016

Dead Mans Hand (gambling in game)

Years back Nick(host) and his friend also named Nick designed a system for playing poker in game. the system was Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. It was great to keep it realistic, be able to use real cards, yet be quick and allow it to be designed based off of the characters statistics.

Not long ago Nick (host) remastered the system intended for use with Pathfinder, and submitted it to the latest Wayfinder Magazine: Issue #15 based on the River Kingdoms.

While out of over 200 submissions, it may have been hard to fit an oddball little gambling submission into the magazine, however that doesn't mean we cannot let you see what we submitted and use it for your own game. Who knows, maybe one of our guests past or future will help us get it into Paizo's official hands and see what happens. ;-)



Most in Golarion believe that the card game known as Dead Man’s Hand began in the Inner Sea. Truth be told is that smugglers, and merchants alike, established the game sometime in the Age of Enthronement near the city of Heibarr. Some scholars speculate this was in order to afford the toll to pass under the bridge formed in 4434 AR. However, there is some evidence that the game existed before then.

Merchants and sailors enjoyed the game because cheating was part of the rules. With cheating as part of the core game, there was little to no violence or anger when cheating would occur. The game grew in popularity and, eventually, was one of the few forms of gambling allowed by pirate ship captains throughout Golarion. From its beginning, Dead Man’s Hand was spread quickly by river folk, merchants, pirates, smugglers, and even common folk. While different strategies and versions of the game have formed and changed throughout the years, the base rules have not. Proof again that this game is still one of the most extremely popular games among thieves, pirates, and smugglers, and to this day is the game of choice among all of the River Kingdoms.

In 4700 AR, a Chelaxian known as Morgan the White, and his men, brought a new version of the game to the River Kingdoms, which has since gained popularity. Morgan stated that this altered version was how they played the game on the open seas. He called it the Captain’s Hand. He explained that the only way many captains would allow the game to be played during open voyage was by using these rules: the captain was always the dealer, the crew only has two cards, and the captain has five cards. However, the captain is always the winner because he takes the best hand he can make out of one of his crew’s two card hands. The chosen hand gets the money and the captain is declared the winner. Morgan explained that the term “captain” is just a name for the dealer. The best five card hand mix of the captain’s hand and a player’s hand is the true winner.

Most of what he explained when arriving to the River Kingdoms was true, as this was the most modified version of the game that exists. However, this version is usually only played among sailors of ships captained with heavy tradition.

Dead Man's Hand
(the term "player" refers to each PC or NPC participating)

Step One
Five cards are dealt to each player. A player has the option to choose to receive only 4 cards and use Intimidate or Diplomacy on an opponent (use the Intimidate: Demoralize rules in the Core Rulebook the for either skill) and the effects last only for that one hand. Using the basic 5 card draw poker concept, the players make bets and raises. All players roll Profession (gambling) and ties go to the player with the highest Wisdom score. Keep track of totals and the winner of the roll gets 1 extra card. Each player removes all cards they do not want to keep.

Step Two

Starting with the lowest Profession (Gambling) roll from earlier and moving up the list, each player must choose, aloud, one option from each of the following two categories to roll:

Offense: Bluff or Sleight of Hand
Defense: Sense Motive or Perception

Comparing Rolls

Offense  Defense Result
Bluff Sense Motive Highest Roll +1 card
Bluff Perception Both +1 Card
Sleight of Hand Sense Motive Both +1 Card
Sleight of Hand Perception Highest Roll +1 card

Players first receive new cards to replace the ones they removed. Then, each player compares their rolls to each other player. Each different opponent the player successfully trumps with his rolls, receives 1 extra card to add to their hand. If the skills are not comparable then they both gain an extra card. Players place their final bets on the final hand.

Step Three

Players reveal the best hand that they can make out of 5 cards. Best hand wins.

Gentlemen's Hand         
Gentlemen’s Hand is played exactly the same as above but anyone caught cheating automatically loses. Any additional circumstantial fallouts must ensue.

Captain’s Hand
captain’s hand uses similar rules to Texas Hold’em. Each player receives two cards to start. (Same intimidation rules) and betting occurs. Then the captain’s 5 card hand is played. Players roll their skills and receive their extra cards. Best 5 cards from your hand and captain’s Hand wins.

Modifications of the games can also be done with the use of wild cards.

These rules can also be used for strategy games such as Chess or other Military type games by still using cards, but replacing Profession (Gambling) with Profession (Soldier). 

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