Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gaming Within the Game

So, I'm getting ready to start up a new table top DnD campaign, and while writing up the adventure for the first session I decided to include a scenario in which the players are asked to play a card game by some locals at a tavern.  So, I thought, how could I handle this?  Surely there has to be something that covers this sort of thing somewhere, but after a quick review, I couldn't find anything that really addresses the idea of gaming within the game.  I'm sure there has to be something out there that covers this, but I decided to do what any old school DM would do; make shit up.  So, here's my method of simulating a card game (we'll call it Three-Dragon Ante after the card game by Wizards, which could be used in-game itself):

Three-Dragon Ante:

The pot starts out at an agreeable amount (let's say 5 copper).  The betting starts in a clockwise pattern at the table of players.  Each round the betting passes to the next player in a clockwise direction.  Everyone must either see the bet, or can opt to raise it based on what their characters are "holding."

Each player rolls a d6 and keeps the results hidden from everyone but himself/herself (and the DM).  He sets the d6 over in a hidden spot where it cannot be seen.  Betting goes again, and this process continues 4 times with each result being kept hidden until the end of the 4th round.  At the end of the 4th round, each player reveals their dice (the DM can then verify that a "player" did not cheat since he saw the dice rolls...we'll get to "characters" cheating in a moment though).  The player with the highest number on all 4d6 wins the pot.  A tie results in a split pot.

Now, how do you cheat in this game?  Well, keep in mind this game is approached from the 2e position so we'll take non-weapon proficiencies into account.  Any player may attempt to cheat in this game.  To do so, he must somehow alert the DM that he is attempting to cheat.  If the cheating player has the Gaming proficiency, a successful proficiency check will allow the character to cheat and replace his lowest dice roll in the game with a 6.  Anyone who does not have the Gaming proficiency, may attempt to cheat, by rolling an ability check (whichever the DM finds most appropriate i.e. DEX, INT, WIS, CHARISMA, etc.) at a penalty (also prescribed by the DM).  If the check is not successful, the character was not able to cheat.  This does not mean that he was caught, however.  So, how does one get caught or catch a player cheating?  Anyone with the gaming proficiency may use it once per game to spot cheaters.  A successful proficiency check combined with an unsuccessful cheating attempt will allow the character to catch the unsuccessful cheater in the act.

So, it's a fairly simple process, and the game can move fairly quickly I suppose.  Still have yet to test it out, but I plan on using the formula next Friday at our first session.  If anyone has a method of their own they'd like to share or can point me in the direction of something more useful for handling gaming within the game, it would be much appreciated.