Monday, January 28, 2019

These Encounters Are Craps!

An untested method for random encounters based off of the dice game of Craps.

There are many complexities to Craps, but we're going to simplify it a bit, to use as the wandering monster table for The Manticore.

For use in conjunction with: Gambling Games for Horrible People.

Craps Encounters (Simple)

1. Every 10 minutes OR every time a new room is entered, have a player roll 2d6 in front of the whole table.
2a. If a 7 or 11 show up: Special Event (Roll on Special Event table)
2b. If a 2, 3, or 12 shows up: Hostile Encounter (This encounter is potentially dangerous)
2c. If any other number, proceed to 3.
3. Proceed to roll the dice again until you either roll your number from 2c, or you roll a 7.
4a. If you rolled a 7: Hostile Encounter
4b. If you rolled your number: Special Event
5. Go back to Step 1.

Summary: You play Craps. If you win the Pass, you get a Special Event. If you lose, you get a Hostile Encounter. Roll every new room, 10 minutes, or optionally, every major player-caused disruption.

Here's a flowchart found on the Wizard of Odds blog, of whose name I find delightfully appropriate!

Now let me MS Paint all over this picture to better fit our purposes.

Special Events can be anything you consider to be an encounter which is not immediately hostile.

Craps Encounters (Complex)

Let's say we want something more involved. Let's throw player betting into the mix. The currency we'll use for this system is LUCK.

Players start with 2d10 Luck.

Or, if your game system has some kind of Luck or random encounter stat, use that. DCC has a Luck stat. NGR has Suspicion and Luck. Use what's appropriate, or use 2d10.

They must make a Luck bet every 10 minutes, or when entering a new room. The minimum for this bet depends on how deep they are in the dungeon.

Applies as long as the players are in the dungeon. Think of Dungeon Depth = Table Minimum. Some tables have higher minimum bets than others, hence having higher risk and payoffs. If you can't make the minimum table bet than you go straight to YOUR LUCK RUNS OUT (see below). Minimum bets range from 1-5 Luck. 1 being for entrance locations, 5 being for super secret forbidden areas.

The flow chart below shows how the whole process works. Every roll of the dice should occur when a wandering encounter check would normally happen (10 minutes or entering a new room for the first time).

St. Manti's Encounter Chart

Either use two differently-colored dice, or designate dice to column or row based on how they land on the table (e.g. left and right die).

Players take turns being the dice roller for Encounters. The duty passes clockwise around the table.

Declare the Name and dice roll of the result to the group. Don't read the Event text out-loud.
Slang or fun made-up terms for rolls.

2 (1-1)
Snake Eyes
All players instantly lose 1d6 Luck.
3 (1-2)
Ace caught a deuce
Smal, Mal, and Al have just caught a cheater, and they’re bringing the poor sod to The Manticore. They know the cheater’s guilty, they just want The Manticore to bite off their hand first before throwing them out.
3 (2-1)
Australian Yo
It's the Yo entry (11, 6-5), but it's much much bigger.

4 (1-3)
Easy four*
Mr. Easy is here, and he’s selling Luck! Offering to trade Spellgold for Luck at a rate of 5d20 spellgold per point of Luck.
4 (2-2)
A Silk Golem from a neighboring dimension drops in. Not interested in gambling - only wants to watch. Anybody who stares at her will get swept up and strangled with silken ropes.
4 (3-1)
Little Joe From Kokomo
“Little Joe” is a child-sized dog-faced man. Joe is a schemer, and he senses other schemers like flies to shit. (He says schemes smell like almonds, apparently.)

Whatever you’re up to, Little Joe can sense it. He wants in, and a cut. Good at making distractions and slipping out of trouble.
5 (1-4)
Little Phoebe
A little six year old girl is being passed around as good luck charm like a sack of potatoes. Her name’s “Little Phoebe”. 50% chance her luck is pure coincidence. 50% it’s legit. People will shortly be fighting over her.

If the Master of Games finds out about this nonsense, he’ll rule that they need to divide the girl equally between the gamblers. He has an axe just for occasions like this.
5 (2-3)
An orange juice leaks from the ceiling, forming small puddles all about the room. Traversing without touching it requires a Dex check. Touching it incenses the victim into gambling everything they have. If occupied, the room is presently going crazy.
5 (3-2)
The fever:

A plague or gambling madness sweeps through the room. Save vs. Poison or be forced to play whatever's here.
5 (4-1)
No field five
This room is either closed down or soon will be for renovations. Apparently it’s going to be a:
1. Bar
2. Hotel
3. Debtor's Prison
4. Graveyard
6 (1-5)
Sixie from Dixie
Sixie is a demon that feeds on pride. Dressed like an antebellum lady or gentlemen, they’ll quickly latch onto anybody, heaping said person with flattering and sychophantic praise until they’ve invisibly and quietly consumed all of their victim’s pride. All in all fairly harmless (except for people who need to maintain an image), but wizards don’t trust ‘em.
6 (2-4)
Easy Six*
Mr. Easy is here, and he’s selling fenced goods! He’s offering…
1. Stolen watches
2. Stolen personal portraits/pictures/mementos
   3. Stolen bets (from nearby tables, no less)
   4. Stolen brains
   5. Stolen weird-ass hats
   6. Stolen lampshades
6 (3-3)
Brooklyn Forest:
The layout of the casino rearranges itself. If you have the capability then swap all the rooms around. Otherwise just take the current room and put it somewhere else.
6 (4-2)
Jimmie Hicks:
Jimmie is an ogre of a man with a face like it got hit with a hot iron, and he’s a very sore loser, which is unfortunate because he loses all the time. He’ll smash any objects and weak-looking things or people nearby. What did he gamble and lose?
1. What little dignity he had left.
2. About 20 years of good health
3. All his wife's savings
4. 4 out of 5 of his limbs.
6 (5-1)
Easy Six*
Mr. Easy is here, and he’s selling broken stuff! He’s offering…
1. Broken watches.
2. Cracked containment jars for brains
3. Sick house pets
4. Sawdust
5. Spent radioactive fuel rods
6. Broken lampshades
7 (1-6)
The Devil:

The Master of Games wants to make a deal: best him at a game of chance or skill and win your weight in silver. Lose and your soul is his!
7 (2-5)
Skinny Dugan:
The Master of Games is suddenly revolted by all this debauchery and nonsense. He forces you to play one of his games, but it’s the least nonsensical one of the batch.
7 (3-4)
Skinny McKinney:
The Master of Games is in a generous mood. He still forces you to play one of his games, but he offers double the payout for success and half the penalty for losing.
7 (4-3)
Big Red:
The Master of Games is in a rage! Play his game or die on the spot! If you win, he forces you to play one more time.
7 (5-2)
Benny Blue:
The Master of Games is in a somber mood. Picks several people at random to play one of his psychotic games to cheer him up, but he’ll likely drop the game halfway through.
7 (6-1)
Six one you're done:
The cops are here. Shit! An all-out assault begins on The Manticore.
It’s the:
1-2) Patent Police, smashing for smashing’s sake
3-4) Stewards, here to kidnap one particular dissident.
5-6) AMWAT Team, to assassinate a rogue wizard.
8 (2-6)
Easy Eight*:
Mr. Easy is here, and he’s selling drugs! He’s offering…
1. Opium, Black
2. Opium, Purple
3. It's maybe 40% Meth, and the rest is poison
4. Hallucinogenic mushrooms
5. 220 Proof Alcohol (110% ethanol by volume)
6. "I'm Okay With This" - Experimental I-Care-Not drug
8 (3-5)
Easy Eight*:
Mr. Easy is here, and he’s selling bonds! Gain 10% investment on your bond the next time you encounter Mr. Easy after at least one year. He’s offering…
1. Hit Points (min. 10, gain temp HP)
2. Spellgold (min. 50 interest given in cantrips)
3. Sporks (min. 100, receive exact same type as given)
4. Experience (min. 1000)
5. Academic Degrees (min. Associate's, bumps it up one wrung)
6. Criminal Records (min. 5 misdemeanors, gain more or a felony at year's conclusion.)
8 (4-4)
Square pair:
Hilbert and Dorus Hildebrand, husband and wife in matching hawaiian shirts. Say they’re supposed to be in “The Bahamas”, and that they’re “definitely not comfortable with any of this!”. They got duffle bags full of vacation supplies and no idea how they got here or how to get back.
8 (5-3)
Eighter from Decatur:
Eighter’s a guy from a boring nowhere town where everyone’s a walking talking billiard ball. His five-foot-tall body is composed of a Magic 8-Ball, with the viewing port on the belly button. People love to shake him, knock him over, and read their augury in his upended stomach window. He hates this.

The augury is true 80% of the time, though. Treat as Augury spell, with Magic 8-Ball responses. Shake him around too much, or crack him open, and he’ll spew out this dark liquid which curses all who touch it to forever receive false portents.
8 (6-2)
Easy Eight*:
Mr. Easy is here, and he’s selling people! He’s got them hanging from the inside of his trenchcoat like coats on hangers. Who’s he got for purchase?
1. Accountants
2. Lawyers
3. Interns
4. Fences
5. Graduate Students
6. Fixers
9 (3-6)
Lou Brown:
Louie “Lou” Brown has a megaphone for a head. He’s also a hyperactive obsessive bookie. For the next 10 minutes he’ll follow someone in the party around, taking bets on anything and everything that they do. He’ll shout and describe every second of your existence through that megaphone head with a sports announcer’s staccato pace, before he gets bored and does this to someone else.
9 (4-5)
Jesse James:
This is a stick up! Someone is trying to rob the casino and/or its patrons. Who is it?
1. The Master of Games in a positively idiotic personality shift, robbing his own damned casino.
2. Hilber and Dorus Hildebrand (8, 4-4). Turns out those tacky duffle bags were hiding submachine guns.
3. Mr. Easy*, unfurling a trenchcoat full of Fireball and Lighting Bolt wands.
4. The Black Magic Fraternity. Only they would be so bold! They summon a demon of Greed to keep people busy.
5. Charms. They're trying to enchant the cashiers and dealers into giving them payouts.
6. Steeves. They've infiltrated the casino, in disguise, in every single room. They have Disintegrate bomb vests and threaten to vaporize everyone to wizard dust 'less they give up the goods!
9 (5-4)
Railroad nine:
Declare to the party the end result of the current scene or room, based on experience or the next encounter roll. No matter what happens you will railroad the party relentlessly towards this. Deny all agency. Be a dick.
9 (6-3)
Nina from Pasadena:
Gorgeous woman in a cocktail dress asks you to blow on the dice for good luck. If you do, roll 1d6.
1-3: You’re shit luck. She dismisses you. Get lost.
4-6: You’re good luck! Asks you to stick around. If you don’t she’ll follow obsessively, trying to scalp your luck.
10 (6-4)
Someone’s cooking up a musical barbeque! A smell of hard and pleasant notes comes drifting from the next room. Someone’s roasting:
1. Someone who lost a bet, roasted in a cello.
2. Half a cow, cooked with woodwinds, mmm!
3. A pig, smoked over burning violins
4. Chicken with piccolos, a fan favorite
10 (5-5)
Puppy paws:
An adorable fragile pet interacts with the party. How did such a cutie end up in such a horrible place?!
1. Puppy
2. Kitten
3. Lamb
4. Lamp
10 (4-6)
Big one on the end:
Nobody knew The Manticore could get up and walk around! The statue of St. Manti dressed up as a manticore is animated and roaming around the casino, attempting to bite the hands off of cheaters and gamblers alike. It has very very poor eyesight, though,and can only navigate to said people by asking directions.
11 (5-6)
Six five no jive:
Off-duty Patent Police, 2d6 of them. Everyone is avoiding them like the plague. The room is dead silent, people have cleared out for safer pastures. Even the Master of Games won’t play around them. The lone unlucky dealer left with them is reluctantly cheating in their favor to avoid having his kneecaps broken.
11 (6-5)
A monster, a beast, or worse: a priest!
1: Open any monster manual you like to a random page. Use that.That thing is gambling.
2: Very drunk cat wants attention.
3: Obsessive goatman moves and hoards a large cache of chips.
4: Cheating pelican spills stored dice and cards at your feet
5: Priest betting his congregation’s offering money on dice.
6: Priest offers services to pray to lucky gods, for cash.
12 (6-6)
The Manticore is closing soon for renovations. Everybody still in the building in 10 minutes is going to be annihilated by a sentient all-consuming darkness.

*Mr. Easy is a 10ft tall animated lampshade in a trenchcoat. He communicates by blinking his lamp in morse code or by hand gestures with big spidery cast iron hands.

When Your LUCK Runs Out

When your LUCK runs out, you automatically fail all bets and gambles. All rolls and all checks for your character are at disadvantage. Advantage cannot be applied to any roll you make.

When a person without any LUCK makes an encounter roll, treat it as a 7 on the Encounter Chart. Have them roll 1d6 and use that for the first die roll in the 7. This means a guaranteed encounter for either The Master of Games or the Po-Po.

Players may lend LUCK to each other at a 2:1 ratio. You spend two LUCK points and give you friend one. Exceptions for system mechanics which facilitate this (like halflings in DCC).

If most or all run out of luck, they should honestly considering leaving the casino at that point.

LUCK replenishes in a week.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

1d20 Horrible Gambling Games

Game Name
Some poor sod with a noose around their neck is dropped at increasingly higher heights. Bets bin in centimeters until death.
Mo-RON pit fights
Brains in jars fight in exosuits of various deadliness. The loser is killed. If the time limit runs out they are both killed. The Daddy Longlegs exosuit is the most popular form.
Dice with Death
Simple game. The Grim Reaper rolls 1d20, and so do you. Higher roll wins. Death wins on ties. Double your bet if you win. Permanent death if you lose. Lost bets go to the House.
All participants are given black clubs. The objective is to sneak up and clobber each other on the back of the head and scream "BLACKJACK!" Every person hit this way is out. The pool is split between the last 3 contestants.
Oracle Boracle
An imprisoned oracle is forced to portent unimportant futures (i.e. who will be the next person to enter this room?; what color robes will the Archmage wear tomorrow?) Bets are made on the outcomes.
Interns are assigned parts in a saucy play. If they mess up the lines they usually face a shower of thrown bottles. Bets taken on how many screw-ups occur, and whether certain lines or passages can be remembered.
The Book
Contestants must read one full passage from the Book of Aman-Thurr, which bestows raving madness upon the reader. If you can prove you’re not mad, you win your bet back. If not, you have other things to worry about than your bet.
Where’s Valdo?
Valdo, Master of Disguise Both Magical and Not, hides somewhere in the building. First contestant to find him cashes in. Valdo will always wear some kind of red and some kind of blue.
Two contestants take turns drinking from the Grail of Trivia, which fills the drinker’s head with useless knowledge, replacing useful knowledge if their brain is at capacity. After every sip the drinker says a bit of unknown trivia (to prove they drank it), and then tries to say their name. They lose if they can’t.
Schrodinger’s Demon
Simple game: you got a mystery box with a mystery demon inside. Until observed it is both dead and alive inside the box. Open the box, is it dead? What kind of demon is it? Bets taken on demon type and whether it’s alive or dead. Typically played inside Magic Circles.
Brain Dump
Victims are introduced to a brain parasite which causes them to start blurting out secrets one by one until they’re all out. Bets taken on number and types of secrets divulged.
Potion Roulette
Two or more contestants are given the exact same pool of potions to take turns drinking from. Vessels range from elaborate glasses to human skulls to ancient vases. Most are harmless. Some produce odd effects. At least one of them is deadly poison.
Death Pool
All contestants throw their bets in a pot. Last one alive collects.
Stock Betting
A peculiar redundancy: bets are taken on the stock market: whether certain stocks will trade higher or lower in a particular period.
Nightmare Death Racing
Of course wizards bet on summoned Nightmare racing! Time spells and teleportation disallowed, but offing the competition is fair game.
Weird enough, you can buy actual for-real insurance at The Manticore, for everything from “your underlings suddenly disappearing into clouds of vapor and ash” to “the sun doesn’t rise tomorrow”. Legit insurance got run out of business long ago in Wizard City by Oracles, so this is the only place you can buy it.
Wizard Bingo
Each player is given a magical bingo card chock full of Manticore shenanigans. Each entry contains such gems as: “Cause The Master of Games to lose his temper”, “Summon a demon beyond your control”, and “Vaporize!”.
Spell Slots
Illegal Spellgold generator turned slot machine, except you play with prepared spells (or spell slots for 5e). Payouts are in Spellgold. Odds are not in your favor, as Spellgold is worth more than prepared spells.
Fleshstrip Poker
Pretty normal poker game, except the stakes are body parts. One typically starts at extremities (i.e. ear, finger, toe) and work their way up to the big stuff (liver, kidney, eye). A wizard surgeon is generally present to ensure that contestants shed their parts safely. Winners may add shed body parts to their own bodies.
The Unsafe Bet
This is basically just money laundering, since The Manticore doesn’t deal in stolen asset retrieval (they won’t return stolen money spent on bets). Betting wizard asks the cashier for “The Unsafe Bet”, which is a near-guaranteed loss of 1-10% of what you put up. Something along the lines of “I won’t retrieve this money”, or “the sun will rise tomorrow”.