The Games of Leng
Adapted from the more sophisticated version of the game played by noblemen, dice poker uses two or more sets of 5 dice and is very similar to regular poker. However, because you can always see your opponent's hand, it is more luck-based.
Any number of people can play, but each person needs their own set of 5 dice. The "hands" used are similar but not identical to those found in poker, in this order:
- Nothing - five mismatched dice. If you and your opponent both having nothing, the higher dice win.
- Pair - two dice showing the same value.
- Two Pair - two pairs of dice.
- Three of a Kind - three dice showing the same value.
- Five High Straight - dice from to 1 to 5, inclusive.
- Six High Straight - dice from 2 to 6, inclusive.
- Full House - a pair of one value and three of a kind of the other.
- Four of a Kind - four dice showing the same value.
- Five of a Kind - five dice showing the same value.
To start the game, all players put their initial bet into the pot, then roll their dice and see what hands, if any, they roll. Once the dice have been rolled, each players who can afford to can raise the bet once. Other players must either fold, call the bet to say in, or raise the bet even further.
Once betting is complete, each player chooses which dice they will "keep" and which they will re-roll for a better result. Once rolling is done, whoever have the best hand takes the pot.
A popular game amongst soldiers and commoners, Hazard is played with two dice and a cup to roll them in. It used to be played by different rules, but when it was realised that 7 is always the best choice for a main, the old game of Hazard evolved into King's Hazard, which is the most common form of the game today. Some backwards areas still play the original Hazard, however, which involves choosing a number between 5 and 9 to be your main.
Any number of people may play, but only one is rolling the dice at any given time - he is known as the caster. Depending on what you roll, you might get the following results:
- If you roll 7 ("the main"), you win.
- If you roll 11, you win.
- If you roll 2, 3, or 12, you "throw out" and lose.
What happens if you roll none of those numbers? This is called "chance", and is a bit like sudden death. When you get chance, you take note of what you rolled and roll again, using new rules:
- If you roll exactly equal to your chance, you win.
- If you roll 7 ("the main"), you lose.
- If you roll 2, 3, or 12, you lose.
- If you roll any other number, you reroll.
After you get chance, you keep on rolling until you win or lose. You can't get chance again.
Typically, betting is between the current caster and the one of other players at the table (the "setter"). The setter is usually just one person, and the other players watch - but sometimes, more than one player might pool together to act as the setter. In some cases the setter is every player at the table except the caster.
Before rolling, the caster puts down a wager, and then the results are as follows:
- If the caster "nicks" (wins on the first throw), he gets an amount equal to his wager from the setter.
- If the caster loses, his wager goes to the setter.
- If the caster gets chance, then winning just means he gets his wager back. However, it is common for there to be additional wagers between players on whether he wins or loses.
The first round of King's Hazard is entirely luck based. However, the second round can vary depending on exactly what number was rolled as the chance - since 2d6 does not produce an even distribution of probabilities. If a character makes a successful Gaming NWP check, they can caclulate the odds that the caster will lose in the second round:
This can be used to bet intelligently and maximise the chances of winning.
As the most popular game amongst commoners, there are a lot of cheaters at King's Hazard. The following tactics are common:
- The most obvious is "bristling", where a pig's bristle or other thin, stiff filament is placed around the edge of one side to weight the dice on that side and make it give a specific roll every time. This can be identified by anyone who looks closely, and is only used against the most drunken players.
- If you want a die that always rolls a specific number but don't want it to be obvious, you can also make a "loaded" dice. This is the same as a bristled dice in principle, except that the weight is on the inside - a small lead pellet, for example. These dice can't be identified easily without splitting them open, but rolling them a few times should make it pretty obvious.
- Less obvious is "shaving", where one side is carefully sliced with a sharp knife to make it lighter than the others. This can be done to a set of dice with a successful Gaming NWP check, and causes the dice to roll with a +1 to +2 or a -1 to -2. The advantage of this is that there is still some randomness, so it won't be obvious to anyone who rolls it a couple times. However, a successful Gaming NWP check can identify a shaved die.
The Gaming NWP is obviously quite useful for making or identifying loaded dice; another useful one is Sleight of Hand. With a successful Sleight of Hand check, a set of loaded dice can be smoothly exchanged for a "clean" set hidden in a sleeve, beneath the table, and so on. This makes it much easier to cheat without being shown up.