The West – Part IV

Hoy, ūüôā

Poker Games – Long Game

Like Gun Duels, Poker Games are semi-detailed scripted conflicts where Extended Resolution does not apply. Any number of characters may participate in a Poker Game. Although a Poker Game is actually played over an arbitrary series of hands, the conflict itself is simplified down to three rolls.

Phase 1 РEarly Game РEvery participant rolls an unopposed check with the special Ability Poker (I). Every character has this Ability at Mediocre (0). It cannot be improved through advances or enhanced by any Secrets whatsoever, regardless of the Phase of the Game. The only way to improve on this roll is to spend one point of Instinct, per the normal Pool bonus die rules.

Phase 2 – Middle Game – In ascending order of success levels, each participant chains the previous roll into roll number two, which can be any of the following abilities: Poker (I), Gambling (R) or¬†Deceit (R). Use of Deceit (R) constitutes cheating. If any participant cheats,¬†any other participant¬†and anyone in the audience can roll¬†React (I). This roll doesn’t count towards the game itself, but if its success level is greater than the Deceit (R) success level, they know the cheater was cheating.

Phase 3 – Confrontation – Regardless of whether it happened or not, any participant can choose to accuse any other participant of cheating. Depending on the goals and stakes for everyone involved, this may or may not abort the Poker Game.

Phase 4 РFinal Hand РAgain, in ascending order of Phase 2 success levels, each participant chains the Phase 2 roll into one final roll. Characters who used Deceit (R) in Phase 2 can use Gambling (R) in Phase 3. Everyone else must use Poker (I). Whoever gets the highest success level in this final roll wins the Poker Game.

Poker Games –¬†Short Game

In a short game participants simply play a quick hand of poker, using either Poker (I) or Gambling (R). To cheat, a character can chain Deceit (R) into this roll. If anyone cheats, anyone else can chain React (I) into their roll. Regardless of the final result, if the React (I) success level is higher than the Deceit (R) success level, the cheating will have been detected.


The 19th Century had its fair share of availabel addictive substances, such as opium, laudanum, cocaine and others, not to mention alcohol. Most of these were only addictive if taken a substantial number of times, and as such, having a character becoming addicted is strictly the choice of the player.

Some substances, however, are Highly Addictive. For these substances, characters must make an Endure (V) check, and the success level of this check must exceed the number of doses ever taken. If the character fails this check, they become addicted. Players are welcome to immediately pick up Key of Addiction, going into Advance Debt if necessary, unless they already have it or had it and bought it off.

Substance control was not a factor. As such, addicted characters are assumed to have easy access to any and all substances, unless it becomes interesting for that access to become a problem.

Characters suffering from withdrawal suffer one penalty die per day they have gone without the substance to all Ability checks.

Kicking an addiction requires at least three days of withdrawal and a successful Endure (V) roll. Voluntarily abstaining from the substance requires a successful Resist (R) roll.

Easterner Abilities

Boxing (V) – the noble art of unarmed fighting, with or without rules.

Ballroom Dancing (I) – tango, waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, jive , swing or polka. Or others. This is an artistic Ability.

Bladework (I) – fighting with one-handed edged weapons, including formal fencing or more informal jackknife stabbings in dark alleys.

Charlatan (R) – convincing someone of the validity and high value of questionable products or services.

Engineering (R) – formal training in mathematics, mechanics and structures, useful for judging distances, speeds and other quantities.

Gambling (R) – playing poker in its many varieties, including manipulating probabilities, reading cards and bluffing, but not cheating.

Easterner Secrets

Civilized Player РThe character has an aura of propriety and good manners about them and can handle themselves in an impeccably civilized manner. The character can prevent a Poker Game from escalating into violence, or prevent that violence from targetting the character.
Cost: 2 Instinct.

High Roler –¬†The character is skilled at¬†raising the¬†stakes for quick hands of poker.¬†The character can¬†create an Effect usable in any Sway (R) or Savoir-Faire (I) against his opponents. The value of the Effect is the difference in success levels in a Short Poker Game.
Cost: 1 Reason + cost of Effect.

I.O.U. – The character is¬†can make others believe they can trust the character’s word. If the character loses a¬†Poker Game, tey can avoid meeting the stakes of the game, indefinitely.
Cost: x Reason, as many as the difference in success levels. This cost must be payed again after each time the Reason Pool refreshes, until the original stakes are met or waived.

Medicine РThe character is trained in first aid and XIXth Century medicine. The character can heal Vigor Harm in others as if it were their own Reason Harm.
Cost: x Reason, as per the normal Harm healing rules.

Snake Oil –¬†The character’s charlatan concoctions are laudanum-based and count as a Highly Addictive substance. The concoctions are foul and no one would drink them unless persuaded of their usefulness by the character. In addition to its addictive effects, anyone who drinks this mixture may, for the duration of a scene, ignore the penalties associated with Vigor Harm. Furthermore, if the character becomes the supplier for an addiction victim, the character can use Charlatan (R) to create an Effect usable in any Sway (R) or Savoir-Faire (I) against the victim.
Cost: 1 Reason to create a dose of concoction, 1 Reason + cost of Effect to create the Effect.

Sudden Knife – The character is a master of the assassin’s art. In a suprise attack, the character can roll Bladework (I) unopposed. If the roll is successful, the¬†victim immediately takes level 4 Harm in Vigor and must make an Endurance (V) roll. If this roll fails, the victim takes level 6 Harm in Vigor instead.
Cost: 3 Instinct + 1 Reason + 1 Vigor.

Easterner Keys

Gambler –¬†The character lives to see the cards in the next hand they’re dealt.
1xp: The character plays a Long Poker Game.
3xp: The character plays a high-stakes Poker Game, either short or long.
Buyoff: Walk away from a poker table.

Greed –¬†The character regards wealth as its own purpose.
1xp: The character acts miserly in transaction.
3xp: The character bends or breaks honor or law for wealth and gain.
Buyoff: Abandon¬†one’s wealth.

Manipulator –¬†The character works behind the scenes, manipulating others.
1xp: The character exerts their will over a person of authority, even over a minor matter. Especially over a minor matter.
2xp: A person of authority accepts¬†the character’s¬†advice over and against other people’s.
5xp:¬†The character’s¬†influence makes makes a person of authority make a policy change or establish a new policy that works in¬†the character’s¬†favor.
Buyoff: Advise a person of authority to accept someone else’s advice against¬†one’s own interests.

What’s Next

Next up, the Chinaman culture and rules for Martial Arts.


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