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How to Make Your Players Give You All Their Gold and Then Some..

A common complaint in role-playing games including Dungeons and Dragons is figuring out what can players do with all the gold and treasure they collect.

There are a myriad of suggestions but some such as buying magic items will make make a Game Masters life more difficult as more magical items results in the players becoming more powerful which can be harder to design games around.

A common suggestion is to require players to establish a base or fortress. However players invariably expect this base to be attacked, and in the same way that most 1st level adventurers are are friendless orphans so the Game Master can’t threaten them players will also spurn bases. It doesn’t help that 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons focus on heroic action means base building hold’s little appeal.

In that case how does a Game Master make players spend their hard earned wealth. Well the answer is simple – sit one or more goals or objectives behind success at the gambling table. Best of all – it works whatever the player level.

The Tiefling owner of the Lucky Centaur gambling den looks across at the table at you and gives a wry smirk “I have the information you want but let’s find out if Lady Tymora thinks you should have it. Put up 500gp and I’ll give you a chance to have it at a discount.”

A word of warning. Don’t do this if your players in real-life have genuine gambling issues, or have partners that do. Real life gambling addiction is very serious and not to be trivialised – but if you don’t – gambling can provide for an entertaining gaming session. If the players are lucky they will obtain what they need – if not they need to go adventuring again so they can put up the wager once more – and hope lady luck shines on them.

Here are three simple gambling games for your table. Each is a simple dice game, quickly learnt and played and accessible for virtual table top groups.

Dice games are easy to play using a virtual table top

Game 1: In Between

  • Player rolls 2d20.
  • The player must then roll a 3rd d20 and get a number between the values shown on the 2d20s.
  • If the numbers rolled on the first 2d20 values are the same or there is no gap between the numbers then player automatically looses.
  • If the player succeeds the Payout rate is 5:2 (for every 2gp bet they get 5gp)
  • Make your life easy and only accept bets in certain ratios
Bet AmountPayout Amount
2sp1gp
6sp1gp 2sp
2gp5gp
10gp25gp
20gp50gp
50gp125gp
100gp250gp
200gp500gp
500gp1250gp
1000gp2500gp
Payout table for In Between
The odds always favour the house

Game 2: Under and Over

  • Players bet if the value on 2d6 will be more or less than the number 7
  • If the value on the 2d6 equals 7 all players loose
  • The Payout rate is 3:1
  • Make your life easy and only accept bets in certain ratios
Bet AmountPayout Amount
2sp6sp
2gp6gp
10gp30gp
20gp60gp
50gp150gp
Payout table for Under and Over

Game 3: Two-up

  • The player calls either 1 or 2 “The Bet”
  • Roll 2d2
  • If “The Bet” occurs (both dice show the same value) the player wins and is paid out
  • If “The Bet” is anything else the player looses
  • The Payout rate is 15:2
Bet AmountPayout Amount
2sp1gp 5sp
2gp15gp
10gp37gp 5sp
20gp75gp
50gp187gp 5sp
Payout table for Two-up

Cheating

Invariably players will want to cheat the house. This is fine and you should consider allowing it but in a world where magic is known to exist players should expect operators of gambling facilities to have protective measures in place. Detect magic, see invisibility, mind shielding are common protections. A more cautious gambling operator may host their games inside a dead magic zone.

Players should be aware upfront of the consequences of being caught cheating. Consider having an NPC patron caught cheating and the casino respond to this event in suitable fashion as soon as possible after player entry to make it clear to the PC’s that such a course of action entails high risk (possibly fatal).

Unusual Wagers

Don’t limit yourself to gold and treasure as the potential wager go fantastical if the knowledge or item they hope to secure by winning is high stakes. Think the bottled lie of a Sphinx, water from both Elysium and the River Styx, or the Rod of Seven Parts. All these paths lead to the adventure you want to run and the goal that the Players want to achieve.

Bet what you don’t have…

This being a fantasy worlds players can wager what they don’t have in return for a quest or obligation if they loose. Players who owe money or favours provide Game Masters with opportunity to push the game forward.

Good luck players! and remember – the house odds always favour the Game Master!

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