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Old 08-22-2015, 04:46 AM   #1
johndallman
Night Watchman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Gambling and Games

Gambling is an IQ/A skill, described as "skill at playing games of chance", but it always seems to be played as skill in betting, on games of chance, sports, or anything else, so as to win money, or at least lose more slowly. It defaults to IQ-5 or Mathematics (Statistics)-5 and no skills default to Gambling. The skill hasn't changed very much since GURPS 1e.

Roll Gambling to tell if a game is rigged, to identify other players in a game who have Gambling skill, or to estimate odds in any situation, not just betting. When gambling against "the house", roll Gambling with the GM's modifiers; when gambling against someone else, use a Regular Contest of Gambling skill: the relevant Games skill would presumably be complementary to that roll.

Cheating at Gambling is done with Sleight of Hand, for card or dice games. To spot cheating, use a Quick Contest of the better of Gambling or Vision against Sleight of Hand, or whatever skill (or IQ) is being used to cheat. Modifiers include +1 to +5 for familiarity with the game, -1 to -5 for rigged games, and -3 for Killjoy. You get +4 to Gambling when playing against someone with Easy to Read who tries to bluff or mislead you. Gambling has its own special Disadvantage, Compulsive Gambling.

Games is the IQ/E skill of playing a specific game: specialisation is required. It's also used for knowing the rules of a specific sport, so as to be able to act as a judge or referee, but actually playing the sport is a Sports or Combat Sport skill. A sports player can try to use the appropriate Games as an Influence skill against a referee, but high skill is recommended, since this use is at -3. B.226 lists Games (Darts) as a skill, so other games, like billiards, which require physical skill, but not athletic ability, are presumably also Games specialisations. Games defaults to IQ-4, and takes Cultural Familiarity modifiers. Games (sports rules) specialisations can default to closely related rules at -2, but few normal games default to other games. Savoir-Faire (Dojo) can default to a relevant Games skill. Games are not normally TL skills, but players from later in history get +1 to effective skill when competing against earlier players. Games is in 3e Compendium I, and may originate in GURPS Vikings.

The example GURPS adventure, Caravan to Ein Arris, has quite a bit of gambling in it. It has a house with Gambling-18, which I suspect is some combination of very good familiarity with their own games, and it being easier to have odds stacked against the player by raising the house skill than by explaining to a novice GM how much to penalise the PC's skills.

Gambling is common on templates as a form of entertainment, as a vice, and as an accompaniment to social skills. Games is less common, with (Chess) as the commonest specialisation on character sheets. Banestorm has politically important Polo matches and the Great Games, a kind of equivalent to the Olympics; even the obscure city of Abydos has its own Games. DF2 has some simple, but effective rules for Gambling in town, and DF14 adds Psi-cheating. Fantasy has magic via gambling, and Games specialisations of (Tournament Rules), (Duelling) and (Magical Duels). Infinite Worlds: Britannica-6 is a setting where Gambling skill is essential in high society. Low-Tech has a variety of equipment for game-players. Magic has an elixir that aids Gambling, and Martial Arts has lots of Games skills, while Gladiators is a setting where Games and Gambling interact, and Yrth Fighting Styles adds detail to Yrth's Games specialisations. As usual, PU3 and PU7 have examples that include these skills. Powers provides ways to cheat at Gambling -- or just improve the odds a trifle -- as do Psionic Powers and Psis. Thaumatology has more of those.

I don't "get" Gambling, possibly because I assume I won't be lucky, and really don't believe that my desires, however strong, have any effect on the universe. In consequence, it's something I've never taken for a character, simply because roleplaying it wouldn't be interesting. A few characters have had Games skills, but they've never been significant in play.

What have you done with these skills?
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