Deck of Fate
The deck is currently owned by Chance, a wandering gambler.
The deck of fate is a set of thirty-nine cards made of paper. There are only three suits present, representing the three level of society. Diamonds represent the Royalty, Clubs signify the Military, and Spades for the Peasantry. The deck does not compel the owner to bid the deck into the pot unless the deck believes the owner would be better suited with out the deck.
To prepare a deck for play as a Deck of Fate, simply take a standard deck of playing cards and remove the hearts suit and any jokers. This leaves only the suits of Diamonds, Clubs and Spades. Betting is in items of value, backpacks, horses, rations, etc. Should the group of travelers decide to part ways, the deck is always included in the pot of the last hand. Keep track of the winning hand when the deck is in the pot for that is how the deck’s magic works. Hands are played as Vagabond poker. That is:
INITIAL DEAL: seven cards face down to each player and three cards up in the center, a beat card, a wild card, and a killer card.
PLAY: Do not look at your cards! The player to the dealer’s left is the lead player. The lead player starts rolling cards until his revealed hand beats the highest revealed hand on the table (initially, the beat card). As soon as his revealed hand becomes the best hand, he stops rolling cards and begins a round of betting. If he rolls all his cards and does not beat what is on the table, he is out and a betting round begins with the high hand. Either way, the next player becomes the new lead player and the process repeats, with a round of betting whenever someone stops rolling cards. If at any time the lead player rolls a card of the same rank as the killer card dealt up from the deck at the initial deal, he must immediately fold and a betting round begins with the high hand. The game continues until all the cards have been turned up or there is only one person left in the game.
WINNER: High hand
1. Straight flush, five cards of the same suit in sequence, such as 76543 of hearts. Ranked by the top card, so that AKQJT is the best straight flush, also called a royal flush. The ace can play low to make 5432A, the lowest straight flush. .
2. Full house, three cards of one rank accompanied by two of another, such as 777JJ. Ranked by the trips, so that 44422 beats 333AA.
3. Three of a kind, three cards of the same rank and two kickers of different ranks, such as KKK84. Ranked by the trips, so that KKK84 beats QQQAK, but QQQAK beats QQQA7.
4. Flush, five cards of the same suit, such as AJ942 of hearts. Ranked by the top card, and then by the next card, so that AJ942 beats AJ876. Suits are used to break ties and rank as follows: Diamonds (the Royalty), Clubs (the Military) and Spades (the Peasantry).
5. Straight, five cards in sequence, such as 76543. The ace plays either high or low, making AKQJT and 5432A. “Around the corner” straights like 32AKQ are not allowed.
6. Two pair, two cards of one rank, two cards of another rank and a kicker of a third rank, such as KK449. Ranked by the top pair, then the bottom pair and finally the kicker, so that KK449 beats any of QQJJA, KK22Q, and KK445.
7. One pair, two cards of one rank accompanied by three kickers of different ranks, such as AAK53. Ranked by the pair, followed by each kicker in turn, so that AAK53 beats AAK52.
8. High card, any hand that does not qualify as one of the better hands above, such as KJ542 of mixed suits. Ranked by the top card, then the second card and so on, as for flushes. Suits are used to break ties and rank as follows: Diamonds (the Royalty), Clubs (the Military) and Spades (the Peasantry).
After a winner is decided, the deck’s magical properties begin. Look up the winning hand when the deck was in the pot. The decks owner is the target of effects and encounters below.
Straight Flush - Pull out the stops. The party has done something really unlikely. Reward them with knighting, deeds to minor pieces of property, that thing they’ve been hunting down, give them something really nice. Nothing so wonderful their heart’s desire is fulfilled, they should want to keep adventuring after all, but some really choice gear.
Full house - The party will come across an abandoned but serviceable building. Any challenges to claiming this property will be minor, for example, the previous inhabitants might have been run off by a small party of orcs, or moved to another country due to a relatives financial windfall. The lord of the land will want property taxes and fealty of course, but only a small and reasonable fee.
Three of a kind - The party comes into a situation where they make the wrong assumptions and/or pick the wrong side. A woman fleeing a group of armed men turns out to be a thief/ spy/ murderer. The drunken fop they throw out of the tavern may be a baron’s son. The actions taken by the party result in placing them in the great disfavor of someone in a position of power. No simple apology will make amends and the person will actively hamper the party’s goals.
Flush - The suit of the flush is important to the effects of this hand.
1. Spade Flush - The party is indebted to by a craftsman of some type. He will offer his services to the party free of charge as long as the party does not abuse their relationship. For example, a blacksmith saved from ambush would gladly repair and sharpen their weapons and shoe their horses, but asking him to forge enough swords for an army would be unreasonable.
2. Club Flush - A soldier or fighter of some type wants to join the party. He has no dishonorable motives and only wants a fair share for his services. He is competent and loyal, and has his own equipment. His equipment is comparable to the party’s but nothing superior. For example, he would have a sword, but not magical, a horse only if the party had horses already, and his horse would not be a battle breed steed, but a reliable and able mount.
3. Diamond Flush - A person of minor nobility takes a favorable notice in the party. Within their realms the party can find shelter and services and contact their patron. The patron will use their influence and resources to help the party find information and persons to help them on their quests. After all, the patron is likely to have a quest or two in mind for the party themselves. The patron will only use the party for tasks they believe the party can accomplish, never for suicide missions or futile searches. The person of nobility is looking for competent, reliable people to aid them in their endeavors, not someone to spread evil through the land. Parties who over-stretch their authority in the name of their patron will find themselves abandoned and possibly hunted.
Straight - The party is press ganged into laboring. It may simply be a noble telling them they are going to help shore up a levy on a swollen river, or a military officer telling them they will be digging the earth works in front of the keep. The work will not put them directly in danger and they are cared for, injuries gotten while working tended to and food and shelter provided. The work only lasts for a number of days equal to the highest card in the straight, face cards worth two weeks, aces 3 weeks, and once done, the party is free to go. The party is informed by a foreman of this fact in the first few days, BEFORE the party can act on any rash, irrational ideas.
Two pair - The party receives a significant windfall. A teamster caught in an ambush could expire after the party drives off his attackers, but gives the party his wagon and team to the party if they will see to it his last delivery makes it to it’s destination. A wizard may reward the party for retrieving a component or escorting his person with a useful magical item. In short, the party gets their hands on something good and useful.
One pair - Party is very likely to get hurt. Over the next 1d6 days, each person will take 1d4 points of damage twice and 2d4 once during the time period. These wounds will not be grievous, but significant. Hammer on the thumb, slice on the webbing between thumb and forefinger, twisted elbow, black eye, twisted ankle are all examples of injuries that will slow down party, but not kill them outright.
High Card - Minor set backs will plague the party for 4d4 days. The buckle on a saddle cinch strap may be bent, woodland creatures may investigate the parties supplies, weather may turn wet and dreary. Nothing life-threatening, but inconvenient.