Running the Reach
Luck of the Draw
- The Deal
Each player will be dealt a hand of cards equal in size to the rating of their Role in the Sequence. Once chosen, this cannot be changed, though after the first round, the player may choose to change tactics.
- The Ante
Each player must Act, Pass, or Fold each Round. This means the following:
- Act: The player declares an action they are doing. This costs 1 Gambit per Action.
- Pass: The player describes something else about the scene. This costs 1 Gambit per Action.
- Fold: If the player choose not to Act or Pass, or is out of Gambit, then they must Fold, and are out of this sequence.
A player may spend an amount of Gambit in a Round equal to the Rating of the Role they are taking this Round.
- The Dealer only Antes on actions meant to negate benefits gained from player Actions, or to cancel Pass descriptions, and then, only on his turn.
- The River
After everyone has acted in a Round, including the Dealer, a card is placed in the River. When there are 5 (five) cards in the River, one more Round progresses, and then the players determine their Hands.
- Closing the Hand
The players use the cards in their Hand, and the River, to build Poker Hands against the Dealer. This means that there are 7 Rounds in a Sequence, unless the Dealer is Busted. The player with the best Hand wins the Pot, and gets all Gambit spent into it to do with how they wish. The following are the basic functions they can do:
- Hoard the Pot: A player can keep all of the Pot for themselves, obviously. This sets up a strong presence in a second sequence, or for a later scene.
- Spread the Pot: The winning player can, instead, choose to divide the Pot how they see fit among the group, giving everyone a refresh of Gambit.
- Going Bust
When a character burns through all of their Gambit, they are considered to have run out of luck, and must Fold their Hand, taking them out of the running for the Pot. This has specific results in Combat but even out of combat, Going Bust is opening one’s self up to any negative impact the House wants to send.
The Devil in the Details
Cards are read by their face value, for simplicity’s sake. This means that among the basic cards, there are no Wild Cards, and each Hand is built out of the cards as they fall.
In each deal, however, four Jokers are left in the deck, and these are the Wild Cards. They allow a player to read them as any Card they like, though the Dealer will suggest alternate reads in support of the players.
- Special Dramatic Events
During some Events, such as major Boss fights or particularly chaotic scenes, the House can declare an additional card Wild, which makes it able to be read as any card in the deck. This will always be done prior to Dealing, and never after. If the Dealer forgets to declare it before the Deal, it does not count this Hand.
A player declaring an Action is making a declaration of something their Character is succeeding at. It follows some rules, but by spending the point of Gambit, the player is ensuring the success of this one action. Examples of Actions are:
- Creating Complications
A Complication is an ante the Dealer has to meet in order to perform a specific Action on their turn.
- Inflict Harm
Inflicting Harm on a person forces them to ante Gambit into the Pot immediately.
- Spread the Luck
Spreading the Luck is supporting a team-mate. It costs a Gambit into the Pot, and the player may then give as much Gambit as they like to any other player from their own.
Player Actions must be within the limits of physical reality for their Character, within the confines of the swashbuckling atmosphere of the system.
- Creating Complications
A player who wishes to remain in the Hand, but not Act, may Pass. This still costs a single Gambit, which allows the player to make a declarative statement about the scene, as long as it doesn’t change the core elements (location, time of day, physical reality). A player may pay as many Gambits as they like on a Pass, and make a declaration for each one.
- Passes may effect most NPCs, but cannot make declarations about any player’s Character in regards to behavior or action (the same goes for Dramatic NPCs, though Mooks are fair game on a one-for-one basis).
A player may Fold at any time during the Sequence, including off their turn. This takes them out of the scene in regards to actions, though they may still Tip the Dealer in order to make changes to the scene. This does, however, leave the Character open to any ill effects of losing the Hand, short of Death (see the link for more detail on Character Death). Examples are:
- Dismemberment or Disfiguring: Players who Fold are relinquishing their Agency in the Sequence; they may make a “Withdraw” Action on their last Round in the Hand, but this removes them from being in any further Sequences.
- Loss of Gear/Equipment: Players can have things taken, or the Dealer can declare they were lost on the field if the player withdraws, making future scenes more difficult.
If the entire group Folds in the Hand, it is considered surrendering, and any repercussions appropriate to the Scene will be meted out accordingly.
- New Sequence v. Continued Sequence
If the Hand ends with no clear winner in the Scene, such as their are still enemies on the field, a new Hand is dealt. The Dealer does not refresh his Gambit, though if the Dealer won the Pot this adds to his total. In regards to Combat, it continues like this until one side has either Folded out, or Busted.
A new Sequence represents a clear change in the make-up of the field. If the group is fighting a squad of mooks, reinforcements arriving represents a Continued Sequence where the Dealer won the Pot. A New Sequence is if a new Challenger arrives on the field; a Boss or a sudden arrival of aerial support.
The Dealer represents the House, or the Campaign itself, at the table. Unlike the rest of the group, he is playing against each player individually, as well as the group as a whole. As such, he begins each Sequence with a refresh of Gambit based on the scenario, usually 20, though bigger threats or more important scenes can call for more.
The Dealer can perform any Action a player can, but must meet Ante for any Complication set out by the Players. For example, if a player spends 1 Gambit declaring they are hiding behind cover, the Dealer must spend a point to overcome that cover and declare damage on the Player.
However, the Dealer can inflict an Ante of 1 Gambit on each player in the Hand, each Round, without cost. This can represent a burning of luck while being fired on, or simply the stress of a heckler in the audience.
The House represents the Game at Large. It is the Campaign, the Story, and the Setting, and as such, has no limit to the Gambit at its disposal. It sets the Stakes of the scene, and determines how much Gambit a Dealer starts the Sequence with. The House cannot alter the probabilities of a match, or change how the cards are read, simply determine the rules at the beginning of the night.
Busting the Dealer, Breaking the Bank
Busting Out in Dramatic Sequences (Hands)
If the Dealer is reduces to 0 Gambit over the course of a Hand, they cannot invest anything else in the Sequence, nor can their agents (the NPCs) do any further damage or effect to the Players, even if that effect is normally free (as in Damage). The Dealer, however, cannot Fold.
When the Dealer Busts, the Hand is Called, the rest of the River is dealt, and the winner of the Sequence is determined.
At the end of the Hand, when the group tallies the results and looks to the winner, if a Busted Dealer wins, then the enemy regroups, reinforcements arrive, or some other threat arrives to continue into another Hand. This new danger uses the Pot as its Gambit, with an exception:
- If the Dealer is Busted, the Pot is halved; one half to the Dealer, the other Half to the next best Hand, to be distributed as they see fit through the group.
Breaking the Bank, or Bringing Down the House
Players may break this cycle, or any cycle of Hands, by going All In. This is an action that changes the scene dramatically, and forces anyone choosing to act after to do so as well. This results in a Call, and the rest of the River is dealt out, and winners are determined. Regardless of winner, this ends the current Deal and Scene, though if the Dealer wins it could simply be moving to new ground to play through.
Examples of this include:
- Using a Ship’s engines to sear a blast door shut and sweep across the enemy forces.
- Dropping a hand grenade into the room where the debate is happening.
- Setting the self-destruct on the station
- Getting on one’s ship and calling to the others, preparing to take off.
If Players do not go All In to act, they must Fold, and go along with the Acting Players actions in spirit. Equating this to the examples above:
- The Group dives under the ship, scrambling to the gangway to get on board
- The Group scatters out of the room, narrowly avoiding the clearing blast
- The Group begins to flee with the Acting Character through the station, for the dock
- The Group jumps onto the launch ramp, moving to their stations
Players can act against this however (again, by going All In), but they may only declare one Action, and it is likely something contrary to the spirit of the Acting Player’s intent.
- The Player aims for the ship’s engines, or runs for the blast doors before the engines sear them
- The Player grabs or kicks the hand grenade, hurling it out of the room
- The Player goes to a console, and tries to disable the Self Destruct
- The Player ignores the call, instead continuing to stay on the ground
As shown, the decisions are entirely situational, but one thing is paramount: in cases where the Actions are contrary (as in the second and third), the player with the Higher Hand has their Action resolved first.
In situations where the Action is simply to ignore the Group’s decision or actions, the Group continues with their Action as normal. If this leads to a new Deal (such as jumping into a ship to escape ground forces, only to have to navigate past ship-based security), this is a wholly new Deal, with a refresh of Gambit for the Dealer. The player who remains behind continues the prior sequence until they reach a resolution.