Running the Reach
Agency and Opposition
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.