Conflict Resolution, Part 4: Poker-ish

The other system I sketched out to use cards as the resolution mechanism is based off ‘Stud’ poker. It’s definitely not poker, but it borrows some elements of the risk/reward system. Otherwise, I still like the basic success/mixed/failure model of the last iteration, though there are tweaks that could be made.

Stealing from Poker

The part I want to steal is the ability mitigate your own risk by choosing to fold or continue as information is disclosed. Each player will have a hand of 5 cards, playing 1 face up, then 2 face down. The GM will play all cards from the top of the deck – there’s no GM ‘hand.’ Face cards are worth 10 and aces are worth eleven.


When multiple players want to act simultaneously, each will simultaneously play one card face-up. Like with my blackjack-based proposal, the highest-valued card goes first. If the values are tied, a new card is drawn and the cycle repeats until on player has a higher value card. The player draws enough cards to bring their hand back up to 5 cards.


The player plays 1 card face up, and 2 face down from their hand. The GM does the same from the deck. At this point the player may choose to fold, earning a minor failure. Assuming the player wishes to continue, another player may opt to intervene at this point. The description of that is below. The player and DM flip the first face-down card. The player may again choose to fold, earning a minor failure. If the player wishes to continue, the second face-down card is flipped. The total value of the cards is calculated for both the player and the GM, unless a 3-of-a-kind exists. A pair adds 5 to the value of your hand. A modifier can add a small value (+1 or 2) to your hand value, but does nothing for pairs or three of a kind.

An intervention

A player intervenes when they want to help or hinder another player’s action. Each player can intervene once per round, and action may only see one player intervene. To intervene, this player (the intervener) will announce their intention after the original player and the GM play their cards, but before any face-down cards are revealed. The intervener will discard 1 card from their hand, then replace anyone ONE card in play, face up or face down, with a card from their hand at some point before the resolution end of the hand. The intervener MUST replace one card.


So, while the actual impact to the characters would change based on the final word and game systems, we can break it down into 3 sections.

Full success

  • Player gets what they want, and then some
  • Player has three of a kind (GM does not have 3 of a kind)
  • Player wins by 5 or more/li>

Partial success

  • Player what they want, with some drawback
  • Player and GM both have 3 of a kind (actual cards irrelevant)
  • The total value of the player’s hand is greater by less than 5, or equal to that of the GM

Minor failure

  • Player MAY get what they want (GM discretion – for the easiest of tasks), but must give up something in return
  • The player folds after playing their face up card
  • The player folds after revealing they first face-down card


  • Player MAY get what they want (GM discretion – for the easiest of tasks), but will suffer serious consequences.
  • The GM has 3 of a kind, and the player does not
  • The total value of the GM’s hand is greater than the value of the player’s hand

Assuming a group is playing with a single deck of cards, all cards would be collected after a round, shuffled, and dealt.