An issue with gambling...without being random?

I’m writing a game with an option to purchase specific items, so it seems sensible to put in a way to make money. A bit of context:

It’s a fantasy deal, where you start the game imprisoned inside a magic sword and have just been found by a group of ‘adventurers’ (some of the usual tropes, but mostly to give an easy background to tell a story which I hope will be different). You have the option to have a wizard put you into a body which will give you autonomy again (human, golem, or monster), but have to obtain the body yourself. If you want to hunt down a dragon or griffon, you’ll need supplies; I also thought it would be fun to be able to win components for making a golem through gambling with merchants.

I really don’t want to make an important goal dependent on random chance, but as an inanimate object you don’t have a whole lot of stats of your own at this point. There is a lot of control over the person carrying you, however…

Should I:
a) Base gambling on stats held jointly between you and your holder?
b) Scrap that part entirely and try to come up with a different way to get stuff?
c) Narrow the options for bodies you can choose and try to avoid the issue that way?

I have a decent ‘skeleton’ and chunks of story written, but trying to sort out some of these mechanics is proving to be a headache–I would really appreciate any opinions you all care to offer.


This is just my opinion take it as you will:

I would give several “origins” of getting trapped in the sword and have the finder a different person or creature for each…

1: You were a soldier in a big fight and just as you struck at an enemy a spell was cast on you, turning you into the sword and you got lost on the battlefield. Years later, a scavenger looking for battlefield loot finds you and he/she is your first target for a body…

2: You were adventuring in a dungeon looking for treasure when you tripped a trap that spelled you into a sword… later that day, a wondering orc/kobold/goblin found you and picked you up off the ground; this is your first target for a body…

3: You were trying to find a way inside a wizard’s tower and after you broke his door in you stepped inside and he spelled you into a sword; he then gave you to a dragon and now your stuck in a dragon’s horde…

4: Your grandfather echoed a curse on you one day, he then took you to a merchant in the city and sold you…

So in essence whatever origins the |MC chooses will determine their body to begin…

I’m not certain if your looking for ways to include micro-transactions in the story but I am not a supporter of those.

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Hmm…I did have a few different ways that you might have been trapped in the sword (punishment for crimes, preserving your consciousness to help others in the future, or just pissed off a wizard), but was then going to have you choose who you would like to hold you within a single group.

I could see some really interesting things happening with what you’ve laid out, though…


Edit: Had to look up what you meant by ‘micro-transactions,’ and that’s not what I meant at all. More a way to let the character make money, within the game.

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I like that much better.

I guess everything depends on your story because nothing really makes sense with what little is revealed so far. I know that Apple has issues publishing games with gambling in them - so that might be something you want to consider - if you want your story on the Apple App store gambling might not be a good idea…

I can see how it would be hard to tell what’s in my mind from just a couple of sentences :wink:

If I can figure out how, is it helpful to share what I have so far even if a lot of it is really rough?

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That is up to you; some are comfortable sharing and others are not…

I did… I shared a bit of my work and found that there was an interest in it and the community here is wonderful, they will give you feedback…

so in the end I say put a demo out for us :slight_smile:
All our works are rough to begin with.

Is that part about hunting the dragon while you’re still a sword?

Because that’d make things a little difficult, wouldn’t it?

It is. Indeed, it would be quite difficult on your own since you wouldn’t have the ability to fly around or anything. The sword is more ‘telepathic’–growing from an initial ability to influence how the person who picks it up feels about things to veritable possession eventually.

“You” would hunt a dragon by telling your wielder to get their group to go do it, and possibly offer tactical advice. If the mage picks you up, you can enhance their magic; if a knight-type, you can guide their arms, that sort of thing.

I guess that makes sense. Not that I would ever prolong being stuck in a sword for anything. Especially in the fantasy genre.

(Before you accuse me of watching anime, I have no clue what that gif is from)

No. I might make it an option, but the assumption is that you’d like to have a real body again (it’s partly my way of letting you customize your character to fit your goals). This mission is included to give you a way to obtain a dragon form, should you decide to be a powerful patron of a new order of knights. Or…you know…wreak havoc on the countryside.

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This game concept sounds very interesting! I look forward to seeing where you take the MC. Swords and gryphons, hurrah.

On gambling: I have an optional gambling sequence in the fourth chapter of my current WiP, Beastie Watch, which is not randomised. It is based upon a game of brag, and is dependent both upon stats, and on the choices a player makes whilst playing. The hands are given, but your MC’s observations and options, and the bets of others, may change depending on your stats.

You’re more than welcome to have a look at my code, or I’m happy to PM you a link to the .txt file which contains that scene, if you like. The coding is (I think) fairly straightforward. I was writing the piece for CS Comp and only had one month; part of my goal was to make the apparent complexity of battles and card games loom larger than the actual complexity of the coding.

As to your broader question–I suppose it depends on your goals, and on how complex you want the game to be, aye? I like the idea of several diverse host (wielder?) options, but if it makes coding a terrible muddle then perhaps begin with a smaller field. On the other hand, basing results strictly upon combined stats seems to be simpler, at least from a coding perspective.

I hope that’s helpful!


Gambling feels like a poor way to make money under most circumstances. Too big an element of chance; you could lose as easily as win. As a magic sword that can enhance the skill of your wielder, I’d think you’d be much better off with mercenary jobs – guard so and so, attack this castle, etc. The usual downside of those jobs applies in this case to your meat puppet, not to you, so the odds look even better.


Except a sword becomes dull, chips and dings - I’m not sure how often you’d want to be put to a whetstone or what you’d do if a big chunk was taken from the edge… :rose:

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You guys are great! (and I’m really entertained by how everyone is way more concerned for a sword’s safety than the people who are probably more vulnerable)

@Fiogan-- Had a quick play-through of the WIP you linked to (great stuff, by the way; I had a lot of fun with it), and I really like how you handled the card game. I would love to have a look at the relevant section of code. I think this is the sort of thing I’m looking for, where you can “gamble” and potentially have won your body in a card game (in honor of Han Solo…don’t know why, but the idea just really entertains me) but without the unfairness of real gambling. I’ll just use it more as a character development/interaction scene with an added perk if it comes off well.

Because you’re completely right, @Havenstone. Alas, it’s the reason I’ve traditionally had a job rather than the way-more-fun option of hanging out in a casino to get money to live off of. A couple of more active missions to earn money would indeed seem to be in order.

And I’m still really wanting to work in getting stuck as a part of the dragon’s hoard for a while if things go badly…

Thanks so much for your input, everyone! My feelings toward this part of the game have gone from frustration to excitement to find a way to work in all these ideas.


I love this. :rose: :rose:

@Eiwynn It’s a great idea you had. It hadn’t occurred to me, but it’s going to be so much fun!

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