Abridged History of the 10th Age
A standard deck of Avarine cards consists of four suits and a fifth “trump” suit. In many places the trump suit is dropped, though it is used in Thyrnesse and lands around the Inner Sea.
The Four Suits are: Branches (of the World-Tree), Pillars, Swords, and Cups (in Dorlan, the Cups suit is replaced by Books). Each suit has cards numbering from 1-10 (1-7 in the Dorlish version) and four face cards (or three in the Dorlish). The face cards are: the Knave (the Scribe in Dorlish), the Knight (the Tutor in Dorlish), the Queen (not present in Dorlish sets), and the King (the Archmage).
The Trump Suit has the following cards within it, ranked from zero to twenty one:
(0) The Bard, (1) The Festival, (2) The Market, (3) The Temple, (4) Strength, (5) Wisdom, (6) The Lawkeeper, (7) The Emerald, (8) The Magician, (9) The Empress, (10) The Emperor, (11) The Font of Life, (12) The Cradle of Earth, (13) The Giant King, (14) Mother Night, (15) The Great Troll, (16) The Lord of Wyrms, (17) Asca-Irminsul, (18) The Immortal Chains, (19) The Hells, (20) Death, (21) The Wheel of Fate
Played mostly in Thrynesse…
A Dorlish game, Apprentice is so-called because of the common shout of “sweep!” which indicates a large and stunning victory. Apprentice is played with a Dorlish deck, and opened by laying four cards out face up on the table. The players (who must number 2, 4, or 6) are dealt three cards each.
Play proceeds from the dealer’s left; each player may do one of two things during their turn. They may either show a card from their hand and take face-up cards from the table EQUALING the number of that card OR play a card from their hand to join the cards on the table.
Possibly plays include: Use Archmage; claim Tutor and 2. (8+2 = 10) Use 3, claim 1 and 2. Drop any card onto the table.
Scoring works as follows: any time the table is cleared, the person who did so shouts SWEEP! and collects all the cards. This earns 1 point for each sweep. At the end of a hand (when the cards run out) the following points are calculated – whoever has the most cards gets one point. Whoever has the most of the suit of Books gets one point. Whoever has the seven of books gets one point. Lastly, whoever has the highest prime number gets one point (7,5,1).
Hands are played until one person (or team, in the case of more than two players) scores 11 points.
The face cards have the following values in a Dorlish deck: Scribe – 8, Tutor – 9, Archmage – 10.
Though there are hundreds of variations of this game, the simplest rules are presented here, as this is how it is most often played in the temples of Fortuna: A group of players toss the talii. The highest numerical value wins the pot except in the case a non-numerical value is thrown. These are, of course, the Vultures, the Senio, and the Lady. The Dogs represent the lowest possible throw and the failing thrower must place four times the initial bet into the pot when throwing them. The other Vultures, however, beat all numerical values save for the Lady. Those who throw them divide the pot amongst themselves unless the Lady is rolled. The Lady is a special roll, requiring all betters to double the amount of money in the pot. The pot is then split between all players who have thrown The Lady that round.
He who throws the Senio is considered “Seigneur” for the round, meaning that he is the patron of the game. All players who throw a Senio must add a coin (or an increment of bet) to the pot. However, the Senio (from highest, 6,4,4,4) beats the Vultures and other numerical values.
(1,3,4,6) :The Lady — all four tali with different sides.
(6,6,6,4) : Total = 22
(6,6,6,3) : Total = 21
(6,6,4,4) : Total = 20
(6,6,6,1) : Total = 19 (high)
(6,6,4,3) : Total = 19
(6,6,3,3) : Total = 18
(6,6,4,1) : Total = 17
(6,6,3,1) : Total = 16
(4,4,4,3) : Total = 15
(6,6,1,1) : Total = 14 (high)
(4,4,3,3) : Total = 14
(4,4,4,1) : Total = 13
(4,4,3,1) : Total = 12
(4,3,3,1) : Total = 11
(4,4,1,1) : Total = 10 (high)
(3,3,3,1) : Total = 10
(4,3,1,1) : Total = 9
(3,3,1,1) : Total = 8
(4,1,1,1) : Total = 7
(3,1,1,1) : Total = 6
(6,x,x,x) : Senio — a single six and anything
(6,6,6,6) : Vultures — all four tali the same
(4,4,4,4) : Vultures — all four tali the same
(3,3,3,3) : Vultures — all four tali the same
(1,1,1,1) : Dogs — lowest of the Vultures
Players place their bets against a banker who covers them.
The banker rolls the three dice first.
The banker wins all bets if he throws three-of-a-kind, any pair and a 6, or 4-5-6.
The banker loses all bets if he throws any pair and a 1, or 1-2-3.
If the banker throws a pair and any number other than a 1 or 6 then each of the players in turn throws the three dice. As before the player wins if they throw any pair and a 1, or 1-2-3. The player loses if they throw three-of-a-kind, any pair and a 6, or 4-5-6. If a player throws a pair and any number other than a 1 or 6 then the number thrown with the pair becomes the point number. If the player’s point number is higher than the point number thrown by the banker, the player wins, even if the pair is of a lower value than the banker’s. If both point numbers are the same then it is tied and no one wins or loses any stakes.
All other combinations, other than the ones described, are meaningless and both the player and the banker, in their turn, continues to roll the dice until a meaningful combination comes up.
This game is played on a square board with several nodes or play positions; check out NINE MEN’S MORRIS – it is essentially identical.