A gambit (game) of Three-Dragon Ante consists of 3 rounds.
You begin with your "hoard" of 50 silver pieces.
On your turn each round you roll for a dragon card – roll a d12. Then roll the follow-up "Strength" die (if any) indicated on this chart to determine the card's Strength. There are
other cards in the game (called Mortals), but they are abstracted away to focus on the powerful dragon cards.
Take Silver Pieces equal to the card's Strength from your "hoard" and add them to the pot.
Optionally, you can instead withdraw in any round, forfeiting any Silver Pieces you've placed in the pot so far.
After the 3 rounds, whoever has the highest "flight" (sum of the Strength of your cards) wins and claims the pot.
Ties at the end of the game are broken in this order of precedence: largest "hoard" > most dragon gods played > most good dragons in dragon flight > whoever rolls the highest Gaming check (or DC 10 against these npc mercenaries).
In addition to whatever you might try with skill checks & magic (e.g. Gaming check to roll for 2 cards and pick one, Insight to anticipate opponent's hand, Sleight of Hand to cheat replacing your roll with a card of your choice, etc), there are 2 special rules: Card Powers & Dragon Flights (like poker hands).
- Evil Dragons (steal): When you play a non-god evil dragon, steal Silver Pieces from the pot equal to 1/2 the Strength (rounded up) of the card. If the full amount of stealable Silver is not available in the pot the player steals as much as they can.
- Good Dragons: When you play a non-god good dragon, choose an opponent with an evil dragon in their flight. That opponent must place Silver Pieces in the pot equal to 1/2 the Strength (rounded up) of the card. If the opponent does not have the full amount of Silver, they pay as much as they can now and owe a debt to whoever wins.
- Tiamat: If Tiamat is still in play at the end of the game, the lowest dragon flight wins the pot (instead of the highest). Her apparent strength of 1 is magical treachery to make her more likely to win!
- Bahamut: When Bahamut is in play, the owner may choose to sacrifice him at any time to destroy a Tiamat of their choice that is in play. Each of those players immediately plays a replacement card, with a Red dragon card replacing any removed Tiamat card and a Gold dragon card replacing any removed Bahamut card. The owner rolls the new dragon’s Strength as it enters play.
At the end of the gambit (game), evaluate each player's flights with the following criteria in the following order:
- God Flight: A player that rolled a dragon god at the start of EACH of their three turns may take 1/2 of the pot's Silver Pieces (rounded down) and add it to their "hoard." Those dragon god cards are not necessarily required to still be in the player's flight.
- Triplet Flight: A player with 3 dragons of the same Strength in their flight gains a reward from ALL opponents. The player chooses one the player with Silver Pieces equal to 1 of those dragon‘s strength from all opponents. If an opponent does not have enough gold, they pay what they have until they are out of gold, and owe a debt to the player for the remaining gold amount.
- Allied Flight: 3 dragons of the same Alignment in a flight rewards a player the strongest dragon's Strength worth of Silver Pieces from the pot. If the full amount of silver is not available, the player takes as much as they can.
- Leader Flight: Add the strength of all dragons in each player’s dragon flight together. The player with the strongest dragon flight (or weakest if Tiamat is in play) is the leader and wins the remaining pot.