Standard Glain playing cards number fifty-six cards in four
suits (Swords and Pentacles are black suits, Diamonds and Stars are gold
suits). Each suit consists of ten numbered cards (Ace through Ten) and
four face cards (Knight, Sorceror, Lady, and Lord). In most Argossean decks
there are also four red cards, not of any suit: The Harlequin (or Fool), the
Dragon, the Queen, and the King. While the regular cards are the same as cards
in other lands, the red cards are specific to the Argossean region.
(Generally, only the Fool is found everywhere.)
Card games of Glain are many and various, but two games stand
out: Five-in-Hand and Tarak. Five-in-Hand is a betting game similar to poker.
The red cards have special uses in this game: The Fool is "wild low"; it may
take on the values of the cards Ace through Ten of any suit. (Aces are valued
at one in this game.) The Dragon is "wild high"; it may take on the value of
any face card of any suit. The Queen and King are ranked above the Lady and
Lord of all suits, so they may be used to create a high-value straight with the
Sorceror, Lady and Lord of any one suit.
Tarak is a point-based card game played similar to rummy, but only for
straights. Each player gets a seven card hand, and the draw-play-discard
pattern is followed as in rummy. Straights are kept in the hand, as in gin
rummy. The red cards are used exactly as in Five-in-Hand. The play pattern
procedes around the table until one player decides to go out. That player must
have either two three-card straights or one five-card straight. Each player is
then awarded points for all the cards he has in straights, and penalized for all
cards not in straights. Numbered cards are worth their listed value, except for
Aces, which count as eleven. All face cards are worth twelve points, and red
cards are worth thirteen points.
Games of skill in the region include darts and pool. Darts are much like modern
dart games; concentric circle boards are preferred. Play (and betting) is by
points. Usually, three to five darts are used.
There are two major variants of pool: the regular game (called "pool" or
"ten ball") and "Lot" (or "fifteen ball"). Tables have six or eight
holes. Regular pool may be played on either type of table, but Lot requires an
eight-hole table. A variant game called "War", played like cutthroat, is quite
popular in some areas. All variants of betting are allowed. (In Lot, the
eleven ball serves the same purpose as the eight ball in standard pool.)
Seasoning at inns and taverns is provided by the diner. Argossean sailors often
use shark oil seasoning, which most other people find disgusting.
Common Alcoholic Beverages
|Northern (Argossean) Beer
||Strong and dark
||Light color, moderate alcohol
||Strong and cheap
||Very strong, acidic flavor