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Guide to Orc Knuckle

Preliminary Guide on How to Play Orc Knuckle - a Future Implementation to Crossfire

OrcKnuckle is one of the most common gambling games played in the land, and a particular favorite of dwarves. The game consists of four die (or 'knuckles') carved with distinctive runes which are thrown (usually against a wall or onto a table top) and scored according to the faces showing. The knuckles are five sided except for the fourth die 'the thumb' which has six sides. There is no limit on the number of players although many cities or taverns will have a house limit designed to avoid rioting.

The faces are carved with runes representing a beholder, a ghost, a princess, a knight and a dragon. (The standard runes used are Dwarven, however the Dwarven rune for 'princess' actually translates to 'soft, washed beard - nice pipes', and so the human rune for 'princess' has been almost universally adopted to stop the snickering which occurs when playing in racially mixed company.) The sixth face on the thumb knuckle is called 'the orc'.

Rules for play:

  1. Cut the hand off an orc.
    Note this is not required if the players already have a set of knuckle bones to use, but is encouraged in any case and especially when there is a question of the balance of the current knuckles. For tournament play orcs are usually made available by the organizers, otherwise it is expected that players will provide their own.
  2. Throw.
    The two most commonly used methods are: a) throwing the knuckles against a wall or, b) using a mug or cup to shake the knuckles and then empty them onto a table.
    As there are different strategies used depending on the method of throw, it is best to agree on which method is to be used prior to playing. A third method which has fallen into disuse involves placing the knuckles into a orcs head and then throwing this against a wall. This is reputed to be the way the game was played originally (the game is generally accredited to Arbis the Younger of the Blue Mountain Dwarves sometime towards the end of the Black Moon War) and is still used by purists, but is no longer widely used due to the protests of tavern keepers, slow moving game spectators, and law enforcement officers.
  3. Scoring
    Scoring is not consistant throughout the lands, but the most commonlyused formula is:
    • ghost is worth nothing
    • beholder is worth 1
    • princess and knight are worth 2
    • dragon is worth 3

    • a ghost cancels out a princess
    • a knight cancels out a dragon
      *note when a knuckle is cancled both knuckles are removed from consideration, neither knuckle can be scored and neither can be counted as part of a set.

    • two of a kind beats singles
    • three of a kind beats two of a kind
    • a double double (two sets of two of a kind) beats three of a kind
    • four of a kind beats three of a kind

    • orc cancels out everything

The player with the best throw wins the round. If there is no clear winner any bets are carried over into the next round of play. Games can be as short as a single round or as long as players are still alive and or conscious. *Note: Players who become undead during course of play may option to be considered either dead and opt out of the game on the next round of play or 'acting as alive' if they wish to continue playing.

There are many variants on the game depending on the region or ethnicity of the players and it is important to be clear at the onset which rules will be followed. Untold skirmishes, three wars, a famine and, an apocalypse have been reputed to be the direct cause of disputes over the rules that were not clarified prior to playing.

'Wild Orc' is the most common game variant. In this variant the Orc is considered wild and scores as it is called by the thrower. A variant of the game found often in Elvish lands sets the orc to count as a princess (Elves play with the original Dwarven rune for princess and have a mean sense of humour.) Two throws are cast by the player each round. Unlike in most variants points are accumulated over time and so games in the Elvish variant tend to last quite a long time.