Noobhammer!

The ongoing adventures of a group of new D&D players in their first game

Kings of Uman

A dice game popular in the lower tiers of the city of Uman.

Kings of Uman is a dice bluffing game for two or more players in which the object is to lie your way to the top of social status in the great seven-tiered city of Uman. A full contest is called a City, and consists of series of short Games. In each Game, players secretly roll to learn what tier they belong on, and then take turns claiming any tier they like, trying to convince the others players that they really deserve it.

But the truth gets you nowhere. You’re lying, your opponents are lying, and everyone knows everyone else is lying, so how will you rise above? Will you expose the biggest liars and remove the competition? Make small moves and hope to go unnoticed? Or claim the 1st Tier and defy anyone to challenge your greatness? In Kings of Uman it’s not the biggest lie that wins, it’s the smartest.

Basic Rules

A City consists of 7 Games, each played in initiative order. Players begin on the 4th Tier and move up one Tier for each game they win (called a RISE) and down a Tier for each game they lose (called a DROP). If a player DROPS out of the 7th Tier, they are OUT, eliminated from the City. Players who survive the entire City and RISES highest are declared the Kings of Uman.

Requirements

A full City of Kings of Uman requires the following:

  • A d8 or higher to use as the GAME DIE, to track the number of Games remaining in the City.
  • A d8 for each player; the CITY DIE.
  • A second d8 for each player; the KING DIE.
  • A third d8 for each player; the PEASANT DIE.
  • A d20 for each player to roll initiative.

The PEASANT DIE is the city Tier where the player is allowed to live in Uman; they keep this secret. The KING DIE is a player’s declaration of where they should be allowed to live (because all Kings are liars). The CITY DIE tracks the player’s score, and represents the Tier they have bluffed their way into (lower score is better, representing higher Tiers in the city).

City Setup

Before the first Game of a City:

  1. Choose one player to manage the GAME DIE. Place it face up displaying the number 7.
  2. Each player places a CITY DIE in front of them, the number 4 face up.

Playing the Game

Game Setup:

  1. Decrement the GAME DIE by one.
  2. Roll for initiative.

Players retain their existing CITY DIE value; do not reset them.

Round 1

  1. Every player rolls the PEASANT DIE in secret and notes its value.
  2. Players take turns following initiative order. On their turn, each player must MOVE to a Tier of Uman they wish to live on, by changing their KING DIE to a value between 1 and 7. They might say something like, “Today’s my lucky day, fellas, I’m moving to 3rd Tier!”

Subsequent Rounds

  1. Players may start their turn with a CHALLENGE of another player’s Tier. When a player issues a CHALLENGE, the two players reveal their PEASANT DIEs to each other, keeping them hidden from other players. The winner of the challenge is the player who tells the largest truth, or smallest lie (see Scoring Challenges, below).
  2. If a player succeeds in a CHALLENGE or does not issue a CHALLENGE, they may now MOVE to a different Tier by changing their KING DIE to any number from 1 to 7. If the player does not MOVE, they HOLD.
  3. The Game continues in rounds of initiative order until all remaining players HOLD in the same round or all players but one are eliminated from the Game.
  4. The Game is Scored (see Scoring, below).

End of the Games

Play continues until the GAME DIE reaches zero.

After the City is complete, the players with the lowest value on their CITY DIE have risen the highest in Umani society and are declared the Kings of Uman.

Play ends immediately if all players but one are OUT; the remaining player is the winner.

Scoring

If a player’s KING DIE is greather than their PEASANT DIE they are lying. At the end of a Game the winning player is the one who told the biggest lie without getting caught.

All players reveal their PEASANT DICE. The winner is the player for whom the value of the KING DIE is greater than that of their PEASANT DIE by the widest margin. For example, in this sample scoring Keen wins because although Sirlius claimed the best tier, Keen moved from 7th to 3rd Tier in one Game.

Player KING DIE PEASANT DIE Difference
Sirlius 1 4 3
Magnus 4 5 1
Keen 3 7 4

Each winning player RISES by decrementing their CITY DIE by one, representing their newly improved station in the city of Uman. All other players still in the game DROP, incrementing their CITY DIE by one. If a player’s CITY DIE ever reaches 8, they are OUT (eliminated from the City).

In the event of a tie, both players RISE.

Players already on the 1st Tier who RISE keep their CITY DIE at one.

Scoring Challenges

Being caught in a lie is bad. When a CHALLENGE is issued, the player telling the smallest lie wins. If one player is telling the truth, they win. If both players are telling the truth, the player telling the largest truth wins.

For example, if Magnus challenged Sirlius in the example below, Magnus would win the CHALLENGE:

Player KING DIE PEASANT DIE Difference
Sirlius 1 4 3
Magnus 4 5 1

When a player loses a challenge, they DROP, and are eliminated from the Game. If the player issuing the CHALLENGE wins, they may continue with their turn with either a MOVE or a HOLD.

If a CHALLENGE ends in a tie, both players are eliminated from the Game but neither DROPs.


Variations

The Mudslide 7s

Mudslide 7s is a popular variant in the poorest parts of the 7th Tier of Uman. It follows the basic rules, except the following:

  1. All players begin with the CITY DIE on 7.
  2. When the player’s CITY DIE is less than 7, a DROP returns them to the 7th Tier.
  3. There is no GAME DIE: play continues until there is only one player left.

Pashtum Bank

Pashtum Bank follows the basic rules, except the following:

  1. Players must ANTE on the start of each Game
  2. Players pay TAX on each MOVE. Tax is kept in a separate pot called the Bank.
  3. Challenges include a betting round (see Challenges, below)
  4. The pot is paid out to Game winners (see Scoring, below)

Challenges

When a CHALLENGE occurs, the challenger must place a bet, for example declaring, “2 gold says you’re a liar and a cheat!” This money goes into the Challenge Pot. The challenged player must SEE the bet or DROP. If they SEE it they may also RAISE, saying for example, “I’ll see your 2 and 3 more says you’re a bigger liar than me!” This money is also added to the Challenge Pot. If either player cannot SEE the bet, they must DROP.

Betting continues until one player DROPS or the challenger CALLS; the challenge then completes in the normal way. The winning player receives the contents of the Challenge Pot.

Scoring

When a Game ends the pot is split amongst the winning players, but the Bank carries over to the next Game. When the final Game of the City is complete, the Bank is split amongst the winners.

Casino Rules

Casino Rules follows the Pashtum Bank rules, except the following:

  1. The House CITY DIE starts on the 3rd Tier; players stay on the 4th
  2. The ANTE and TAX rates are set by the House.
  3. Ties go to the House.