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How To Play Wicked Grace: The Varric Version

Varric Tethras

Bullshitter Emeritus
Canon Character
Post DAI Timeline
DAO/DA2 Timeline
I started with this Tumblr post from lotusflwr.

Mixed in this one from Pavonisia.

And added a couple of tweaks of my own, as a game played throughout the world will have local variations.


- There are 5 suits in each deck, these suits can vary with locality, but in Kirkwall, the most common are: Serpents, Daggers, Songs, Knights & Angels
- The suits are ranked, from lowest to highest: Serpents<Daggers<Songs<Knights<Angels

- Each suit has 5 card types, again ranked from lowest to highest
- Serpents: Deceit<Avarice<Lust<Jealousy<Pride
- Daggers: Serpent-Entwined<Dragon's Tooth<Wolfhead<Boar's Tusk<Spider Fang
- Songs: Temerity<Mercy<Love<Parting<Courage
- Knights: Dawn<Dusk<Eclipse<Noontide<Twilight
- Angels: Fortitude<Truth<Charity<Kindness<Virtue
- The highest ranked card in each suit is called the crown card

- A standard deck contains two of each of these cards, plus two more: The Angel of Life & the Angel of Death, for 52 cards total

- The deck is shuffled & each player is dealt 5 cards to begin with

- The remaining cards are placed in a stack face-down in the center of the table. This is the draw pile

- The first player draws a card from the top of the deck, then discards a card face-down, starting the discard pile.

- The next player can draw from either the draw pile or the discard pile. Each time a player draws a card, they must also discard a card, so that they keep only 5 cards (unless they're cheating)

- When all cards from the draw pile are gone the discard pile is shuffled and becomes the draw card

- The object of the game is to assemble the highest ranked hand by suit & card:
- For example, a pair of Knights beats a pair of Daggers, but three Serpents will beat a pair of Angels

- Some combinations:
- Twins: Two of the same card of a suit. Twins will beat a regular pair
- Full Hand - All cards of the same suit; a full hand with no twins is a Numbered Full Hand & beats a Full Hand
- Full Court - has 1 card from each of the 5 suits; the suit of the highest ranked card determines the worth of the hand
- Numbered Full Court - 1 card from each of the 5 suits with no repeating ranks
- Matched Full Court - the same rank of each of the 5 suits
- Ranked Full Court - Serpent of Deceit, Dragon's Tooth Dagger, Song of Love, Knight of Noontide & Angel of Virtue - this hand beats anything but a Landsmeet
- Landsmeet - the crown card of each suit

- The Angel of Death
- When this card is played, the game immediately ends & all hands are shown
- A player who draws this card is supposed to immediately place it face up on top of the discard pile

- The Angel of Life
- This card can block the Angel of Death
- If a player is holding this card when another player plays the Angel of Death, they can lay the Angel of Life face up on top of it; both cards are then paced in the discard pile, and the draw & discard piles are shuffled together to create a new draw pile, with a new discard pile started by the next player
- If a player holding the Angel of Life draws the Angel of Death, they may discard the Angel of Death facedown on the discard pile
- The Angel of Life has no rank in a hand, so holding on to it can hamper the attempt to build a stronger hand

- Cheating
- Cheating is an expected tactic in Wicked Grace; just don't get caught!
- Common cheats include:
- Not playing the Angel of Death immediately after it is drawn in order to try to get a better hand
- Discarding the Angel of Death instead of playing it face up when you don't also have the Angel of Life
- Stacking the deck
- Drawing 2 cards at a time
- Hiding extra cards up a sleeve or elsewhere

The virtual Wicked Grace deck for PBP:

I set mine up in my OpenOffice Calc program, but Excel or any other spreadsheet will work.

- Create a table of 52 numbered cells: 2 of each rank for each of the 5 suits plus the Angel of Life & Angel of Death
- Use the Rand(1,52) function to 'draw' for each player in turn, marking each card as it is drawn to remove it from the deck. If the random function pulls a card that has already been drawn, repeat until you get an available one
- Make a second table for the discard pile, tracking which card is on top until it is shuffled, then turn it into the draw pile using Rand(1,X), where x is the number of cards in the pile

To play:

- Ideally, the dealer should not be one of the players, as they will know what everybody has, but that's what Roleplaying is for
- 5 cards are 'dealt' to each player; the dealer gives them their hand by PM
- Players PM the dealer to tell what card they are discarding & whether they are pulling from the draw or discard pile
- The dealer PM's them back with the card they have drawn
- Play continues in this fashion until the Angel of Death is played, at which point players reveal their hands in their posts

It should be noted that I haven't tried this out in an actual thread yet ... but the theory seems sound.