D&D 5E Companion Thread to 5E Survivor of Many Things

What is your favorite card from the standard deck of many things?

  • Balance - Change alignment instantly.

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  • Eurayle - Gain a penalty on all saving throws henceforth.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Fool - Lose experience points and you must draw again.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Jester - Gain experience points or two more draws from the deck.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Key - Gain a magic weapon.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Star - Immediately gain a bonus to one ability score.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sun - Gain a beneficial magic item and experience points.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Void - Body functions, but soul is trapped elsewhere.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
So, if you have any comments, concerns, or criticisms of the deck of many things, here's where they go. Also, here's a poll for those who can't be bothered to participate in the Survivor thread but still want to say something.
 

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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
So, the first iteration, EGG's deck of many things from Supplement 1: Greyhawk, had 18 cards. It effectively split the Sun card into 2 cards (one giving the XP, the other the miscellaneous magic item), and was missing card equivalents for the Throne, The Void, Ruin, Rogue, Vizier, Idiot, Fates, and Donjon cards.

Most other cards had slightly different effects: Moon only gave 1-3 wishes; Star gave you 1 point to any ability score you wished; Comet meant a monster from the 5th level Underworld Monsters table attacked by surprise; Key only gave you a treasure map; Knight gave you the services of a Superhero with magic equipment, but only for an hour; Gem gave a random amount of jewelry; Flames meant a Lord with magic equipment attacked you, and disappeared after dying or killing you; Skull just killed you with no save; and Euryale turned you to stone with no save.

There were two other cards that don't have any equivalent in the DMG: one made you lose 1 point in your prime requisite ability score, and the other gave you a scroll of 7 spells, none first level. You could totally add those to the current deck: call the first one "Buffoon" and it costs you 1 point in your spell casting attribute, or Strength if you're a fighter-type or Dexterity if you're a rogue-type. The second one could be called "Tome". I'm not sure why they didn't stay in the game in later editions.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I've had two different characters pull Talons. For one it was her last relevant action, she retired right after. For the other it was the first thing she ever did on joining the party, and she's still trying to recover.

As DM and player I've seen Throne pulled over a dozen times (those little castles were sprouting like weeds in my setting for a while!) but have yet to get it myself. Flip side: one player in our crew has pulled Thrones at least four different times.

I did pull Sun once, though - that was cool!
 

aco175

Legend
We had a couple games going at one point 30-odd years ago when everyone had more time. The high level party drew cards one night and someone drew the knight. However the 4th level fighter never showed up and was almost forgotten. We then almost suffered a TPK in the other game with 4th level PCs when the fighter suddenly disappeared. The DM did not tell us what happened to the fighter until the next time we played the high level PCs and the fighter showed up in the middle of a battle.

Another time the DM had the whole party of 4th level PCs suddenly disappear to show up at a NPC party drawing cards from the deck. Not sure what the card was or some sort of modified version he made up. We did help them out for something and then ended up with a NPC ally we called on later in the campaign.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
The high level party drew cards one night and someone drew the knight. However the 4th level fighter never showed up and was almost forgotten. We then almost suffered a TPK in the other game with 4th level PCs when the fighter suddenly disappeared. The DM did not tell us what happened to the fighter until the next time we played the high level PCs and the fighter showed up in the middle of a battle.
I have heard of that happening in a game around here. I wonder if that was in an article on the deck at one point? Or just "great minds think alike"!
 


RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Also of note: to the best of my knowledge, there have been two adventures that use the deck of many things in an integral way.

One was published in Dungeon #19 (September/October 1989): the AD&D 2nd edition "House of Cards," by Randy Maxwell, for 4-6 characters of level 9-12 (about 52 total levels). A villain has used the cards to protect locks in his dungeon; in order to open a door, you have to "draw" the card from the lock and suffer effects. The doors are otherwise indestructible (several paragraphs are spent describing how the scenario stymies whatever clever way players come up with to bypass them). While the cards have their effect on the person "drawing" them from the lock, they don't count as a full deck until all 22 have been removed from the doors; so the deck doesn't disappear until after the end of the module. It's not a bad module, but it suffers from the typical Dungeon wordiness and railroad problems.

It provided a black-and-white deck you could print out after the module, but also referred interested parties to Dragon issue #148 (August 1989), which had a cardstock pull-out section in the middle you could cut up for full color cards.

The second one was Madness at Gardmore Abbey (September 2011), which was a 4th edition box set heroic-tier adventure. It came with a full deck of many things prop. The Abbey had been besieged some centuries back, and the attempt to use a deck of many things in its defense brought ruin to everyone involved (naturally). Several factions are trying to recover the Abbey, and the PCs can attempt to help one or the other. The cards have been scattered through the ruins, and have interesting tactical effects when they are located. The DM was meant to use the included deck to randomly determine several things (like the primary villain, and so on), much like the original Castle Ravenloft module used the tarokka deck. I loved this module, and one of the big bummers for me running the D&D Encounters program is that I couldn't get enough interest to run my own table of it -- it's probably one of the strongest-themed 4E scenarios. Really well done.

Dungeon #177 (April 2010) had a paragon-tier version of the item, and full-page full-color versions of the cards you could print out.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
You should tell us the story and achieve some closure!
I've told it a millions times before but:

First game: me and my friend are brand new with a DM who is a huge DL fan. I spend a lot of time coming up with a sorcerer elf with a name dumb enough to fit in with DL elves. Behold Maygik Crystandontalis.

Then I get to the alignment section. I've been told no evil, so there goes a third of the choices. Then I read LN and LG and god did that sound boring. Same with TN. CG sounded like being actually good so fine.

Session 2. We meet Fizban and try desperately not to metagame. He offers pulls from the DoMT. Again, new players. We've read DL, but we didn't know what the DoMT was. Little weird that we had to declare how many to pull, but whatever. It's not like the Literal god of Goodness would be there to screw us, right?

I pull. I think I did three, but I only remember knight and Balance. I'm pretty excited about the Knight and make plans to create the lady knight and I barely pay attention to the DM rolling and declaring Maygik got Balanced to LN. I continue to play my character as I made him the rest of the session.

Session 3. I sleep. And have a dream of the goddamn Platinum Dragon telling me I have to play as LN from now on or Maygik will die.

LN is the second worst alignment to have to play in the game, so Maygik was now a burden to play. Not long afterward, I magic missiled one of those explodey draconians at point blank range so he could be accidentally'd to death while my friend ran interference with Fizban to keep him from saving me.

I then negotiated to play the Knight who had yet to show up. I didn't give her an alignment. The DM never had the cojones to ask after what he pulled.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
LN is the second worst alignment to have to play in the game,
I used to think the same, and would still were it forced on me. But I've had a long and successful (thus far) run with the only LN character I've really ever played in depth. It helps that she's faux-Roman, I can play her as a true supporter of the Empire and all that, though she's not always easy to get along with. :)
I then negotiated to play the Knight who had yet to show up. I didn't give her an alignment. The DM never had the cojones to ask after what he pulled.
Ten-ish years ago a character in a game I ran pulled the Knight twice out of three pulls (the card gets put back after each draw). Shortly after this, two identical 4th-level Fighters show up...and of course the player names them Henrik and Daniel.
 

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