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.

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  • Fool - Lose experience points and you must draw again.

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  • Jester - Gain experience points or two more draws from the deck.

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  • Key - Gain a magic weapon.

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  • Star - Immediately gain a bonus to one ability score.

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  • Sun - Gain a beneficial magic item and experience points.

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  • The Void - Body functions, but soul is trapped elsewhere.

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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
I suspect that another interesting by-product of the popularity of the deck of many things is "card magick." There have been magic-users who specialize in effects based on cards, and they usually integrate with that game's version of the deck of many things.
  • Talislanta 1st edition (1987) introduced the zodar deck, a 20-card deck that integrates with the setting's weird cosmology. The Rahsatran people of the setting use the cards to perform magic spells. In 4th edition Talislanta (the Big Blue Book), Cartomancy was one of the default magic systems. Since the system used a freeform magic system, there are only example spells, but the idea seems to be the spells are based on the symbolic meanings of the cards. For example, the spell Friendly Hand involves drawing the card The Assassin (meaning: treachery, betrayal) and then taking on the illusory appearance of a person friendly to your target.
  • Rolemaster Companion VII (1993) had both the tarot of many teachings item, and the Tarotmage class. The Tarotmage had several spell lists with powers based on both the symbolic meaning of the various cards, and the physical imagery of the cards themselves. The ultimate magickal working of the Tarotmage was to create a tarot of many teachings.
  • Palladium Fantasy RPG (The Rifter #13, January 2001) has the Deck of Fate which was made by the "Fate Priests," and I've also been informed that the game has Trickery Magic which theoretically could interact in interesting ways, since Palladium is more about the Rule of Cool than balance. I haven't been able to locate Trickery Magic yet, so I can't determine what the interaction is.
  • More recently, user /u/saequis on Reddit uploaded a homebrew Warlock pact, the Pact of the Deck, which is pretty interesting and has an optional feat to interact with the deck of many things.
 

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RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
It also occurs to me to mention that Lew Pulsipher had an article in The Dungeoneer #2 (September 1976, reprinted in the The Dungeoneer Compendium) titled "More Decks," where he bemoaned the power-ups PCs got with the regular deck of many things, and supplied two alternative decks: the deck of several things (18 cards), and the deck of few things (14 cards).
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
For better or worse, I'm seriously thinking about introducing the Deck of Many Things to my campaign setting in a couple of weeks. The party will eventually need to visit a famous oracle for information, and when they get there, the DoMT will be sitting temptingly on the table.

Just sitting there in the foreground of the scene. Unmarked, unlabeled, unmentioned, on an ordinary wooden platter.

I can't wait to see what they do with it.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
For better or worse, I'm seriously thinking about introducing the Deck of Many Things to my campaign setting in a couple of weeks. The party will eventually need to visit a famous oracle for information, and when they get there, the DoMT will be sitting temptingly on the table.

Just sitting there in the foreground of the scene. Unmarked, unlabeled, unmentioned, on an ordinary wooden platter.

I can't wait to see what they do with it.
Please report the results here!
 


RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Man, people went to work today eliminating the last card that deserves to exist.
Eh, none of them "deserve" to exist. Ultimately, I suspect Gary would have been happier with fewer Reward cards and even more Ruin cards, but he played a character in games run by his players, too, and wouldn't want to screw himself.

Personally, I like the full Tarot of many things/teachings, with each card potentially being either a Reward or a Ruin, depending on orientation (upright or reversed, in Tarot terminology). But I want a fantasy Tarot deck, with different cards and even different suits. I've been working up my own version for my home game for years; it has five suits (Fire, Stones, Winds, Waves, and Souls), six court cards in each suit (King, Queen, Duke, Countess, Knight, Lady), and such. I haven't gotten around to doing new Major Arcana yet; I think I was just intending to use the deck of many things cards for those.
 


RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Knight and Throne deserved to exist. They did something interesting that actually added something to the game.

The rest... do the opposite of that.
I think they can all add to the game.
  • The Void and Donjon provide a built-in adventure hook, which is pretty decent, so long as the PC that is lost is someone they care about. Alternatively, in my old campaign I'd prepared a scenario where the group's patron had acquired a deck and been Voided, which is another way to develop a plot from the cards.
  • Rogue is meant to shake up the typical PC shtick of being extremely careful about recruiting. I've had groups that rarely allowed NPCs into their ranks because they didn't trust them; this card guarantees that even if they're very careful, they can still be hit by treason. In my games, I never have the treason come from a retainer or hireling -- it's always a religious superior, group patron, etc.
  • Skull. I'll admit, I loved Skull in the AD&D 1E days precisely because it added a monster to the game that was frightening. Too many groups in those days became blasé about monsters when they reached mid-levels; the Minor Death was a fearsome foe even for them!
  • Admittedly, Gem is dull. I find the Palladium Fantasy deck of Fate interesting slightly better because its version of the Gem card actually pelts the drawer with the gemstones, potentially injuring or killing them! "Moments later, the drawer is assaulted by a rain of 1D100 gems of varying types falling from the sky, pelting him or her and anyone within three feet (.9 m), inflicting 1D6 points of damage for every ten jewels. The stones are of varying types, from simple quartz and onyx to diamonds and emeralds, and are worth an average of 2D6x5 gold each (multiply this result by the number of gems to determine the total value of the shower)."
 
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JoeyD473

Explorer
  • Rogue is meant to shake up the typical PC shtick of being extremely careful about recruiting. I've had groups that rarely allowed NPCs into their ranks because they didn't trust them; this card guarantees that even if they're very careful, they can still be hit by treason. In my games, I never have the treason come from a retainer or hireling -- it's always a religious superior, group patron, etc.
My players are the opposite. they try to get as many NPCs to join them as possible
 


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