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D&D 3E
Deck Of Many Things 
12th-Jul-2006 03:54 pm
Void
Has anyone ever used the deck in their campaign? If so what were your thoughts on it?
Comments 
12th-Jul-2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
it is game breaking.

Although, amusing.


Simply, some of the cards will present challenges that the PCs cannot handle (Death), others will break PC/gold balance (Tower, Gain or lose a level, etc.). ALl in all, it is an interesting idea, but it can permanently kill characters and ahve consequences the DM would not want.

There is an alternate deck in one of the Eberron books. Similar concept, but much lower over-all power level. Still broken, but better.
12th-Jul-2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
They've replaced Death with a Dread Wraith.

The way to make it not break the game is for the DM to reckon on it being like "treasure" or something, if good things happen, and as "opportunities for more plot development" if bad things happen. For example, Ruin: Lose all your stuff. There could be a quest to go retrieve the stuff (assuming there was a clue as to where it was located). And if the party won't go with their party-mate to find their stuff, by 18th level, then they suck at interpersonal dynamics and the Deck was, in fact, a mistake.

I personally love the artifact and want to run a game someday that involves it. Wheee!

Deck of Illusions is fun too, in a tame way.
13th-Jul-2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
No, there's still "Banished to the Void"
12th-Jul-2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, and it went poorly. The cards are so powerfull and so dramatic that they can really upset play balance. I had a character draw the card makes you lose all your magic items. At play in teh teens, this is brutal. I also had someone draw the imprisonment card, and with no access to level 9 soc/wizard spells that character had to be GM-fiated back into the game.

The deck can be interesting, but its very very powerfull and possible disruptive. I'd love to see a lesser deck of many things though, with weaker but less disruptive cards.
12th-Jul-2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
I designed a roulette-styled wheel once that basically works like a lesser deck of many things... It worked very, very well... hehehe.
:)
12th-Jul-2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Our DM once pulled it out on us. I don't remember anything too horrible happening to me in particular, but I remember we had to use the Wish to mitigate a lot of the stuff that happened to us -- basically pushing it off until we were better prepared.

I don't think I'd use it in my game (unless I really needed to give it a kick in the pants) -- a lot of cards would be plot-starters (okay, which outsider did you guys piss off?) or plot-derailers.
12th-Jul-2006 08:04 pm (UTC)
It tends to possess the character weilding it too. Despite a variety of magical items, not to mention their class skills, they will use the deck before anything else, including common sense.
12th-Jul-2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
True. As a gag, in the nex game our DM put one of the Deck's cards on display, and he then had to field questions from a few players (who WERE there the last time) if we could have more cards. While the halfling bard/dragon disciple I was playing in the last game was a risk taker enough to try a single card, the human paladin I was playing that game was all "You guys are crazy". (Of course one of the players in question once said playing Lawful was no fun.)
12th-Jul-2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
Who needs common sense
12th-Jul-2006 08:04 pm (UTC)
I used a Deck in my last D&D campaign... They're always fun to pull out, though I only really did it just to see everyone squirm. Everyone wants a draw, but worries terribly about the horrors that could happen.

Anyhow, nothing happened that was 'game-breaking'. Those who became more powerful didn't upset things all that much... It was fun and very amusing for me.

(and the players, too... as it was toward the end of a long campaign)
12th-Jul-2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
used it in a few of my campaigns though it was modified so it wasn't so game breaking
12th-Jul-2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
Maybe I should look for a modified Deck
12th-Jul-2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
I agree with it being game breaking. There are a number of cards that are either going to be stupidly beneficial to the character (50k xp at level 5-6 can break a game balance) or they basically are so detrimental (banishment) to the character that it effectively forces retirement on them.

It can be fun just to see "what if" but it changes so much so drastically (good or bad) that I wouldnt recommend it in any stable campaign you intend to play out for any amount of time.
12th-Jul-2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Whoooooa, a Dread Wraith is CR 18. Why the fuck are you giving a Deck to a 5-6 level party? Seriously. That's still a lot of XP, even at higher levels (right?), but not breakingly so.
12th-Jul-2006 11:32 pm (UTC)
There is no level limit at which you could expose this magic item to a group. But there is levels where some of the effects are not as threatening.

My point may have been extreme, but it also speaks from experience. These were things that actually happened in our game group that was exposed to the item. Many of the effects, both positive or negative are extreme enough to tip the balance of the game.
13th-Jul-2006 12:33 am (UTC)
(50k xp at level 5-6 can break a game balance)

unless one character gets three wishes, another character pulls the 50k, and in a brilliant move of cooperation, the former uses one of his wishes to spread the xp wealth amongst the entire party.*

*happened in a game I played in.
12th-Jul-2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
I used a modified version of it in an AD&D game a long time ago. I don't remember all the specifics, but I don't think anything too bad happened. It was missing some of the cards, and I think Death was one of the missing ones.
I prefer to stick with stuff like Vecna's Hand, or Vecna's Eye. They have some very interesting side-effects...
12th-Jul-2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
I've used it before on my players. I don't remeber how, but they figured out a way to draw more than one card. It was effed up. I don't reccomend it.
12th-Jul-2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
I haven't used or seen one used in 3rd edition yet, but every 1st and 2nd edition campaign I was in or ran ended once they showed up. So, I'm not falling all over myself to use one in 3rd edition.
12th-Jul-2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
I've used the deck in alot of campaigns usually to throw in a hole of poor plot design (how did that train get in the sky palace anyway LOL). Seriously I like using them they really change the way the adventure is ran. Also created TONS of alternate decks. Deck of Animals. Deack of Enemies. Deck of Dragons. All lower level power and all alot more fun to use.
12th-Jul-2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
That's a great idea!

::goes to make a deck of undead. Or possibly dragons.::
12th-Jul-2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
There's been a Deck in almost every campaign I've ever played in, and so I've tried to put it in every campaign that I run. It's become something of a tradition now.

It is definitely one of those high risk/high reward items. Some players choose to avoid it altogether, while others go overboard and draw many cards. Even though it can kill characters or raise them in level so much as to ruin game balance, everyone has always enjoyed their experience with the deck.

It's definitely an item for a beer-and-pretzels game, though. I wouldn't dream of including it in a serious game.

I wouldn't give it to a party that wasn't at least in their early teens level-wise, though. My current PCs got it at level 16 and drew extremely well, so now two of them are level 19 and one of them is level 17 (from drawing the Sun and Moon cards).
13th-Jul-2006 12:24 am (UTC)
used in my campaigns, no. Played in a game that incorporated them at one point. Yes; twice.

All I can say is:


YAY LEVELS! 50 grand in xp? hell yes.
13th-Jul-2006 02:43 am (UTC)
One character got a keep, a level of XP, and a backstabbing traitor out of a minion. Three people ended up naked and imprisoned in the center of the earth.

Good times.
13th-Jul-2006 03:59 am (UTC)
I've used the deck a few times, as long as you take out the SUN and VOID cards, it's fine... I've had 2 players pull the SUN card at different times and it's a right pain in the arse... Also, if someone pulls the VOID card, they're gone beyond any hope of return... Unless someone pulled the FATES card beforehand and used it to undo the VOID...
13th-Jul-2006 02:33 pm (UTC)
It was dropped on us in our game. The best way to deal with it is to draw many cards often. I think we ended up drawing something like 15 or sixteen cards between the fave party members, and our one NPC. We came out of it three levels ahead from where we were, with two avoid any situations, a know the answer to your next dielemma, two contingency wishes, an epic crossbow (+4 Icy burst/Shocking Burst/Speed/Another thing I've forgotten), a +3 keen wounding scimitar, a keep somewhere, and a couple of battles with a dread wraith, whose ass we kicked. Repeatedly.

Now, granted, we were 12th level at the time, and specked all to hell for killing Undead, with a Clr2/Rgr10 whose favoured enemy was Undead, a Radiant Servant of Pelor who cast Heal on the Wraith, and my Sorcerer who Tim'd it to death with Orb of Force, but it was still an overall good thing for our party.

Elpecially with having to go in Maure Castle (Gary Gygax is a stupid fucker. I hate this dungeon. 15 character kills and counting)
14th-Jul-2006 01:45 am (UTC)
I've come across the DOMT several times during different campaigns, and I've found that it is UNIVERSALLY unbalancing, with the exception of epic campaigns, simply because at that point, you can handle the benifits/negatives you recieve from it (In our epic campaign the L28 Rapier wielding swashbuckling fighter drew 8 cards :P One of his was fight death (Dread Wraith) and he's like... pfft whatever)

but in general, the DOMT is the sort of thing you want to extremely limit the use of and even then, typically the best way to dump it on PC's as part of a treasure is to give them an incomplete deck (With say 6 cards remaining) or some such.
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