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D&D 3E
I'm thinking about putting a Deck of Many Things in next game. 
24th-Oct-2005 04:28 pm
Tell me about your experiences with a Deck of Many Things.
24th-Oct-2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
The craziest and stupidest things to ever happen in our games happened due to decks of many things. I owuldn't recommend it unless the entire group has either had a couple shots, or it's on a smoldering caffeine buzz at 3:30am
24th-Oct-2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
I thought about creating my own version that wasn't so, errr, world shattering. I've never played with one before as a player or as a DM, myself.
24th-Oct-2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
They're not quite world shattering, it's just the kind of thing you wake up the next morning with and say "Whoa, I don't remember putting that on my character sheet."
24th-Oct-2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
hmm...as far as I can remember that never came up.
24th-Oct-2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
Me neither! But the other night, at our game, nearly all of my players had previous telltale experiences about it, and I wanted to try it out. Their memories were fond and dreadful at the same time. I've never been exposed to one as DM or as PC.
24th-Oct-2005 11:49 pm (UTC)
*L* I have been a play maybe 5-6 times over the last 10 years if not more. Hmm maybe I will throw that into the next game and get back to you on it :)

24th-Oct-2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
The Deck has even chances of fond and dreadful. I've seen characters draw wealth, charisma, and then get slaughtered by Death himself for no good reason.

I do like the options of using a tarot deck that 3.0 incorporated.
25th-Oct-2005 12:07 am (UTC)
I've only seen it used in one game, and it was a disaster. Most people drew so so cards till one person (at level 12ish) drew the card that destroyed all their magic items. Was a total game breaker to have the paladin suddenly naked in the middle of the dungeon.
25th-Oct-2005 12:16 am (UTC) - Hehe, it was kinda neat.
We were traveling thourgh a town when a carnival was going on, and someone happened to have a deck of many things. We gained levels and became owners of land etc etc and then poof, we were fighting wraiths, lost some levels, and we all ended up dead.
25th-Oct-2005 12:29 am (UTC)
How chaotic of a campaign are you running?
25th-Oct-2005 12:47 am (UTC)
From everything I've seen/heard it'll ruin any ideas about your game you currently have and leave the PCs either sickeningly hard or unbelivably crap/dead. It's a shame, 'cos I really like the idea of the deck, but it's too much too much; a similar but different thing could be cool.

An idea I had for livening things up a bit was giving one of the PCs a ring of 3 wishes, but that they didn't know about; every time they said "I wish" it would happen-but not neccesarily in such an obvious way that they'd guess immediately(but they could).
25th-Oct-2005 01:18 am (UTC)
The really ought to come up with a Minor Deck of Many Things. I have never liked the idea of simply giving or taking when it comes to my players.

Now the if the Deck offered the chance at land/wealth/ect or offered a chance to outwit/ward off the ill affects I think it would be more interesting and balanced.

It's actually food for thought, because by taking a little time to plan, your Deck of Many Things encounter could end up being a Deck of Many Plot Hooks for you instead...
25th-Oct-2005 01:20 am (UTC)
A Deck of Many Things will screw up any serious game you're playing. That doesn't mean it can't be fun though.

I've had a number of character suddenly gain 18cha and a castle for no apparent reason because of it. We had one guy who kept getting Draw again cards like 4 times before he wound up with a castle.

Basically either it overpowers the characters, or kills them (or something equivalent). The idea is that the rewards justify the risk, except that suddenly killing a character is lame, and the rewards tend to outweight the risks.

I wouldn't recommend it. It used to come up in every one of our campaigns eventually (since it's on the 2e treasure chart, and if you roll enough you're going to get one). I've since sworn never to use it again, except as a massive plot device (like an NPC drew a card and caused something to happen which the PCs need to deal with, or the PC draws a card except I know what they're going to draw).
25th-Oct-2005 01:55 am (UTC)
My friend made up his own table in a campaign 10 years ago. I drew three cards and ended up having bird wings, all of my armor stripped off of me, and a long, gnomish nose. The wings were kinda cool because it was a planescape campaign and people would mistake me for an archon (the really dumb ones, atleast). It also helped to save the day when I swooped down to save my brother from being turned into a larvae by a night hag.
25th-Oct-2005 02:45 am (UTC)
I have a color laminated deck myself... and if you want to make your own, download HERE. I suggest printing it on card stock and making a nice background.

I've never had to use it tho... but it looks nice and scares my players on occasion.

25th-Oct-2005 03:00 am (UTC)
Hmmm... *thinks back about 8 years*
I remember losing all my money in one draw (no real biggy as I didn't have anything money/land/real value anyways)and then on the next draw, ended up with three wishes. Two of them ended up used on killing a Terask (I don't remember what the reasoning was for using two. o_0;) that some of the other party members were joking about fighting and the DM thought "Sure! There is a loud stomping and can't miss the giant head popping through the trees." Can't recall what the 3rd wish was on.

I remember one of the players from my highschool group had ended up fighting Death... and somehow one. o_0; I wasn't there for that game and I'm disappointed I missed it because I never did hear how he did that.
25th-Oct-2005 04:46 pm (UTC)
You're better off having them adventure through a perilous dungeon, in search of this Deck of Many Things that they'd been told about, come through to the last room beaten up after having nearly lost their lives to the gauntlet that they just had to come through, and wait for a moment while they build up their courage to draw a card...

...and it's a Deck of Many Thongs.
25th-Oct-2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
Ha! I bet there's a chastity belt in there somewhere...
26th-Oct-2005 02:18 pm (UTC)
I have come across a deck of many things as a player several times and every single time it ruined the game.

Every character is changed dramatically, either into something far more powerful or into a corpse. The characters can't really refuse to draw unless everyone refuses. If one person draws cards and gets some huge bonuses then that character will always be far more powerful than other group members and this will unbalance the group. If you are fine with this then go for it.

The groups I have played with have had every member draw. Every group has stopped playing that campaign just after, either due to lack of surviving characters or due to boredom with the silliness of being far more powerful.

I see this item as a plot device that no GM should use unless it is a one off game when everyone is drunk.
26th-Oct-2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
I was really pissed off when one came into a game I wasn't really enjoying in the first place. We HAD to draw, no option not to. This was my first d&d game (probably 2nd ed!) and I'd never heard of the deck before, but, you know you get this ‘prickly sensation’ and some part of your inner-self says "I wouldn't if I were you". However, we didn't get the option not to gamble and it totally screwed my character, which was the only thing I really liked about the game. I ended up getting loads of wishes, and I knew full well that the GM would deliberately misinterpret them so I just asked for stupid things. The last two were “I wish I was a tenth level character”, which, before you call me a shameful power-gamer, I was never expecting to get, and they turned me into a “Tenath’lrval Chr’ator” which was 6’6”, green, and had 8 eyes (apparently the GM’s girlfriend was up all night designing that one). Then I asked for “Lux et Umbra Vicium sed sepmter amor” which means (though probably spelt wrong) “Light and shadow by turn but always love” in Latin (it’s off the sundial in Belvoir Castle), which seems weird, but by now I was rebelling and wanted to give them something that would be a challenge for them to mess up…..however they managed it. I was suddenly able to see like daylight in the pitch black (which was cool), but like it was pitch black when it was daylight (not so cool). I looked pretty ridiculous going around with a flaming torch on a nice sunny day.
DON’T DO IT!!!!!
26th-Oct-2005 03:31 pm (UTC)
Another thing was you weren't told if the wishes were in or out of character. It was the first thing we did in the first game we played-which was pretty mean. I actually think the things they did were quite cool considering.
Oh and even if they had turned you into tenth level you'd have been underpowered compared to the others.
27th-Oct-2005 02:14 am (UTC)
I was the DM in the following account. This was all in 1st ed. D&D and 2nd ed. D&D. The change-over took place, for us, in the middle of the campaign.

We had a delusional woman playing a gnome. She made it male, but kept forgetting and coming on to other males. We'd been playing for a while and the campaign was going well, but in comes the Deck...

Everyone but one of us (the paranoid) drew from the deck and some fun was had by all. A couple of people drew the castle, but had Charisma's of 16, already, so THAT wasn't a big deal. But they had to clean out the castle of the squatters that lived in them. One of the squatters was an ancient green dragon. The other castle was "mysteriously" bequeathed to the character in question by a long-lost wizard uncle.

But the gay gnome drew the card in which the soul of the drawer is stolen and imprisoned elsewhere.

Now considering the fate-altering power of the Deck, you can either let it ruin your campaign or give you some adventure keys. This, to me, was an adventure key. A couple of the characters in the party were obsessive magical item hoarders. They would even hoard terribly flawed or cursed items. One of these items was an amulet that would allow the character to survive without breathing, eating, drinking, or sleeping. But the character would start to go a little crazy after so much time of not sleeping. This was no problem for the vacuous gnome.

The card the gnome drew was the Void. I ruled that the card could be used to divine the location of the gnome's soul. The party did so. They were given clues about the location and methods for getting to that location.

To make a longer story a little shorter, they wound up with a Spelljamming ship, travelling to an oriental world to obtain the sword that held the gnome's spirit. There were many adventures along the way. It was kind of hard to figure out how to get the gnome back into his body, but the more impetuous party member said, "I stab her with it! I mean him!"

That did the trick.

After that, there was some more playing with the Deck, but with some innuendo, as that word sounds a lort like another word...
27th-Oct-2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
I ran a game with the deck in it and it worked out really good for my story.
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