View Full Version : Best story about the (In)famous Deck of Many Things!

2019-01-17, 10:37 PM
Like the title says, we want to hear your best stories about the Deck of Many Things. A very famous/infamous D&D magic item.

Stories from other systems that have a similar item/effect are welcome.

In summary the Deck of Many Things works like this.

You declare a number of cards. You then draw one card at a time, and the effect of the card happens immediately, then you draw the next card.

Effects vary from massive wealth or experience, granting you magic items to imprisonment by powerful beings, having to fight an avatar of Death in a duel, losing experience among other things both good and bad.

It's generally known to cause campaigns to implode and usually only used by the very brave or very inexperienced that don't understand what it can do.

The Cats
2019-01-18, 12:14 AM
Recently ran a game for a new player who (I learned later) had never actually played a TTRPG before, but had been reading about DnD for like a year before she found my table, so she was super prepared with everything, but it was pretty clear at times that her game knowledge up to this point was all in theory.

I let her character start with a deck of illusions. Some wires got crossed and she though I meant that other deck. First combat in the game she draws a card and looks just heartbroken. "I lose my soul and my body falls comatose."

No no no no no! It just makes an illusory kobold (or something)!

2019-01-18, 03:32 AM
One of my favourite stories about the Deck of Many Things didn't happen to me, but was told by Spoony in his Counter Monkey VLOG series; Vegan Steve and the Djinni of Jengai Formogo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut8TBd4Mr_w) (Possibly NSFW due to bad language, just so you know)

TL;DR - A party finds a wish-granting Djinni and one player, oblivious to the ramifications of what he is doing, screws over his party by wishing for a Deck and then proceeding to draw a ridiculously dangerous number of cards. Hilarity ensues.

2019-01-18, 04:51 AM
Our DM ruled the entire party got sucked into Ravenloft instead of one character having his soul trapped.
I don't know if that was buffing or nerfing the item...

Anyway, I mention two things any time a DoMT thread pops up: the first is use the Deck as a collection of story seeds instead of pure mechanical effects. The second is I have one character who lets all his friends and family pull from the deck when they become adults. As he's nearly 80 in a culture that likes to marry them off and make them parents at a young age, this means he has quite the family by now, and the DoMT has lead to lots of cool adventures.
If you get a castle, now you can have an adventure where you end up with a stronghold of some sort (or in one character's case, a sea-side party house, complete with a new BFF who's a ghost)
If you earn the services of a 4th level warrior, now you have a new NPC to introduce and make into a cool person your character likes.
You get a major magic weapon, now you have to figure out which legendary weapon this is and how and why the PC gets it (like the legendary spear one PC 'found', supposedly from a storm god and gifted to his favorite child)

One person lost 1000 xp at level 1. We figured we had three choices:
1, since he doesn't have any xp at the moment, it has no effect other than making him draw again. Boring.
2. he loses the next 1000 xp he earns. Better but still boring.
3. he loses everything other than ability scores. no class, no feats, no skills, nothing. So he had a much cooler story, since he was a prominent member of a ruling family and had previously impressed everyone with his skills during childhood, and now had to hide his sudden incompetence to save face.

One person got the soul trapped, and we twisted it to have her teleported across the world with a powerful nondetection effect on her, so she had to find her way home alone.
Another person was trapped in the dreams of a mad god and had to make her way out.
Yet another pulled 5 cards, all bad. He ended up cursed with weakness (-1 to all saves) by a demon (enmity with an outsider), and when the demon was accidentally released by his teacher, the kid was blamed (friend turns against you) and disowned and thrown out of his home (lose all wealth and property) with no gear other than the shirt on his back (stripped of all magic items, except he didn't have any so we ruled no gear).
The 'bad' cards turned him from a generic noble kid with no real personality into a character with a good reason to adventure and a very clear cut personality.

The DoMT is, in short, a ton of fun and we always pull from it if the opportunity is there. For best results, just make sure you find some way to weave it into the game and story.

2019-01-18, 05:54 PM
Well, in one of our games, we have a deus ex machina-/ enigma/ reluctant ally type of NPC. Epic levels, collects artifacts for fun. The Deck of many things (a modiefied one with more cards and more effects) is his favourite, and he sometimes offers the PCs to draw a card to get his help when the situation is really dire. This story, however, is not about the PCs. It is about the awakened green slime (named Cabbage) they kept as a pet. Probably out of boredom, Mr. Deus ex Machina offered it to draw from the deck. It...did. (likely though it was something to eat?) it got The Fates. Now, which situation does a green slime want to avoid? Hunger. And don't tell me that is impossible, with it having to be something instantaneous, and such, the GM let it fly...the result was a green slime that constantly spews forth food, only to devour it as soon as it falls down again. It has become some sort of minigame for the party to snatch away food through opposing dice rolls... :smallamused: they will never have to worry about food again.

2019-01-18, 09:55 PM
It was a 2E game.

I was playing a character I didn't like. I just wasn't having fun with it, but I couldn't make myself stop playing it. A Deck of Many Things came along. I decided to draw because then I would have an excuse not to play him if something goes wrong. I draw three cards. I get wealth, XP to gain a level, and a loyal cohort. These three things brought new life to the character. Playing started to click, and I found myself having fun with the character. He was a cleric and got to 15th level when the campaign ended. I got to enjoy creating new spells which was a thing in 2E and cast high level spells like Heal that only NPCs ever did. The character became one of my favorites, and I still fondly remember him.

My character was saved by a Deck of Many Things.

Kol Korran
2019-01-19, 12:13 AM
... It is about the awakened green slime (named Cabbage) they kept as a pet...

Awakened green slime? Named Cabbage? Kept as a pet?

This is fantastic! You got me very intirgued (and grinning!). Please, tell us the story of Cabbage?