Monday, September 6, 2021

The Deck of Several Things, a revisitation of the Deck of Many Things

I'm not sure how the DoMT came to my mind. I've never encountered or used it in play, but I suppose that the idea of a pack of random boons/banes floated into my head, and I needed to expand on that.

But when my favorite thrash-bluegrass outfit has a song about The Deck, I'm compelled to write something...

Serendipitously, Prismatic Wasteland posted this review of the original Deck cards, rating each card for its effect and game-breaking abilities.  So it was, again, A Sign.

Anyway, below are three Decks of Not-Quite-Many Things... 

The Deck of Several Things: A less-wondrous collection of cards, de-powered to break the world less. Several of the effects are more reversible, as compared to the very limited reversible effects of the original DoMT. I've kept the 50/50 proportions of beneficial and detrimental cards, and renamed some of the cards to better fit the effects of the drawn card. Starred cards are included in the 22-card deck:

  1. Ace of diamonds — Vizier*: Gain the ability to cast Augury 1d4 times
  2. King of diamonds — Sun: Random non-weapon magic item usable by your class (Selected by GM).
  3. Queen of diamonds — Moon: Gain the ability to cast True Seeing 1d3 times
  4. Jack of diamonds — Star: +1 to prime requisite attribute.
  5. Two of diamonds — Favored Enemy: If you single-handedly slay the next enemy, gain it as a favored enemy (+1 to-hit/damage).
  6. Ace of hearts — The Fates*: Reverse the effects of a negative/tragic event. Applies to either the past or may be held for a future event.
  7. King of hearts — Throne: +1 charisma, and a deed to a ruined tower...
  8. Queen of hearts — Key: One random magic weapon usable by your class (Selected by GM).
  9. Jack of hearts — Mook: 1st-level man-at-arms appears (6hp, chainmail, spear, short sword). Loyal unto death. Gains experience as a retainer.
  10. Two of hearts — Gem*: A 1000gp gem appears.
  11. Ace of clubs — Talons*: One magic item held by the character loses its ability (weapon becomes mundane, potion inert, etc.).
  12. King of clubs — Mindless: As Feeblemind, may be dispelled with Remove Curse.
  13. Queen of clubs — The Imp: Attacked by a most disagreeable imp. Anyone supporting you summons their own imp to defeat.
  14. Jack of clubs — Haunt: Haunted by a ghost of a slain enemy for one month. Prevents natural hp recovery and spellcasters must save vs spells (or equivalent) to gain daily spells due to fatigue and distraction. May be dispelled with Exorcise or similar.
  15. Two of clubs — Hampered: -1 to prime requisite attribute.
  16. Ace of spades — Kidnapped: Dragged to the fey realm for 24 hours. Returned bereft of gear and no memory of what happened. Permanent haunted look and random paranoia.
  17. King of spades — Gone Broke: All carried wealth (coin, gem, jewelry) disappears.
  18. Queen of spades — Bane: -1 to all rolls for one month, or until Remove Curse.
  19. Jack of spades — Rumors: The PC has gained the ire of the local law enforcement, realm leadership, or inquisition.
  20. Two of spades — Re-balance: Rearranged attributes, new PC class.
  21. Joker (with TM) — Fool*: Lose one level, draw again.
  22. Joker (without TM) — Jester: Sufficient XP to level up, or two draws.

The Deck of Some Things: A collection of low-powered or mundane banes and boons (see also: Robe of Useful Items). I didn't tie these to specific cards, but the “deck” maintains its 50/50 proportions. One use each. Assume items can be used by any class.

  1. Loot: The card reveals the location of the closest significant treasure.
  2. Respite: Card heals all damage to one PC (75%) or the party (25%).
  3. Poison: Take 2d6 damage, save for half, slowed for 24 hours.
  4. Pack: Explorer's pack with mundane gear appears.
  5. Boon: Gain 1000 xp
  6. Bane: Lose 1000 xp
  7. Mage: The character can cast a random 1st level magic user spell 1d3 times.
  8. Helper: A loyal Torchbearer appears (4hp, unarmored, non-combatant). 
  9. Bonus: Pouch with 100 gp 
  10. Buffed: +1 to random attribute
  11. Rebuffed: -1 to random attribute
  12. Fireworks: Aerial display. Take 3d6 damage (save for half) if in an enclosed space. Otherwise enjoy the show.
  13. Wardog: Named Mr. Sinister. 2HD, AC 6/13, 2d4 dmg. Follows basic commands, no morale roll needed.
  14. Claxon: Sounds like a carillon going off. Doubles chance of wandering monsters for 1d3 turns
  15. Trap Card: The character is imprisoned within the card for 1d4 days. The character's image replaces the card face. Damaging the card will imprison/lose the character forever. 
  16. Swarm: Card summons an insect/vermin swarm upon the party. 
  17. Dosage: Provides 1d3 random potions.
  18. Vertigo: Spinning pattern on card. Nausea (-2 to action rolls) for 1d6 hours. Can't climb.
  19. Viper: 1d3 2HD pit vipers manifest and attack the party.
  20. Thievery: Character loses 1d4 random items from their person.
  21. Fireball: Oh yeah... Cast it once.
  22. Taxation and graft: Lose 50% of carried wealth.

And, because just I can't let things be... 

The Deck of Shitty Things: Really, these cards all pretty much suck. With a bonus 23rd card, because they are just that awful. 

  1. Another deck of cards. 1% chance to be a DoMT.
  2. 3000cp, loose.
  3. A dull dagger.
  4. Summons an angry goose. It hates you. It will flee upon taking damage, but will periodically show up at inopportune times to harass you.
  5. Magic mouth appears on one of your belongings. Rickrolls.
  6. +5 vorpal letter opener. Perfect for opening parcels from river-based retailers.
  7. Gain the harsh realization that you are a player character in an RPG.
  8. Waterskin of Everlasting Coors Light
  9. 5' rope.
  10. Infinite 10' poles.
  11. Giant guardian. No, you've become a giant's legal guardian. They have special needs.
  12. Sorry, you're now a gnome.
  13. Large, astronomically valuable and equally fragile vase.
  14. Services of a exceptionally knowledgeable sage. Who happens to be a talking goldfish in a bowl. Requires regular water changes.
  15. White elephant. Can't be ridden or trained for packing, but very friendly.
  16. +2 Boots of Riverdancing
  17. 1 xp
  18. Rusty bear trap. 1 in 6 chance of catching the trapper. Local game wardens will arrest you.
  19. Tofu
  20. Ring of Protection vs. Ducks (doesn't work on geese).
  21. A narrator of your inner dialogue.
  22. Slightly misspelled magic item (e.g. Staff of Striping, Wand of Bear, Bag of Folding)
  23. A 1951 road atlas to a mythical land known as “Canada.”

(Although a “Wand of Bear” could be potentially awesome.)


  1. I love the DoST very dearly, thank for the laughter and terrible magicjs!