This month’s Dungeon has finally put out rules for a classic magic item, the Deck of Many Things. Overall I like it. I think it somewhat captures the spirit of the previous editions, but definitely tones it down some.
At the heart of this 22 card deck, is that it serves as an amazing Paragon tier artifact in its own right. The deck is treated like a magical tome artifact granting some neat powers forcing rerolls of opponents or allies as encounter/daily powers, with a hefty implement bonus thrown in. Concordance is gained by leveling and doing somewhat risky behavior such as having your HP dropped to zero, or slaying monsters above your level.
One big difference with the previous versions is that you may only get a single card from the deck. The more attuned you are to the artifact, the more cards you can draw being able to choose which one you will retain. In effect, making the odds better you will get something you want. But once you draw a card, poof… the deck is gone.
The card effects vary from the 22 card deck as a good mix of boons and pitfalls. Most of the boons are tangible awards like gems or magic items. Some are simple 1 shot boons such as consultation with an oracle. The more dangerous cards are pretty good but there is usually some way to rectify them. Some may be cured by a remove affliction, but others might require a major quest to undertake (which can lead to some interesting adventure possibilities).
One big plus I have with the article is that you can print out color versions of the cards to make a physical deck. Something a lot more enticing over rolling a couple of dice and checking on a table. However, since the deck is essentially a one shot deal, I wonder if it is almost too much work to go into making a physical prop you would only use once.
Still, I’m glad they got something up that was compatible with the new edition. It can lead to some pretty wild results if a character draws from it, but I have to say overall the results are a bit tame. No complaint with that however. Some might like the idea of drawing a card and having your character instantly vaporized. I like the idea that most trials that come about from using the cards can be overcome somehow (even if it is rather costly). I’d be interested in what other people think of the new version of this magic item.