Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Deck of Many Things , Beneficial and Baneful

My players have been hauling around a Deck of Many Things for months and months now; long ago, they wrapped it in a cloth, tied it up with string, and threw it in the bottom of Zeke's  backpack, promptly forgetting about it.  Zeke got killed in a cave-in a few weeks ago, and just last game the peasant workers that have been toiling for days to clear the rubble, returned to the village with his corpse.  Amongst the belongings were Zeke's Deck of Many Things.

The reemergence of the Deck into the forefront of people's minds has them reconsidering the temptation.  The character Mordecai is 59 years old after being on the wrong end of a ghost attack, and is considering retirement.  He's thinking about going out with a blaze of glory and pulling a few cards.  One of the fighters sees the other 4 fighters in the group and wonders if he'd be missed.  "Weren't you saying we could use another magic user, or perhaps a druid?"  And then there's the guy in the corner, "Don't do it; the DM is using the jedi mind trick on you by reminding us about the Deck."

I have to give my players some credit; they don't go snooping in the Dungeon Master's Guide.  That one guy remembered something about "picking a card and getting trapped forever by a demon" from an AD&D game 20 years ago, and that was enough for him.  "I will never draw a card from one of those things, ever."

If the players peeked, they'd know the 12 or so awesome things are ridiculously good, most of the bad things are manageable, but the 2 or 3 really bad things means it's time to roll up a new character.  For a single pull the odds are like 54% for something great, 33% for something bad but manageable, and 13% for a fate worse than death.

How many of you have drawn from the Deck of Many Things?  It seems like a device that is tailor made for memorable events, malevolent and benign - earn a castle, get all buffed out, pick up some wishes, gain an enemy for life.  I've posted a new poll to get a sense on how risk averse is the community of players out there.