Deck of many things

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In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the deck of many things is a powerful magic item. The item comes in the form of a deck of cards, each one causing a distinct effect upon the character who draws it. These effects can be either beneficial or baneful.[1]

Publication history

The deck of many things first appeared in the Dungeons & Dragons game's first supplement, Greyhawk (1975). This version of the deck contains 18 cards, corresponding to the ace, king, queen, and jack of each suit (hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs), and two jokers.[2]

The deck also appears in the original Dungeon Master's Guide (1979). This version comes in packs of either 13 cards or, more rarely, 22 cards. The 13-card deck contains cards corresponding to the king, queen, and jack of each suit, as well as a joker; the 22-card deck contains the same cards, with the 2 and ace of each suit as well as the trademark joker.[3] A 78-card tarot deck of many things appeared in Dragon #77 (September 1983),[4] and a 22-card deck of many things appeared in Dragon #148 (August 1989, illustrated by George Barr).

The deck from the first edition Dungeon Master's Guide also appeared in the second edition Dungeon Master's Guide (1989); it also appeared in the Encyclopedia Magica Vol. 1 (1994) along with a reprint of the tarot deck.

The 22-card version of the deck appeared in the 3rd edition and 3.5 edition Dungeon Master's Guide as well.

In 4th Edition, two versions were released: a Paragon-level Implement (Tome) appeared in Dungeon #177 (April 2010),[5] while a Heroic-level Tome was released with the adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey (September 2011).[6] Both are 22-card versions illustrated by William O'Connor, with several special properties in addition to the regular benefits and drawbacks available by drawing cards from the deck.

In 5th Edition, both the 13-card and 22-card decks were introduced as magic items in the Dungeon Master's Guide (2014).


The cards in a standard deck from the 3rd edition Dungeon Master's Guide include:

  • Balance (Two of Spades) - Changes the character to a radically different alignment.
  • Comet (Two of Diamonds) - If character single-handedly prevails in the next hostile encounter, the character attains the next experience level.
  • Donjon (Ace of Spades) - Character is imprisoned and loses all gear and spells are stripped from the victim in any case.
  • Euryale (Queen of Spades) - Causes a permanent penalty on all saving throws.
  • Fates (Ace of Hearts) - Changes reality to allow the character to avoid even an instantaneous occurrence if so desired.
  • Flames (Queen of Clubs) - Causes an enmity between the character and an outsider.
  • Fool (Joker black) - Character loses experience points and is forced to draw another card from the deck.
  • Gem (Two of Hearts) - The character gains significant wealth.
  • Idiot (Two of Clubs) - The character's Intelligence score is permanently lowered.
  • Jester (Joker Red) - The character can gain experience points or two more draws from the deck.
  • Key (Queen of Hearts) - A major magic weapon appears out of nowhere in the character's hand.
  • Knight (Jack of Hearts) - A fighter appears from out of nowhere and serves the character loyally until death.
  • Moon (Queen of Diamonds) - The character gains a number of magical wishes which come true.
  • Rogue (Jack of Spades) - This card causes one of the character’s NPC friends to turn against him.
  • Ruin (King of Spades) - The character immediately loses all of his wealth and non-magical possessions.
  • Skull (Jack of Clubs) - The character must defeat a powerful undead creature alone.
  • Star (Jack of Diamonds) - One of the character's ability scores increases.
  • Sun (King of Diamonds) - The character gains a beneficial magic item.
  • Talons (Ace of Clubs) - Every magic item the character owns or possesses disappears permanently.
  • Throne (King of Hearts) - The character becomes more charismatic and gains a small castle.
  • Vizier (Ace of Diamonds) - The character gains an answer to solve any single problem or answer fully any question upon request.
  • The Void (King of Clubs) - This card sends a character's soul to some other desolate location, leaving his body in a catatonic state, requiring the adventuring party to find a way to rescue the soul.


The deck of many things appeared on's list of "The most awesomely bizarre items of Dungeons & Dragons".[7]


External links

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