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shidara
Pie
(11/26/02 7:49:29 am)
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The Tainted Deck of Many Things
I’ve been thinking about the Deck of Many Things in the Inner Fane, and how it’s ripe for “tharizdun-izing.” So I put together this little list of adjustments and fluff modifications to the deck, to represent its time spent in such close proximity to the Black Spike.

The Tainted Deck
The Deck of Many Things in the Inner fane has been altered slightly by Tharizdun’s maddening, corrupting presence. The artifact still works as normal, but the effects of the cards fall more into Tharizdun’s idiom than normal. The below descriptions area slight modifications to the DMG effects for each card; the core effect remains the same, but minor details have been altered to increase the Tharizdun-tainted feel.

Balance: Alignment is immediately changed to Chaotic Evil. Character hears a voice that says “You begin to see things more clearly, as I see them.”

Comet: When drawn, the character hears Tharizdun’s voice in his head speak “You must prove yourself as my champion. Prove that you alone are strongest, and youshall be rewarded.”

Donjon: The voice speaks: “You shall be judged for your crimes when I return. Until then, share my fate.” The character is then affected as per the Imprisonment spell.

Euryale: The character is plagued by thoughts of ambivalence and apathy; he is constantly wondering if all of the effort is worthwhile, since Tharizdun’s freedom is imminent. The saving throw penalty manifests as a momentary thought of doubt or apathy.

Fates: a voice thunders in the character’s head: “You have earned my favor. As I will undo the world, so shall I undo one event for you.” When invoked, time suddenly stops just before the event to be undone. The character can see everything that happens, but others cannot. Everything is painted in shades of purple. A massive black hand reaches from above and alters reality before the character’s eye.

Flames: The character is suddenly granted a vision of an outsider, staring intently into the character’s eyes, fury and hatred burning in its eyes. The outsider can be good or evil – your choice/random choice.
If good, Outsider believes the character intends to release Tharizdun.
If evil, The outsider is a high-ranking advisor to a Priest of Tharizdun, and believes the character is vying for its position.
Either way, it will take steps to thwart, delay and mislead the character at all costs, by deception or by force.

Fool: A thunderous voice bellows in the character’s head “MY GENEROSITY HAS LIMITS!” The character is then wracked with pain as the life force (experience) is removed rather forcefully from him.
Once gone, the voice speaks again, this time more kindly and softer “But your penitence has softened my heart. Draw again.”

Gem: The jewelry is all gold set with purple and black gems, each piece worth 2,000 gp each, the gems all purple and gold and of 1,000 gp value each.

Idiot: A thundering voice speaks to the character: “You dare seek to outsmart me? Know your place before my might!”

Jester: Voice” You are truly blessed in my eyes. Live to see my second coming, and partake of my generosity.”

Key: The weapon gained is always a +3 Unholy Curved Dagger inscribed with the character’s name.

Knight: The fighter who appears is garbed in black and violet, and is always Chaotic. He wears an Obex symbol, and flatly refuses to remove it. He will serve and obey the charater ONLY, ignoring any others who speak to him.

Moon: Voice: “Be blessed by my power, and make request of me what you will.” The wishes are always colored by Tharizdun’s themes (i.e., items are purple and black, bear the obex symbol, etc.)

Rogue: The character drawing the card hears only a muffled shickering. Elsewhere, an ally or friend is visited by dreams detailing the character’s betrayal (true or not). The ally is convinced the betrayal is correct, and is infused with a lust for vengeance.

Ruin: “When I return, there will be no need for wealth. Rid yourself of this base material, and embrace my second coming.” With that, all of the character’s coins and jewelry are turned to purplish powder. Any real estate is immediately rendered cold and inhospitable, and any homes or other structures begin to decay at rate of 1 year per hour until they are destroyed.

Skull: “Prove to me that you should be spared when I return.” The death appears, baleful violet eyes glowing from under its hood.

Star: “Only those of exceptional ability can hope to see my return. Be blessed.”

Sun: “I shall be with you until the day of my return. Take this, and continue to seek my freedom.” The item appears at the character’s feet. It is themed after Tharizdun’s worship.

Talons: “Trinkets such as these are powerless against me.” The items disintegrate into purplish ash.

Throne: The castle gained is a black-and-violet affair, compete with a temple to Tharizdun. Within weeks, clerics of Tharizdun are drawn to it, asking for refuge and worship.

Vizier: “Ask and I shall advise you.” When invoked, the character hears the answer sought whispered to him by the deep Tharizdun voice.

The Void: Character sees a massive image of an Obex speed toward him from the plaque. The character’s soul is immediately trapped in the Obex in Level 9 of the Black Spike, exactly as if they had failed both saves upon looking at the Obex. The character’s body simply collapses.

Shidara

Andorax
Orc
(11/26/02 8:29:58 am)
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Re: The Tainted Deck of Many Things
All I can say is this.

BoB sighting!

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

DM Armand
Pie
(11/26/02 8:37:02 am)
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The Tainted Deck of Many Things
I like it :)
And I´m going to use it!!!!!!

Tristan DArque
Pie
(11/26/02 8:45:08 am)
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Re: The Tainted Deck of Many Things
Oddly enough, I was wondering about the Deck of Many Things today too, but for a different reason. My question was, how have parties that have reached this stage handled it? Have they been tempted to sit and draw, or not? How did it work, effectively running something that's basically a bit like a fairground stall in the heart of the evil citadel?

I suppose my concern is that my group are likely to want nothing to do with the Deck, whereas it's cool enough that I don't want them just to ignore it, so I was wondering whether they ought to be given the choice...

:evil

so here, rather unformed, were my modifications to the room (I hadn't got as far as thinking about modifying the Deck...)

The Deck represents chaos and the chaotic nature of the Dark God. Accordingly, this room within the Inner Fane is a shrine to chaos. The walls seem to shift and reform constantly, their myriad patterns sometimes even coalescing into shapes resembling hideous demonic faces, or tortured humanoids. On entering (or perhaps on approaching within a certain range of the altar, or the skeleton, or something), the PCs find themselves effectively frozen in time while the grim dealer addresses each one in turn.

When the skeleton speaks to them,

- any chaotic character must make a Will save (DC 25) or be drawn to the corrupting chaos of the Deck. They must approach the table and draw at least one card. They may draw more (in the usual way), and may choose to draw even if they make their save, but failing the save requires them to draw at least one.

- any neutral character must make a Will save (DC 20) or be similarly tempted by the fickleness of Fate. If they fail they must likewise draw at least one card.

- any lawful character must make a Will save (DC 25) or suffer 4d6 points of damage as the sickly tendrils of chaos weave their way into their consciousness. Regardless of the result of the saving throw, they may choose to draw cards in the normal way, but are under no compulsion to do so.

While each character is being called forward to the table in turn, the others watch in a state of suspended animation. They see the results of each card drawn but cannot avoid their turn when it comes. When the skeleton has dealt (yes, pun intended) with the whole party, time begins to run normally.

How does that sound? (apart from like I just made it up this afternoon and haven't really thought through the implications yet...)

[edit: and I forgot to say, very nice work Shidara, I will definitely use that when (in about 2 years, real time) my party get there...]

Edited by: Tristan DArque at: 11/26/02 8:48:06 am
DM Armand
Pie
(11/26/02 9:10:06 am)
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Re: The Tainted Deck of Many Things
I like it!!!!

This place is to cool to just let them pass it by.

But I have a sneaky feeling that my group won´t just pass it by :)

Andorax
Orc
(11/26/02 10:11:00 am)
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Re: The Tainted Deck of Many Things
No, no, NO, NO

A thousand times, no!

It's bad enough that the deck is there to begin with, tempting poor sucker players with no sense of self-control.

Now add to it that you're FORCING them to draw? The Deck's purpose is not one of being able to insert an extra "save or die" trap into the adventure. It's there to be a temptation.

There is no temptation in forcing a PC to do something against the player's wishes.


Let them ignore it. Let them see if they want to ignore it again on the way out. If they manage to resist the temptation both times, then save it for the post-game wrapup when they've finished the adventure. Players usually get a kick out of hearing about what "would have happened".

But absolutely, POSITIVELY do NOT force them into it. That's DM railroading of the worst sort, using players for your own personal amusement.

Let 'em doom themselves.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

Tristan DArque
Pie
(11/26/02 10:23:20 am)
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Re: The Tainted Deck of Many Things
Quote:
absolutely, POSITIVELY do NOT force them into it


That was my initial thought. And you might well be right, it is entirely possible that I'm allowing the fact that I want them to do it to get in the way of proper/fair/objective DMing. But the Deck just seemed like such a great manifestation of the chaotic aspect of Tharizdun that it seemed potentially appropriate to make it a 'trap' (albeit a somewhat unpredictable one) rather than simply an encounter. And I did suggest giving them a save. If the room contained another T-themed trap which required a tough Will save to avoid, that wouldn't be railroading them, it would just be another trap. And ok so the Inner Fane has lots of places for characters to suffer/die/etc, and it doesn't need another one, and so on, but (after some, but not a lot of thought) I didn't think adding some compulsion was that bad an idea.

Maybe the question is, what is the Deck actually doing there?

Andorax
Orc
(11/26/02 12:44:57 pm)
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Re: The Tainted Deck of Many Things
Let me put it another way, Tristan DArque.

Did you make them make saving throws or else they *had* to touch the gem at the base of the obelisk, and eat the fruit?

Did you make them make saving throws or else they went into the crypts, touched the water, and were transported to the door to Tharizdun's prison.

Did you make them make saving throws or else they were send to the Black Cyst from the Greater Temple?


These are all "cool" aspects of the module as well, but aspects that the PCs should discover for themselves rather than have imposed upon them.


To answer your question, as to what the Deck is actually doing there?

I personally see it as a rite that newly-raised Doomdreamers go through. Upon attaining their first level of Doomdreamer and being accepted into the ranks, they are escorted up to this level to take part in the Ritual of Chance. If they are consumed by it (or chicken out and don't draw), they are seen as "unworthy" of Tharizdun's favor and (if there's anything left to do it to) are cast out. If they are favored by Tharizdun, they are honored accordingly and allowed to continue about their newly-elevated tasks and career.


I wouldn't ever suggest using a will save on a PC to force them to do something you'd like to see them do unless there is a very specific, particular reason why. Bear in mind that, unless evil, the PCs are *already* making a Will save DC 20 at this level against being "overcome" by the evil of this place (See the last paragraph of the Level 6 description). Are more will saves really needed at this point?


Further, if everyone who passes through here is will-sucked into drawing, harder if they're evil, then wouldn't the First and Third, with quarters above this level, have to draw every time they go upstairs and back down again? Wouldn't they eventually draw badly?

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

deafdungeonmasterRIT
Pie
(11/26/02 1:27:18 pm)
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Excellent point
Excellent point, Androrax..

I really love it, but I don't recall ANY NPCs ever had some kind of influence by those cards. In fact, th ere are messages mention about several NPC being influenced by demonic machines but not one of them were influenced by the cards. Very interesting!

But then, we can have Hedrack going through a ritual, taking his chance to take a class in Doomdreamer. He will be ultra powerful if a card go in his favor

Ritter Valliard
Pie
(11/26/02 1:38:16 pm)
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ezSupporter
Different Deck
Has anyone else used Sean Reynolds' Deck of Past and Future Possibilities?

I don't want my PC's to know all the outcomes of the Deck ahead of time, and most of them remember the Deck of Many Things well enough from previous editions, so I'm looking at changing the Deck around. I really like Shidara's descriptions though... gotta combine the two now...

Edited by: Ritter Valliard at: 11/26/02 1:40:46 pm
Tristan DArque
Pie
(11/26/02 2:35:03 pm)
Reply
Re: The Tainted Deck of Many Things
Quote:
Did you make them make saving throws or else they *had* to touch the gem at the base of the obelisk, and eat the fruit?

Did you make them make saving throws or else they went into the crypts, touched the water, and were transported to the door to Tharizdun's prison.

Did you make them make saving throws or else they were send to the Black Cyst from the Greater Temple?


I haven't got to any of those bits yet. But no, I won't make them make saving throws. And like I said, you could be right, it might be wrong to take the route I suggested - in which case, I won't do it. I have 2 years or so (real time) to think about it (er, or forget about it).

But to some extent I stand by what I said. There are traps or encounters that require similarly difficult saves and have similarly dire consequences (in fact, worse consequences generally) in the Fanes, and I don't see that the fact that the Deck would usually be a 'choice' encounter means that it definitely has to be. I can't see why part of going through the Inner Fane might not be that, if your will is not up to it (and particularly if your chaotic nature reflects the nature of the Dark God to some extent), you find that a particular piece of chaos is forced upon you.

But like I say, you're probably right.

Infiniti2000
Pie
(11/26/02 2:53:27 pm)
Reply
ezSupporter
Deck of Many Things & Fatespinner
As a tangent to this thread (no intentional hijack), I have a potential fatespinner IMC. Would he be able to directly affect the outcome of the cards pulled from the deck?

PS. I LOVE the tainted descriptions! I 2nd the motion for BoB.

Caedrel
Pie
(11/26/02 10:36:23 pm)
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Re: Deck of Many Things
I third the BoB suggestion - it will make it that much easier to find again when (if) my group finally gets there... :)

For my part, I think whether the PCs draw from the Deck depends on their judgement of the risks vs the benefits of doing so. If it's a complete unknown, surely it would seem too great a risk, especially given the context they find it in (they ARE in the Black Spike itself, after all!). Unless they have some reassurances that it might turn out to be good for them - an argument for them recognising it (somehow) as a Deck of Many Things, or from their previous experience of the fruit, etc that tells them they can actually get stuff from Tharizdun without automatically being turned into CE nasties...

Siobharek 
Orc
(11/26/02 11:50:08 pm)
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Re: Deck of Many Things
The obelisk fruit and the Deck of Many Things are - IMHO, of course - examples of goodies or rewards being snatched from the jaws of evil by heroes courageous enough to do so. And those wise enough to stop. They basically showcase two classical virtues: Courage and temperance.

So personally, I may let the Deck stand as it is.

...

Then again, it's a damn fine job, that re-write. So I'll probably end of using it, except that the dagger will not be unholy, but rather, I dunno: Wounding or paralysis inducing. Or maybe Frost.... But that's just my personal pref.s

BoB'ed it will be. Too good not to :)

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

shidara
Pie
(11/27/02 7:42:58 am)
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Re: Deck of Many Things
>>>BoB'ed it will be. Too good not to

I'm flattered.

<<insert embarrased smiley here>>

Thanks for teh praise. I'm just trying to find wasy to increase the atmosphere a bit . . .

Shidara

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