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YellowSign
Mortal
(10/1/03 9:57 am)
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Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
What has happened to your game when they come up to The Deck of Many Things. Well my game was pretty much gutted with the following results. The average level of the group was 11th.

One character dropped from 11th to 8th level.
One character rose from 11th to 17th level
Two characters died.
One character got a +5 weapon with several powers.

My feeling is that the whole balance of the party has been throw into a big mess.

Have you seen the Yellow Sign?

Edited by: YellowSign at: 10/1/03 9:58 am
Andorax
Cherub
(10/1/03 11:08 am)
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Re: Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
My group never attempted the Inner Fane...but I'd be pretty peeved myself if something like that had happened.

I'm not even sure why the 50,000 XP is still in there. That's a holdover from 2nd edition when 50,000 XP was still a relatively insignificant amount, instead of several levels worth of advancement.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I'd do if I had results like that pop up. I'm tempted to say that it's not such a big deal, if all the PCs have left is the rest of the Inner Fane and then they're done...but if they're off to the Recovered Temple after this, or if they're going to continue campaigning afterwards...this could well have wrecked the campaign. Yech.

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

ZansForCans 
Cherub
(10/1/03 12:29 pm)
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Re: Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
Have they left the Fane? Whip up some crazy chaotic dream scene, especially if they start or have already explored the dreaming stone. Perhaps that will warn them off messing with Things They Shouldn't™ ;)


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benhamtroll
Cherub
(10/2/03 9:12 am)
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ezSupporter

Re: Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
Our group has house ruled the DoMT so that the experience bonus can only raise you one level. That prevents serious game-balance issues. My group has not even entered the outer fane yet, but if they make it to the inner fane I KNOW they are going to try the cards. Multiple times.


the times have been, That, when the brains were out, the man would die, And there an end. .
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JDragonatWork
Memunite
(10/2/03 11:03 am)
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Re: Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
My group came across a DoMT in a different campaign and as mentioned above the XP jump is based on 2e not 3e.

I belive we just adjusted the XP to a reasonable amount for the power of the item, giving a character 1 or 2 levels instead of the 6.

JDragon

Engel des Giftes
Mortal
(10/2/03 12:22 pm)
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Re:
Last session, in another group in which I am a player, we also faced a DoMT. All I can say is: if it does not add anything special to your campaign or has some higher purpose, don't use the DoMT.
Just a few things:
- these 50000 XP are definitely too much. We changed it to a 2-level-up (which is still quite hefty).
- the card where a friend turns against you can be quite problematic. This can really bring bad emotions into the campaign.
- all seriously negative effects (like your soul leaves the body, lose all magic items (depends), imprisonment...): yes, they knew the risk before, but this can still just take the fun out of the game.

I have to admit, though, that it was one of the funniest sessions ever in this campaign.
But after this experience, I really wonder if I will use the DoMT in my RttToEE campaign (as it seems quite random anyway to me...). But it is still a long way to the Inner Fane...

WarrenWright
Memunite
(10/3/03 4:16 am)
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Re: Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
If your group has converted to 3.5, like mine, I'd consider allowing the deck as it stands.

The 3.5 deck has only 10,000 exp point swings (up or down), only 2 major death cards that I see, and the rest of the cards are less than game destroying, but highly entertaining, particularly if your group enjoys laughs and roleplaying.

Warren

PaleMage
Mortal
(10/3/03 4:46 am)
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Re: Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
I just ended the session were players stumbled into the DoMT...

It was a big mess... Starting from 13th level (yes I had to level-up the whole campaign) 1 PC raised to 17th, 1 to 16th, 1 has been "imprisoned", 2 have lost all their possession and magic (but gained a couple of major magical or woundrous one), almost everyone met the minor Death...

I get really upset of the result of this programmed encounter, totally futile for the development of the story... why they put a so stupid thing in is a mistery... there's no need at all of a DoMT in RttToEE.

I'm considering to roll-back the last session and eliminate the whole encounter, having the PC guess if they dreamed the worst thing they could imagine happening... another side effect of the proximity of the Dreaming Stone into the Spike.

It seems to me the better way to beat the fate and have the PC a bad feeling about "tampering" with the goals of Tharizdun.

Any suggestion?

----
PaleMage (aka Monty), mastering RttToEE from 10 day from the publishing, master of D&D, AD&D 1st and 2nd Ed., DD3E since 1984...

Infiniti2000
Cherub
(10/3/03 6:22 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Deck of Many Things..Destroys Game
Actually, the DoMT has a great story hook. The item itself is extraordinarily chaotic, although not necessarily evil. It also has a great 'fate' hook, which I feel is very Tharizdun-esque. The whole idea of Tharizdun smacks of prophecy and fate.

Roland the red
Memunite
(10/3/03 9:40 am)
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The Deck...
For years the debate about the Deck of Many things has seen little resolution. However, My group and I have made the following observations over nearly 20 years of D&D:

1. The Deck of Many Things does more harm than good.

2. You MUST draw from the Deck! :evil

Seriously, we feel that drawing is almost mandatory. Yeah, we also feel it does more harm than good, but it certainly stirs things up and sends the campaign in unexpected directions, which is fun in and of itslef.

ZansForCans 
Cherub
(10/3/03 10:06 am)
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Re: The Deck...
I'm having a hard time sympathizing (although the 3.0 version of the deck certainly needed tweaking), although I don't understand the circumstances of each campaign. The words in the floor explicitly say that this room is a ritual of Tharizdun. It explicitly says you risk much! If PCs keep drawing even after their companion just suffered a major setback, that's just being stupid, IMHO.

There's nothing that says you have to be able to defeat every monster or try every switch and level in an adventure. Some things might better be left alone and are there for ambiance. This room in particular is in the Inner Fane and is there for the doomdreamers and the cult's benefit, not for the PCs. I agree with I2k here--it fits big-T perfectly. If a cleric or paladin tries this for any reason, I'd revoke their deity's blessing immediately and require serious atonement. The text says this honors him (as the words on the floor suggest).

From a meta-gaming aspect, you can't go into an encounter with the deck after spending the last year carefully advancing and developing your character and expect to come out happy. There's a good chance you're going to throw everything you've worked for away. If that's how you and your players like to up the stakes (like Roland says), that's cool, but then don't complain if it doesn't work out :)


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Edited by: ZansForCans  at: 10/3/03 10:07 am
Thrommel
Runechild (mod)
Council of Magisters

(10/3/03 12:01 pm)
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Re: The Deck...
The deck pays homage to AD&D, plain and simple. If your players don't have the background to appreciate that, then I'd say dump it.

From a practical perspective, it sure can throw the whole party out of whack.

But when it was 2 am and I found myself sitting in my buddy's dining room back in 1986, all bleary-eyed and wondering if I should go lay down behind the couch, there were few things that could rekindle the fires for a steady all-nighter than the DM saying "It appears to be a Deck of Many Things."

Call me old-school, but this is one of the few encounters from the Inner Fane that I'm sorry my players missed.

-Thrommel, who's off to find a deck of playing cards.

~Council of Magisters~
~ Arcana Unearthed ~

Edited by: Thrommel at: 10/3/03 12:01 pm
Glog
Memunite
(10/3/03 1:28 pm)
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Re: The Deck...
I think this is a good metaphor for the adventure and life in general. This module is a HAUL. You need to stay focused or the chaotic forces will tear you apart. You may be distracted by treasure, other various elements, issues in the surrounding countryside or a desire to develop your character outside of the module. If you falter, you are not likely to succeed.

That being said, I would recommend either moving it to be a treasure for the party after the adventure is complete when you can kind of sit around with your 14th level characters and choose to draw without impacting the year of work you have invested (thus minimizing the impact it might have during the campaign), or use it as I expect it was intended. The characters find a strange item that they don't understand the value of. One character makes a choice to draw. Something good or bad happens and the other characters make their own decisions. They are in the middle of a huge undertaking and if they get derailed because of greed or power seeking or the promise of a possibility, then so be it. It just represents, in one small package, many of life's distractions and broken promises. How they handle is what makes them heroic or not.

The house always wins - but knowing the potential rewards and dangers, few can manage to stave off the calling of THE DECK.

And, as the guy whose couch Thrommel often slept behind and the most likely DM at that time, I can say we often pulled the deck out as the only means of keeping his weenie butt up from 1-3am, so I could make him suffer a slow death from 3-6am.

No wonder he's such a bastard now.

It's a wonder I let him run me through the RttoEE, but little surprise that I died 4 times before completing it.


- Glog
When in Rome, KILL ME

Kenmis
Memunite
(10/3/03 4:53 pm)
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Re: The Deck...
The deck of many things is directly responsible for my campaign ending about 3 months early. Not that this is nessisarily a bad thing, but it definitly shows that the DoMT can really shake up a campaign.

Kyle the DM
Mortal
(10/5/03 7:51 am)
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Re: The Deck...
isn't it stated that you can't gain so much xp you raise more than one level and you can't lose so much you lose a level? i think you should use this rule when you use your DoMT

JoeSchmoe
Memunite
(10/5/03 8:57 am)
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Re: The Deck...
My group is about to get into the Fanes - is the DoMT something I should really worry about? I'd like to keep it in to really keep up the chaotic element of the whole ordeal, as some have said. If I do keep it in, should I just adjust it so that PCs don't lose or gain more than one level? (I don't have the 3.5 books)

TIA!

Eltern
Memunite
(10/5/03 10:01 am)
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Re: The Deck...
My players skipped the Inner Fane, and will be fighting Imix shortly. It works out really well this way, because they can go back to the Inner Fane, screw around with the deck in its natural setting, and not mess stuff up.

Eltern

arcane12
Memunite
(10/5/03 7:44 pm)
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Re: The Deck...
Yes, the deck is pretty much a plot device with a big red warning label on it... Drawing cards from it is like going to the crypt in the CRM getting into the planar portal metting the Planetar/Solar (not sure which off the top of my head, like it matters, a Planetar will decimate entire parties by itself :P ) and when he says "Leave here now!" replying: "Or what?!" and crossing your arms. - not a good thing.

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