The Deck of Many Things, an iconic treasure in Dungeons & Dragons, is returning with even more cards and, possibly, even more chaos.
Originally introduced in D&D: 3rd Edition, the Deck of Many Things – also known as a Deck of Hazards – is a rare item that players could stumble upon during their adventures throughout the world of the tabletop roleplaying game. Once used as a deckbuilding game for the powerful magic-users of the lost empire of Netheril, a Deck of Many Things is a collection of cards that have mystical properties and can cause a wide range of effects to occur.
Players simply need to draw a card from the deck to trigger its associated effects, which can range from good events – such as receiving a unique and legendary item – to bad happenings, like having their soul placed in a random object or earning the ire of a powerful devil. The Deck of Many Things has acquired a reputation amongst the Dungeons & Dragons community for its ability to completely up-end a campaign, with dungeon masters and players advised to be wary of using them for fear of permanently losing their characters. It has also made an appearance on the popular D&D actual play series, Critical Role, multiple times – particularly during the show’s non-canonical episodes.
A new version of the Deck of Many Things is being released for D&D 5E. This revived version of the classic item will contain all the cards found in the original full deck alongside 44 entirely new ones, bringing the total deck up to 66 cards. The Deck of Many Things will come in a physical deck – including new artwork for the old cards – that players and DMs will be able to actively draw from during their games of the tabletop RPG.
Releasing alongside the deck will be a guidebook that features explanations for what each of the cards do, such as the new Dragon card that causes a dragon egg to immediately appear and hatch – with the newly born dragonling seeing the party as its surrogate parents and becoming attached. Besides outlining the effects of the cards, the guidebook will also enable dungeon masters to deckbuild with the cards to curate certain types of decks such as the Deck of Dimensions – which feature effects that will enable you to travel across the fantasy TRPG’s own multiverse – and the Deck of Wonders, which contain more temporary and less impactful effects.
A sourcebook called The Book of Many Things will be published with the new deck. The Book of Many Things provides DMs with new ways to incorporate the item into their campaigns, including an entirely new adventure focused on the origins of the Deck of Many Things and Dungeons & Dragons’ first canonical autistic character, Asteria, who was written by the book’s co-designer Makenzie De Armas. The narrative found in The Book of Many Things will focus on the story of Asteria and her close friend Aurelle, a snake woman whose narrative looks to fit into the modern lexicon of Medusa tales intended to reinvent the classic character as a survivor of abuse.
As well as a pre-built adventure, the D&D 5E sourcebook will provide DMs with a way of using the Deck of Many Things to brainstorm their own campaigns. The Book of Many Things will feature ways for the player characters to come across the deck, as well as how it can play into their story. Each card in the deck can be placed in one of four categories – characters, treasures, monsters and landmarks – with certain sets of cards sharing similar elements of artwork intended to be used in conjunction with one another. Apart from their effects, the cards in the Deck of Many Things can represent a different aspect of a campaign for players to pursuit, from the characters they meet to the monsters they fight. The sourcebook will feature examples for the DM to use whenever certain card effects do occur, such as which devil the party earns the ire of thanks to pulling the infamous Flames card.
Players will also be able to use the deck to help them make decisions during the quest. The accompanying guidebook offers a tarot reading of each card, thereby enabling players to be guided along their journey by drawing from the deck and interpreting its meanings. Astrology lovers will also find something to appeal to them in The Book of Many Things, which will contain the option to give your character a D&D star sign and even discover what your own would be.
The Deck of Many Things box set – including the physical deck, The Book of Many Things and the guidebook for the deck – will be released on November 14th for $99.99 (£79).