The Deck of Many Things is one of Dungeons & Dragons’ most well-known magic items, as well as one that should be avoided at all costs. Some of his cards can have beneficial effects, including a couple that can give significant rewards. Even so, to obtain them, the player exposes their character to some of the harshest penalties in all of DnD.
The Deck of Many Things is a magical card game that grants varying effects depending on the cards drawn. The deck holder must declare how many cards they wish to draw, and they may never draw more than that from the deck in question. Additionally, the cards will draw if the holder does not. Since the Deck is one of the most valuable magic items in DnD, a party can get rich just by finding and selling one. This may actually be the best thing to do with the Deck, because despite having incredible potential rewards, some cards can have disastrous consequences.
Dungeon card inflicts D&D imprisonment spell on user
Many of the best items in Dungeons & Dragons grant spell effects to their users. For example, while a Ring of Feather Fall isn’t groundbreaking, fall damage immunity is still welcome. Similarly, a Ring of Three Wishes is one of the best items one could hope to find, granting its owner one of the most powerful spells in the game. Unfortunately, the Dungeon card in the Deck of Many Things will inflict instead gives the character a spell effect so cruel that DnD DMs should consider banning it.
If drawn, the Dungeon card inflicts an effect similar to the Imprisonment spell. The character will be trapped in suspended animation in a sphere, either deep underground or in extraplanar space. Worse, divination spells won’t reveal the character’s location, only a wish spell can. This effect completely removes the character from play until the rest of the party finds them, and it assumes they are able to do so in the first place. After all, it takes one of the most powerful spells in the game to find the victim of the Dungeon map.
The Dungeon card has the potential to destroy a campaign with its effect. A character that takes a lot of time and care can be removed from the table entirely with just one bad draw. When DnD players invest themselves in the world, it can be hard to lose their character out of the blue. Imprisonment is a spell that very few DMs would likely be willing to cast on a player due to its devastating effect, but the Deck of Many Things can cause it to hit randomly.
Void card steals a D&D character’s soul
The Dungeon map isn’t the only one hiding in a Deck of Many Things that can take a player’s character away. Depending on one’s perspective, it may not even be the worst card in the deck that has this class of effect, despite the horror of imprisonment. The Deck of Many Things doesn’t shy away from offering potentially terrible fates to those who draw from it, and another entry in that regard is the Void card. Despite how impossible it may seem, the Void map is essentially an even worse version of Dungeon, which already has a super-powered DnD spell effect.
The moment the Void card is drawn, the user’s soul is extracted from their body and trapped in an object. What this item is and where it is placed is entirely at the DM’s discretion. Either way, there will be at least one powerful creature or person to deal with the item, virtually guaranteeing a tough boss fight before the soul can be restored. Also, just like Dungeon, a Wish spell will not reverse the effects, but only reveal the location of the trapped soul. Without the soul, the body is essentially an empty shell, incapable of movement. In all likelihood, the party should not only find where the soul is trapped, but also transport the body so it can be returned easily.
Saving a character’s soul could make for a very unique DnD adventure, but the Void map is ultimately a more boring Dungeon. The description of the card in the Dungeon Master’s Guide states that it signals a disaster, and this is its most accurate description. The Void card is another way the Deck of Many Things can tear a character out of the player’s grip, and it’s just as unfair.
The Skull card can permanently kill a D&D character
While Dungeon and Void are utterly terrible cards to draw, the player can at least theoretically come back from them. As long as the party is able to find the whereabouts of the afflicted character or their soul, they have a chance of recovering it. There’s a card in the deck that doesn’t even offer this option, potentially ending a player’s game instantly. This card is the Skull card.
Once drawn, the Skull card will summon an undead creature that will immediately attack the user. Although Dungeons & Dragons characters can survive after death, this is not the case with the Skull map. If the user loses the skull fight, they are killed and cannot be revived in any way. Even Wish and Miracle, DnD’s strongest spells, cannot bring the character back. The player has no choice but to abandon the character.
The idea of irreversibly killing a character per se seems unfair. In Dungeons & Dragons, shutting down anything related to a character like this can hurt the flow of a campaign and also prevent the party from taking on a potentially fulfilling side quest of trying to bring said character back. This seems to defeat the purpose of the game, and losing on the Skull map would be a disappointment for everyone. The Skull card is the biggest argument against drawing a Deck of Many Things, proving how much it can ruin a DnD player’s day.
The Deck of many things in DnD can provide players with a knightly companion, fantastic treasures, and even the Wish spell. However, none of these rewards are worth the possibility of having your character ripped off by a roll of the dice. If a party ever finds a Deck of Many Things in Dungeons & Dragons, they should stay as far away from it as possible.
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Dungeons & Dragons: 3 Reasons You Should Avoid Many Things Deck | Pretty Reel
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