Deck of Many Things Selector

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Deck of Many Origins

The history of the Deck of Many Things goes back to First Edition. The magical item initially appeared in Greyhawk, the first Dungeons & Dragons game supplement in 1975, before being added in a more official capacity in the original Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG) four years later. Originally the deck only contained 18 cards, based on the face cards in a standard playing card deck, but the DMG version changed this to offer both 13 and 22-card options. While a tarot-based deck appeared in Dragon #77 in 1983 and again in Encyclopedia Magica Vol. 1 in 1994, most modern games utilize the original DMG version.

How does it work?

Though a DM may choose to make their version particularly peculiar, players typically encounter a Deck of Many Things as a set of fine vellum or ivory cards stored in a small pouch or box. While twenty-five percent of these decks contain twenty-two cards, most are limited to only thirteen.

Before drawing any cards, players must state the specific number they intend to remove. Any cards pulled beyond the declared number will be rendered inert. Cards are selected randomly, and their magic takes effect immediately upon removal. Players must draw all subsequent cards within one hour of each other, or their remaining quantity will fly from the deck and take effect all at once.

After activation, most drawn cards will briefly fade from existence before reappearing in the deck, allowing the possibility of repeated effects. However, unlike the other cards, the Fool and Jester may only be drawn once, failing to rematerialize after their initial use.

What do the cards do?

Balance. A violent twist surges through the player's mind, causing a diametric shift in alignment. Good becomes evil, lawful becomes chaotic, and so on. Those who are unaligned or true neutral are unaffected.

Comet. The player receives enough experience to gain one level if they can single-handedly defeat the next hostile monster or group of monsters they encounter. The card disappears without effect if they fail to complete the task.

Donjon. The player vanishes. All worn and carried items stay behind, removing the player's ability to draw another card. They reappear within an extradimensional sphere in suspended animation, remaining imprisoned until found and removed. Only a wish spell can reveal the location of the spherical bastille.

Euryale. A curse befalls the player causing them to take a perpetual -2 penalty on all saving throws. Only a god or the magic of The Fates card can remove the curse.

The Fates. The fabric of reality shifts and tears before slowly repairing itself. At any time before death, the player may use this card's magic to avoid or erase an event as though it never happened.

Flames. The player has provoked the ire of a powerful devil who seeks to ruin their life, savoring every ounce of pain and suffering. The only way out is for one of them to die.

Fool. The player loses 10,000 XP or just enough to keep their current level. After the magic takes effect, the card fades from existence and compels the player to draw again. This second draw has no bearing on their initial declared draw quantity.

Gem. Riches valued at 50,000 GP appear at the player's feet in the form of twenty-five fine pieces of jewelry or fifty rare gems.

Idiot. The player's Intelligence becomes permanently reduced by 1d4+1, though their score cannot fall below 1. They may also draw one additional card beyond their initial declared draw quantity.

Jester. The player may draw two additional cards beyond their initial declared draw quantity or gain 10,000 XP.

Key. A magic weapon that the player is proficient with appears in their hand. The GM selects a weapon whose rarity level is rare or higher.

Knight. A 4th-level fighter appears within 30 feet. They believe the fates have called upon them to devote their lives to serving the player, who now controls the character as their own.

Moon. The player receives a magical boon that allows them to cast the wish spell 1d3 times.

Rogue. A nonplayer character (NPC) becomes hostile toward the player. Their identity remains a secret unless revealed by the NPC or someone else. Only divine intervention or a wish spell will end their malicious streak.

Ruin. The player loses all forms of wealth beyond magic items. Personal belongings immediately vanish. Businesses, buildings, and lands become revoked in a manner that least affects reality. Deeds, agreements, or any other ownership documentation fade from existence along with this card.

Skull. A ghostly humanoid skeleton clad in ragged black robes and carrying a spectral scythe appears within 10 feet of the player. It warns surrounding creatures that the player must defeat them without interference before beginning a battle to the death. Anyone who ignores this warning summons their own avatar who proclaims an identical ruleset. Those slain by an avatar of death can never return to  life.

Star. The player selects one ability score to increase by two, not exceeding a total score of 24.

Sun. The player gains 50,000 XP, and a wondrous item randomly determined by the GM appears in their hands.

Talons. All worn or carried magical items disintegrate, and artifacts in the player's possession disappear.

Throne. The player gains proficiency in Persuasion and doubles their proficiency bonus on checks made with that skill. They also gain rightful ownership of a small keep in a location of the GM's choice. However, they must remove a group of monsters before claiming the property.

Vizier. Any time within one year of drawing this card, the player may ask a question mentally or in meditation and receive a truthful answer. Beyond supporting information, the response will provide the wisdom necessary to solve a puzzling dilemma.

The Void. The player's soul becomes forcibly drawn from their body and confined to an object of the GM's choice. While trapped in this way, they are incapacitated. A wish spell cannot restore them but will reveal the location of their soul, which one or more powerful beings guard with their lives. The player may not draw another card.

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