The (original) Deck of Many Things

Obtained almost as magically as can be

The 0 edition Deck of Many Things, on a green backdrop
(not like magic magic, but tbh there is no other word that works there other than magical)

A box of caravan playing cards, laying on a green tabletop. The box is blue, and shows a covered wagon being pulled by two oxen, with a cowboy on a horse riding in front. The words deck of many things appears in the clouds. As well, a '0e' appears in front of the wagon.
A tale so fantastical, that I nary thought it could have existed. In fact, I didn't.

In all of my online searches and diggings and huntings, through all of the decks of many things that I've created or made boxes for and such, I thought I had found them all (outside of other decks of not-quite-many-things-but-still-lots-of-stuff, which to be fair I plan to get as well, because ya hafta lol). And I thought I had gotten them all, that Tarot of Many Things, final bell (technically finished after the Deck of hazards, but discovered before it lol).

Skip forward 3 months

So I've been getting into this kick where I wanna get a few D&D books. Been planning a one-shot, have migrated my Pathfinder character into d&d, all that jazz. And so I got a few books, the core starter set, The Harrowing (pathfinder), Tome of Magic, Epic Levels. Also Spelljammer online, but we've got 5e covered anyway (Phandelver ftw!)

And so, I started to search around online, being on this quest here. Like... ToM is 2e, and I *had* to get that, that's my boy Treasure of Tarmin. Honestly didn't expect to see a 2e book used, it basically jumped into my arms. Epic Levels, aww yeah, also used. Also 4th ed. So we have 2, 4, and 5 suddenly, I had to hunt down the others.

And that takes us to DriveThruRPG. I, thinking about it, decided I would prefer modules than anything else, storyline ideas I can use. I hunted through the 3e modules, and poked and perused, and I wanted (oohh oohh a story) a mid-to-high level adventure. Mine of Phandelver is 1-5, The Harrowing (port that straight over to 5e, also where harrow decks come up), that's 9th level, say I run people through The Harrowing, I wanna be like... ok, you go off for like a few years, and you level 3 (or in this case 4) times, and you come back with those characters again, I thought that would be cool, so like, let's look at all of the 15ish level stuff, plot, plot, plot, no I don't wanna kill vampires, oohh, something about removing petrification. Oohh, I like that, remove petrify, let's scoop that one up. Feels like I shouldn't say the name of it, but yah lol. Also ok this one, Tomb of Horrors, I had to, I *had* to. It's 99 cents, I can rework the map, aw yeah that's gotta happen. Roll up like 5 lvl high up there characters, let's see how many get chewed up. Also I mentioned the names in the link title text up there lol, don't worry about it. Just don't read over it beforehand and stuff. But Tomb of Horrors, I am not going to pass that up lol.

And so for 1e, hmmm, what can I get for 1e. There's like... 3 main modules, kinda poke back and forth. Eeeehhhh, Dungeon Master's Guide or Players Handbook, mainly those two. Wilderness. Kinda decide, I should get the players handbook. Go and check it out, click the pay, fin-Oh woah, did not expect that, dungeon master's guide? Well... ummmm... alrighty then. Ok, so it looks like we've got the DMG, not gonna complain. And that's where it sat, that book collection, was pretty pleased with it until the next day. Kinda... vaguely pondered Chainmail for 0e that night, next day, do you want chainmail, ehh, ehh, not really. Seems cliche, something, I dunno. What else we got. Poking at Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Swords and Spells, that's kinda cool sounding. Bounce around between them, eeehhhhh. Pondering. I've heard good things about Greyhawk. When it comes up in conversation, the person talking about it is always enthusiastic, so let's give that a try. We click on it, purchase, doo dee doo dee doo, downloading. Awright, cool, let's pop it open. Doo de doo de doo, scroll scroll scroll, this is kinda cool. Scroll sc

Page clipping of a sentence - 'Deck of Many Things: This device is a pack of 18 parchment cards, 4 each of...'

Oh wow, you are kidding me. We gotta google this, we *gotta* google this.

Who'da thunk. Who knew. There was an original deck of many things, a 0e version. Oh wow, I just stumbled across the original deck of many things :D :D :D

And so I was dumbfounded. By absolute accident, almost just a little, ok one way or the other... somehow... I stumbled upon the original deck of many things. It was just staring at me, right there. And it was glorious. And so... we needed a deck of cards. The card conversion goes as such:

A of Hearts - Immediately gain 50,000 experience points
K of Hearts - Gain Misc. Magic item from the Table of your choice
Q of Hearts - Gain 1-3 wishes to be taken when you like
J of Hearts - Help from a Superhero with +3 armor, shield, and sword for one hour when you call for him
A of Diamonds - Immediately gain map to richest treasure on any dungeon level
K of Diamonds - Gain 5-30 pieces of jewelry immediately
Q of Diamonds - Gain Scroll of 7 Spells, no 1st-level spells on it
J of Diamonds - Add 1 point to any ability score you wish, i.e. strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, etc.
A of Spades - Lose one experience level immediately
K of Spades - Lord with +4 armor, shield, and sword attacks you (all magic items disappear when attacker is defeated)
Q of Spades - Immediate death, no saving throw
J of Spades - Monster from 5th-level Underworld Monster Table attacks by surprise
A of Clubs - Change alignment immediately
K of Clubs - Lose your most prized magic item immediately
Q of Clubs - Turn to stone, no saving throw
J of Clubs - Lose 1 point from your Prime Requisite
JOKER - Gain 25,000 experience points immediately or select two additional cards
JOKER* - Gain 25,000 experience points immediately or select two additional cards

Oh my goodness, a heretofore unknown deck of many things, hiding in the origin story. You know we've gotta make this a deck.

And so the deckbuilding began. First, we needed to get another deck of cards, I was... tapped out of unconverted decks at that moment lol. Also, we seeked to sought a well-worn deck, something from a thrift store perhaps. We would have to go hunting. And so... umm.... well, it turns out that the literally closest thrift store had not one, but two possible deck-actually they had like... 8, 9? Like wow, I had my pickin's. So anyways, we narrowed it down based on the back of the cards entirely actually, a weathered look, the box was actually irrelevant at that time. Need all the face cards, don't care if a number is missing, give 'em a skim. We actually passed on our first choice (missing a face card), didn't get lucky on that first draw lol. But u could, that haaaappy little card puller is at the bottom. But anyways, this came in a close second, and I even have a red twin to it as well (not yet converted, as of the moment lol). And that caravan front, that's something epic. An old-timey caravan, oxen. Maybe they had the deck with them.

And so, we progressed. We first tested with a random card whether to sand them down or not, see if the text was readable. It turns out that, even with heavy print, you *really* need to sand those fella's down for the text to be readable. Like pop-out-at-you readable, is what I was going for. Even with this level of sanding, I *still* had to write overtop of them like three or four times over (flattened out from the back afterwards). If nothing else, it looks homemade, and I can live with that. Like a person put effort into creating it lol. Diiiidja wanna try, here's a pic for easy access :D . I'm happy with how it came out. Price tag still on it yet, 2.50, aged. Like this thing is a gem, I'm so glad I found it.

The Eight of Spades card, chosen pretty much just because it's black and has basically full coverage. Sand a few of those, see what happens. One was left kinda less-sanded than the others, and yeh, the word is even still hard to read even with that. I think that'll be the darkest I let the rest of them go, generally aim for lighter. An unsanded card (Q of Diamonds, or the wish card smileyface), followed by the sanded king (which is mostly sanded down, also gain a magic item), followed by that eight of spades that's kinda partially sanded. Several cards laid out, showing a substitute card beside the proper one. The text for the cards has been written, sometimes off-alignment and then corrected, on the substitute cards, the first seven of which are filled out. The two joker cards, the one on the left still showing pencil markings around the ink. Also, you get to gain twenty five thousand experience, twice since they're both here I guess, or you can like draw four more! I.. I dunno, personally I would go with the experience. This thing has like turn you to stone cards, I say run with the experience. The front of the box, blue, showing the lid open, sitting in Kabs's hand. The lid says 'NO.49', and shows half of the original sealing sticker still on it. It is very old but lightly worn. The pattern is of a covered wagon, being led by two oxen, and a cowboy riding a horse is in front of them. The digits '0e' are above the oxen, and 'Deck of Many Things' appears in the clouds. The bottom of the covers states it to be one pack. The back of the box, showing it in French. It reads caravan, cartes a jouer, and the second half of the original sealing sticker, aged and worn, partially obscures it. The same covered wagon and oxen are there, and the clouds read Cartes Merveilleuses. '0e' is above the oxen, and it states itself as un paquet. All of the cards laid out, four in a row, each suit, followed by the jokers and then the box. All of the card faces are mostly erased, though you can stil see what card it was. The text for each card is written in bold lettering, as mentioned throughout, and it's just a very tidy looking image.

YUS, YUS, YUS, I am so happy, and that about covers it. I'm happy I found this, I'm happy I stumbled across Greyhawk, I'm generally just pretty quite pleased with how this came out. Nice little gem, a lost artifact. I'm so glad that we came across this in our travels.

Discovered and begun August 28, 2022, finished September 02, 2022

Edit: Also to mention, at some point I learned of a Deck of Many Things II, which was listed as such in the Encyclopedia Magica Volume 1 (released 1994), but it appears that the DOMT1 is actually just this 0e Greyhawk DOMT, and the II version is just the regular DOMT (DMG1e edition), which is virtually identical to 5e, so I really didn't feel the need to make that version. The Encyclopedia also had a pile of other decks too (most from The Book of Marvelous Magic), to list, the Deck of Chance, Daffy Deck, Deck of Decking (lol), Fortune Telling Deck, Deck of Illusions, Deck of Illusions II (which seems virtually identical to I strangely, Dungeonland vs DMG1e writing differences), Janean's Deck of Many Things (which is just the DOMT1e with additional rules), the DOMT I and II as mentioned, Quarter Deck, Sun Deck, Tarot of Many Things (a second place it was published), Tracer Deck, and the Deck of Wondrous Power, which is actually the only new deck that has random draws! So naturally, that one we had to make :D . I'd debated whether to make the others just because (since I made the non-random-draw card-type items in the Book of Many Things), but I only really made those because I have the book, and it's the current edition. These are all 1e, which is far less relevant in 5e days so I couldn't actually see myself giving them to a player like I would with the BOMT items, so we decided to just pass on opening up that can of worms lol.

But with that little bit of lore, we return you to....



Yeah you know you can draw one!

Back to Random