The Hurt Locker: Deck of Wonders

I have a long (and troubling) relationship with the “Deck of Many Things” there hasn’t been a single DnD campaign I’ve ran where I haven’t willingly introduced it…or it showed up on its own. Put simply, I have a deck of cards with my other DnD things that I carried for a reason. So today’s knockoff (I prefer the phrase “inspired by”), “The Deck of Wonders,” should come as no surprise – to my players at least.

Deck of Wonders

Power Item: 5d FP

Suggested Origins: Cosmic, Divine, Magical, or Spirit.

Resembling a deck of cards, this artifact can be the bane or blessing of a given delver. Before any cards are drawn, the the drawer must specify how many he wishes to pull and then he must pull that amount. If he fails to draw the cards for whatever reason he can make a Will roll -10, failure means the cards draw themselves for him, success means he takes HP damage equal to a full multiple of his Hit Points times the number of cards he failed to draw.

• Hand of Fate: Every card drawn has either a beneficial or baneful effect. Permanent effects can be removed with a Remove Curse spell (GURPS Magic, p. 126) – though the effects resist with a skill of 35! Deck of Wonders with Cosmic origins cannot have effects removed except by the direct intervention of the gods. In most cases, the exact effect will be immediately known to the drawer unless noted otherwise thanks to a combination of a physical representation (the engraving) and a sudden flash of insight. See the chart below to determine the effect a given card bestows either with dice or a actual deck of cards.
Whimsy: The deck doesn’t remain in the possession of one person for long and is immune to any such effects from supernatural means or the like. Furthermore, it can never be taken as Signature Gear. Every month the deck remains in the same persons possession, make a unmodified Reaction Roll (for those with Weirdness Magnet, roll 1d, on a 1-3 subtract 3 from this roll; on a 4-6 add three instead) and consult the following chart:

          Disastrous: As Very Bad, but also forces the owner to draw 1d-1 cards before it goes.
          Bad or Very Bad: The deck disappears and takes $1dx500 worth of valuables with it. Adjust               this for delvers with higher or lower Wealth levels!
          Poor or Neutral: The deck disappears from the owner’s possessions.
          Good or Very Good: The deck stays…for now.
          Excellent: It likes you. It really likes you. Not only does it stick around without requiring any             more checks for 2d months, but you can add your full reaction modifier against it. This comes             at a cost however, you gain Weirdness Magnet if you don’t already have it, as the deck                         permanently warps your karmic field.

Weight: 1 lb.

Nothing says it needs to be a deck of cards. It could be a set of dice with ever-changing faces or a book that’s blank until the page is turned and then the effect shows up. Any sort of random device is possible, consider a roulette wheel or even a board game.

The Luck of the Draw

Engraving Die Roll Playing Card Effect
Balance 1, 1-3, 1-3 Two of spades Lose 1dx5 points worth of self-imposed disadvantages or gain disadvantage that are the opposite of what you currently possess (e.g., a knight might lose Code of Honor (Chivlary) and gain Code of Honor (Pirate’s)
Comet 1, 1-3, 4-6 Two of diamonds Defeat the next monster you encounter alone and gain 3d character points.
Donjon 1, 4-6, 1-3 Ace of spades Your character is physically imprisoned (hello, Watch!) and accused of crimes he did not commit; he gains Social Stigma (Criminal Record).
Euryale 1, 4-6, 4-6 Queen of spades Acquire a permanent -1 to IQ, HT, Will, or Perception (GM’s choice)
The Fates 2, 1-3, 1-3 Ace of hearts Gain a Great Wish for the sole purpose avoiding any situation of your choice – once. The GM decides what this situation is – though a badly drawn card qualities! Note this on your character sheet.
Flames 2, 1-3, 4-6 Queen of clubs Gain Reputation -4 (Demons or Elder Things).
Fool 2, 4-6, 1-3 Joker (with trademark) Lose 6d  character points of traits and draw another card from the deck.
Gem 2, 4-6, 4-6 Two of hearts Gain your choice 7d pieces of jewelry or 14d jewels (use GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables to determine what is gained).
Idiot 3, 1-3, 1-3 Two of clubs Lose 1d/2 points of IQ. You may draw again if you wish.
Jester 3, 1-3, 4-6 Joker (without trademark) Gain 6d unspent character points or two more draws from the deck.
Key 3, 4-6, 1-3 Queen of hearts Gain a magical weapon that you can use immediately and enough points in Signature Gear to cover its cost. The value of the weapon should be equal to you character’s current value x $500. You can suggest what you’d like to the GM, but he has the final word.
Knight 3, 4-6, 4-6 Jack of hearts Gain a henchman of the GM’s choice and the points necessary to have it as Ally.
Moon 4, 1-3, 1-3 Queen of diamonds Immediately gain 1d Great Wishes (see GURPS Magic, p. 62).
Rogue 4, 1-3, 4-6 Jack of spades A previously friendly NPC becomes actively hostile toward you (treat as if you had scored a Disastrous Reaction Roll). GMs should start with Allies and then move on toward commonly hired henchmen, then NPCs.
Ruin 4, 4-6, 1-3 King of spades If your character has any levels of Wealth he loses them and gains Wealth (Dead Broke) as well and everything he owns – even the shirt off his back! If the deck is of Cosmic origin it also effects Signature Gear!
Skull 4, 4-6, 4-6 Jack of clubs Defeat a powerful monster of the GM’s choice or be instantly reduced to -10xHP meaning you can never be resurrected! Your character is gone for good.
Star 5, 1-3, 1-3 Jack of diamonds Instantly gain 20 points toward a single attribute or secondary characteristic of choice.
Sun 5, 1-3, 4-6 King of diamonds Gain a magical item that you can use immediately and 1dx5 character points. The value of the item should be equal to you character’s current value x $100. You can suggest what you’d like to the GM, but he has the final word.
Talons 5, 4-6, 1-3 Ace of clubs All items that you possess however trivially enchanted disappear permanently. 
Throne 5, 4-6, 4-6 King of hearts Gain 1d levels of charisma (or a equal number of points in a social traits(s) of your choice). If the GM is using Traits for Town Pyramid, then he also gains 1d levels of Status (work out how this happens; e.g., he finds out he’s of noble birth or something similiar).
Vizier 6, 1-3, 1-6 Ace of diamonds The GM tells you the exact answer to the next problem or dilemma that your character has.
The Void 6, 4-6, 1-6 King of clubs Character’s soul gets trapped in another dimension. He gains Low Empathy and Social Stigma (Excommunicated) until he gets his soul back – if he ever does.
Posted in The Hurt Locker and tagged , .


  1. "All items that you possess however trivially enchanted disappear permanently. "
    * I think this is supposed to be "All magic items that you possess"

    "The value of the item should be equal to you character's current value x $100" (or x $500) – is this supposed to be your character's current point value? Net value of assets?

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