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How DnD plans to fix the Deck of Many Things

Dungeons and Dragons is due to release a new Deck of Many Things, and it aims to solve a lot of the iconic magic item’s past problems.

The DnD Deck of Many Things is a magic item with a reputation. Each card in the deck comes with a game-changing effect that, for better or worse, can completely change a campaign – with death and derailment as common side effects. But Wizards of the Coast revealed in a press event on October 12 just how hard it’s worked to make the deck less disastrous for its upcoming Book of Many Things.

Releasing on November 14, the Book of Many Things is a DnD book filled with DnD monsters, character options, puzzles, traps, and 50 new DnD magic items – all themed around the Deck of Many Things. The book is bundled with an all-new ‘Deck of Many More Things’, which features 44 new cards and plenty of guidance on how to use it.

Lead designer Jason Tondro says tripling the size of the deck was “an innovation project for us”. “We’ve never done anything quite like it before.”

DnD Deck of Many Things set (image by Wizards of the Coast)

“The Deck of Many Things can be very destructive and has this reputation”, Tondro says. Expanding the deck’s size is Wizards of the Coast’s way of addressing this – now you can customize your deck to your desired level of destruction. “We wanted to allow the DM to curate the deck”, explains game designer Makenzie De Armas.

If a DM wants deck-building advice, they can turn to the Book of Many Things. It’s a setting-agnostic sourcebook prepared for any scenario, offering adventure prompts, stat blocks, and lore to help DMs describe the results of a card pull. It also features several pre-made deck lists you can use.

These include an approachable ‘starter deck’, a roleplay-focused deck, a light-hearted deck for sillier DnD campaigns, and the crueller “deck of horrors”. Here the harmful cards outnumber the helpful, and De Armas recommends saving this option for grim, Ravenloft-esque adventures.

Controlled chaos aside, Wizards has addressed many other issues with the Deck of Many Things. De Armas says many of its new cards “fill in niches the original Deck of Many Things did not fill”. For example, several new cards grant your party new magic items – reducing the chance that you’ll stumble on something utterly unusable by your group’s DnD classes.

Owning a card also has long-term benefits aside from the initial draw effect. “We have created specific magical powers for each card in the deck that a player who gets that card can use every day”, Todron says. “Now each individual card is a treasure as well as the combined deck.”

The deck has even more powers to offer – the Book of Many Things can tell you your DnD star sign, and you can even use the Deck of Many Things to randomly generate adventures with the Deck of Many Things adventure spread. For more recent D&D releases, be sure to check out our Planescape 5e review, too.