Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cursed Deck of Illusions

Yesterday I explained how a slip of judgment in a room description led to my need for a magical set of marked playing cards. Even though one of my players suggested at the table that it might be a deck of many things, that item is far too random and wonky for my tastes (especially for 3rd level characters). Instead, I toyed with the idea of giving them a deck of illusions. The deck of illusions has much less game-breaking potential, and is much more appropriate for 3rd level characters to receive.

However, I decided against this for two reasons. First, it doesn't make sense for the grimlocks to just be playing around with a potent magic item when in the presence of drow. The dark elves surely would have confiscated the cards. I need a magical item that the drow would not necessarily take for their own. Second, I want the fact that the cards have been severely marked and damaged to play some role in their function.

A cursed item works perfectly. It need not be cursed to the point of being useless, just enough that using it is a gamble. The curse would explain the damage (or vice versa), and it would make more sense for a drow to leave it alone instead of taking it from the grimlocks. After some thought, this is what I came up with. I think it has the potential to be useful, while still presenting a gamble whenever it is used.
Cursed DECK OF Illusions
Aura moderate illusion; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 8,100 gp; Weight 1/2 lb.
I'm creating this deck from spare Magic: The Gathering
creature tokens that I have sitting around. 
This seems like a normal deck of playing cards at first glance, although it has been marked or damaged in some obvious way. When a card is drawn at random and thrown on the ground, a creature appears and the card becomes blank (unusable).  The creature that appears is hostile to whomever possesses the deck, but he or she may attempt (as a free action once per turn) take control of them with a successful spellcraft or use magic device check (DC varies based on the CR of the monster that appears). Most of the cards create the illusion of a creature as the major image spell. However, a few cards in the deck have been fundamentally changed by the damage to the card, and function as a summon monster spell instead. If one of these cards is drawn, reveal cards from the top of the deck until a creature is revealed. This creature appeared as if summoned by a summon monster spell, and the summoner must attempt to gain control of it to avoid being attacked. Regardless of whether the monsters are illusions or conjurations, they remain for nine rounds or until they are destroyed.

These cards are currently in the deck, along with what type of creature appears when the card is drawn:
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