Friday, October 25, 2013

D&DNext and the Despair Deck

"Fear attracts the fearful." - Darth Maul

In May of 2011 (which seems like forever ago), Wizards of the Coast released a 4th Edition supplement entitled The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond.  One of the coolest things to come in the box set was a deck of 30 cards called the Despair Deck.  The deck, to quote from the campaign guide, "represents the unnatural behaviors and neuroses that can come over those who visit the Shadowfell."  I would like to that statement one step farther and say that the deck represents behaviors and neuroses that come over those who visit any place of horror.  Flipping through the deck, the cards are separated into three main categories: Fear, Apathy, and Madness.  Such traits create good roleplaying opportunities, as well as further demonstrating the horrors that adventurers face on a regular basis.
 

I thought the Despair Deck was a great addition to special encounters and events for D&D, and I've really wanted to carry over to D&DNext.  So, I created a chart in Excel and tried to do my best to replicate the effects in terms of D&DNext rules.  I know some of these might need a little playtesting/tweaking, but I wanted to share them with the community and maybe allow others to try out the rules in their own Halloween themed games.

Remember, players each draw a Despair card when the finish an extended rest in a place the DM deems appropriate.  This could be the Shadowfell, Castle Ravenloft, or a haunted cathedral.  Alternatively, the DM could have each player draw from the Despair Deck when they encounter something horrifying, such as witnessing a dear friend having been transformed into a vampire.

In order to remove the Despair effect, the player must make a saving throw, applying no Ability Score modifiers.  These saving throws are made after two combat encounters, unless the DM permits it otherwise (due to good roleplaying, etc).  If they have proficiency in the skill listed, they may add their proficiency bonus to the roll.  I would say that the saving throw DC should be 10.  While this is classified as an Easy DC, the players are not applying their Ability Score modifiers, so without adding proficiency bonuses, they are already at a 55% chance of overcoming the Despair effect.

Overcoming the Despair effect grants the players a Boon, which gives them some sort of benefit until their next extended rest.

 Also, be aware of the 3 categories the Despair Deck falls into: Fear, Apathy and Madness.  DM's can always remove cards from the deck in order to allow players to acquire certain traits.  For example, while exploring ancient crypts, Fear cards might belong better due to the environment.  You never know when something will jump out at you!

Below I've included the list of the different cards in the deck and their new D&DNext equivalents.

Name Trait Penalty Boon Key Skill
Twist of Fate - - - -
Rampant Despair - - - -
Indomitable Spirit - - - -
Wrathful Madness Enemies have advantage on melee attack rolls made against you until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, enemies cannot gain advantage on attack rolls against you until the next extended rest. Charisma (Intimidation)
Squeamish Madness Until you overcome this despair effect, you have disadvantage on attack rolls made against creatures with less than half their hit points remaining. After you overcome this despair effect, gain advantage on attacks made against bloodied (reduced to half hit points) creatures until the next extended rest. Intelligence (Arcana)
Reckless Madness You cannot use the Dodge or Help action, and you cannot use any class feature that heals yourself until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, once per encounter, you may spend Hit Dice as a free action.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Dexterity (Stealth)
Quarrelsome Madness Allies grant advantage to enemies' attack rolls while adjacent to you Allies gain +1 AC while adjacent to you. This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Charisma (Deception)
Jealous Madness Until you overcome this despair effect, you cannot use the Help action or target any allies with spells or abilities. After you overcome this despair effect, you have Advantage on all rolls made for spells and abilities that target your allies.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Charisma (Persuasion)
Haunted Madness You have disadvantage on savings throws made against being charmed and frightened.  This card is not discarded as normal at the end of an extended rest. After you overcome this despair effect, you are immune to charm and fear effects until the end of your next extended rest. Intelligence (Arcana)
Forgetful Madness You have disadvantage on skil checks until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you have advantage on skill checks until the end of your next extended rest. Intelligence (History)
Delusional Madness You take a -1 penalty to AC until you overcome this despair effect.  This card is not discarded as normal at the end of an extended rest. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain a +1 bonus to AC until the end of your next extended rest. Intelligence (Nature)
Covetous Madness Until you overcome this despair effect, you cannot gain advantage on melee attack rolls. After you overcome this despair effect, you have advantage on attack rolls against any enemy while they are adjacent to you and an ally.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Dexterity (Sleight of Hand)
Trembling Fear You take a -1 penalty to attack rolls until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls until the end of your next extended rest. Dexterity (Acrobatics)
Scared Stiff Fear You cannot Disengage while adjacent to a Large or larger enemy until you overcome this effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you cannot be Paralyzed until the end of your next extended rest. Strength (Athletics)
Phobic Fear You take a -1 Penalty to AC and saving throws until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain a +1 bonus to AC and saving throws until the end of your next extended rest. Charisma (Intimidation)
Paranoid Fear You have vulernable psychic until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you have resistant psychic until the end of your next extended rest. Wisdom (Perception)
Mistrustful Fear You cannot move through allies' spaces until you overcome this despair effect.  This card is not discarded as normal at the end of an extended rest. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls and AC while you are adjacent to an ally.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Wisdom (Insight)
Jittery You are restrained during your first turn in combat until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you cannot be surprised, restrained or stunned until the end of your next extended rest. Charisma (Performance)
Insomnia Fear Whenever you roll hit dice to recover hit points, you recover half the amount rolled.  This card is not discarded as normal at the end of an extended rest. After you over this despair effect, whenever you roll hit dice to recover hit points, you may roll each die twice and choose which one to use. Intelligence (Nature)
Frail Fear You gain vulnerable to all damage until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain resistance to all damage until the end of your next extended rest. Strength (Athletics)
Craven Fear You fall prone whenever an enemy grapples or charges you until you overcome this despair effect.  You fall prone only after the forced movement or charge attack is complete. After you overcome this despair effect, you can choose to ignore any forced movement you are subject to.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Dexterity (Acrobatics)
Unconcerned Apathy You have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain advantage on Dexterity saving throws until the end of your next extended rest. Dexterity
(Sleight of Hand)
Sluggish Apathy You take a -5 foot penalty to speed until you overcome this despair effect.  This card is not discarded as normal at the end of an extended rest. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain a +5 foot bonus to speed until the end of your next extended rest. Strength (Athletics)
Lethargic Apathy You have disadvantage on Constitution saving throws until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain advantage on Constitution saving throws until the end of your next extended rest. Strength (Athletics)
Indifferent Apathy You may only make one attack with your action until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain an extra action each encounter.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Charisma (Deception)
Hopeless Apathy You have disadvantage on saving throws until you overcome this despair effect. After you overcome this despair effect, you gain advantage on saving throws until the end of your next extended rest. Wisdom (Insight)
Fatalistic Apathy Until you overcome this despair effect, you have disadvantage on death rolls and die after two failed death rolls. After you overcome this despair effect, you have advantage on death rolls until the end of your next extended rest. Intelligence (Religion)
Drowsy Apathy You cannot make opportunity attacks until you overcome this despair effect.  This card is not discarded as normal at the end of an extended rest. After you overcome this despair effect, you can make an opportunity attack against any enemy that moves within your reach, whether or not they use the Disengage action.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Wisdom (Perception)
Distracted Apathy You have disadvantage when rolling initiative. After you overcome this despair effect, you have advantage when rolling intiative until the end of your next extended rest. Wisdom (Perception)
Clumsy Apathy Until you overcome this despair effect, whenever you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll, a skill check, or a saving throw, you fall prone. After you overcome this despair effect, you can reroll a natural 1 on an attack roll once per encounter.  This benefit lasts until the end of your next extended rest. Dexterity (Acrobatics)























Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments and follow me on Twitter @artificeralf

Also, if Wizards is ever interested in a Feywild supplement, I would love to contribute!


2 comments:

  1. I was just looking for something like this, excellent job man!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is excellent! Thanks a bunch-

    ReplyDelete