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 Random starts in Waterdeep using custom Deck of MT
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
758 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2017 :  16:03:22  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Preamble:
I'm building up to a campaign wherein the players are transported to Waterdeep from the real world, and then have to build a life for themselves (stole the idea from someone here - I think Diffan). If they want to get back to the real world, they'll need tonnes of power, as Larloch is involved with attempts to fuse the crystal spheres of Earth and Toril together - any attempt to cross worlds will have to deal with him.

The Idea:
In order to simulate random starting positions in Waterdeep for each of my players, I had the idea of using a Deck of Many Things. Not the magical item per se, but using the Deck as a kind of tarot. The 4e product Madness at Gardmore Abbey came with a deck, which looks pretty sweet and I thought it would be cool to use it.

So in short, looking for thoughts on what each card could signify. I'm not looking for magical effects of the cards, but instead for what kind of a start a player might have landing in the city of Waterdeep.

Here's what I had so far. I've also included notes on the image of what's on the card, plus the basics of what concept I think the card represents in D&D.

Balance
Image: a blind woman, presumably representing Justice, holding scales
D&D concept: the balance between Law and Chaos, Good and Evil (the DoMT card changes alignment)
My idea: Appear in the middle of a session of the Common Courts in the Lords' Palace. The character would then be taken in and questioned by the Black Robes, and end up having some involvement in the case at hand, which would involve something interesting that has the citizenry arguing over whether it was good or evil (eg. medic contaminating wells with mixture that makes children violently sick in short term, but ultimately improves their survival rate).

Comet
Image: Comet hurtling through space
D&D concept: Smashing into enemies at high risk to oneself for high reward
My idea: This was one I struggled with. Perhaps a wizard creates a spell that summons a small comet that smashes into a bunch of monsters, and when the dust clears the character is standing there. The spell puts an immense strain on the wizard, who the character can care for if they desire. Either way, antagonists begin seeking the intensely draining but powerful spell.

Donjon
Image: Dungeon cell door
D&D concept: imprisonment
My idea: Appear in Castle Waterdeep's dungeon, and the guards don't believe that you're not supposed to be there. Eventually there's a breakout attempt that fails, and someone higher up (maybe the Blackstaff) finally figures out that you're an anomaly and should never have been there. You become a symbol for the wrongly imprisoned, whereas others believe that you're a fraud who should be back in prison.

Euryale
Image: a medusa (aka gorgon) with a bow
D&D concept: Get worse at saving throws
Note: Euryale is one of Medusa's gorgon sisters in Greek myth
My idea: Appear in the lair of a medusa in Undermountain who is incredibly lonely, but still unmistakeably evil. Given the opportunity to deal with the medusa (or later be saved by adventurers), but either way the medusa or her 2 sisters become a constant thorn in the character's side.

Fates
Image: The three fates, one holding scissors against a thread
D&D concept: being able to alter one's fate
My idea: This is a hard one to get my head around without giving the player free magical abilities. The player maybe starts in the City Market having uncontrollable visions, and is avoided by people as they look like they're having a tonic-clonic epileptic fit. The visions gain the attention of the clergy of Savras, and it turns out the character is indeed predicting the future.

Flames
Image: A devil (or potentially a demon) wreathed in flames
D&D Concept: Having a powerful devil as an antagonist
My idea: A rogue mage within the Watchful Order has become an Asmodeus worshipper and is attempting to bargain with a powerful baatezu. Right during a ritual to summon the baatezu into the Tower of the Order, the player appears and accidentally ruins it. Other mages rush in shortly after and take the mage and other cultists into custody, but the player is left with a dangerous enemy in the baatezu that won't forget.

Fool
Image: A figure dancing in a donkey-like costume with a pan flute
D&D Concept: Lose the benefits of one's experiences (lose XP)
My idea: The character awakens with a strange man standing over them speaking in a strange language. The man appears to be a madman, but he tries to take care of the character, and if avoided, he keep following the character. It turns out that the character was also from the real world, and came here under similar circumstances. Though they are foolish now, they were once a Norwegian astrophysicist.

Gem
Image: a large diamond
D&D Concept: Get 50,000 gp worth of wealth in gems
My idea: The character awakens in the house of a dying elderly noble, the last of her house. She sees you as a sign from Siamorphe that her line is not to die out, and signs documents claiming that you are her true heir. She dies shortly after, leaving you with all the wealth left to her - about 50,000 gp worth of gems, as well with property and her noble name. The noble title comes under dispute immediately, and her property is taken over by the City in the time-being, but the character still has the wealth.

Idiot
Image: a drooling hunchback with a dunce's cap
D&D Concept: lose intelligence
My idea: This was another hard one for me to write well. I was thinking perhaps the character awakens cared for by an outcast, spat on by society for always doing idiotic things. However, they've in truth been affected by repeated mind flayer visitings and are one of their unwitting spies within the city. This doesn't stop the outcast being a loving carer for the character, but the character soon suspects not all is what it seems.

Jester
Image: A jester holding a skull, with a skull-like mask
D&D Concept: Gain XP
My idea: Appear in the rooms of a sarcastic bard in New Olamn, a man who functions much like a city jester, regularly doing performances in Fetlock Court. The bard is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in the ways of the world, and teaches the character many things. However, he also has powerful enemies seeking his death...

Key
Image: a key
D&D Concept: gain a magic weapon
My idea: I don't like the idea of giving the players magic items straight out of the gate, so this one was a bit tough. Perhaps they start out in the home of a gnome locksmith who has made secret second keys to every lock he's created, and he's been involved in many throughout the city. The gnome is worried the jig is up, so he tries to get the player involved in his scam.

Knight
Image: a knight in shining armor
D&D concept: gain a 4th-level fighter as a henchman/bodyguard
My idea: Appear during a tourney at the Field of Triumph when things have gotten out of hand and a savage warrior is about to kill a Knight of Samular. The character stuns the savage long enough for the Knight to fight back. The Knight sees the character as a Chosen of Tyr, and pledges to come whenever the character needs aid.
Note: might be too powerful?

Moon
Image: a waning crescent moon
D&D Concept: Get Wish spells (traditionally waning moon = 1 wish)
My idea: You appear in the House of the Moon during a ceremony, and are seen as sent by Selune. This initially is quite a boon, though it draws the attention and animosity of the Church of Shar.

Rogue
Image: cloaked man with a knife in the dark
D&D Concept: A previously friendly NPC becomes an enemy
My idea: Appear in a room next-door to a grand heist being planned, and are eventually discovered by the would-be-heisters. The kind-hearted-one lets you live, and maybe even tries to recruit you into his small gang, but one of them only pretends to be your friend and forever suspects you're a plant of the Lords.

Ruin
Image: two broken swords
D&D Concept: lose all wealth
My idea: Another difficult one for me. Perhaps appear while members of an ex-Noble House of the 4e era, now no longer noble because of Laeral and facing financial ruin, plot against the returned noble houses. Whichever side the character backs, someone will face ruin and blame the character for it.

Skull
Image: an avatar of Death
D&D Concept: fight a Death, win or die permanently
My idea: Appear in the underwater temple of Myrkul at the Legacy of Lost Death (which has breatheable air thanks to spells of Myrkulite clergy there). You are seen as an unwanted intruder in a holy place, and are sentenced to death. However, one of the trio of Myrkulite liches that oversee the temple take an interest in you, and teleport you away. Myrkulites stop trying to kill you as long as the lich stays interested, but you are forever watched by them.

Star
Image: an eight-pointed star
D&D Concept: increase an ability score
My idea: You awaken in the Pantheon of the Seldarine during a ceremony devoted to Corellon. The elves involved are alarmed by this, but figure that you must be important to their god in some way. They take you in and care for you, but some of the Eldreth Veluuthra suspect you are the vessel of non-elven powers trying to take away from Corellon's worship.

Sun
Image: a sun with a stern-looking face
D&D Concept: Gain XP and a wondrous item
My idea: Appear in the Spires of the Morning during a massive argument between Amaunatori and Lathanderites. Both sides claim you're a symbol from their god, and try to convert you to their cause.

Talons
Image: a dragon's talon
D&D Concept: Your magic items disintegrate
My idea: You awaken in the lair of Jalanvaloss, the steel dragon of Waterdeep. Jalanvaloss was away from Waterdeep during the Spellplague and was not protected from the worst of its effects, and went the "Wyrm of Many Spells" went a bit mad. She cares for the character, but is paranoid of the character stealing her magic at the same time. She tries to get the character involved in her mercantile exploits, some of which have become a bit unhinged.

Throne
Image: throne with symbol of sun and moon
D&D Concept: Gain persuasive ability and the rights to a keep currently infested with monsters
My idea: Appear sitting in the lap of Laeral while she is sitting on the throne of the Open Lord. She takes an interest in you and makes sure your needs are taken care of. As time goes on, it becomes clear Laeral is considering you for a role as one of the Masked Lords - a role that comes with responsibilities and danger.

Vizier
Image: a sagely-looking man with a long beard, staff, and blue robes
D&D Concept: Gain the truthful answer to a question
My idea: Awaken in the Hall of Knowledge, and are studied by sages. You gain the special interest of a sage who is interested in forms of teleportation magic, who suspects that's what happened to you. That sage's secrets are sought by many powerful wizards, placing him at the center of quite a bit of scheming.

Void
Image: a black hole
D&D Concept: soul drawn from body to be imprisoned in an object, guarded by powerful beings
My idea: You appear during a wizard's attempt to create a new extradimensional space, and are sucked into it before the wizard can figure out how to access that space. He can get things into the space, but nothing comes out except sound. Eventually he gets you out and you develop a bond, and the wizard with a taste for extra-dimensional holes comes to call on you from time to time with problems he's created.

Very keen to hear any and all thoughts and ideas, that's the main reason I'm posting - some of this stuff I'm not very happy with and I think could be improved!

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North

Edited by - KanzenAU on 24 Dec 2017 16:06:22
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