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Wheel of Fortuneby Marco Dalmonte
Some time ago, I wanted to introduce in my campaign some magical device which would encompass the aspects of trickery and chance, tempting the foolhardy to use it all the while knowing of the risks and consequences. One item that could easily fit in this description was the RC's "Wheel of fortune", but the description and the effects detailed were shallow and I set upon to redesign and make its powers more interesting. I must outright confess that I consulted the CANON wheel and also magic items such as "the deck of many things" , "wand of wonder" to devise this item.
First, I wanted an origin to how such miraculous and extremely powerful item was created. I discarded the normal procedures of magic item making, as I didn't see this item being fashioned by a mere mortal magic-user, Alphatian, Glantrian or otherwise. So, I thought that the Wheel could be a powerful magic item made by as Immortal wanting to see its effects in the prime plane. And this immortal did not want to create an artifact as the cost would be too costly for the purely mortal goals he devised and an artifact set loose in the Known World would attract more immortal attention than he wanted to. This particular Wheel of Fortune was inspired in the aspects of chance, daring and thievery ,which I decided that his creator would be Asterius (but I think Korotiku and even Eiryndul could fit in). However, there can be many variants of this one, according to the taste of its creator. Maybe some day I'll devise a variant for Talitha or Loki/Bozdogan.. Hmmm what about a Hulean Wheel of fortune, based on the holy doctrines of lies and deceit ;)
Asterius devised so a number of these Wheels and spread among the world. When spined their effects were immediate and irrevocably made, yet could not be readily apparent. He also created safeguards against abusing his gift:
- After each time a Wheel spined, there is a cumulative chance that it will disappear after the result (but this last effect still occurs), teleporting itself to a remote and possibly dangerous place, until some adventurer rediscovers it again to tempt the world with its rewards.
- Although I would not consider the Wheel as "intelligent" the way certain special swords are, it has a very slight degree of conscience and then ONLY when treachery against the rules. That means that ANY kind of treachery that involves manipulating/influencing the results or using unwanted volunteers (creating monsters, charming, etc) to spin the wheel will be punished and the desirable results will not work, probably ending in catastrophe to the cheater. Also, there is not a chance that a character accidentally spins the wheel.
1) An adventurer uses an item that has LUCK power (such as a potion) to alter the results (even as the player don't roll dice to see the outcome- see below). The Wheel chooses instead the result, choosing a more hurtful one (not necessarily ending in death)
2) A magic-user tries telekinesis to manipulate the spin. Either a feeblemind will be cast on him for punishment or the result is the opposite intended
3) Someone creates a humanoid monster or charms one to make him spin the wheel. The results may vary: The wheel refuses to spin, the wheel spins but automatically will be a bad result and it will be set upon the caster/cheater, not the hapless creature. An interesting punishing could be the dispelling of the charm/control of the creature (in case of a Created monster, it will disappear when the spell ends, but is no longer in the control of the caster) AND making it more formidable.
"Ok my goblin servant its time to spin this wheel. "
"What happened with my goblin? And how did this angry red dragon appear?
4) Any use of an artifact on the wheel (regardless of the intention) will result in the immediate disappearance of the item. The Wheel is not strong enough to counter the immortal magic of an artifact, but in face of such manipulation, it was created to disappear (but the cheater will be unharmed). It may be possible that Asterius discovers this happening and will not be pleased.
This Wheel of Fortune has the same appearance of the one described in RC with the important exception of the wedges. There are pattern of 54 wedges, each representing one card of the standard deck of cards (13 wedges for each suit) plus 2 jokers (identical ..there are no black or red joker). All wedges have a white background having the drawing of the respective card. Above each Wedge there is a symbol that's called Aspect. The Aspects will be described further below.
* note* : the description below just serves to illustrate how the pattern is organized in the Wheel. It helps to show how the wedges are arranged, but it doesn't interfere in game terms with the use of the Wheel and its results. With the exception of item "c", feel free to skip this section if the explanation of its design turned to be too confusing (also, I will do what I can to solve any doubts). If you wish to understand the order below, I would advise that a deck simulating the sequences below would be most useful.
If you represent the wedges using the cards of a deck it will be like this:
D= Diamonds C= Clubs H= Hearts S= Spades
(1) is opposite (2) and (3) is opposite (4)
obs: It works best if you cut and paste these sequences on Word so that a single line contains the sequence "Joker-Ace D-...-Ace H " and the line below you insert the sequence "Joker-Ace C-...-Ace S". This way, you will see that the opposite wedges are one above the other.
Position of the wedges:
a) Each wedge is positioned in opposition to a wedge of the same value but with the opposite suit. So, a wedge which is representing a card of the suit of diamonds is opposed to a wedge representing a card of the same value of the suit of clubs (So a king of Clubs is opposed to the King of Diamonds). The suits of Hearts and Spades are similarly opposed. So we have all wedges of the red suit in opposition to the black suit.
b) Each joker are in opposition. The following wedge on each side of the jokers is an Ace. One joker is neighbour to an ace of clubs and an ace of hearts while the other joker is neighbour to an ace of diamonds and an ace of spades. After each Ace, there will be a sequence from "2" to "King" .
*It's IMPORTANT to note that each sequence is composed by the consecutive wedges of two "opposing" suits . That's it: Ace of Clubs followed by Two of diamonds, followed by Three of clubs, followed by Four of diamonds, until it ends on the King of Clubs. In the opposite side of the Wheel, we'll have a sequence of an Ace of Diamonds, followed by Two of Clubs, followed by Three of diamonds , until it ends on the King of Diamonds.
*Observing this and the fact that each sequence begins with an Ace neighbour to one of the Jokers, we'll see that each end of these sequences (finished by the King) meet the end of another sequence that began with the ace neighbour of the Other joker.
*For example: In the end of the sequence of the ace of clubs ended in the King of clubs. The next wedge to the king of clubs will be the King of spades. If you continue following this wedges in the decrescent order, it will end in the Ace of the Spades. This ace of spades is neighbour to one joker, which is opposite to the other joker which the sequence of the Ace of Clubs began.
*If the truth behind this mind-boggling explanation is seen, you can perceive that this two sequences (Joker - Ace of Clubs through king of clubs and King of Spades down to ace of Spades - Joker) constitute half of the Wedges (and half of a deck of cards).
* And what is composed the other 26 wedges? As each wedge is opposed by a numeric counterpart (and the suit of diamonds is opposite the suit of clubs, and the suit of Hearts is opposed to the suit of spades), after the other joker we will have a sequence led by the Ace of Diamonds, which is followed by the Two of clubs, which is followed by the Three of Diamonds until concludes on the King of diamonds. This sequence is in the very opposite side of the sequence of the Ace of clubs described above. As it happened with that sequence, the sequence that ended with the King of diamonds also meet with the end of the last sequence- the King of Hearts. If you continue in descending order, we will have the queen of spades, the Knave of Hearts, the Ten of Spades until it reaches the Ace of Hearts. That covers the position of the 54 wedges. (Sorry if it got that confusing .. again, I will do my best to clarify the doubts)
c) The Aspects: Above the drawing of each wedge, there is a picture labelled (which could be understood by anyone able to read). These pictures are the symbols of the Aspects. When Asterius created the Wheel, he really wanted to match the wedges in the form conflicting concepts. It was not enough to have the Black x Red suit in opposition, nor the opposite position between particular suits. So, he created 27 Aspects: 1 for the two jokers (as they were the same) and 26 for the other 52 wedges. Each one of these 26 Aspects have an opposite, having the Good Aspect and the Bad Aspect (the Joker being the sole exception, for it may bring reward or punishment equally). For example, There is an Aspect of Fortune and its opposite, the Aspect of Ruin. So, These 26 aspects are divided in pairs. Each Pair (one Good Aspect and its opposite Bad one) comprises the 4 suits of a specific number/face. The Good Aspect encompasses the red suits and the Bad Aspect encompasses the Black suits. Example: The 4 wedges of the Queen (with the suits of diamond, spades, clubs and hearts) have the two already mentioned suits, Fortune and Ruin. As Fortune is the Good aspect, the Queen of Hearts and the Queen of Diamonds have this Aspect labelled above them. Similarly, as Ruin is the Bad aspect, it appears over the Wedges of the Queens of Spades and Clubs.
Spinning the Wheel:
Warning: I want to stress the Fact that the Wheel of Fortune is an EXTREMELY dangerous and powerful item that could easily unbalance/cause unparalleled catastrophe in a campaign. I advise that only characters of Companion level and up should find such item
In game terms, when a character spins the wheel, take a deck and shuffle. Once the player draws a card and its effect occurs. If he want to tempt chance again, reshuffle the deck and draw(for each spin is random, and there is nothing against sorting the same result twice).
While the character do not know, learning only through trial and error (or , DMs option, by a Lore spell) there are some basic rules (beyond those already described above):
- the wheel has some relation with the thief character class, and could be particularly helpful when a given "positive" wedge is drawn.
- The higher the wedge (i.e. the higher the card drawn) the more powerful the effect is. Although the sequences described above begins with the Ace, this card/wedge grants the most powerful effects (the possible exception being the joker).
- The wedges with the red suit grants positive effects (which may vary depending its Aspect) while the black suit grants the baneful ones. there is also a scale of power between the Red suits and Between the black ones. Normally, the suit of clubs is less malign than the suit of spades and the suit of diamonds is less beneficial than the suit of hearts.
- There is a cumulative chance that the Wheel will teleport away, after being used. When first encountered the chance is always at 0%. The chance of disappearance also is modified by the Wedges drawn.
Chance to Wheel's Vanish (CUMULATIVE):
1st drawn: 0%
Next Draws: 2-10 : 2%
J - K: 5%
TABLE OF EFFECTS: (again, C for Clubs, H for Hearts, S for Spades and D for Diamonds)
* Aspect: The Fool
2C: Blight spell for 1 hour
2S: The user is granted Donkeys ears for the next 1 hour. This effect is made at 36th spellcasting level. Maybe dispelled at normal chances or wished away. If the user shapechanges, polymorphs into an humanoid form, the Ears will still be apparent.
* Aspect: The Wily
2D: Bless spell for 1 hour
2H: +1 on charisma on the next hour
* Aspect: The Beggar
3C: Lose 100gp in money (carrying only). If the user do not have this amount, any material goods he might be carrying will disappear to compensate the loss. This loss will proceed from the least valuable possessions to the most precious.
If a poor character with 70 gp wearing only normal clothes, a short sword and gem worth 50 gold, first the gold will disappear followed by his clothes (Asterius have a sense of humour too!), his short sword and if the amount of is not yet fulfilled, the gem too, regardless if there are only a few gp still in debt (it will be a pity for a character with no coins and good and only gems). Regardless, it will not make anything magical disappear. And the greatest penalty that can occur to an character without money enough is his stark nakedness
3S: Lose 150 in gems. Use the same rules above, but if the char. do not have the amount in gems, double the doubt in gold and goods. Ex: if a PC has only a 50 gp gem, he will lose 200 gp in goods and gold.
* Aspect: The Vagabond
3D: A pouch of 100 gp appears (national coinage left to DMs choice)
3H: A gold broach with a pearl worth in total 150 gp appears
* Aspect: The Inept
4C: PC will automatically fail (with "20" ) his next skill roll
4S: PC will lose and forget a skill related to his class. It may or may not be a weapon skill. However, I encourage to be a non-weapon skill in case the PC already have a degree of weapon mastery. Regardless, PC clerics will NOT lose his Honour immortal skill. The skill may be re-learned, but will cost a new slot.
* Aspect: the Paragon
4D: PC will succeed most splendidly in his next skill roll
4H: PC gains a new skill related to his class or gains +1 in a skill already possessed.
* Aspect: the Prison
5C: Hold Person Spell, no save (as any of the effects) and normal duration. May be dispelled as 36th lvl magic
5S: PC is teleported to a random dungeon, WITHOUT ANY of his magical equipment. It may vary from the Borydos Island to a forgotten catacomb deep inside Mengul Mountains.
* Aspect: The Freedom
5D: Learns Escape skill, without spending any skill slot
5H: The word "Asterius" will appear strongly in the PC mind. Next time he speaks this word, he will instantly appear in his most trusted home, along with his equipment. Note: The PC do not knows what "Asterius" means. Let him guess :)
* Aspect: The Turtle
6C: PC suffers the effects of a slow spell for one day (no save). It can be dispelled with the exception of a Wish.
6S: PC loses permanently - 30'(10') on his movement rate
* Aspect: The Hare
6D: A sparkling red dust appears in a pile right in front of the PC. If, at any time, he sprinkles this dust over him, he will receive the one-time only benefit of a potion of speed
6H: PC gains + 30'(10') on movement, permanently.
* Aspect: The Plague
7C: The PC will be more susceptible to disease. -3 permanently on Constitution rolls and Savings throws, both involving disease.
7S: Mummy Rot. No save. Curable only by Heal, Cureall or Wish
* Aspect: the Healer
7D: The PC will be less susceptible to disease. +3 permanently on Constitution rolls and Savings throws, both involving disease.
7H: A misty and milky-coloured potion appears in front of the PC. When imbibed, will bestow the effect similar to a cureall spell.
* Aspect: The Binding
8C: A Quest spell related to the goals of Asterius is cast upon the PC (no save). This quest can only be removed upon its ending, by a wish or a remove quest cast by a Cleric of Asterius.
8S: The PC adopts a taboo, just like a Hakomon. The non-compliance of the taboo earns the same penalties described for the Hakomon. Removable only by a Wish. And then, this taboo must be adopted by the Caster of the wish (So, it is impossible to am inflicted caster wish upon himself).
* Aspect: The Oath
8D: Gains the servant of a extremely loyal henchman (level 3-8, same class and alignment as the PC) for a year. He or she will not appear instantly, but will take no longer than a week and will serve at half the normal price.
8H: A blank parchment appears in the hand of the PC. While he don't know about it, any contract, bargain and such that is written on it, serves as a powerful Geas (no save)for all who compromised (including the PC, if he compromised in this specific parchment). The Geas will be lifted only by the fulfil of the bargain (which may never end), burning the parchment or by a Wish. If one of the sides do not want the end of the bargain, they can save against the Wish.
* Aspect: The Assassin
9C: At the next sleep of the character, he will have a vivid nightmare, from which an very dangerous monster will stalk the PC. The monster will not be impossible to kill, but the odds are in tis side. Should the PC dies in dream, her must roll his constitution at -6 or die.
9S: A High Level Thug will be filled with a murderous instinct toward the PC. Killing the character will be his top priority, ceasing only with the death of one. If the PC dies and get raised later, should this notice reaches the Thug, the hunt will begin anew.
* Aspect: The Rogue
9D: If the PC is a thief, one of his abilities will be raised permanently by +10%. So, every time he passes a level and get his ability raised, it will be 10% higher than usual in that particular ability. If the PC is not a thief, he permanently gains a flat score of 10% in that ability. (Note: DMs option if this apply to Read Scrolls).
9H: The PC gains a magic item related (more or less) to thievery. Roll on the table below:
1- potion of blending
2- potion of climbing
3- potion of dexterity
4- potion of luck
5-8 scroll of spells
9- scroll of spell catching
10- scroll of trapping
11- ear ring
12- ring of safety
13- rope of climbing
14- pouch of security
15- buckle of lockpicks (see Book of Marvellous magic)
16- balance of conversion (" " " " " )
17- leather armour +2
18- short sword +2, hiding talent
19- dagger +3
20- blackjack +3, deceiving talent
* Aspect: The Hag
10C: The PC begins to hear a distant cackle. Soon, the cackle becomes louder and suddenly he (and only he) sees a vision of a ghostly hag, clawing his away through the PC's heart. After that, the vision disappears, leaving him at a profound loss, having been stolen of a part of his memories and his life. In game terms, he loses 10.000 XP
10S: The same description above applies, but the PC's memories are intact, but his body is left wracked by aging. Gains 20-50 years
* Aspect: The Crone
10D: The PC (and only him) suddenly sees a ghostly image of a non-threatening old woman. For a brief instant, she approaches the PCs and whisper to his ears several words that floods his mind with new knowledge. PC gains +10.000 XP
10H: The description of the old woman applies, but she will only appear in the next time the PC is confronted by a dilemma he don't know the answer. Treat this information as a contact outer plane of 95% knowing, 45 % if this involves immortals in a generic way, 15% if is some specific information about an immortal affair. Even if the Old woman do not know the answer, she can give some insight related to it. (depending on what subject is, the DM may judge the question unsolvable and the effect of this wedge not being used)
* Aspect: The Avenger
JC: The aura of the PC will be distorted and people who do not know the PC well will unconsciously have a deep antipathy for the character. Know alignment and True Sight will show PC's alignment as chaotic. Evil creatures will , on the other side, react more positive to the PC (+2 bonus on reaction rolls). If proper role-played, it may even earn a few days of Sanctuary in the castle of a evil lord. Dispellable only by Wish
JS: High Cleric of any immortal sect will receive a fake omen from the Wheel, instilling the PC as a deadly enemy to the order. Depending the Immortal, the pursue of the clerics against this "heretic" can be merciless and relentless. It will take an average time of 1-6 months to the Immortal perceive this mess and fix the situation pulling the crusade back...or not. Anyway, the immortal will not suspect of a "simple magic item" doing that, suspecting a hand from any of his Immortal rivals.
* Aspect: The paladin
JD: As in JC, but the Aura will be seen as Lawful. The bonus and penalties are in the opposite order, the sanctuary may be given ba lawful lord, etc. This can be a great boon to thieves desiring the trust of his victims and a great annoyance to druids!
JH: Gains permanent magic ability of Detect evil 1/day
* Aspect: The Ruin
QC: All coins (in possession or stored in his name) disappears or 50.000 gp value in Gems and jewellery, whichever is higher. If his coins and gems do not reach 50.000 in the sum, both disappear along with a minor magic item.
QS: PCs most powerful magic item disappears (it does not cover artifacts)
* Aspect: The Fortune
QD: PC is made aware of the location of a long lost and forgotten treasure hoard Details will be up to DM, but its important that the LOST treasure horde is empathised over a guarded one.
QH: Appears in the front of PC a powerful magic item (May be anything in the treasure table, except item with wishes or another Wheel of Fortune)
* Aspect: The Tyrant
KC: PC will permanently lose 2 points of his prime requisite (or 1 point in each, if more than one is required). Recoverable only by Wish. If the requisite drops below the minimum required, that means the PC will no longer advance in levels until he somewhat restores to the minimum.
KS: PC will be stripped out of his mind the knowledge of his most powerful spell (if a magic-user or elf), all skills slots allotted to one of his weapons (if he has weapon mastery) or become insane (as feeblemind spell, no save .. apply this if no other option is present). Not even wish will guarantees restoration. If the spell was lost, after the wish is cast the user is entitled a one time chance to retrieve: Int Check with - 9 (yes, I know it is tough). If the weapon mastery slots are lost, one wish can restore one slot lost. If a wish is used to cure the insanity, the PC must make a save vs death ray. If he saves, he is fully restored. If not, the feeblemind is dispelled, but the shock killed the PC along (may be raised)
* Aspect: The Monarch
KD: PC gains 1 point in Constitution and 1 point in his prime requisite. If one is already 18, that point go to the other stat. If both are 18, the point(s) left are randomly distributed into the other abilities.
KH: PC magical spellcaster learn one spell of the highest level he can currently cast; Other character classes achieve Master weapon mastery in one of his weapons.
* Aspect: Doom
KC: Flesh to Stone, no save . Dispellable by wish or Stone to Flesh of 30+ Lev
KS: Disintegrate, no save. Recoverable by wish
* Aspect: Destiny
KD: Gain 1 permanent magical ability. See the table bellow
1- Antidote (as potion). Constant duration
2- Bug repellent (as potion). Constant duration
3- Climbing (as potion). Constant
4- Detect magic (at will)
5- resist cold (as spell). Constant
6- Resist fire (as spell). Constant
7- Freedom (as potion). Constant
8- Sight (as potion). Constant
9- Speech (as potion). Constant
10- Swimming (as potion). Permanent
11- Water breathing (as potion). Permanent
12- Infravision. Constant
KS: PC is granted 1 Wish. Has one turn to cast
* Aspect: Fate
Joker(both): Can dispel ANY of the effects listed above, good or bad. If this wedge was the first ,the PC MUST (no save) spin again, and the result will be handled normally. If the PC had already received Good or Bad effects earlier, he may choose ONE effect to be cancelled .If he had drawn only Good effects, one MUST be cancelled.