by Mike Shea on 20 June 2016
What is this about? Scroll below the card list to read more about these Tarokka-based encounter effects.
The lord of Ravenloft gazes into a pool of clear liquid, observing these strange adventurers who have traveled into his land. As conflict brews, the lord draws a card from an ancient frayed deck at his side. Gazing at the card, he smiles and throws the card into the pool.
The card reads...
The original I6 Ravenloft adventure had one interesting use of the Tarokka deck that isn't included in the Dungeons & Dragons 5e super-adventure Curse of Strahd; modifiers to combat encounters. It was a small feature and, as presented in the original adventure, sort of boring.
However, we also have this nice juicy Tarokka deck that we really only use once in the whole adventure. There has to be more we can do with this thing!
Thus we have Tarokka-based random encounter effects.
Every time you (or Strahd!) thinks an encounter is looking rather bland, our lord of Barovia (you the DM!) draws a card from the Tarokka deck and throws it into the middle of the table. Then, using the card list, you determine what effect comes into play for that encounter. Sometimes these effects are good. Sometimes they're really nasty. Sometimes they're just plain weird. In some cases, they have no effect at all depending on the situation. If that's the case, sometimes Strahd gets pissed off and draws another card. That's his prerogative!
Unless otherwise noted all last for five minutes from the time the card is played.
This tool assumes you DON'T happen to have the Tarokka deck on hand so we've taken the step of rolling it for you when you load the page. You can reload the page to draw another card if you wish.
These effects are intended to add another layer to encounters that otherwise might feel a little bland. You don't have to use it for every encounter, or any encounter really, unless you think it will add a bit of a fun variable for you and your players. The next time the PCs are facing a relatively simple fight, toss out a card and see what happens!
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures, and Sly Flourish's Fantastic Locations. You can also support this site by using these links to purchase the D&D Starter Set, Players Handbook, Monster Manual, or Dungeon Master's Guide.