I am looking for an item that will simulate the Hands Of Fate feeling. For those unfamiliar with the game both the player and the dealer chooses several encounter cards and then the player starts exploring the cards in a random order.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I have answered with the closest I am aware of in official rules for something like card-generated random encounters, but I doubt it’s actually much like Hand of Fate, which I am not familiar with. You may get better answers by describing that system—or better, describing what you are looking for, regardless of its similarity to or different from that game. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 27, 2018 at 20:10

3 Answers 3


Ghostwalk has a 4th-level paladin spell, door to great evil, that sends a paladin somewhere that has an evil creature to fight (explicitly to fight, “you are not required to parley, and killing such creatures is always justified according to the rules of your faith”). That is the closest thing to a magic random encounter generator in the system.

By the item-creation guidelines, an item that uses door to great evil would depend on the sort of item:

Item Cost Uses Cost/Use
Scroll 700 gp 1 700 gp
Potion1 1,400 gp 1 1,400 gp
Wand 21,000 gp 50 420 gp
50-charge wondrous item 25,200 gp 50 504 gp
1/day wondrous item 10,080 gp
At-will wondrous item 50,400 gp
  1. Potions are limited to 3rd-level spells, so this extension to a 4th-level spell is at least some extrapolation and just for cost-comparison. Potions of 4th-level (or higher) spells can exist, however, thanks to the master alchemist prestige class from Magic of Faerûn.

There are also magical decks of cards, such as the deck of illusions. The deck of illusions functions as major image for the card drawn, which is a 3rd-level spell and ordinarily one you can control (unlike the door to great evil). So a deck that uses door to great evil instead of major image might be considered more valuable. On the other hand, characters aren’t usually hard-pressed to find encounters.

At any rate, a full deck of illusions is 34 cards, and each card produces an illusion once. It costs 8,100 gp, or approximately 238 gp per illusion. A 50-charge wondrous item of major image would cost 13,500 gp, or 270 gp per use, so being in deck format represents some savings, but not a massive one (approximately 12%). Notably, the deck of illusions costs more than a 34-charge wand of major image would (7,650 gp).

So my conclusion is that the game would recommend approximately 450 gp per card for a deck of random encounters that work as door to great evil. The deck of random encounters would presumably not necessarily be paladin-specific, but I don’t see it as necessary to add some cost associated with that (for paladins and the like, though, I would retain the feature that guarantees the magic will find a “safe” encounter in the sense that it actually will be a straightforward combat encounter).


The closest item to your description is The Bag of Tricks

The closest thing to what you're looking for by description is a bag of tricks. You reach in and produce a fuzzy ball that when thrown turns into a random animal. To my knowledge no other item to summon random creatures exists within the confines of 3.5.

Likely you'd have to create and test this homebrew item yourself if you were interested in something that had this effect. I'd recommend starting with the encounter tables for specific biomes as there are large amounts of creatures divided by subtype and habitat and sorted by Challenge Rating that you can use as a baseline for whatever item you'd end up creating.

You could also use the Deck of Many Things(a card based artifact in 3.5) as a base and attach monsters to the different cards that you could draw to simulate a randomness based on cards drawn kind of feeling.

  • \$\begingroup\$ An item which created gates could also do it. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Jan 27, 2018 at 17:29

Nothing official does exactly what's asked…

No item I'm aware of allows a creature to bring into its presence a level-appropriate random monster so that the creature can fight it, and only one effect (mentioned here and see below) allows a creature to magically transport itself to the presence of a potentially level-appropriate random encounter. However, some effects can come close.

…But some folks can bring forth a random creature…

As this answer mentions, the various colors of bags of tricks (Dungeon Master's Guide 248) (900+ gp; 0 lbs.) allow the user to reach into them, pull out a fuzzy ball, huck the ball, and look on in glee as the ball transforms into a badger, black bear, rhinoceros, or some other animal that proceeds to annoy, maul, or charge the user's enemies. Reskinning the bag of tricks as a deck of tricks with identical functionality is easy. Likewise, a rod of wonder (DMG 237 and greater rod effects here) (10,000 gp; 4 lbs.) sometimes brings forth creatures (and sometimes forever turns the user into a pancake).

(In the same vein as a rod of wonder is and 's bag of beans, a much deadlier and—if you can imagine—even more random generator of stuff than the rod of wonder. (Of course, like , those editions saw their rods of wonder—then wands—receive significant upgrades, too.) Converting the idea of the bag of beans is easy if it's just made a minor artifact. (Trying to price the bag of beans per official guidelines is a recipe for madness!) Inspiration for a bag of beans's effects can be drawn from this semiofficial table.)

While it's not for everyone, a devourer (Monster Manual 58–9) can employ as a spell-like ability at will (until its fuel's exhausted) an effect like the 4th-level Clr spell lesser planar ally [conj] (Player's Handbook 261). I don't know who exactly the devourer god is, what kind of ally it'll send, nor even if the devourer must negotiate for the ally's services as is typical for the ally spells, but I do know that a level 20 caster can employ the 8th-level Sor/Wiz spell create greater undead [necro] (PH 215) to manufacture a devourer, and that'd force the DM to answer these questions. Gaming one's caster level is a thing if this needs to be done earlier than level 20, and a magic staff—that uses the wielder's caster level—that contains the spell create greater undead suitable for creating devourers costs 2,400 gp per charge. In short, a devourer can essentially call up creatures picked by the DM on its controller's behalf… that the devourer's controller can fight if he wants. (What happens after the controller orders his devourer to, y'know, Just ally up something that I can kill, okay? and the controller kills the agent of the god of devourers is up to the DM, but this DM can't imagine this is a particularly wise idea and suspects even more encounters will subsequently ensue. So… mission accomplished, I guess?)

…And some folks can encourage random encounters

Although its not through the use of an item per se, the only way I'm aware of for a creature to—essentially—create random encounters in a way that isn't contingent upon DM fiat and that brings the random encounters to the creature is through the use of the soulmeld phase cloak (Magic of Incarnum 82). When bound to the shoulders chakra, the phase cloak soulmeld allows the wearer to enter the Ethereal Plane when the wearer moves and forces the wearer from the Ethereal Plane when the wearer stops moving. During the wearer's movement on the Ethereal Plane the wearer is

subject to possible attack by creatures on the Ethereal Plane. As a general guideline, the DM should roll once on the Ethereal Plane Encounters table (page 152 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide) for each encounter during which you use this ability, with a result of 01–80 indicating that no danger lurks on the Ethereal Plane in that location.

In other words, there's a 20% chance per encounter in which the phase cloak is used that the phase cloak will add to that encounter one or more CR 7 to CR 11 creatures. (By the way, that Dungeon Master's Guide list contains some fairly serious stuff—like a drow Wiz10 and a night hag.) However, despite the wearer having accidentally stepped on the succubus's shoes or dashed through a couatl's picnic lunch, the monster may be unable to enter the Material Plane in pursuit of the wearer or the DM may opt for that creature to continue just going about its business, NPCs being played by the DM and all. Nonetheless, the phase cloak's wearer knows that the creature's there, and that may be sufficient.

A level 9 or higher incarnate (MoI 21) can shape and bind the phase cloak soulmeld as can a level 9 or higher totemist that takes the feat Shape Soulmeld (phase cloak (MoI 82)), and a creature that possesses at least 12 Hit Dice and a Constitution score of at least 15 can take the feats Shape Soulmeld (phase cloak (MoI 82)) (MoI 40) and Open Lesser Chakra (shoulders) (MoI 40) to shape and bind to his shoulders chakra the soulmeld phase cloak.

Other than that, probably the best actual magic item (rather than a bound soulmeld that's merely like a magic item) for instigating random encounters is the cubic gate (Dungeon Master's Guide 254) (164,000 gp; 0 lbs.), a 6-sided die with each side keyed to different plane, one of them the Material. The user can press a side once and the cubic gate

opens a gate to a random point on the plane keyed to that side. There is a 10% chance per minute that an outsider from that plane (determine randomly) comes through it looking for food, fun, or trouble. Pressing the side a second time closes the gate. It is impossible to open more than one gate at a time.

Just keep a gate open and wait! In all likelihood, eventually something will come through, but it's up to the DM what does, and the creature could be anything from a friendly Small earth elemental with a case of the look-arounds to an official or backwards-compatible Cthulhu eager to conquer the Material Plane. (At least the phase cloak's encounters are somewhat predictable!)

In other news, an iron flask (DMG 261) (170,000 gp; 1 lb.) has a 50% chance of already being filled with one random monster, but acquiring, like, a six pack solely for the purpose of fighting the possible monsters trapped within is impractical. The 8th-level Sor/Wiz spell sympathy [ench] (PH 292) may attract random monsters of a particular alignment to the spell's point of origin, but the sympathy spell's never been particularly clear, the DM may still rule no appropriate monsters are within the spell's vaguely defined area, and a magic staff containing the spell sympathy costs 3,300 gp per charge.

And, of course, there's this answer's fantastic idea of an original magic item (or scroll or wand) that employs an effect like the 4th-level Pal spell door to great evil [conj] ("Ghostwalk Web Enhancement" 6)… if the user's comfortable with traveling to the encounter rather than the user bringing the encounter to him and if the user's comfortable finding his own way home. (Also, the door spell may take the subject to a villain that needs killing that's far beneath the subject. Level 1 evil clerics need killing, too, you know.) A wand of door to great evil (that I assume a paladin calls a wand of stories are for children—my holy avenger thirsts for evil blood! or something) typically costs 420 gp per charge while a scroll costs 700 gp.


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