I was recently made aware of The Magical Draught of Happenstance Kickstarter which is a collaboration between Deep Dungeon Games and Noble Dwarf Printing Co.. It is both a simple, yet ingenious D&D 5e prop that allows one character to gain one of 20 powerful random effects after consuming the potion.
However, the best part about the item is that it’s also a physical prop of that same potion. The user shakes The Magical Draught of Happenstance and the magic 8-ball device seated on the bottom of the prop will tell you which effect your character has imbibed. Each effect is listed on a set of cards that the DM possesses.
The effects themselves range from giving a free Wish cast to accidentally dropping a Stinking Cloud on your group! Of course, there’s plenty of other effects, but the point is it’s similar to the Wild Magic Surge table that a Wild Magic Sorcerer uses in that there are both beneficial and detrimental effects you can be subjected to.
Plus It only stands a few inches tall, so it won’t take up too much room on your gaming shelf, desk, or table!
The base version of the product comes unpainted so you can customize your potion however you’d like. There’s also a Kickstarter tier that you can purchase that will give you a professionally painted potion as well if you’re not artistically gifted like me.
Before We Begin
Before I delve too deep into the review I’d like to clarify a few things.
Mark Reed from Noble Dwarf Printing Co. graciously sent me a 3D printed prototype of The Magical Draught of Happenstance for this review!
The key differences between the version I received and the final version are as follows:
- The potion description cards were printed on canvas instead of printsheet.
- Printsheet is the material that TCG cards are printed on. (I kept trying to write cardstock and had to google the name of it)
- The bottle’s cork is removable.
- There was no magic 8-ball-like device installed in the prototype.
Frankly, the 3rd part is the only major difference between the prototype and the final version of the product as far as I’m aware.
For clarity’s sake, I will also be receiving a finished version of the product once it has been released. I’ll be sure to update this article if anything has changed between now and then.
With that out of the way, let’s begin!
How’s It Hold Up?
The ingenuity of the Product
The Magical Draught of Happenstance is admittedly a simple idea, however, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones. I mean, D&D 5e is full of tables and random generators. And yet I’ve never seen or thought of using a magic 8-ball to act as a die or random number generator. It’s a really neat gimmick that I believe was well-executed.
It helps too that the random generator and the effects are separate from each other. The effects are all listed on the cards included with the potion and the prop itself will only tell you which effect you’ve ingested. I think this is beneficial as it can allow the DM to homebrew brand new effects or fine-tune the effects of each of the potions.
There has clearly been a lot of thought put into this item. While on the surface The Magical Draught of Happenstance may not seem like a groundbreaking idea, the execution of the idea is what has made this a unique and fun product!
Ingenuity and fun are important, but as a consumer, the quality of the product itself is arguably more important.
The prototype I got to play around with was honestly super high-quality. I was sent a to-scale version of the product made of similar (or the same) material as the retail version of the product.
And while I didn’t intentionally knock it off my desk, I have two cats so it inevitably was pushed off my desk and onto my hardwood floor. Thankfully, however, without sustaining any damage.
All in all, the prototype version gets the nod of approval from me! As far as I’m aware, there shouldn’t be any significant changes to the item outside of the addition of the magic 8-ball.
The usefulness of the Product
How often you’d include The Magical Draught of Happenstance in your D&D 5e games is going to depend heavily on how your table feels about powerful items with randomized effects.
I’m not 100% sure if the team has nailed-down an exact item rarity of The Magical Draught of Happenstance. The potion as a whole is super powerful with most of its effects lasting potentially 4+ hours long. I’d imagine that it’s probably a legendary item because of this.
Legendary items, in general, can be (and oftentimes are) completely off the wall. That’s pretty much why you shouldn’t be throwing these types of items out until late into your campaign.
That being said, it’s a fun item. I’d have no real qualms about tossing it in very late in the campaign, or especially in any kind of “for fun” one-shot adventure.
Honestly, I don’t see it being any more “disruptive” to the game than The Deck of Many Things, even if there is a 1/20 chance of getting a free cast of Wish with the potion.
Basically, it’s very much a “for fun” magical item. You’ll get plenty of mileage out of the potion depending on how your group plays your games. If items with potentially fantastic or catastrophic random effects aren’t something that suits your table, this probably won’t get regular usage in your games.
Is The Magical Draught of Happenstance Worth the Price?
From what I’ve seen so far, I absolutely think that The Magical Draught of Happenstance is worth the $20 USD Kickstarter buy-in. It’s a neat, high-quality item!
Your group may get tons of regular use out of it, or you may shelve it for special occasions and goofy one-shots. Honestly, even if you don’t use it often it’s certainly a fun knick-knack to adorn your desk or gaming shelf (like mine is currently).
It also doubles as a fun painting project if one of your tablemates is into that. I think it could be a fun “thank you” or “DM appreciation” gift for sure. Especially if someone took the time to do a custom paint job on it themselves.
If this is something you, a friend, or your group as a whole may enjoy I’d definitely recommend checking out the Kickstarter! You may want to hurry, though as there are less than 10 days left to back it!