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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RSA: (Remove) Curse

Remove Curse gets a lot of play in classic D&D games, because –like Neutralize Poison or Cure Disease– it's one of the ways you get rid of those annoying little "non-wound" things that crop up in an adventurous life. This is especially true when dealing with things like cursed magic items (swords, armor, etc.) that just make everyone miserable until a cleric can make the victim chuck it in a river or some such. As a third level spell, it's high enough level that not everyone will be able to access it immediately, but neither is it something a low level party should feel they cannot arrange.

As is frequently the case, what's particularly amusing to me is the reverse of the spell, Curse.
Tip: Do not tick crazy old gypsy ladies off in the game 
UNLESS you can kill them before they speak!

The big drawback of using the Curse spell is the range (0') this means you have to touch the victim. Not the end of the world, but a certainly a complication. I think I would allow some ranged curses with added balancing factors like voodoo dolls, etc. as the spell's focus. Properly disposing of the doll lifts the curse. Don't just chuck it in the fire, though!

The Cook rules describe some possible effects of a curse, but mentions 
A) there is no real limit to the creativity of the curse, but 
B) the DM may decide an unbalanced curse (too powerful) rebounds on the caster!!

Sample curses include -2 on saves, -4 to hit, or halving the victim's prime requisite. It goes on to say you can keep piling the curses on so long as each does something different. Of course they get savng throws, but that's generally true of any spell. Curses are permanent until removed, so it's not like the victim will just camp for the night and move on in the A.M.

I think it's fair to say that a PC cleric would need to be careful about using this spell if his faith would frown on such things, but on the other hand it's a marvelous non-lethal way to mess someone up.


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