Danny Peck said:
I’m a greedy bastard, Santa, and I desire at least a d30 table of fantasy curses that may have been thought up by entities in a ‘traditional fantasy setting’ but are hopefully bizarre and interesting. I’m attempting a project for a group of players that is very unsatisfied with “death” in tabletop RPGs, and so, I’m seeking alternative temporary conditions where ideally the character is still under the control of the player.
Unsatisfied with “death” in tabletop RPGs? They need to walk it off, pick up the dice and create a new character. But you’re the GM and I did take requests.
Here’s 30 curses for your party of cupcakes.
- Go with the Flow: All bones are dissolved. The character is now basically a sack of liquid and must be carried in a bucket. DM should decide whether spells can be cast, but carrying and holding on to things should be difficult. Clever players will find a few advantages in this.
- Honeytrap: Character now attracts insects, which will crawl or fly around him constantly. Sometimes they will land, sometimes they fight one another, but they give no thought to their own safety. The swarm will grow without end if the curse is not undone. This also works well with rats, snakes, earthworms, children…
- Freaky Furday: Mindswap with small animal.
- Undeath: Character is now a zombie with his mind intact. Penalties to reflexes and speed, rotting, body parts falling off, subject to turning, etc.
- Pariah: Charisma score of 3. No NPC will trust the PC. Terrible reaction rolls. No one likes the party. I don’t like you either. You just watch yourself…
- WTF: Character has been polymorphed into a helpless creature of some sort. A two foot butterfly or a giant sea cucumber with a human face.
- Stench: Cursed with a distinctive unpleasant smell. Anything with a nose will not be surprised by the character. Reaction and charisma rolls are penalized. Nearby spellcasters have a 15 percent chance of spell failure due to distraction.
- Listlessness: Unable to adventure or function more than 3 hours per day.
- Degeneration: Lose 1 point in 3 ability scores every day.
- Rebirth: Every three days, the character’s body rots for eight hours. Then the character molts the corpse and crawls out at 1/2 size (level, HP, STR, CON, whatever).
- Glue: Character goes last every round. -3 DEX.
- Reverse Midas: All precious metals, iron and steel in vicinity of character turn to lead in a matter of hours.
- Mistaken: Character hears noises and is sure that something is approaching. Is correct 1 in 6 times. When correct, monsters encountered have maximum HP and do maximum damage.
- Betrayal: Character is unable to keep commitments, contracts and oaths.
- Walk Like and Egyptian: Character’s head turns into that of random animal: 1- Parakeet, 2- Dog, 3- Cat, 4- Pig, 5-Ass (Puck that!), 6- Crocodile, 7- Lion, 8- Jackal, 9- Snake, 10- Giraffe, complete with long neck. Only the parakeet can talk.
- Short Attention Span: Character cannot remember who is an ally, who is an enemy and whom she attacked last round. Also: what spells are already cast and what items are spent. If player hedges, consider making random rolls.
- Kill Everything Twice, Everything Twice: The character (and only the character) is plagued by ghosts. Whenever the party kills a creature or person, the ghost of that spirit or person attacks the character. This ghost is exactly like the deceased would be at full strength and hit points (with any special abilities restored to a minimum of one charge). No one else can see or interact with this ghost unless under the same curse. This does not apply to undead (although you could have it reverse and they are restored to life and attack the character).
- Charmed, I’m Sure: Character can be commanded by anyone to do almost anything as if charmed.
- Clang! Pow! Bash!: Character makes a tremendous amount of noise doing anything (even sleeping).
- Shrinky: Character is about four inches tall. (DM decides if belongings also shrink).
- Hulk Out: Character is now about twelve feet tall. Belongings do not grow and may be destroyed by growth.
- Candidate: Everything the character says will be deemed a lie by any NPC and PC’s who fail wisdom check. (Even when character is telling the truth).
- Most Wanted: Character is wanted for unspecified crimes in every kingdom, village and town within five hundred miles. Posters are posted everywhere.
- Pet: Ask the character what the most useless animal is. He is polymorphed into that animal.
- Squeamish: Character faints at the sight of blood (or grievous injury or death).
- All Together: Arms, legs and head detatch from torso spontaneously. Each can move independently as controlled by the player.
- Satisfied: Character will refuse any share of the party treasure (and in OSR games, this means no XP).
- Tongue Twisted: Character can only speak in the language of the race/enemy most detested by the public (unless he is already that race). It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know that language. He can only understand the languages he normally does (and cannot understand that detested language unless he normally does).
- Ophelia: Will attempt to drown self at any well, pool, pond, lake, stream, river or ocean.
- Protector: Will attempt to save any party member or non-hostile NPC by putting self in harm’s way, even foolishly (especially foolishly).
There you have it. It was a stretch, and some of these are not so weird, but really there’s only so much you can do to a character before you’re just being a jerk.