101 Malevolent Magic Items (PFRPG) PDF

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Put the fear of magic back into your players!

Rite Publishing proudly presents 101 Malevolent Magical Items GMs can use to liven up their games. These cursed and malevolent items include armors, weapons, rings, staves, rods, wands, scrolls, potions and an assortment of other wondrously cursed objects. Also included are ten legendary items of dark power, suitable as the impetus of a heroic quest or the beginning of a character's tragic personal journey. Ranging in lethality from darkly humorous all the way up to quite deadly, with 101 new items there's a little something for gaming style. We all know that the games we remember best are the ones that challenged us the most. Malevolent magic is one way to create stories your players will be talking about for years to come.

Whether you want to challenge your player's assumptions about magic, provide a memorable plot hook, or merely desire to increase the danger in your game, we encourage you to give 101 Malevolent Magical Items a try today.

25 pages; written by Jonathan McAnulty; Cover image by Arthur Rackham

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4.70/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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2/5 short term, 5/5 long term

5/5

This supplement clocks in at 35 pages, including 31 pages of content. There is no table of contents, although the bookmarks fulfill much the same function. We start with an introduction, and advice on how best to use cursed items.
There are two kinds of items in this supplement: cursed items and malevolent items. Cursed items are much as described in the core rules: poorly constructed magic items which do something harmful to the user. Malevolent items, on the other hand, are built like normal magic items, but are intentionally crafted to be harmful to the user. In essence, cursed magic items are like a fantasy analogue of software containing a critical bug, whilst malevolent magic items are analogous to purposely-constructed malware.
After the introduction, we get eleven cursed/malevolent armors. Also introduced is a +2-equivalent armor property, Fearlessness, which makes the wearer immune to fear. It is introduced alongside a cursed variant, which still makes the wearer immune to fear, but forces them to make will saves to avoid taunting others in situations where it could cause trouble for the wearer.
Next we get eleven malevolent weapons. These include things like the Deafening Weapon, which is a thundering weapon that has the side-effect of deafening the user, and the Narcoleptic Weapon, which has the benefits of a Shock Weapon, but also buts the user to sleep on a ‘successful’ hit.
After that comes seven potions and oils, such as the Potion of Blindness, which carries the normal (beneficial) effects of a potion but also blinds the user.
Subsequently we get 11 rings, five rods, five scrolls, six staves, six wands, and 29 wondrous items.
Finally, we get 10 malevolent Legendary Items. Legendary items, unlike normal d20 magic items, are items with long, detailed, and unique histories. They don’t have the same game-shaking power levels of major artifacts, but they are comparable in power to high-end non-legendary items. They cannot be destroyed by simply attacking them—each legendary item has a unique method of destruction, such as being struck by the weapon of an efreeti noble on the plane of fire, submersing the item in holy water for a full year, or appeasing the spirit of a deceased dragon. All the legendary items in this supplement have backstories written for the Questhaven campaign setting, though a few name changes would allow them to fit into other fantasy settings.
There are black-and-white illustrations woven throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: Usually the short term test for a book of magic items is how easily you can plop them into a treasure hoard and have the PCs (or an NPC villain) start using them. Cursed items, though, need to be used sparingly and carefully. The GM should carefully consider why a cursed/malevolent item is where it is. The nature of the supplement does not lend itself to short term use. The items in this supplement are well-edited and easy to understand, though, so I’ll settle on a Short Term Rating of 2/5.
Long Term Use: My primary complaint about cursed magic items in the d20 core rules is that they are essentially simple traps. You roll a check to identify their cursed nature. If you fail, you are cursed, and if you succeed, the item is discarded. This supplement gets around that issue entirely. While a few items here are like those in the core rules, most of the items in this supplement do provide benefits to the user, along with a drawback. Hence, even if the PCs correctly identify that the item is malevolent, the players still have to make a difficult decision as to whether or not to keep it. The final section gives a glimpse into what has become a stunning campaign setting, Questhaven. This installment of the 101 series easily earns a Long Term Rating of 5/5.


101 cool cursed items

5/5

This pdf is 35 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisements, leaving 30 pages of content.
First of all, I have to get something of my chest: I've been waiting for this book. As a long-time Ravenloft-DM, I love cursed items and the fact that they showcase that magic is not and should not be a commodity. As such, I consider well-written cursed items to be one of the staples of gaming that work against the predictability of magic in any game. It should come to no surprise to you that I was one of the folks who asked for more items when ECS: Kavit M. Tor's Emporium was released and subsequently am looking forward to reading this book. Due to the nature of the cursed items and the fact that I don't want to spoiler potential players, I'll divert from my usual reviewing format for the 101-series and not provide a list for the items, but instead try to comment as content-neutral as possible on the items.
The book starts with 2 pages of advice on how to use them and an introduction to their cursed items. Instead of a market price, the items get a means to cure/remove them. Some items are twisted normal items and their usual enchantment is given. Some are specifically created as cursed and thus have a market price.
We get 11 Armors & Shields (3 pages): I especially liked one of the armors that is a devious death-trap and the one that influences your footing.
Next are 11 new weapons (3 pages): These are better than the armors, and not really weapons, but rather weapon properties. Some of them twist the classical elemental bonus damages. My favorite weapon is the traitorous one, though.
Then we get 7 Potions & Oils (2 pages): These are gold, pure and simple and iconic.
The next section provides us with 11 new Rings (2 pages): Devious, deadly and in case of the "Ring of Vanishing", downright sadistic - Great new material.
5 new rods are introduced (1 page): The rods actually work well, offering power at the risk of the curse firing back at the user.
The 5 new Scrolls ( 1page): These scrolls slowly corrupt the targets/catsers. Nice work.
Thereafter, we get 6 new staves (2 pages): One of them actually can infect other items.
We also get 6 wands (2 pages):The curses here range from weaker effects to addictive qualities and degeneration.
The penultimate section of the book provides 29 wondrous items (7 pages): This is, where the book starts to shine. The "Bag of Troubles" e.g. will drive PCs potentially nuts. A cursed bed is very iconic and I won't spoil it here. The "Gem of Horrific Truths" appeals to the horror-DM in me and the "Hangman's Rope" is another definite win. What I really liked, though, was the "Widow's Cloak", which has a 5-step curse. I would have loved to see more such complex curses.
The final chapter details 10 legendary cursed items, complete with their own back stories and this is where the book reaches it's full potential: The concise prose manages to tell exciting little stories in the limited space available and the means of destruction for the items often go beyond "Cast it into Hell" and the cures are actually more versatile.
Conclusion:
The pdf follows the RiP-two-column-layout standard, is extensively bookmarked and the b/w-artwork is public domain but nevertheless fits the theme of the book and manages to evoke a consistent style. Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any mistakes.
I'm a sucker for cursed items. I admitted that much. I want to see more of them. However, I've also got some criticisms to report: Many of the items can be either put away once their curse has been identified or be removed via the simple casting of remove curse. I would have loved for some additional, role-playing means being given to rid the bearer of the item. Many of the items are twists of normal magic items and, while I liked them, I would have preferred more original/unique ones, as this is where the book really stands out. I would have liked it, if some sample ideas for the given mishaps that resulted in the individual cursed items, had been given, too. While I want to emphasize that this is criticism on the highest level, these minor flaws keep the book from being a straight 5-star-file and thus I'll settle for 4.5 stars, for me personally as a sucker for cursed items, rounded up to 5.


101 Malevolent Magic Items by Rite Publishing

4/5

This product is 35 pages long. It starts with a cover and credits. (2 pages)

Next is a intro and getting into why you should used cursed items in your games. (2 pages)

Armor and Shields (3 pages)
There is 11 new cursed armor and shields and one new armor ability. My personal favorites was armor of the rooster(makes the wearer fearless) and shield of the mankiller(turns into a lion at night and kills people).

Weapons (3 pages)
There is 11 new cursed weapons. Sword of the Lifeless Foe(those killed come back as undead to seek revenge) was hands down my favorite cursed weapon.

Potions and Oils (2 pages)
There is 7 new potions and oils. Most of these work like normal potions of what ever they are, but with the cursed side effect. Potion of Blindness functions like what ever potion it was meant to be but also causes those that drink it to go blind. I wish there would have been a lot more of these. I also wish their had be a table with the chance a potion might be bad, with a random table of which cursed potion to use if it bad. I really liked the section just wish it had been longer and hand tables.

Rings (2 pages)
There is 11 new cursed rings. Ring of the Addled Tongue (randomly speak in a different language) was my favorite.

Rods (1 page)
There is 5 total new cursed rods. Rod of Hubris (rod of lordly might that makes the user insane) and Rod of Paranoia (Rod of enemy detection that points out non enemies some times)

Scrolls (1 page)
Like potions these are side effects on scrolls. There is 5 versions in the book. Scroll of Memory Loss (Any scroll cursed scroll, works like normal but has a will save or lose ones memory) and Scroll of the Sightlessness (any scroll, but when the magic is released a side effect is it backlashes into the users eyes blinding them)

Staves (2 pages)
There is 6 cursed staves. Sickening Staff (works like normal staff but each use causes the user to become sickened.)

Wands (2 pages)
There is 6 new cursed wands. Wand of the Hellspawn (works like a wand of summoning but adds fiendish template to the creatures who are hostile to the user)

Wonderous Items (7 pages)
There is 29 new cursed wonderous items. Amulet of Snakeskin (works like a amulet of natural armor but gives the user snake skin lowering their dex and chr), Gem of Horrific Truth (works like a Gem of True seeing but each round there is a chance to see some horrible truth driving the user insane and blind.), Periapt of Contagion (works like a Periapt of Health for the user, but they become a carrier to disease which they are immune to but can effect everyone around them)

Legendary Items (5 pages)
There is 10 new legendary cursed items, they include a history, fluff and ways to destroy them. I won't get into these cause I honestly liked all of them and would take up to much room to talk about them. This was one of the best parts of the book. I wish they had had a lot more of these of varies power levels.

It finishes with a OGL, 1 ad and back cover (3 pages)

Closing thoughts. I liked the book, I like cursed items being in the game. It makes magic a little bit more scary and gives those that fear magic a greater reason to fear or think badly of magic. Most of the items are similar or on par with those in Pathfinder book or your typical cursed items. I would have liked to have seen more unique cursed items and legendary ones. I did really like the potions and scrolls. How sometimes they just come out wrong. I would have love to have seen a lot more of each with random tables.

If you are looking for more cursed items to bring to your game then you will like this book. It is well written and most of the items are well done with good fluff to boot. The layout is what you would expect from rite publishing. The art is older style black and white which works for the book. So whats my rating? I am giving it a 4 star, it is a good book, but I felt with a bit more it could have been a great book.


Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

And its up!

I sincerely hope others have as much fun reading this (and using it) as I did writing it. :-)

Dark Archive

I liked it, I read it. I will do a indepth review later in the week or weekend. Right now I am leaning towards giving it 4 stars. A lot of nice cursed items, a few very cool ones. The on thing missing I would have liked to have seen is maybe a random table. A sorta guideline to help GM's know how often they should add cursed items to their game.

Like perhaps a potion table. 5% chance they are cursed and then a table with each of the possible potion curses listed. Not a big deal they wasn't there but I think they would have been cool.


Dark Mistress there is a chart that is coming as a free web enhancement.

I left it out at the last minute of the original layout due to a time constraint on my part, so I will suck that one up.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
The on thing missing I would have liked to have seen is maybe a random table. A sorta guideline to help GM's know how often they should add cursed items to their game.

As Steve said, there is a table (though not in the book). It is a rarity table (Steve's idea) as opposed to a random table. The lack of a randomizer was a purposeful design decision meant to force DMs into choosing appropriate items for their players.

But the table does indicate which of the items should be more common and how likely it is for a PC to know (or find out through research) concerning the proper cure for each item.

Dark Archive

No worries like I said it wasn't a big deal. But it was something to stuck out in my mind that I personally would have liked to have seen.

Dark Archive

reviewed.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you for your review, Dark Mistress. And thank you for mentioning which ones were your favorites.

If I do 102 Malevolent Magic Items, I will keep in mind more potions, and a potion Mishap chart (which is a good idea). :-)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks for the review Endzeitgeist. :)

Dark Archive

Nice review End. You just passed me in official reviews. Guess I better get to writing some more.

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