Deliberately creating cursed items


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Cursed items are a staple of fantasy, and I am glad to see them become mandatory in Pathfinder (or at least as mandatory as any roleplaying rule) rather than as an optional rule.

I'm curious though, can one deliberately create a cursed item? And if so, how? What if I wanted a specific cursed item?

For example, my sorceress witch PC intends to assassinate a local political figure while leaving few traces as to who committed the crime. In true Harry Potter fashion, she will use disguise self to look like a traveling merchant, charm the daughter of said political figure, sell her a beautiful necklace of strangulation with which to give to her parent as a gift when birthday celebrations come up a week later.

Other famous examples of cursed items include the witch's apple (Snow White) or the the wilting rose (Beauty and the Beast). All these items and more were deliberately created in fantasy literature.

Shadow Lodge

I don't see why not. You can always purposefully fail a roll, and the items have all the needed info for item creation.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Beckett wrote:
I don't see why not. You can always purposefully fail a roll, and the items have all the needed info for item creation.

Except for GP values. Furthermore, deliberately failing a roll doesn't mean you will get the specific cursed item you are looking for. Doesn't the GM roll randomly? Also, the creator doesn't necessarily know how the newly created item is cursed. What does one do? Test it to find out? I think not.


I could also see many wizards deliberately creating "cursed" items that only work for certain races/classes/genders.


I think it you intentionally try to create a curse item you should have to roll for to see if you did it correctly. You may end up with a cursed item in the end, but you may not get the one you wanted.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
I think it you intentionally try to create a curse item you should have to roll for to see if you did it correctly. You may end up with a cursed item in the end, but you may not get the one you wanted.

So how does a bad guy work his evil schemes without it getting insanely expensive?


Success = The result you wanted, in this case the cursed item
Cursed result = Not the result you wanted, in this case possibly the 'normal' good version?
Non-Cursed failure = Try again

Ravingdork wrote:
So how does a bad guy work his evil schemes without it getting insanely expensive?

Probably about the same as the good guy trying his schemes to save the world...

Except the good guy may have moral compulsions about ripping off innocents to fund his side projects

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I think it you intentionally try to create a curse item you should have to roll for to see if you did it correctly. You may end up with a cursed item in the end, but you may not get the one you wanted.
So how does a bad guy work his evil schemes without it getting insanely expensive?

Price of evil, my friend. That's why you have to commit all those other crimes and larcenies. There's no discount for being evil, I'm afraid.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Quandary wrote:

Success = The result you wanted, in this case the cursed item

Cursed result = Not the result you wanted, in this case possibly the 'normal' good version?
Non-Cursed failure = Try again

You leave out the possiblity of being "cursed" by you own item. (A common literary trope. :))

How about a "natural 1" that is also a Cursed Failure = suffering the cured effect from your item.


Lord Fyre wrote:
Quandary wrote:

Success = The result you wanted, in this case the cursed item

Cursed result = Not the result you wanted, in this case possibly the 'normal' good version?
Non-Cursed failure = Try again

You leave out the possiblity of being "cursed" by you own item. (A common literary trope. :))

How about a "natural 1" that is also a Cursed Failure = suffering the cured effect from your item.

I like this idea, but it still doesn't resolve the money issues of "how much does it cost?" and "what are the requirements?" Those are much harder questions, and I have no idea what to base it off of.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Caineach wrote:
I like this idea, but it still doesn't resolve the money issues of "how much does it cost?" and "what are the requirements?" Those are much harder questions, and I have no idea what to base it off of.

My guess would be to base it off of the magic item you were trying to create.

My question is, what are the cost and requirements if the item you were trying to create WAS the cursed item.


Caineach wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:
Quandary wrote:

Success = The result you wanted, in this case the cursed item

Cursed result = Not the result you wanted, in this case possibly the 'normal' good version?
Non-Cursed failure = Try again

You leave out the possiblity of being "cursed" by you own item. (A common literary trope. :))

How about a "natural 1" that is also a Cursed Failure = suffering the cured effect from your item.

I like this idea, but it still doesn't resolve the money issues of "how much does it cost?" and "what are the requirements?" Those are much harder questions, and I have no idea what to base it off of.

#rd and 3.5 used to state that adding restrictions cut the cost, but never specified.

Im wondering the same question; if you put limitations on class or race, add activations , rituals, damage barriars, etc; what can be done to change price, and by how much?

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:
My question is, what are the cost and requirements if the item you were trying to create WAS the cursed item.

The exact same as one of the non cursed version of the item you are creating, for example a Scarab of Death could be made out of any of the following using the normal item creation guidelines; amulet of mighty fists, amulet of natural armor, amulet of the planes, amulet of proof against detection and location, brooch of shielding, golembane scarab, scarab of protection.

Grand Lodge

wraithstrike wrote:
I think it you intentionally try to create a curse item you should have to roll for to see if you did it correctly. You may end up with a cursed item in the end, but you may not get the one you wanted.

I agree. The only prescribed method to create one of these items is to fail the Craft check and take your chance on the random roll. Creating one deliberately makes it a non-standard wondrous item and the GM would have to set the cost and requirements. For a scarab of death, for example, it might require a fairly high-level summon monster, polymorph any object or finger of death. It's CL 19, after all, so 8th level spells are easily possible as requirements.

Grand Lodge

dave.gillam wrote:

#rd and 3.5 used to state that adding restrictions cut the cost, but never specified.

Im wondering the same question; if you put limitations on class or race, add activations , rituals, damage barriars, etc; what can be done to change price, and by how much?

As per the magic item creation rules...

Quote:

Other Considerations: Once you have a cost figure, reduce that number if either of the following conditions applies:

Item Requires Skill to Use: Some items require a specific skill to get them to function. This factor should reduce the cost about 10%.

Item Requires Specific Class or Alignment to Use: Even more restrictive than requiring a skill, this limitation cuts the price by 30%.

So any sort of ritual needed might just be handled by a knowledge/spellcraft check.


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This looks like the correct one of these threads to resurrect.

My PCs want to create a "shock collar" for one of their own.

They want to build Admonishing Ray into a collar, then add the "Cannot be removed without a Remove Curse spell" so she doesn't just take it off.

Any idea how you'd adjudicate the price on that one?

(Amusing, and I really want to allow it, but I want to set an appropriate price...)


NH, the rules aren't very specific I don't think here.
I would take one of 3 approaches.

(1)Deliberately fail crafting check approach - The cost is the cost to normally make the item and the caster deliberately fails the check. This results in a random curse, as adjudicated by you. If they don't like the curse, they discard the item and try again. The great thing about this approach is that the caster could be deluded into thinking the curse worked (e.g. 'delusion'), but it has some other curse, or even no curse, instead. The cursed-cursed item.

(2)Deliberately fail crafting check, choose exact curse - like above, but they can either pay an extra cost or make a spellcraft check to choose the exact curse. I would set a reasonable spellcraft DC based on the power of the item they are trying to make. Then, or maybe in addition to, include an addition cost to make a specific curse. Something like 30% for the first curse and an extra 100% for each curse after that.

(3) Use the rules on pfsrd.com. These look to be pretty comprehensive.

(4) The simplest is to craft the item as normal, cast Bestow Curse on it. If they can't cast it themselves, then they need a cleric or wizard to cast for them. At minimum caster level (lower Remove Curse DC), it would be Cleric=5x3x10=150gp and Wiz=7x4x10=280gp.

Edit: Bestow Curse is creature touched and not item touched. So, there should be also some cost here for working this spell into the item. So, going with the prices listed on pfsrd.com may be better.

If instead, you think it should cost more, then factor the Bestow Curse spell into the cost of the item's creation cost. At 3rd/4th level, though, it is going to make the price go way up.


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The Black Markets Player Companion has some information about deliberately cursed items.


LOL. Well, it's a practical joke item, so I'm not too concerned about pricing, other than to keep it "reasonable".

I'll have to check out that player's companion, thanks!

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