Can bestow (greater) curse do this?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Some things I am wondering:
Make them mute
Make them illiterate
Make them sterile
Make it impossible for them to sleep (which would be fatal eventually)
Give them a vulnerability to an energy type (Guessing this would require bestow greater curse).


I would cap falling asleep to be voluntary sleep. They'd bodily succumb to pure exhaustion but any kind of night time routine or laying down on your own? Nah. So more insomnia I guess, imo.

Vulnerability to elements is something particular. While not particular enough to say outright no to, I wouldn't be comfortable with that.

The rest seem ok.


Mute: I would probably allow greater bestow curse to make someone mute. I would likely restrict bestow curse to preventing the subject from speaking of certain things or subject or possibly forcing a bad stutter, which might make information conveying take longer and might give a 20% to 50% chance of verbal spell failure.

Illiterate: I would allow greater bestow curse to do this. I would likely restrict bestow curse to preventing the reading of one (maybe two) languages or removing comprehension of anything read about a select topic or subject if read.

Sterile: Yes.

Energy Vulnerability: I could see greater bestow curse doing this (though I probably wouldn't let it negate or remove natural immunity, like making a fire subtype creature vulnerable to fire or removing its immunity). I might allow bestow curse to cause a small, set amount of extra damage from a certain energy type (or take penalties to saves against it).

This is all just opinion and subjective though.


Is it no more powerful than making a creature lose all of their memories, class abilities, feats, and skill ranks? Then bestow curse can do it.

Quote:
Make them mute

Yes.

Quote:
Make them illiterate

Yes.

Quote:
Make them sterile

Yes.

Quote:
Make it impossible for them to sleep (which would be fatal eventually)

No, but it could make their sleep poorly enough that they wake up fatigued every day, or instead leave them unable to regain spent uses of abilities that require rest to recover.

(Edit: If it killed them no more quickly than the curse of the ages, then it would be within the bounds of greater bestow curse.)

Quote:
Give them a vulnerability to an energy type (Guessing this would require bestow greater curse).

Yes. For most characters, getting a -6 penalty to Constitution is worse than taking 50% more damage from a single energy type.

None of the "yes" answers here require greater bestow curse; they're all within the bounds of bestow curse.


Can you use multiple curses to make them vulnerable to multiple damage types? There doesn't seem to be a limit to how many curses someone can suffer from, although I wouldn't allow the exact same kind of curse (such as -6 con) to stack with itself.


blahpers wrote:
Is it no more powerful than making a creature lose all of their memories, class abilities, feats, and skill ranks? Then bestow curse can do it.

I don't buy that. Bestow Curse has three functionalities, as I read it:

Bestow Curse wrote:

You place a curse on the subject. Choose one of the following.

-6 decrease to an ability score (minimum 1).
-4 penalty on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks.
Each turn, the target has a 50% chance to act normally; otherwise, it takes no action.

Bestow Curse wrote:
Bestow curse allows the caster to invent a novel effect, but one no more powerful than those described in the spell itself (no worse than a 50% chance of losing actions, a –4 penalty on checks, or a –6 penalty to an ability score).
Madness rules wrote:
Insanity can also be inflicted via magic. Consider allowing the spell insanity to merely inflict 1 randomly determined insanity per 5 caster levels on its victim rather than causing permanent confusion. Bestow curse can also inflict a single insanity on a foe, although in this case the insanity is also a curse.

Nowhere does it say you can invent a novel effect as long as it is not more powerful than an insanity. The ability to inflict an insanity is not "described in the spell itself", but part of the rules on madness.


Can someone answer my question about multiple curses?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Yqatuba wrote:
Can someone answer my question about multiple curses?

To my knowledge you can cast Bestow Curse multiple time and inflicting different afflictions.

I've done several times with my Witch Character.


I agree with Pizza Lord, and also agree Invisible Pink that Blahpers comparison to amnesia isn't correct, since as far as I can see you can't bestow amnesia with Bestow Curse.


Claxon wrote:
I agree with Pizza Lord, and also agree Invisible Pink that Blahpers comparison to amnesia isn't correct, since as far as I can see you can't bestow amnesia with Bestow Curse.

Amnesia is an insanity, and the Madness rules allow you to inflict an insanity with Bestow Curse. You just can't make novel curses that are up to as powerful as Amnesia, like you can with the other things Bestow Curse can inflict.


Infertility is an alternate option for Bestow Curse in the 3rd Edition Book of Vile Darkness. Another alternative from the same book "Target is struck blind and deaf" is strictly "better" than making them illiterate if they don't know some Braille equivalent (Braille is a relatively modern invention, but in a world with high literacy standards that's full of underground civilizations having something like it isn't implausable).

I'd go against making the target mute however. While a character hit by Bestow Curse is out of the fight, making a target mute means they can't cast remove curse or even ask for it if they survive. That makes it stronger.


How about curse them so they end every sentence with a really sarcastic "Einstein" (or whatever the Pathfinder equivalent is, Nethys maybe). Wouldn't be dangerous in combat but I doubt they'd have any friends for long.


InvisiblePink wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I agree with Pizza Lord, and also agree Invisible Pink that Blahpers comparison to amnesia isn't correct, since as far as I can see you can't bestow amnesia with Bestow Curse.
Amnesia is an insanity, and the Madness rules allow you to inflict an insanity with Bestow Curse. You just can't make novel curses that are up to as powerful as Amnesia, like you can with the other things Bestow Curse can inflict.

Yeah...I'm not a fan of the madness rules. I looked at them once and felt they made the game way too Call of Cthulhu. Also, amnesia is way worse than anything else Bestow Curse can regularly do, IMO.

It's the Curse of "You're a commoner". Honestly, it's far worse than a 50% chance to take no action. Basically unless you're a low level melee character amnesia is way worse than losing half your actions.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
deuxhero wrote:


I'd go against making the target mute however. While a character hit by Bestow Curse is out of the fight, making a target mute means they can't cast remove curse or even ask for it if they survive. That makes it stronger.

Mute doesn't mean they can't write down the request to get their curse removed.

And they aren't out of the fight either, unless they are a caster without Silent Spell. IMO it is less severe than the 50% chance to take no action.


arkham wrote:
deuxhero wrote:


I'd go against making the target mute however. While a character hit by Bestow Curse is out of the fight, making a target mute means they can't cast remove curse or even ask for it if they survive. That makes it stronger.

Mute doesn't mean they can't write down the request to get their curse removed.

And they aren't out of the fight either, unless they are a caster without Silent Spell. IMO it is less severe than the 50% chance to take no action.

I think you just hit the nail on the head, it's not that bad unless they're a caster. There might have to be some provision for casting spells in the curse or I feel like it's overpowered. Silence is only a 2nd level spell, but it's also only 1 round/level.


Split the difference and give them a stutter. 50% spell failure for spells with vocal components, and Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Bluff checks involving speech take longer and have a penalty.


Blaphers, since bestow curse can regularly make anyone lose their actions 50% of the time I might be inclined to make the spell failure chance a bit higher than 50%. I might do 60%, or even 75%. Otherwise you're better off just giving them a 50% chance to do nothing.


Claxon wrote:
Blaphers, since bestow curse can regularly make anyone lose their actions 50% of the time I might be inclined to make the spell failure chance a bit higher than 50%. I might do 60%, or even 75%. Otherwise you're better off just giving them a 50% chance to do nothing.

Sure! Since we've put aside the madness applications as reference points, I decided to be conservative about it and tack on the speech penalties instead to make it not-quite-strictly-worse than the 50% do-nothing option.


That's very fair.

Do you agree that the madness rules are bit out there compared to the original rules for what could be done with Bestow Curse? This is more out of curiosity. Madness rules are an optional system, and one I don't personally care for, but it's not wrong to say it's an option. This specific instance to me highlights why the madness rules weren't well thought out.

To me the real baseline I use for the power level of Bestow Curse is the 50% chance to do nothing. That is a really powerful effect by itself. So I have to compare, is this thing worse than doing nothing half of the time.

With something like spell failure chance, 50% would be a minimum since it's basically equivalent to 50% chance to do nothing. But every caster class has abilities that aren't spells that allow them to do something. They might not be great options, but you have options besides doing nothing. So to me you have to thread the needle and say, maybe just a bit higher chance not to cast spells. I'm not sure on an exact number, but it's a framework for ideas.


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I don't have trouble with a curse afflicting a target with a disease or a madness so much. In the specific case of amnesia, however, the way it was designed just leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.

Amnesia rant:
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The wording makes it possible that Weapon and Armor proficiency is considered a class ability (it's called 'class features', but so is everything else listed as class abilities). That would mean a –4 penalty on attacks with whatever weapon you happen to have, unless it's simple.

On top of that you get a flat –4 to Will saves and all skill checks. While that's below the –4 penalty to attacks, saves, ability and skill checks bestow curse can do normally, it's pretty close in addition to everything (–8 to attacks with your weapon now, unless your GM is nice and says you 'remember' how to use them, but that doesn't fit with how you forget everything else). Even if not, Weapon and Armor proficiency are considered feats as well, which you lose. That –4 to skill checks across the board is in addition to losing all your skill ranks (which means you don't even get a +3 bonus for a class skill). So that's clearly worse than what's normally do-able.

Also, don't forget that Linguistics is technically a skill, and without any ranks, you don't know them. So depending on how your GM rules, that means, you may not know how to speak or understand some languages... even though...for some reason... you still speak and understand some other language (your racial starting), even though there's absolutely no reason or logic to why you would remember those and not others. Did you not have to learn those starting language too?

Then there's the fact it makes you 'forget' and lose things with no bearing on your memory. Like how much tougher you are than normal from Great Fortitude. Or that you don't tire as easily with Endurance, or that you automatically stabilize at negative hit points with Diehard (I can see not consciously choosing to remain conscious and function as disabled possibly).
Or an oracle: they 'forget' that they're cursed. "You're cursed now! So that means... you're... uncursed...?!" I'm still trying to guess if they can take a new level of oracle while amnesiac and choose their old curse and a new mystery path and then get healed. By the wording, they get all their old powers and the new, so now they just have the one oracle curse and both mysteries (and their skill list additions). Technically, you might be able to trick a GM into letting that get you multiple mysteries and a revelation each level instead of every 3. Okay, that might be a bit far-fetched.
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I don't have a problem with cursing someone with amnesia necessarily, but the specific affliction as written just doesn't do it for me. I'd have to just make them cursed with forgetting who they are and modify what's actually lost and affected (like losing skill ranks or getting a skill penalty). So basically, customizing it to keep it in parameters rather than just allowing it because it's a 'madness' and a certain wording technically allows it.


Yeah, they are a bit extreme, especially for something long predating Horror Adventures, where it's much more obvious that you're opting into a more hardcore rules environment.

The lot of you have also convinced me to stick with the spell descriptions when comparing instead of the various extensions to said spells sprinkled throughout the other rules. The 50% is a great baseline, as is the -6 to an ability score, depending on what effective you're judging. These are fiddly spells that encourage creative thinking, and that always makes things a bit harder to judge. (In my case, "that sounds like a really cool curse" can be a heck of a bias to watch out for!)


Considering Steal Voice is a 2nd level spell which leaves the target requiring to spend a swift action to speak (and unable to shout at all, though only a 20% spell fail chance on verbal components), I'd say even regular Bestow Curse can make a target mute.

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