Some help with making some fun curses:


Advice


Hey folks, one of my players uncovered an artifact that has the lords of hell abuzz. In my campaign Asmodeus has vanished and the lords of hell are all scheming against each other, either to locate Asmodeus, install themselves as the new lord of the 9th circle, or working for other masters. The 8 Archdevils of Hell are in a bidding war for the artifact, each offering a thematic gift (curse). The player in question is well aware that this will go poorly for them, but they are super excited about the story implications therein.

I'm busy making 8 thematic curses that appear to be gifts, but provide a serious (potentially permanent) negative consequence as well. For instance, protection against spells in the form of spell resistance that you cannot lower (thus making it difficult for your allies to heal you). Worth noting, I do not want any of these effects to result in instant death, becoming a statue, or crippling them by making them a vegetable/an animal. These are meant to be a challenge, but not cripple the character to the point where they have to retire. I've included the stat blocks for the three devils I have yet to create a thematic curse for, and would love suggestions.

Geryon

Baalzebul

Mephistopheles


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Well, Mephistopheles is the demon most associating with making deals and contracts, right? Perhaps his curse is all about the ability to read people? Insight into how they act and think would allow the PC with his curse to not only outmaneuver foes in negotiations, but also on the battlefield by allowing them to read the enemy's body language to anticipate how they move.

Mechanics-wise, the curse would provide a bonus to social skills like Sense Motive, Diplomacy, Bluff, and Intimidate, as well as bonuses to AC and Attack rolls. But of course, Mephistopheles' gift never comes without strings. Whenever a PC completes a negotiation or kills an enemy while relying on Mephistopheles' insights, the poor fool on the other end is consigned to the Archdevil's realm of Cania.

So by actively using these abilities that make them better at what they do, the PC is strengthening Mephistopheles' position in the Infernal Civil War. A reveal suited for the middle or end of the campaign, I'd say.


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For Baalzebul, check out this fun Curse. Perhaps offer the character immunity to the distraction and negative effects of ALL swarms and other vermin, but instead of biting them, they are still otherwise overwhelmingly attracted to the character, drunk on pheromones only they can smell. Think of the role playing challenges THAT entails.

Dark Archive

Geryon is the patron of heresies, and lord of lies.

A simple curse for him would be to make one incapable of ever speaking the truth, but gain a bonus to Bluff checks to lie, and either a bonus to saves vs. magic that detects lies or compels the truth or total immunity to said magic (depending on the power level you are going for). If you ever speak (or even write down!) a statement you know to be truthful, you go mysteriously mute before the words come out (or your hand starts shaking uncontrollably and you drop your writing implement), and remain mute / disabled for a full round afterwards, to discourage further attempts at truthtelling. Other attempts at communicating a truth, like holding up two fingers to tell an ally that there are two trolls in the next room, or nodding 'yes' or shaking your head 'no' to a query result in similar spasms and failures to communicate.

A more complicated one could play into his mastery of heresies, and perhaps give spell resistance that only applies to divine magic (and perhaps the SLA of celestials?), and can't be 'turned off' (so getting healed is going to prove problematic, since the most common sources of cure wounds or restoration are divine casters). If you *are* a divine caster, this could really suck, since you'd have to check your own spell resistance to cast a 'buff' like divine favor or protection from evil on yourself!


I'm curious; if the character has the artifact and the lords of Hell need them to hand it over freely, why are they offering bogus bribes instead of real ones? I don't think devils are incapable of giving gifts that don't have strings attached, should they have a reason to (like acquisition of a powerful artifact).


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

I'm curious; if the character has the artifact and the lords of Hell need them to hand it over freely, why are they offering bogus bribes instead of real ones? I don't think devils are incapable of giving gifts that don't have strings attached, should they have a reason to (like acquisition of a powerful artifact).

They’re not incapable, certainly. However, if you have the opportunity to double-dip on acquiring souls for your circle of Hell, why not?

Devils are, if nothing else, ambitious.


Ventnor wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

I'm curious; if the character has the artifact and the lords of Hell need them to hand it over freely, why are they offering bogus bribes instead of real ones? I don't think devils are incapable of giving gifts that don't have strings attached, should they have a reason to (like acquisition of a powerful artifact).

They’re not incapable, certainly. However, if you have the opportunity to double-dip on acquiring souls for your circle of Hell, why not?

Devils are, if nothing else, ambitious.

Because the PC you're bargaining with might manage a Sense Motive check and realize your offer is actually terrible, and instead go with a devil who bit the bullet and made an actual good offer. Especially if the PC hasn't limited the bidding to the lords of Hell and there are Good entities bidding to keep it out of their hands....


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

I'm curious; if the character has the artifact and the lords of Hell need them to hand it over freely, why are they offering bogus bribes instead of real ones? I don't think devils are incapable of giving gifts that don't have strings attached, should they have a reason to (like acquisition of a powerful artifact).

They’re not incapable, certainly. However, if you have the opportunity to double-dip on acquiring souls for your circle of Hell, why not?

Devils are, if nothing else, ambitious.

Because the PC you're bargaining with might manage a Sense Motive check and realize your offer is actually terrible, and instead go with a devil who bit the bullet and made an actual good offer. Especially if the PC hasn't limited the bidding to the lords of Hell and there are Good entities bidding to keep it out of their hands....

All good questions, fortunately the PCs are "in too deep" so to speak. One part of getting cornered by a Contract Devil (representing the 8 lords) and one part too blinded by potential riches. Plus the character in question has a terrible sense motive skill, and the Devils aren't bluffing. Each gift does EXACTLY what it says on the tin, there are just...ramifications to getting what you want. Devils tend to take things literally after all.

Also, because the character has done some other silly things over their career building up some bad luck. Breaking mirrors, stealing coins from a lucky fountain, that sort of thing. The goal is for this event to start a new character arc for them, so this gift (curse) must be one part reward and one part goad.


I can give more tonight, but perhaps one could be boots or other gear that effectively dulls all sound a PC makes, giving him a massive bonus to stealth, but this includes the PC's voice as well.


as for curses.

Lust (Yandere)
if any of the devil lords has a thing for lust (and im pretty sure some of them do) have them 'gift' the pc with a 'charming aura' -anyone who see them save vs will or have their attitude shift closer to friendly (outsiders are safe) point is this effect is stacking once per day and once some1 goes 'beyond' friendly he\she might start going the 'stalker' route.('...are you going through my TRASH?").
also anyone who get to that degree is automatically unfriendly (or down right hostile) to anyone else who is friendly (or the pc is friendly to, other pc and companions included).

Mammon (Midas)
the gift of making money! only it also comes with the desire to KEEP said money. the gift make the pc a shrewd merchant. netting him 50-90% gain when he sell items. the more fame he gains at a successful merchant the more he is approached by buyers. thing is he must make a save or be FORCED to sell the items. the more cash he get for it the harder the save. same for buying new things (or crafting) but in reverse. the more costly an item is the higher the dc is to make ,failing mean the pc rather keep his money then spend it on some shinny objects...

any of the devils with murder in their portfolio : murder
a nice bonus to hit and damage but also a constant urge to kill..anyone ...everyone...

envy btw can be worked on somewhat like the lust but with the pc as the one being jealous


ShroudedInLight wrote:
In my campaign Asmodeus has vanished and the lords of hell are all scheming against each other, either to locate Asmodeus, install themselves as the new lord of the 9th circle, or working for other masters.

Getting Season of Mists vibes here. : D


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Hey folks, just had the session with the "Auction" and so I can now spoil what curses I ended up using. Just in case someone in the future wants to have some similarly themed curses, deals with the devil, or ideas on how to implement such things without destroying the PC utterly.

Barbatos offered "Eyes of Destruction" which granted the PC a gaze attack which they could use to burn their enemies to ashes with the power of Hellfire. It also couldn't be turned off, turning them into Cyclops from Xmen. There would be a long quest to obtain the materials necessary to make the complex crystals required to prevent the gaze from functioning constantly. Additionally, the PC gained Blindsight out to 30ft so they could keep their eyes closed and thus still be playable without burning their allies to ashes. The damage on the gaze attack was 1d6 per odd level, max 10d6, 1/2 fire 1/2 unholy damage with a reflex save at 10+1/2 character level+Charisma for half.

Dispater offered "Skin of Iron" which granted scaling damage reduction of 1 plus 1 per 5 levels, max DR 5/- at level 20. It also granted spell resistance of 11+Character Level, but the spell resistance would never turn off. Additionally, the PC became vulnerable to certain effects that would work on constructs such as Shatter and Rusting Grasp. Also they would sink in water, and gained a vulnerability to electricty.

Mammon offered "Gift of Averice" which would provide several tons of gold. In the form of six treasure golems which would immediately animate and attack anyone in the pursuit of additional wealth. Additionally, the PC in question would gain the ability to attract wealth. Literally, attract it, without the ability to stop, and the gold/magic swords/etc flying towards them at high speeds would cause damage depending on the size and type of the object (like self-targeted Telekinesis).

Belial offered the "Change of Form" ability to transform into a Wyvern following rules similar to a mix of the Beast Shape spells. It would, however, not grant the ability to transform back. A quest would grant the ability to gain a semblance of their original shape back, similar to a Lycanthrope's hybrid form but with the Wyvern as their new base form.

Geryon offered a "Glut of knowledge", horrible horrible knowledge. Following the rules for Contact Nalfeshnee but instead contacting a portion of Geryon's mind to grant the answers to any questions. Would also grant Threefold Sight 3/day and Glimpse of the Akashic 1/day with an even worse ending effect (stunned for 2 rounds, nauseated for 1 minute, sickened for the rest of the day)

Moloch offered to make them a "Force of War," granting them near immortality on the battlefield, the ability to channel hellfire to damage adjacent enemies, and the ability to summon a devil to assist them in combat 3/day. However, all abilities that targeted the PC would be redirected to their nearest ally within 50ft. They would live, while their allies suffered for their mistakes in combat. There would be a quest involved to remove this addendum, which would also negate most of the benefits of this gift but still allow them to channel hellfire or conjure devils.

Baalzebul offered to make them a "Friend of Insects" which granted them a constant Cape of Wasps and the ability to cast Insect Scouts, Insect Spies, and Insect Swarm 3/day each. However, the cape of wasps would not recognize any other creature as friendly meaning that they would hurt any creature that touched the PC and would never go away. Also, they emitted a constant buzz that made concentrating on spells nearby the PC exceptionally difficult. Getting the cape of wasps to quiet down would be a quest in and of itself.

Lastly, Mephostophiles offered a "Contract of Ash" basically granting them a tuned down version of "Scorching Ash Form" (50% fortification and roll twice vs bodily effects instead of immunity) that also removed their ability to be healed by positive energy (but let them be healed by fire damage at a 1 to 1 ratio). However, it completely prevented them from entering water (same effects as being submerged completely in acid or lava), gave them a cold vulnerability, made spells with the water descriptor damage them, and caused them to explode into a cloud of ashes if they took too much damage from a single large hit. They would then need to spend a round reforming their body.

Obviously, none of the drawbacks were described, but the party did a pretty good job of suspecting trouble and the PC ended up selecting Barbatos' gift. Which is requiring a bit of work on my part since Gaze attacks in Pathfinder are usually based on meeting the targets eyes instead of constant eye-lasers.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, and I'd actually be interested in hearing your thoughts on my curses.

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