Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Once again, many apologies for my lack of blog posts of late. I hope everyone likes the new layout of the place!

Ameron over at Dungeon's Master yesterday had a really great article on using curses in 4th Edition D&D.  His main focus was on setting up Skill Challenges as a way to deal with certain curses. I'm not so much interested in the 4e mechanics of breaking curses as I am of bringing some old school feel back to the 4E game, and cursed weapons are one of those things that are very much old school and very much missing in the 4E game.

Why No Cursed Items?

Where did the cursed items go?  Why aren't they here in the modern version of the game? It's all part of the new philosophy of the game.  In the Dungeon Master's Guide for AD&D, the DM is encouraged to create random encounter tables for the areas the players would be exploring. There was SO MUCH left to chance, to the roll of the dice, from what type of monsters might be encountered, how many, and what treasure they might carry.  The DM rolled the dice, and whatever showed up to try to eat the heroes, well, that's what showed up.  Not every encounter had to be tactically "interesting".  What made it interesting was whether or not it might kill the characters!  To hell with balance.  In these regards, it was a game. So often, what happened was random chance.

In 4E, instead of random treasure charts we have player wishlists. Characters are so complex that they have to be custom-built to be competitive. Feats, skills, item slots, et cetera. Somewhere along the line, R&D decided that cursing players with detrimental items took away the fun of the game and frustrated players. This is probably due to the power-gamer movement and all the WoW-inspired design of the modern edition. I think this takes away a big part of the magical feel of the world. Not all magic items are beneficial. It makes zero sense that they would be. So let's add some cursed items to the 4e game!

So, according to my black book 2E AD&D DMG, the following items ought to be considered cursed:

Potion of Delusion
Potion of Madness
Oil of Fumbling
Philter of Love
Philter of Stammering and Stuttering
Poison Potion
Ring of Clumsiness
Ring of Delusion
Ring of Weakness
Bag of Beans
Bag of Devouring
Bag of Transmuting
Bowl of Watery Death
Bracers of Defenselessness
Brazier of Sleep Smoke
Broom of Animated Attack
Censer of Summoning Hostile Air Elementals
Chime of Hunger
Cloak of Poisonousness
Crystal Hypnosis Ball
the Deck of Many Things
Dust of Sneezing and Choking
Eyes of Petrification
Flask of Curses
Gauntlets of Fumbling
Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity
Harp of Discord
Hat of Stupidity
Helm of Opposite Alignment
Horn of Bubbles
Horn of Collapsing (if used "improperly")
Incense of Obsession
Jewel of Attacks
Medallion of Thought Projection
Mirror of Opposition
Necklace of Strangulation
Periapt of Foul Rotting
Phylactery of Monstrous Attention
Pipes of Pain
Robe of Powerlessness
Robe of Vermin
Rope of Constriction
Rug of Smothering
Scarab of Death
Scarab of Insanity
Stone of Weight
Vacuous Grimoire
Armor of Missile Attraction
Armor of Rage
Plate Mail of Vulnerability
Missile Attractor Shield -1
Cursed Backbiter Spear
Cursed Sword +1
Cursed Sword -2
Cursed Berserking Sword
Trident of Yearning

I'm open to suggestions.  Which of these should be updated for use in the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons?

1 comment:

  1. I've always been fond of these cursed items and would love to see a 4e take on them: Bag of devouring, Back-biter spear, Flask of curses, Scarab of death, and the Cursed berserking sword.