Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bestow Curse

Debuffing your foes is a perfectly respectable tactic in combat. Making an enemy easier to defeat, or less able to defeat you, is a very obvious step towards the ultimate goal of defeating them without being defeated. However, debuffs generally have a finite duration or can be easily dispelled. Not so a particular subsect of the debuff - curses.

Bestow curse is a level 3 Cleric spell (level 4 for sorcerers and wizards, meaning probably don't bother) that places a permanent curse on any touched creature that fails a Will save. It isn't mind-affecting, it isn't a negative energy effect, and it is not subject to dispel magic. A curse can only be removed by remove curse (no joke!), break enchantment, limited wish and up. It lists three possible forms for the curse to take:
  • A -6 penalty to an ability score (bringing it to a minimum of 1.)
  • A -4 penalty on all attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks.
  • Each turn, the target has a 50% chance to act normally; otherwise, it takes no action.
These are all quite nice effects, honestly. Reducing a casting stat by six can wreak havoc on spells available as well as save DCs, and a -4 to everything is a great across-the-board hindrance that will come up even outside of combat. Note that concentrating on a spell and trying to break a grapple are both standard actions, meaning the affected won't be able to do so if they're rendered "unable to take an action" for a turn.

Nice as these effects are, though, perhaps the most interesting feature of bestow curse is the next line: "You may also invent your own curse, but it should be no more powerful than those described above."

Yessir, bestow curse is entirely open-ended in letting you ruin someone's day in whatever way you can come up with. Call it Level 3 Wish, so long as you're wishing to wreck a kid's birthday party. What to do with such an accommodating spell, especially one set on such a decent baseline power level? Here, I've come up with a list of suggestions for curses you can inflict upon the DM's self-insert NPC when he least expects it: