10 Minor Curses Lurking in a Magic Item

Some items merely have a drawback to their ownership. Other items are tainted by a minor curse, which can cause much suffering and sorrow to its owner.


Use the table below, to generate the details of minor curses lurking in a magic item recovered by the party.

  1. While he possesses this item, the owner begins to believe his comrades and friends covet it. While this feeling does not grow into homicidal maniac, the owner carefully safeguards the item and refuses to lend it to anyone.
  2. The owner grows increasingly obsessed with the item. First, she merely keeps it safe, but her obsession slowly grows. After a while, she buys a nice pouch (or similar suitable container) to keep it in. Then, she buys a newer more expensive pouch (perhaps made of a particularly fine material or decorated with small gemstones and so on). This expenditure slowly increases while she possesses the item.
  3. The cursed item radiates a subtle field that attracts undead. Unintelligent undead prefer to attack the wielder above all other targets and intelligent undead feel drawn to the item. They do all they can to possess it.
  4. The item interferes with the magic of healing spells, magic items and effects, reducing their effectiveness. Such effects heal one less point of damage per die rolled.
  5. The item is highly magnetised and attracts electrical attacks and effects. The owner suffers a -1 penalty to saving throws made to resist or avoid such attacks. Every day, these effects are cumulative; for every such effect damaging the owner, the saving throw penalty increases by 1 point. The stored magnetism dissipates overnight.
  6. The item draws power from its possessor, draining him. The owner must eat and drink twice as much to maintain his weight and health. (Over time, owning this item could be very expensive indeed…)
  7. The owner experiences delusions of grandeur and becomes convinced she should be leading the party. She is convinced she knows the best way forward and, as time progresses, becomes more and more unwilling to accept other’s counsel.
  8. This item was once owned by a werewolf. During the days immediately preceding the full moon, the owner’s body hair begins to grow dramatically. This could lead the paranoid or superstitious observer to conclude the owner is a lycanthrope.
  9. This wielder becomes susceptible to bright light. In such areas, she is dazzled in a similar fashion to a drow.
  10. The item renders the owner partially deaf. This makes casting spells with verbal components difficult and means the owner often shouts instead of speaking. This could make sneaking into enemy camps, discreet conversations and the like difficult (at best).

10 Minor Curses Lurking in a Magic Item appears in 20 Things # 18: Troublesome Treasures.

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