While cursed items are included in POLYHEDRAL DUNGEON: Basic Edition, what are supplied is a set of guidelines that doesn’t go into explaining the mechanics of creating or designing cursed items. The rules for creating magic items (which curse items essentially are) are also very simple. This was by design to make the basic version of the game open-ended and flexible for Judges to run. Coming with the release of POLYHEDRAL DUNGEON: The Advanced Rules, POLYHEDRAL DUNGEON: The Book of Magic, and POLYHEDRAL DUNGEON: The Book of Loot are rules to allow the creation of cursed items.
This article introduces the new approach being used for cursed items. Some tweaks may be made to final Talents and rules upon release of the final publications.
The Properties of Cursed Items
Some curses are stronger than others, while others are permanent and cannot be removed. Others yet are bound to an item so that the removal of the curse simply breaks the bond between the item and the current person bound. All cursed items are identified as magic items and are effectively magic items until any curse is removed. Curses also come with triggers and effects and sometimes have specific requirements for the curse to be removed without the aid of a Talent.
The various properties of curses include:
- Power Tier
Some curses, because they are very powerful, may have restrictions on what types of characters may use them. This Power Tier also helps provide a general guideline for creating curses. Characters who are not of at least the Power Tier of the cursed item cannot identify or remove the curse.
Minor curses are typically made by low-level casters, while major curses are made by higher level characters, those who are beyond the Heroic Tier of play, such as the Epic or Mythic Tiers or beyond.
Within the Minor/Major types of curses that can be made, they can either be inferior or superior. Inferior ones are the lowest level of curses for that type, while superior are the highest level. The order of power for curses is minor-inferior > minor superior > major inferior > major superior.
Bound curses are attached to one or more items or people. Bound curses cannot generally be transferred, while unbound ones can.
Curses that are permanent remain forever or until the item is destroyed. Non-permanent curses can be removed from items and people, but often can be transferred to another item or person.
Each curse has one or more distinct triggers that cause it to go into effect. Often this is as simple as using the cursed item, but it can also include simply being near it, seeing it, hearing it, touching it etc. Some triggers are complex, while some are simple.
All curses have specific effects, which can include benefits and/or drawbacks. Often these are compulsions to use the item or can include things like causing damage to the wielder or another target, dampening of abilities, and other detrimental effects. Each curse can have multiple effects which stack and/or operate independently, and each effect can have a different duration.
Some cursed items have an ongoing requirement or obligation to be fulfilled. If this is achieved, then the cursed bond between the item and the person is considered broken. Permanent items that are not destroyed still retain the curse, while non-permanent items have the curse removed (returning the item to non-magical status). The person who creates the curse can automatically remove it, whether that curse is bound to an item or a person.
Identifying Cursed Items
The simplest way to identify a cursed item is to pick it up and attempt to use it. That’s usually the trigger for cursed items, although not always as each curse tends to be unique. Another way to find out if an item is cursed is to use the Talent Identify Curse. This special Talent is focused entirely upon identifying cursed items of different types, but it does require that the cursed item is touched (which is usually safe if the curse is already bound to someone else, but not if the curse affects everyone!)
> IDENTIFY CURSE
Active: Soul – 1 Turn
Discover the ties that bind.
|1||10||Minor inferior curses can be identified, including their triggers, effects, and any geas they have. This requires touching the item or person suffering the curse.|
|2||30||Minor superior curses can now be identified.|
|3||60||Major inferior curses can now be identified.|
|4||100||Major superior curses can now be identified.|
General casters who develop the Talent Detect Magic to Level 4 can negate the need to touch cursed items to be able to identify them.
Creating Cursed Items
To create a cursed item, the normal approach is to apply two spells as part of a ritual. These spells are the Talents Create Curse and Enchant Item. A magic item is first created using Enchant Item, and then the curse is applied using Create Curse. This binds the curse into the item.
> CREATE CURSE
Active: Soul – Permanent
Bind them and in the darkness find them.
|2||30||Allows the creation of a minor inferior curse on a character or an item.|
|3||60||Minor superior curses can now be created.|
|4||100||Major inferior curses can now be created.|
|5||150||Major superior curses can now be created.|
> ENCHANT ITEM
Active: Soul – Permanent
It’s a kind of magic!
|1||10||Allows the creation of magic items at the caster’s Power Tier, including scrolls and potions. Level 1 Talents can be embedded into the items if they are known by the caster. The maximum die that any embedded Talent can use is equal to the caster’s Soul. Only one Talent can be embedded. The Talent must be used at the same time as this Talent to embed it.|
|2||30||Up to 2 embedded Talents of up to Level 2 can be embedded.|
|3||60||Up to 3 embedded Talents of up to Level 3 can be embedded.|
|4||100||Up to 4 embedded Talents of up to Level 4 can be embedded. Intelligent items may now also be created.|
|5||150||Up to 5 embedded Talents of up to Level 5 can be embedded.|
|6||210||Up to 6 embedded Talents of up to Level 6 can be embedded.|
Costs for creating curses depend on who is creating the curse, the target of the curse, any materials used, and any ritual performed to create it. Not all costs are monetary, and some costs can include physical, mental, spiritual, or other effects to the caster(s).
Depending upon the type of curse attached to an item, it may be possible to remove it. More often than not it the current bond between the curse and its target is broken. First, the Talent Identify Curse is used to understand the type of curse that has been applied, and then the Talent Remove Curse is used to break the bond or remove it.
As the power level of the Talent increases, more powerful non-permanent curses can be removed if they are unbound. Curses that are bound remain after any cursed bond is broken, meaning that the cursed item can still affect others if their trigger is activated.
> REMOVE CURSE
Active: Soul – Permanent
Break the bond that holds another tight.
|2||30||Removes a minor inferior curse cast on an item or person as long as it is an unbound non-permanent curse.|
|3||60||Minor superior non-permanent curses can now be removed.|
|4||100||Major inferior non-permanent curses can now be removed.|
|5||150||Major superior non-permanent curses can now be removed.|
So that’s a brief look at how cursed items are handled in advanced games of Polyhedral Dungeon. Similar rules to these are able to be used across other future Polyhedral products include POLYHEDRAL SHADOWS and POLYHEDRAL GALAXIES. To check out a sample cursed item, check out The Rings of the Dark Lord, the first of a number of pieces of Loot that will be shared on this site.