Casting Time: 1 action Range: Self Components: V, S Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round
Howling winds spiral around you, blotting out light, chilling your foes, and heeding your every command.
This blast of swirling night wind surrounds you and creates a zone that lasts until the end of your turn or until you break concentration.
This zone is heavily obscured to creatures other than You, and any creature but You that starts its turn in the zone takes 2d6 + Your Intelligence Modifier in Cold Damage and is Slowed until the end of its next turn.
To view the effects of the “Slowed” Condition, view the “Slow” Spell.
You create an extra-dimensional pool of acid beneath your enemies’ feet.
You create a burst of boiling acid within your Range. Any creature caught in the burst must make a DC 13 Dexterity Saving Throw or take 1d8 + Your Intelligence Modifier in Acid Damage.
Any creature who attempts to move into the Area or begins their turn within the area, must make a DC 13 Constitution Saving Throw or take 1d4 +
Your Intelligence Modifier in Acid Damage.
3rd Level Evocation
Casting Time: 1 action Range: 60 feet Components: V, S Duration:
Concentration, up to 1 Minute
A miniature tornado roars forth to batter your enemy and lift it into the air.
You choose a target of Medium or Smaller Size. A tornado roars to life beneath their feet. The Target must make a DC 15 Strength Saving Throw, taking 2d8 + Your Intelligence Modifier in Damage, or Half as much on a Successful Save.
Additionally, if the target fails their Saving Throw, you push the Target 10 feet (2 Squares) Vertically Upwards.
The Target remains aloft until the start of its next turn or until you break Concentration.
While aloft, the Target is dazed and immobilized, and it grants a Combat Advantage to You and Your Allies.
At the start of its next turn, it lands prone on the ground in the space it formerly occupied or in the nearest unoccupied space on the battlefield.
Here’s some cards characters can get at Levels 38 and 40! Pyramid of Light cards, anime-only cards, and support cards for their decks! I gotta get Joey to Level 38 so I can get Copycat–that card saved me in Nightmare Troubadour a ton! Yami Yugi gets Sorcerer of Dark Magic, Kaiba gets Blue-Eyes Shining Dragon, Joey gets Copycat and Blue Flame Swordsman, Tea gets Dark Burning Attack, Yami Bakura gets Dark Ruler Ha Des, and Pegasus gets Mimicat and Toon Kingdom, and the other characters also get cool stuff but these were the most notable, I thought.
Here’s a list of random joke items to use for fun in your campaign. I’d recommend adding them to treasure hoards rather than subbing normal items for them.
Anyway here they are:
1. Ace of Spades - An ace of spades from a standard card deck. No matter where you store it on your body, you will always be able to find it in your right sleeve afterwards.
2. Amulet of Extra Amulet Slot - This amulet allows you to gain the benefit from two magical amulets rather than one. It cannot be further enchanted.
3. Amulet of Feather Fall - When worn, this amulet turns into a feather and falls to the ground.
4. Amulet of Unbreaking Bones - Con-man says you can’t break any bones. Really, he means other’s bones. -100% damage against skeletons.
5. Amulet of weather detection - yells that it is or is not raining.
6. Anti-Matches - A box of matches. Striking one will make it begin to drip water from the tip while the match shrivels away. The amount of water a match releases is about enough to fill a tablespoon.
7. Arrow of Euarere - A silver arrow, suspended on a string. It always points to the person holding the string.
8. Arrow of Slaying, The - This magical arrow is capable of killing a creature.
9. Artist’s Bludgeon, The - Inanimate objects hit with this bludgeon will receive no damage; they will however change color.
10. Attentive Guardsman’s Pike - These ornate and deadly-looking ceremonial pikes are reach weapons and appear to weigh at least 20 lbs, not counting the weight of the fluttering banners that can be unfurled for parade use. Constructed of shadowstuff, they weigh one pound, and inflict only a single point of damage on an attack, being almost entirely for show, although they also have the unique property of remaining in place when set (although unable to support more than 20 lbs), allowing a ‘resting his eyes’ guardsman to prop it up and leave it standing under its own power, while his hand sags off of it.
11. Attentive Guardsman’s Tabard - A dozen of these tabards were fashioned for palace guardsmen in the Empire of Sard, 250 miles from the nearest enemy. The bearer is placed under a glamour that causes him to appear alert and awake, even if his eyes are closed and he is snoring lightly.
12. Axe of Big Numbers - This axe shouts “Big numbers baby, come on!” whenever it is swung, but always deals 1 damage or less.
13. Axe of Empathy - Every time you hit something with this +5 greataxe, you get dealt an equal amount of damage. Both you and the thing you hit are then healed the amount of damage dealt by the axe, even if either are dead. The Axe hopes you have learned your lesson.
14. Axe of Pain - The axe is always moaning and groaning with pain.
15. Bag of Faerie Gold - This sack appears to be full of gold coins and jewels. When one attempts to spend them, however, the glamour on them soon vanishes, revealing them to be nothing but leaves and pebbles. Obviously, most shopkeepers will not be happy about this, and no amount of ‘we didn’t know, I swear!’ will change their mind.
16. Bag of Holding - This item functions as a normal backpack, however when attempting to retrieve an item, a calm female voice tells them there is a wait time of 4d10 minutes before they can retrieve their item (actual time is stated time plus 6d6 additional minutes). During this wait, the bag plays either annoying muzak or advertisements for the bag’s creator’s other products/services. Upon attempting to retrieve an item, there is a chance that the wrong item is retrieved, or that the intended item is simply missing. Obtaining the original item requires an additional 4d10+6d6 minutes and has only a 5% chance of success.
17. Bag of Trading - You can take one thing out of the bag for each object you put in the bag. However, you have no control over what you get, and there are no trade-backs. Past research seems to imply there’s some sort of correlation to what gets you what, but it’s extremely convoluted and far from understood.
18. Bag of Trick - This bag operates like a Bag of Tricks, except it only works once a week and produces a rat each time it is used.
19. Bag of Unholding - Quite a large backpack but even the smallest item doesn’t fit.
20. Bagpipe of Stealth - Grants the user invisibility as long as it is being played.
21. Ball of Eyes - A snow-globe filled with miniature eyeballs. When shaken, it grants the user a blurry, jittery vision of some future event.
22. Banana Walkie-Talkies - There exist two, and only two, of these items in the world. One of which is possessed by a cranky and lonely half-orc. It appears to be an innocuous wooden banana with a coat of faded yellow paint. When an end (doesn’t matter which one) is placed against your ear, you can hear a ringing followed by a click and a half-orc yelling at you for waking him up at this ungodly hour. If you drop the banana or “hang up,” the call ends. If you stay and listen, the half-orc will yell at you, call out obscenities, and start going on about his daily problems and mishaps in his love life. Every so often (2% chance/day), the banana will ring while you are sleeping and the half-orc will want to talk to you about his problems.
23. Barrel of Holding - This large wooden barrel measuring √(12/π) feet in diameter and 5 feet in height can hold up to 15 cubic feet of matter.
24. Beam Sword of Severed Nerves - A beam sword. It cannot cut anything but nerve strings. Will pass through any other material leaving no harm.
25. Belt of Pants - This belt creates illusory pants on the wearer. The wearer can suppress the illusion at will
26. Belt of Tightening - Every time you put this belt on, all of your clothes permanently shrink a fraction of a millimeter. The effect is compound.
27. Belt of Unbathed Breath - When worn around the waist, allows the user to breathe underwater. Does not function when wet.
28. Boogie Skeleton - This pile of bones is small, such as one that might be obtained from a bird or a toad, though it can look as though it came from any creature. When a song is sung or played in the vicinity of the skeleton, it begins to dance appropriately. As soon as the music stops, it collapses into the pile of bones again. The skeleton, when dancing, can be no larger than Diminutive.
29. Book of Canon - A book that automatically transforms into a copy of the sacred text of any religion, translated into the language the user is most familiar with.
30. Book of Confusion - The letters in this book always appear to be upside down, even if viewed from different directions at the same time. The book is a bad novel about zombies.
31. Book of Curses - When opened, the book verbally berates anyone in the immediate vicinity, calling into question their combat ability, intellect, personal hygiene, lineage and profession of their mothers, and other delightful insults. Once closed the book continues shouting (although it is muffled) until placed inside a bag or some other similar container for 1d4+1 minutes and ignored. Replying to the book in any other way causes the insults to get louder and more childish the more time you spend replying to it.
32. Book of Exalted Deeds - Contains a listing of some of the finest houses ever sold and the specifics of the titles to the properties.
33. Boots of Blinding Speed - The wearer’s speed is doubled, and they are blinded.
34. Boots of Levitation - These boots levitate a few inches off the ground when not worn.
35. Boots of Stylishness - Knee high black boots that are always clean and shiny. They never take in water, thus feet are always dry.
36. Boots of Teleportation - Allows the player to teleport wherever they like, but don’t carry the wearer with them when activated; the boots teleport just fine, though.
37. Boots of Walking - The wearer of the boots cannot run, nor can he take a double move action, and takes a -5 to Tumble checks. These boots are made for walkin’, and that’s just what they’ll do.
38. Bottle of Air - It’s a bottle. Full of air. Congratulations.
39. Bottomless Beer Mug - Any liquid poured into this mug treats the bottom as incorporeal, but solid objects don’t.
40. Bowl of Comfortable Warmth - Any liquid in the bowl will feel comfortably warm, so icy cold water will feel like it’s a bit over room temperature. Do note, however, that it’s still icy cold water, it just feels warmer.
50. Breastplate of Secret Detection - If the wearer of this breastplate gains a piece of information that is somehow connected to the concealment of a hidden conspiracy or plot, a live and still wet red herring forms on the inside of the armor.
51. Bullying Gloves - At random intervals, these gloves instil the wearer with a near-irresistible urge to hit themselves.
52. Bunyan’s Belt - When worn, causes an enormous, bushy black beard to appear on the wearer’s face.
53. Cape of Resistance - When this item is placed on any living thing it somehow manages to fall off, untie itself, slip past the owner’s neck entirely, or otherwise avoid being worn.
54. Case of the Litigator - Translates any document placed in the case into legal jargon; non-reversible. Does not confer the ability to understand legal jargon.
55. Cat of Schrodinger - When this cat is not being observed in any way it is both dead and alive. When something observes it, it suddenly becomes either dead or alive with a 50% chance of either.
56. Chair of Steadiness - This chair can be moved but cannot be tipped over by anything less than a DC 35 Strength check.
57. Charles - This small, unremarkable figurine of a gnome refuses to be called anything but Charles. No other name will leave the lips of the speaker. It has no other powers.
58. Chime of Interruption - This instrument can be struck once every round, which takes a standard action. On any round the chime is activated the user may ready one action without spending an action to do so.
59. Chime of Opening - Commonly affixed to or near doors, when pressed it emits a sound on the interior of the owner’s home to let them know guests have arrived.
60. Chime of Opening (Alternate) - When struck against a solid surface, this chime emits a loud click, and opens along its length, to reveal a tiny compartment adequate to conceal a single 'smoke’ worth of pipeweed or a blowgun needle. When the compartment is closed, it is seamless and can be detected only with a DC 20 Search check. If hit with an instrument such as a small mallet, it chimes.
61. Cloak of Billowing - This black and silver cloak will always billow dramatically behind the wearer, it has no other effects.
62. Cloak of Displacement, Minor - This item appears to be a normal cloak, but when worn by a character its magical properties distort and warp reality. When any attack is made against the wearer the cloak has a 20% chance of falling off, no matter how it is secured.
63. Compacting hammer - The force imparted by it is multiplied, but is spread around the surface of a struck object facing inward.
64. Cymbal of Symbols - This musical instrument enables the user to comprehend dead languages, but only while they are deafened by noise.
65. Dagger of Told Secrets - A simple-looking dagger. If used to backstab someone to death, it will whisper your most embarrassing secret to that person.
66. Dagger of unnatural sharpness - The blade is exceptionally sharp to your touch. It confers no combat bonuses but can be used as a normal dagger for fighting or crafting, but the user seems to always cut himself in minor ways when using it.
67. Dagger of Untold Secrets - A simple looking dagger. If used to backstab someone to death, it will whisper the most embarrassing secret of that person to you.
68. Decanter of Endless Sorrow - A pewter flask that produces limitless alcohol when held to their lips by someone who is troubled. It gets them drunk but they never feel any better.
69. Diadem of Brothaurity - When wearing this headpiece, you are as elegant and well-spoken as a famous diplomat or regent, but you can’t stop calling everyone bro.
70. Enchanted Book of Collected Stories - Opening this will cause miniature creatures/people to pour out and perform a chapter from the book much like a theater.
71. Focusing Ring - The digit on which this ring is worn can be viewed in extremely high definition from a great distance.
72. Gloves of Tinkering - Wearing the gloves will make you able to almost repair any broken item. However, you will always end up with pieces from the item that don’t seem to fit anywhere.
73. Glowing sword of orc detection - When it gets orc blood on it the sword glows.
74. Good Luck ring - Gives your enemies good luck!
75. Greater Staff of Random Summoning - Summons a random creature at a random place. You could be summoning a giant Ogre on the other side of the globe for all you know.
76. Helm of Awareness, The - The wearer is acutely aware of the fact that they are wearing this helmet and that it has a magical effect. - All you need to do to make this work as a DM is frequently remind the player that the helm is magical while they are wearing it but be evasive about exactly what it does.
77. Hoarder’s Wand - Does nothing but for some reason you think it might be important later in your quest.
78. Hood of Offensive Facades - This hood will change your identity in the eyes of others to the appearance of the person they most personally dislike.
79. Hood Of Worrisome Facades - This hood will change your identity in the eyes of others, however the identity used will be random.
80. Indestructible Notebook of Memories - This otherwise normal notepad of normal notepad size cannot be damaged or destroyed, and anything written in it cannot be obscured or defaced. It also has unlimited pages despite its finite size. However, the data it holds only lasts as long as the writer independently remembers it, and decays in exact proportion to the relevant memories. Remember who and when, but not where? Then the words describing the location in that particular entry are the only ones gone.
81. Intransigent Rod - When the button on this artifact is pressed in, the holder’s opinions solidify and they become impossible to convince.
82. Key to anywhere - opens any door into a closet with a water bucket that falls and hits the player’s head. Inside this closet is the treasure of true adventurers. If opened with a key, it opens a closet…
83. Lunch Box of Delicious Unfulfillment - This lunch box will hold whatever food you desire. However you will never get full and the food will deliver no nourishment.
84. Mask of Concealment - Hides the wearer’s face and conceals everything from them by blocking their eyes! Bonus points for requiring a strength check or a time limit to expire to be removed.
85. Mattress of Poverty, The - No matter how you fluff this gorgeous, thick, mattress, you will always sleep on the thin part of it.
86. Mug O’ Dissatisfaction - A mug that always produces a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea when tapped on the bottom. It conjures the opposite of what the tapper prefers, so if you like tea you get coffee and vice versa. Handing the full mug to another person will make the drink in it transform to the opposite of that person’s preferences.
87. Murder Dagger - All damage it would deal is instead replaced by the target being harassed by crows for that many hours.
88. Needle Of Learned Compromise - This needle will create beautiful tattoos of any design, however they hurt a tiny bit more. When used to sew it is entirely normal.
89. Portable Dark Tavern Corner - Consisting of two wooden boards connected by a hinge, this artifact draws those nearby into assuming it is a perfect spot to conduct seedy business.
90. Potion of fire breathing - For the length of time that the potion is in effect, every breath out is on fire, whether you want it to be or not.
91. Potion of Quelchment - Cures thirst when consumed
92. Ring of Fire Detection - becomes warm when placed into Fire.
93. Ring of First Impression - Wearing the ring will make you able to perform a perfect handshake with the hand wearing it.
94. Ring of Stoneskin - Turns your skin, muscles, and organs into stone! Character is now a stationary statue. Can’t be reversed until someone takes the ring off.
95. Rope of Entanglement - Becomes entangled when left in a pack
96. Sack of Hive Eggs - Crushing one of the numerous tiny eggs will cause the thoughts of everybody in the proximity to merge. Everybody can hear what you think and you can hear everybody.
97. Shirt of fire protection - this shirt is sopping wet.
98. Shoes of the Restless Traveler - These shoes allow their user to run for miles without feeling fatigue, but if they try to do anything else with it (walk, sit down, jump), they will instantly trip
99. Sword of Parrying - Parries every attack, swinging it yourself will force it to “parry” your opponent’s weapon/attack even though he/she/it is defenseless.
100. Torch of Night Vision - grants bearer Night Vision while lit.
101. Vorpal Grindstone - It can “sharpen” any object to become vorpal. Any object.
102. Wand of command - Lets your character be controlled after saying the command word!
103. Wand of Create Wand of Create Wand - Creates a Wand of Create Wand. Consumes original Wand.
104. Wand of Pigeon Summoning - summons 1d20 pigeons everyday. On a 20 it breaks and summons a giant pigeon god (can be the size of Godzilla or like 5 pigeons.) Giant pigeon god should be in the mid 20s for CR, but is uninterested in attacking, and will simply fly away when summoned.
105. Water Hat, The - A small red hat, when worn, causes water to pour from the wearer’s fingers at the speed and pressure of a kitchen faucet at half power.
106. Wineskin of the Eternal Primary - This wineskin never runs out of water, but even the tiniest sip makes you have to go potty, like, super bad. Right now.
Combat is easy to describe compared to narrating spell attacks. I ran into this problem last session when I was getting into detail telling the barbarian how they tore off an ogre’s head but then the druid just kept using Fire Bolt and I kept defaulting to “you shoot a bolt of fire at his face.” I’m going to try and vary things up with these lists and help everyone else in the process! I am organizing them by energy type.
Mode of Attack
Half of a spell’s attack is how the caster shapes their spell. The same spell can look very different with every casting if you have a creative DM. Feel free to switch it up each time it’s cast, or vary the same spell when cast by different characters of different classes.
Generic shapes and terms that will launch from the caster’s hand.
Energy manifests from thin air a foot in front of their instrument as they play
Energy is shaped like ribbons of written music that ripples towards enemies
Several tiny motes of energy appear with each note sung or played. Each point of damage comes from a mote hitting the opponent (rolls a 4 out of a d6, 4 of the 6 note-motes hit)
Energy falls from the sky or emerges from the ground as the cleric prays
Beam of energy originates from holy symbol
Spell attack should highlight that the cleric is granted their powers from a greater power, don’t have the energy come from their hand/finger. Have the energy come TO them, and then be thrown at the enemy.
Energy is shaped like an animal.
Energy rushes forth from the surrounding wilderness and zooms past the druid and toward the foe.
Much like Cleric, energy shouldn’t come from the caster. It should come from elsewhere before being thrown at the enemy.
Fighter (Eldritch Knight)
Energy blasts from their bound weapon pointed at the enemy.
Energy fires from their mouth as they yell.
Energy surrounds their weapon and is used in tandem with it (if close enough)
Monk (Way of Four Elements)
Literally just watch Avatar: the Last Airbender and do that.
Most Paladin spells are smite-based, so they usually happen when an attack hits. Otherwise, let the energy come from a higher power like the Cleric.
Energy bursts forth from within the creature hit
Energy surrounds weapon right as the strike lands
Energy falls from the sky or erupts from the ground
Honestly, most Ranger spells often seem a lot like man-made traps like Cordon of Arrows (arrow traps), Fog Cloud (smoke grenade), or Grasping Vine (slipknot trap). But otherwise, Play it like the Cleric where the energy comes from a higher power.
Energy takes the form of the Ranger’s animal companion or an animal they associate with.
Spells seem to cast automatically whenever the Ranger is in a tight spot, almost as if nature itself is protecting them. The Ranger gives an approving nod whenever this happens in thanks.
Rogue (Arcane Trickster)
Energy is always accompanied by a shimmer of glitter
The Rogue plays with the energy over their fingertips as they whistle before casting the spell.
Energy enchants one of the Rogue’s daggers and casts the spell by tossing the dagger at the intended location or target.
Sorcerer (Draconic Bloodline)
Energy takes the shape of a dragon of your bloodline.
Energy surges forth from your breath
All energy takes the shape of your bloodline dragon’s energy type, regardless of the actual energy type. For instance, a sorcerer of a blue dragon’s bloodline that casts Burning Hands or Cone of Cold keeps the energy type but shapes the fire and cold damage into the form of a bolt of lightning.
Sorcerer (Wild Magic)
Energy takes on many random forms, never under the full command of the Sorcerer.
Energy erupts from random places in the environment when the Sorcerer calls upon them.
Energy bubbles and fizzes with all energy types (but mostly the one called upon), as if a piece of Limbo was thrown at the enemy.
Your energy shimmers with iridescent colors and showers enemies with sparks of glitter.
Warlock (Great Old One)
Your magic corrupts and twists the flesh of the target of your spell, regardless of the energy type.
Energy takes the shape of the unholy symbol of your patron.
Energy shoots forth from your magical wards, arcing towards your enemies.
You conjure a short-lived elemental of the energy type you need. It soars at the enemy.
You weave the glowing threads of fate in the palms of your hands, tweaking reality to cast your spell.
You enchant an object to exude the energy and toss it at the enemy.
I mean, you just sorta blast them. That’s what this school’s about.
Your spell usually spawns two or three illusory copies. When the attack misses, the enemy simply managed to dodge the right duplicate.
Your energy takes the shape of a skull screaming as it flies toward the enemy
You transmute the energy out of the surrounding environment and fire it at the enemy
So if half of a spell’s attack is the shape and travel of the spell, the other half is when the spell hits. I organized this list by energy type, as different energies will do different sorts of things when they hit a creature. This is mostly a collection of interesting effects, colorful language, and examples.
Your bolt of fire singes their armor (burning cloth, blackening leather, discoloring metal)
A tiny bead of fire explodes on contact
Showers them with red sparks
Your attack leaves behind a billowing trail of smoke
A fast-travelling meteor of flame soars from the sky towards the enemy.
Your flames leave blisters and cracked skin in its wake.
Your fire blackens the enemy’s flesh
You freeze the moisture in the air into icy daggers that fall onto your enemy
You freeze the water in their blood to damage them
Their skin turns blue and numb
You literally hurl a snowball at them.
Your spell leaves them covered in a layer of frost
A buildup of ice covers where your spell hit. (it’s easily shattered once they move, though)
A blast of icy wind and rain leaves them shivering.
A crack of thunder pummels your foe
A high-pitched, deafening shriek focuses itself on the target
A thin trail of blood races from the foe’s ears from a sound no one else can hear
The enemy falls to their knees cupping their hands over their ears, gritting their teeth
You buffet the target with waves of thunderous sound
The ground shakes with the force of your spell. Brittle glass objects nearby shatter.
Lightning comes from the sky to smite your foe
You all smell the faint odor of ozone before a bright bolt of lightning streaks toward the target of your spell
Before your enemy can blink they are showered in electrical sparks followed by crippling pain
The enemy’s back stiffens as the powerful current of lightning surges through them
Your attack leaves a permanent web of lightning shaped burns all over one side of their body
Your blast of lightning causes their skin to rupture as it travels through their body
Your acid sizzles as it burns a new, unnatural color into their skin
The attack melts their flesh, leaving them permanently disfigured at the site of the spell
Your spell’s acid causes blue fire to burn where it hit their skin, and bleaches their armor and belongings
A rancid smell fills the foe’s nostrils as the acid bubbles on their bare skin, burning through the simple cloth of their shirt.
You spew a poisonous cloud from your mouth at your opponent
A spectral viper or insect is flung at the opponent, biting them and filling them with magical venom
Your index and middle finger each grow a poisonous fang which you sink into your opponent’s arm (melee range spell attacks only)
The enemy’s mouth fills with a foul tasting liquid which forces its way down their throat
Your target’s flesh bubbles and boils as a black ichor sputters from the spell’s origin
The foe’s flesh festers with magical disease as boils and wounds quickly cover the affected area
A skeletal hand wriggles free from beneath the earth, flying towards the target
An incorporeal undead shrieks as it flies from your finger toward the enemy to deliver the spell’s effect
Black energy swirls around your arm before launching towards the enemy as if it had a life of its own
Your iridescent blue magic enters the target’s body and afflicts their soul, making them momentarily dazed as their eyes glaze over.
A holy light shines from the skies to harm your target, regardless of time of day or obstructions
A halo of radiant energy surrounds your head and blinds the target as they gaze upon it
Enemies that aren’t of your alignment hear the whispers of your deity moments before being enveloped in a blinding white light
The foe’s eyes and mouth emit warm light and they howl in pain
A blade of radiant energy slashes through the victim, leaving a trail of blinking motes of light in its wake
The enemy’s skin blisters from the raw positive energy surging through them
So essentially this whole post was a creative writing assignment for myself, but I hope that it gives you guys new creative ideas for new spells or new ways to describe existing spells! They don’t much affect the mechanics of the spell at all, so most DMs I suspect will be fine with most of these descriptions if you want your character to cast spells a certain way.
Modern nerd culture is great because not only can you and your friends sit around a table for four hours playing make believe, you can now sit around a table for four hours with a computer watching other people sit around a table for four hours playing make believe
There are initially four different ways to use the Bestow Curse spell in D&D 5e. Those are as follows:
Disadvantage on ability checks and saves for one ability score
Disadvantage on attacks against you
WIS save or do nothing during a given round
+1d8 necrotic damage when you damage them
The spell normally lasts for a minute, but if cast with a 9th level slot, it lasts until dispelled, which is worth noting because the best curses last until dispelled. if cast with a 4th level slot, it lasts for 10 minutes. A 5th level slot is 8 hours. A 7th level slot is 24 hours. These all have their uses for creative players, but the best part of the spell by far is the encouragement to invent your own curses, which many players and DMs have taken as a challenge for their own creativity. So while it is certainly not new, it’s my turn to take a crack at it!
* - A curse marked with an asterisk is a 9th-level only curse due to its powerful detriment or long-lasting nature. But who is to stop you from enchanting an innocuous item with such a curse?
Hair Growth/Loss: You are cursed to grow hair at a rapid rate for the duration of the curse or else lose all of your hair (it grows back after the curse ends).
Mute/Deaf/Blind: You are rendered either mute, deaf, or blind for the duration of the curse.
Forbidden Speech: You are cursed to never speak about a certain subject, topic, or word for the duration of the curse.
*Rapid Aging/Deaging: You are cursed to either age by one year each day, or to grow one year younger each day. After you reach your final day, you die.
*Phylactery: Your fate becomes tied to a creature or object. If the creature or object is slain/destroyed, you die as well.
Ugliness: You are cursed with horrible deformity for the duration of the curse. You have -5 on Persuasion checks and Deception checks for the duration and are easily noticed and shunned by most humanoids of any race.
image source: Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn
Possessed Limb: One of your limbs (usually an arm) acts on its own for the duration of the curse, usually attempting to harm its host, harm others, or sow chaos.
Petrified Limb: One of your limbs becomes petrified and is unable to be used for the duration of the curse. It could turn into any solid mineral like stone, iron, glass, salt, or gold. Any damage it takes is retained once the curse is lifted.
Funny Looking: For the duration of the curse, anyone who you attempt to communicate with bursts into uncontrollable laughter. This does not prevent hostile creatures from attacking you, but prevents them from speaking.
Lichsight: For the duration of the curse, you can see the spirits of the dead. Whether real or illusory, you cannot communicate with them and you must make a WIS saving throw each round or become frightened and run in a random direction or cower in place (50%/50%).
Butterfingers: Each round while the curse is active, you must make a DEX saving throw. On a failed save, you drop whatever you are holding and cannot pick up or hold anything for the rest of the round.
Forgetful: You have a tendency to forget things. During the curse, whenever new information is revealed to your character, you have a 50% chance to not be able to remember it, even after the curse has ended.
*Lady of Shalott: You are doomed to die if you ever lay eyes directly upon another being, and must therefore look at the world through a mirror and avoid direct sight of others. The difficulty of maneuvering a hand mirror or the necessity to close your eyes effectively makes you blinded while in combat, imposing disadvantage on attack rolls.
Stingy: During the curse, you must make a WIS saving throw whenever you intend to part with money. On a failed save, you opt not to spend your money on it. You cannot make another such save for the same purchase, even from a different seller.
Empty Coinpurse: You are compelled to buy things until all of your wealth has disappeared. You will even go so far as to barter your own goods once out of money. Whenever you find something for sale, you must make a WIS saving throw. On a failed save, you will do anything you can to attempt to purchase it or trade for it. Only if the seller refuses three times will you give up.
*Baleful Polymorph: You are transformed into a small creature or tiny animated object for the duration of the curse. You retain the ability to speak using a disembodied voice emanating from the creature or object, usually paired with animation like a moving mouth (if a creature) or a mouth-shaped part (if an object; like a book opening and closing its covers and such). You can move with a move speed of 10 ft. per round if an object.
image source: Star vs. the Forces of Evil
Talking Tumor: You grow a tumor-like second head that can speak that embarrasses, berates, or otherwise annoys and inconveniences you. It has +6 for Persuasion, Deception, and Intimidation checks, helping it be a complete jerk.
Evil Aura: Plants within 15 ft. of you wilt and turn brown or gray and animals within 60 ft. feel afraid or threatened by you for the duration of the curse.
Bad Taste: Eating food or drinking water causes you to become poisoned for 1d6 hours, or for the duration of the curse.
Bad Luck: Whenever you have advantage for the duration of the curse, you instead have disadvantage.
*Prophecy: You become destined to die under certain circumstances. Whenever it is possible for those circumstances to be met, you must make a relevant saving throw (falling boulder? DEX save. Poisoned apple? CON save. etc.) or begin dying. The victim cannot be threatened by the curse more than once every 2d4 hours. The curse will take increasingly convoluted measures to try and make the prophecy come true the longer the curse lasts.
*Guardian: The victim is polymorphed into a hostile creature of CR 6 or less. The victim is given some sort of command like guarding a location or spreading suffering, and will continue to do so until the curse is lifted or they are slain. They revert to their regular form if they are slain. The victim cannot communicate and is hostile to all creatures. The creature becomes immune to the charmed condition.
image source: Sleeping Beauty by Henry Meynell Rheam
Slumber: You fall into a deep slumber and cannot be awoken until the curse is lifted.
Eternal Rest: If slain while under the curse, you cannot be resurrected by any means even after the curse fades.
Phantasm: You believe that you have been polymorphed into a small creature (like a toad or chicken) and act as such for the duration of the curse.
Unquenchable Thirst/Hunger: You feel eternally hungry and thirsty. You must make a WIS saving throw whenever you encounter food or drink, no matter how dangerous or questionable it might be (swamp water, obviously poisoned food, moldy bread, etc.). On a failed save, you consume it.
*Obedience: Whenever someone you can understand issues a verbal command to you while you are cursed, you are compelled to obey. You may attempt a WIS saving throw to resist a given command for one minute.
Hold your tongue! (Ella Enchanted)
Magical Immunity: You become immune to nonharmful spells for the duration of the curse. Spells cast by enemies or damaging spells still affect you, but healing spells and buffs do not.
Unhealing Wound: A wound you have will never heal. Your maximum hit points are reduced by 2d4+the caster’s spellcasting modifier. This curse cannot reduce a creature’s health to 0 in this way.
*Wandering: While under the effects of the curse, you are compelled to wander. Each day at dawn, you must leave and never return to the same city/town or 2.5 mile radius (if in the wilderness).
*Deadly Descendants: All of your descendants are cursed to kill their birth parents, whether intentionally or not.
*Lonliness: You are cursed to die alone. Anyone you become romantically close to or close friends eventually leaves or dies or meets a horrible fate.
*Gargoyle: You are petrified during the daytime and return to normal at night for the duration of the curse.
Voyager: You cannot set foot on dry land for the duration of the curse, taking 1d6 psychic damage each round that you do.
Yes, there’s always a Wish spell or a Remove Curse spell, but I often believe that if any cleric can remove a curse it undercuts the drama of the punishing spell. Instead, use an alternative way to remove the curse. Most of it depends on how the curse was placed and the reasoning behind it. For instance, if you refuse to give a gypsy shelter from the cold in your luxurious castle, you might get transformed into a beast until someone falls in love with you. Here are some ways that one could feasibly break a curse (if the situation allows).
Give back an item that was stolen from the caster
Complete a quest or mission for the caster
Kill the caster
Pass the curse onto someone else (through some deliberate means like a handshake or kiss or losing a wager)
Seek out a powerful extraplanar being
Seek out special magical ingredients for a cure
Find a loophole in the wording of the curse (either through tricky wording or by finding a liminal loophole. “No man of woman born” could exclude a man born by C-section. “Neither day nor night” could exclude twilight)
Change your alignment (an evil or chaotic character learns to be good or lawful.)
Change your ideal or traits after learning some sort of lesson
Overcome one of your flaws.
Let the curse run its course instead of fighting it.
Find true love/True love’s kiss etc.
Prove your worth to the caster
Atone for past sins
Selflessly risk your life for someone else
Convert a creature to worshiping the caster’s deity
Avenge the caster
image source: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Feel free to use this list and add to it your own ideas for curses! There are so many possibilities that it’s never out of the question to find a new curse that uses arbitrary magical rules to drive the plot of a story. I guess that makes curses the sitcoms of the fantasy world.
As Daenerys Targaryen rose to her feet, her black hissed, pale smoke venting from its mouth and nostrils. The other two pulled away from her breasts and added their voices to the call, translucent wings unfolding and stirring the air, and for the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons.