phylacteries

D&D Curses

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!

Unique Curses

* - 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.

Removing Curses

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.

Cleric: I read the Lich’s phylactery-slash-diary, after crushing the soul container part.

DM: As you read through the pages, you discover how she became a Lich, choosing fealty to the even more powerful Demi-Lich. As you flip to the final page, a skull appears.

Demi-Lich, in a deep, ominous, stoner voice: Not cool, my dude. *the cleric slams the book shut and starts to run* NOT. COOL.

Cleric: LEAVING. LEAVING!

Demi-Lich: NOT. COOOL, MY DUDE.

lup thoughts:

-liches are sustained by strong emotion, and barry started to fall apart when he found out the thb didn’t trust him. “trust barry, love barry” are instructions for keeping barry alive
-lup’s corpse was in wave echo cave, and nearly every time she’s taken control of the umbra staff its been to cast some kind of fire magic. therefore lup created the gauntlet and fire was her thing
-lup could be lucretias initials? barry talked in the flashback about how he needed for lup to not know he was still alive, and that she’d ‘vilified’ him (probably in the eyes of the other red robes?), and he said more or less the same thing about lucretia to the thb. either way lucretia is definitely a red robe
-chalupa theory time. you knew this was coming
-when istus was scrolling through taakos memories, the ones of his childhood had some pretty significant parts missing. griffin made a point to draw attention to how we “aren’t seeing the whole picture” and a missing twin would fill that gap pretty well
-evocation is the destructive school of magic. since thats what lup specialises in, it’s perfectly plausible that taakos instinct to stay out of fights comes from lup being the one to always pick them
-there’s no reason to pronounce 'lup’ as 'loop’ instead of 'lupp’ unless it was part of a longer word
-i would like to point out that i totally called the umbrella being a phylactery, like, as early as the crystal kingdom. i called that shit
-griffin joked on day one about taakos family coming into play as a major plot point later on. griffin has joked before about bringing barry back. i would put nothing past him

LUP theory

thoughts about LUP after this episode, because holy shit did we learn a lot (spoiler warning episode 58):

1. LUP is the Red Robe who was in Wave Echo Cave with the gauntlet, and she was the owner of the umbra staff. It would explain why Barry freaked out at the umbra staff in episode 35 and why the staff burned LUP into the wall in Lunar Interlude IV, plus Barry said in this episode that Wave Echo Cave is a place LUP would go to

Red Robe: Wha- What? Where di-? What did you? YOU FOUND HER?

It’s an ancient dwarves vault containing artifacts of immeasurable power. It is exactly where LUP would have hidden the gauntlet.

2. The umbra staff is LUP’s phylactery (basically, the object her soul is stored in), which means….

3. LUP is the voice Taako heard when he put on the telepathy band, because she was talking to him through the umbra staff and trying to get him to trust Barry

anonymous asked:

Okay, so I am DM'ing a campaign and my players are picking up a package from a black market merchant. I've built this package up to be pretty ominous an dangerous, but I don't know what the package is...help?

Skin that can transform to look like any human, and sound like them despite being made of only skin. No eyeballs. No vocal cords. Its smart, tricky, and can grow larger by taking more flesh from others.

A [item] that is actually a lich’s phylactery. The package gives off bad luck and gives villagers a sense of dread.

The package has a small opening for food. You cannot see inside of it. You are given several packages for food. You are to give one a day [or however often you want]. Each serving gets bigger and bigger until the last one, which is a butchered body. The thing inside the package has no troubles getting everything through the small opening. [could be an ooze, a quickly growing hatchling, etc]

A large number of cockatrice eggs. Touch them with your bare hands, you turn to stone. You crack any eggs, they hatch and cause chaos. 

A meteorite. It hums. It whispers to those around it. It can control metal objects within 30 meters, so long as the metal objects aren’t held by a player. 

The body speaks, and it says, “I am made of my mother’s blood, I cannot contain it forever. The marrow flows out of my bones, as sanguine and semen, and is drunk by my lover. I die in pouring out my offerings.” This is, if you will, the male formula, which is death, and it is the practice of annihilation that men need, rather than clinging to the Victorian fallacy of the will, the vigilised sigil or whatever other phylacteries used to avoid facing the loss of the self in the beloved. This is the death meditation of the lover, whose symbols are always the skull and the rose, and whose ordeal is symbolised by the black box.
—  Peter Grey, Becoming No-Man

duskhaze  asked:

Honestly I'm just trying to figure out how lup got INTO the umbrella??? knowing what we know of her character i can't imagine she'd just go, "wellp im just going to lay down by this wall and die while somehow getting my soul sucked into this umbrella!!" the only thing i can think of is that she's a lich like Barry (since it SEEMS to b implied that Barry wasn't a lich at the start at least) and when she died the umbra staff ate her against her will since that form is pure magical energy??

things we know about lupbrella:
- is aware of her surroundings in there, since she blasted her name into the wall and tried to defend herself from kravitz
-is able to move the umbrella independently, although shes only ever used this to get herself back to taako, so this ability might be limited
-is all the same not in full control of the umbrella, since it still ate jenkins wand and edwards edward (the function of normal, non-possessed umbra staffs) (although maybe she just allowed this to happen bc she had no reason not to)

things we know about lups corpse situation:
-she was locked in a cave only openable with merle/gundrans blood. whether she was trapped there or deliberately hid herself there is unknown.
-they found her corpse “huddled” against the wall, with the umbrella stashed deep in her robes. it felt very set up and tidy, no sign of a struggle.
-when she was communicating telepathically with taako, she only did so when they were still outside barrys hideout, which we know was close to wave echo cave - and griffin described the voice as sounding distant, like it wsa coming from a cave a couple hundred feet away (not an exact quote, but he did say cave and gave a certain distance). we also know taakos telepathy bracelet has a specific range

reasons lup could or would give up her physical form:
-lucretia erased all memory of their mission with a voidfish. the voidfishes powers dont work on you if youre dead. lup would have wanted to remember more than she would have wanted to stay alive
-kravitz said he detected a lich, and that it wasnt taako. the way liches work is that they have to store their soul in an object at which they can reform when their body is destroyed, effectively making them able to exist permanently in the material plane despite being dead. barrys phylactery is presumably his coin. lup was close to barry and thus could have learned from him the same soul-binding spell. barry didnt know where she was or even that she was dead, so if she did cast that spell she did it all herself

so my current theory is: lup sealed herself in the cave and turned herself into a lich as a last ditch effort to escape lucretias mutiny

the only thing i dont get is, if her soul is in the umbrella, why was her voice coming from the cave? otherwise, it all checks out.

sweetteaowl  asked:

Sad headcannon ahead: the red robe from here there be gerblins that had the umbra staff was Lupe and Taakos been carrying it around this whole time not knowing and now he remembers. Also what if the staff absorbed Lupe like it did the lich from wonderland?

um, i think instead of headcanon, you mean 

a legit theory i’ve been fukcing clinging to this whole time

but instead of it absorbing her so she’d have no agency inside of the umbra staff, i think she bound her soul to it like a phylactery and now essentially IS the umbra staff. thats why it doesn’t like being used by anyone except taako, and it tried to attack kravitz on its own (if lup is a lich too, she’d have reason not to like kravitz/death), and it spelled out LUP with scorching ray, and barry said “YOU FOUND HER?!” when he first noticed the umbra staff in crystal kingdom, and taako heard the voice of a woman that he knew he loved saying “love barry, trust barry” as soon as he turned on his telepathy item

so yes, taako looted his sister’s dead body in gerblins, but thats what she wanted. because she’s been with him this entire time, protecting him from inside the umbra staff

so. liches do this thing. where they bind their soul to an item called a phylactery, which can be any item, and that keeps them immortal. in a sense, that item just BECOMES them and if you destroy that item you destroy the lich

kravitz sensed the presence of a lich around taako, and there’s been a lich secretly following tres horny boys in wonderland. taako took his umbrella from a red robe

bigger dnd nerds than me have probably thought of this miles before me but im betting that the umbra staff is the phylactery of that lich that’s been helping them. he wants to be used by taako only, maybe since taako is a pretty powerful wizard has been using the staff and feeding it other wands, maybe making the phylactery more powerful. if that’s the case, i can see why it would be in this lich’s best interest to help them. 

maybe it has something to do with that picture of magnus in a red robe, too…but magnus did hear the lich’s voice say “if you look at that (the picture) it will be harder for me to be able to help you” so….i think there’s something that magnus has been forced to forget having to do with the red robes and possibly the umbra staff, and the lich that is connected to the umbra staff does not want him to remember. its possibly even afraid of magnus, since it rejected him in the felicity wilds like that.

i have a feeling it’s all connected to the figures taako keeps seeing in the ethereal plane, too.

“mages still have some form of defense”

actually no, against templars mages have absolutely no defence. 

they’re mages, even arcane warriors (who can wield a sword) can only do so with the input of their magical power. so when a templar smites and drains a mage of their mana they are completely fucking vulnerable, doubly so for circle mages who wouldn’t have access to any other weapon or training 

list of shit that can be done to hinder magic

  • ‘holy smite’ - a templar spec move that not only drains a mage of mana but also does spirit damage
  • ‘cleanse’ - another templar spec move that literally renders all magic useless in a nearby area 
  • ‘mage bane’ a poison that drains mana and suppresses its regeneration

but nah, even when mages are metaphysically collared using blood magic phylacteries and are completely powerless to fight back against their templar jailers some of y’all still wanna play like that’s not oppression