Monday, December 19, 2011

The Damned

So, maybe you summoned a demon and negotiations went poorly.  Maybe you made a dark deal with dire consequences.  Maybe you accidentally murdered a Gypsy witch.  Maybe you ran afoul of the Fair Folk.  Maybe you crossed a pantheon of uncaring, thrill-seeking gods.

More importantly: maybe you're stuck on how this all turns out.  Maybe you're a GM looking for inspiration, or maybe it's game day and you literally never thought that the PCs were going to butcher the friendly Gypsy fortune-teller.

Take a breath.  The Random Damnation Table is there to help you out...after a fashion.

Pick or roll 1d20:

1 - Food is no longer palatable. The afflicted character either eats less, or just has a general malaise about eating.

2 - The character automatically fails an important roll in the future. This failure is likely spectacular — you don't miss, you accidentally throw the magic sword into the nearby pond.

3 - The character is cursed with bad luck. Critical failures, if they exist in the game, have an increased likelihood of occurring. If they do not exist (as in 4e), they are activated.

4 - The character is afflicted with malaise, suffering a penalty to all actions.

5 - Animals react badly to the character. Depending upon the interpretation of the curse, this may include magical creatures; typically, sapient creatures should be exempt (although maybe this acts like Disquiet instead).

6 - A misfortune will remove all the character's worldly goods.

7 - The character gets a wound that will never heal, causing permanent health loss. Alternately, the next wound the character sustains never heals.

8 - A limb withers and atrophies or is removed. Pick a limb or roll a d4 (1=right arm, 2=left arm, 3=right leg, 4=left leg). If a hand or arm is missing, characters cannot hold anything with that hand. If a leg is missing or mishapen, it adversely affects the character's movement rate. Either affects climbing ability.

9 - The damned receives a slow, wasting illness.

10 - A person close to the character is affected by the curse instead; roll again but apply the result to someone important to the character. If the character is one of those heartless loner types, ignore this result.

11 - The character is struck mute (frequently an ironic curse for bards and wizards).

12 - The character is struck deaf.

13 - The character is struck blind.

14 - The damned is cursed to never sleep. The character never benefits from sleep, and if penalties accrue, they eventually stop, but can never be erased. Sorry about those daily spells.

15 - The character is cursed to always wander. Bad things happen whenever the character stays in one place for more than 24 hours. Bad things might continue if the character returns within a time limit, such as a week or a month. Note that this could be anything — bandits might attack, disasters might happen, or the land itself might reject the character.

16 - The character is cursed to forever be alone. Bad things happen to people who associate with the character, or everyone somehow becomes convinced that the character is a truly bad person who must be killed.

17 - Food is no longer nutritious. Maybe it turns to ash in the afflicted character's mouth, or maybe it just no longer satisfies. Life might continue for a week or two, but starvation's a pretty nasty way to go.

18 - The damned character is immediately struck dead.

19 - The character does not die immediately, but instead is cursed to suffer some terrible misfortune (likely involving death) at a future point. At the GM's option, the character might have premonitions of this disaster, resulting in occasional nightmares (these may cause penalties the following day).

20 - Roll twice, taking both results.

Most curses last until the curse is broken; somebody casts remove curse or the character finds the Gypsy fortune-teller's youngest daughter and secures her forgiveness.  Some take effect instantly, and "breaking" the curse involves healing the condition; the character fails the important action, the character dies and is successfully raised, or the missing limb is regenerated.

(At the GM's discretion, some curses may be placed on the entire party, such as if everyone in the group stands in a circle and brandishes iron at a fae noble.)

However, some particularly potent hexers (fae nobles, archdemons, uncanny wise women) may be able to extend the curse to affect whole lineages.  If you're stuck, roll another d20 for examples:

1-12 - The curse runs until broken, as normal.  Depending upon the GM's ideas for the curse, death might also break the curse (this isn't recommended if the party has somehow turned the Pearly Gates into the Revolving Doors).

13-15 - The curse affects the target beyond death; the target will be cursed to remain as a ghost until the curse is broken.  Raising the target might cause the ghost to disappear, but it certainly won't remove the curse.

16-17 - The curse affects the target's children as well, unless the curse is broken.  If the character gets result 18 (death), upgrade to result 19 (fated to die) instead.  If the curse is otherwise temporary (such as result 2, fail an important action), perhaps it has some lingering effect (or just reroll).  This sort of curse will also subtly encourage the character to have children, even if s/he is cursed to forever be alone.

18-19 - The curse affects the target's grandchildren as well, unless the curse is broken.   If the character gets result 18 (death), upgrade to result 19 (fated to die) instead. If the curse is otherwise temporary (such as result 2, fail an important action), perhaps it has some lingering effect (or just reroll). This sort of curse will also subtly encourage the character to have children, even if s/he is cursed to forever be alone.

20 - The curse affects the target's whole lineage until broken.   If the character gets result 18 (death), upgrade to result 19 (fated to die) instead. If the curse is otherwise temporary (such as result 2, fail an important action), perhaps it has some lingering effect (or just reroll). This sort of curse will also subtly encourage the character to have children, even if s/he is cursed to forever be alone.

Finally, note that these penalties escalate such that powerful characters may have modifiers to the d20 roll.  Portoblax, Archdemon of the Hell of Desperate Men, could get a +5 to the Damnation Table and a +3 to the Lineage Table.  Faerie Princess Tatiyana of the Burning Glade gets a +2 to the Damnation Table but gets a +6 to the Lineage Table.

As always, tweak as necessary.

1 comment:

  1. I am ever in awe of the things that come out of your brain. I think this is my favourite table yet. I want to play in more games with curses.

    ReplyDelete

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