I am in the middle of a Stephen King reread, so, after reading ‘Thinner’ this weekend, I figured I’d whip up some Gypsy curses that would make Taduz Lemke proud. A 1d20 chart of gypsy curses with their explanations beneath. I mostly play First Ed AD&D, but any DM with chops can melt it down to their own system of choice, besides, I don’t go into too much detail anyway. It’s up to the DM to determine how much of an irritant they are going to be. The only real pain in the arse with curses are clerics. They come along, snap their fingers, and Hey Presto, curse removed. You need to find a way around it or it’s no fun at all. In the book, the main character can never destroy the curse, all he can do is give it to someone else. So in essence, the curse is never vanquished, it just becomes a hellish chain letter which spreads from person to person. I like that, so I think that’s how I’m going to play it. To make it even tougher, the curse can only be given to someone that they know/love/respect, and not just some random stranger they pass in the street. You could also make these into a minor plot point because they now have to go off and break the curse. Anyway, here you go:
Any time the player would touch anything metal, they will be given a short, sharp, shock that will deal 1-3 hp Dmg. This will happen every 1d4 rounds. So, if the player goes for a sword with a metal handle, Bzzzt they get shocked, however, if it has leather wrapped around the handle they should be fine, until they accidently touch the cross guard … Also, this will make wearing metal armour a near death experience, unless of course they are fully clothed beneath it and no part of their skin is touching it. If someone would deal them damage with a metallic weapon, on an exposed piece of skin, they will still take Shock damage. Also, because of the Shock, the player’s hair turns white.
The player will be constantly hungry, stomach growlingly hungry and will stop at nothing to fill the empty void, even stealing from their friends and looting through their backpacks. If in a village/town/city the player will think nothing of spending all their treasure on food. While in this state they are pretty much useless as every waking second is consumed with looking for it, talking about it, thinking about it, and finally, eating it.
Once a day the player will find themselves doing something completely out of character, so much so, that there will be a gradual shift in alignment to the opposite of what they are when the curse first struck them. A true neutral could go either way, that’s up to the DM. So, if the player is notoriously tight-fisted with their cash, the next time they are in a town they could donate it all to the local orphanage. In turn, if a player is known for their generosity, they might actually break into the orphanage to see what money they could steal.
For a good idea on how this plays out, read the book. But, in a nutshell, the player will begin to lose weight rapidly, shedding massive amounts of fat daily. Armour will no longer fit and will in fact be more of a hindrance than a help. Every week the PC will lose a Constitution point until dead.
The Player begins to sweat, excessively. If they were consuming one water-skin a day, then for the first week that doubles, and in the second week, doubles again. They will need to find somewhere to store all the excess skins or hire more people to help carry them. Also, wearing anything more than a robe will be impossible. They have to try and remain cool at all cost. Because of the excess heat and sweat, there is a 20% chance per round, that when in combat, they will drop their weapon.
Once the player has been given their share of the loot, and anytime they want to try and spend it on something, they will find that whatever coin they try and use will turn to copper, or a type of metal that is completely worthless. While the coins are in their possession they are normal, gold, silver etc. But as soon as they’re not, they’ll change. Also, whomever they are trying to give them too, will see the change and will no longer be interested in doing business with them.
Whenever this player handles an edged weapon (anything that has a sharp bit, or a pointy bit is fair game, from swords to spears to arrows) they become dull and lose their edge, to the tune of a -1 to damage. Each week thereafter will be worse, just how bad is up to you. If the player wields a mace or a stave, or anything considered to already be dull, there is a 20% per combat that the weapon will break.
Starts slowly at first, but become progressively worse. Loses 1d4 teeth the first week, 1d6 six the next and so it goes until they are all gone. Big changes to the players eating habits, speech patterns, and also, if they are spell-casters, there will be problems with the verbal component of their spells. Possibly include a failure roll to see if they get the spell off as intended?
They slowly lose their ability to hit with ranged weapons. At first it’s say a, -1 to hit, then -2 etc. Until they couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with their helmet from six feet away.
Tripping over their own feet at every turn, dropping weapons when they need them the most. Butterfingers extraordinaire and born with two left feet. Penalties to their dexterity will apply over time, making them easier to hit, not because their armour is weakened, but because they are so clumsy they fall into harm’s way. If the character is of the Thief persuasion then they will revert back to first level thief statistics with a huge penalty levelled against them.
Nods off at the most inopportune times, like when you’re crossing a rope bridge over a river of lava for example. Find the most exciting time for it, then let the player make a Saving Throw versus Spells ( no bonuses need apply) then have them roll a d10 for how many rounds they’ll be asleep.
12. Blood, Sweat and Tears
Blood seeps from the skin, tears from the eyes, and sweat drips from their brow…constantly. Makes it uncomfortable to see, and of course be seen. Leak 2hp per day until death takes them.
Seen the Foley engineer clip-clopping coconuts together to mimic the sound of a horses hooves? Well, walk in silence no more! Every time you move, it sounds like a shoed horse on stone. Clip-clop. The fun never stops.
I came to get down, I came to get down…So get out your seats and jump around… Jump around around…Jump up, jump up and get down. Jump, jump, jump, jump…. Jump around. Non-Stop.
Complexion becomes pale. Develops allergies to sunlight and garlic. Holy Water burns as if the player was un-dead. Lose their reflection, cannot be seen in mirrors or any other reflective surface. Cannot pass over running water. Is a vampire for all intents and purposes, with none of the special abilities, just the weaknesses.
As if they had been touched by a Mummy. It will manifest in 1d4 days however, and the grave rot will claim 1d6 hp per day. Also, limbs and appendages will fall off too, starting with the nose.
Cannot speak, not even above a whisper. Nothing comes out except freshly hatched flies. Will impact on spell-casters casting verbal spells, those spells will be off the menu until the curse is broken.
Goblins is dungeon slang for the runs. So that’s how the character will spend their days, running around looking for a toilet.
Drawn slavishly to naked flames, like torches or campfires etc. Once there, they will run their hands through the flame, doing 1d4 hp Dmg to themselves until restrained or someone puts the flame out.
The player becomes scared of their own shadow. Treat every encounter with any HD creature as if it had the Fear special ability.