Ever wanted to lay a curse onto your players characters? Doing this in a campaign once is not a bad idea, for a curse is a wonderful motivation for them to start out on a quest of their own, especially if they brought the curse upon themselves by their own actions.
Below you will find “Causes for Curses”: 20 inspirations for reasons to bring a woeful fate onto PC in a fantasy RPG. This blog post contains the complete content of my latest PWYW-product of the same name.
Some of the causes suggested that the curse is brought upon by another character, some name circumstance that will cause fate or the gods to curse the PC. In the later case, the GM should consider what it means for his game/campaign world if a certain action is the direct cause for a curse. After all, everything that applies to the characters should apply to the NPC, too. Instead of having every instance of the listed actions ending in prompt punishment by higher powers, the GM could let the role of the die decide if fate lashes out against the PC. Assigning a 3% chance for a percentile die role is one possible option, as is a result of “snake eyes” with 2d6.
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20 Causes for Curses
01# The characters defile a tomb, break into a caern or break up a sarcophagus.
02# A desperate NPC pleads the characters for help and later curses them as they refuse to provide it.
03# The PC kill a warlock or witch who curses them with his or her final breath.
04# A characters steal a gift/sacrifice that was left in front of a shrine/an idol.
05# A character that is a “cleric” (of sorts) is cursed for a month for violating a taboo of his or her religion.
06# An NPC cleric curses the characters for acting against the faith/the deity said cleric serves.
07# The characters are found guilty of a crime and are punished by being cursed.
08# The characters attack (or steal from) a high priest (or a holy man/woman) and are cursed for it by the patron deity of this NPC.
09# The characters destroy/rob a temple and are cursed by the deity it belongs to.
10# The characters pick up a magic item/weapon that has been cursed by a hostile power.
11# The characters enter a village/town/region that has been cursed by a powerful entity and will suffer from the curse laid upon the place (perhaps till they leave, perhaps till they find a way to break the curse).
12# The characters drink from a river/fountain/lake a nature spirit sees as its sanctuary or they wander into a patch of wilderness the spirit sees as its domain.
13# The characters kill an animal that was an embodiment, “living idol” or charge of a deity, powerful nature spirit or druid.
14# The characters strike a deal with a daemonic/hell-bound entity or help an NPC out of a contract with such an entity.
15# The characters violate taboos of a grand holiday (i.e. traveling when they should not or eating when they should be fasting).
16# The characters swear by the name of a god that they speak the truth but lie.
17# The characters promised a deity a deed in exchange for help but fail to fulfill the deed after having received the help.
18# The characters turn against somebody who is their guest/host without said person breaking the rules of hospitality first.
19# The characters mock a deity/devil or speak the name of “the-one-that-must-not-be-spoken-off”.
20# The characters slay a monster that was a punishment send by a god or just happened to be the bastard (half-)child of one.