Sunday, January 2, 2011

Campaign Design - Spells: Death Curse

Death Curse (adapted from the Shaman's Handbook)
necromancy [Death, Language-Dependent]

Level: Cleric/Favored Soul 5, Druid/Spirit Shaman 5
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 feet + 5 feet per 2 caster levels)
Target, Effect, or Area: One living creature
Duration: Variable (see text)(D)
Saving Throw: Fortitude partial
Spell Resistance: Yes

You can place a terrible curse on any one living creature within range by simply pointing at them and pronouncing their impending doom. The spell only affects creatures able to hear and understand your pronouncement (i.e. intelligent and capable of understanding the language you are speaking). The subject is entitled to a Fortitude saving throw.

After a time you specify - anywhere from one hour to as long as you wish - the subject suffers the effects of the spell. The time interval cannot be changed once the spell is cast. If the Fortitude save is failed, the subject dies after the allotted time. Even if the Fortitude save succeeds, the subject suffers 3d6 + (1 per caster level) points of damage, so it is possible the subject may still die even if the saving throw succeeds. The saving throw is made in secret, so the player of an affected character will not know whether or not their character will die.

A death curse cannot be dispelled, but there are several ways to escape before it runs its course. First, the caster can dismiss the curse at will before it takes effect, and some casters use a death curse to blackmail others into doing their bidding. Second, a remove curse spell can end the death curse before it takes effect, provided the caster of the remove curse is at least two levels higher than caster of the death curse. Confront curse spirit can also remove the spell. A limited wish, wish, or miracle can remove the effects of the death curse. Finally, the death of the caster before the death curse takes effect ends the spell. Many cultures consider slaying someone who has placed a death curse on you an act of self defense.

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