Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Curses of the Ninth World - RPG Blog Carnival Entry

    Hello! And welcome to my entry for this month's RPG Blog Carnival. The theme is curses; specifically, stories and ideas about curses or cursed items.
    Like most RPG enthusiasts, I cut my teeth in Dungeons and Dragons, specifically version 3.5. I have many fond memories of D&D, and I basically always played an evil wizard. In one campaign, I had the opportunity to play a yuan-ti pureblood wizard/monk/enlightened fist based off of the Alchemist (warning: nudity & weird gore) from The Holy Mountain, by Alejandro Jodorowsky. He was also the inspiration for the character Death in Adventure Time, but I digress.
    In the campaign in which I played him, I found myself walking down the fantasy equivalent of New Orleans' Bourbon Street, when I was accosted by an enraged drunk who insisted I had disrespected his girlfriend. I told him I was a wizard and he shouldn't mess with me, but he didn't listen. I decided to take this drunken oaf down a peg and also clear the street with one spell: bestow curse.
    Bestow Curse, the D&D 3.5 spell, allows you to greatly reduce one of an opponent's ability scores, give them a penalty to basically everything, make them miss half of their turns, or anything else you can think of that is comparable to the first three. Going with the snake theme, I picked item three, and framed it so the man would forever be cursed to vomit tiny snakes.
    This is how I discovered that Bestow Curse is my favorite spell. It's the perfect "fuck you" spell, not just because of its power, or that it's permanent until dispelled, but because of the versatility. Any sort of ironic troll you can imagine can be realized with Bestow Curse.
    But this is a brave new world, and Numenera is my new obsession. So today, I am going to try and recreate the almighty trolling power of Bestow Curse in a Ninth World appropriate format, and a few other, related aspects of cursing. Here we go:

New Esoteries

3rd Tier Nano

Execrate (4 Intellect Points): With a hand sign and an evil word, you inflict lasting harm on one victim you can see in short range. If you succeed on an Intellect attack versus your target, glittering circuit traces appear in a small patch somewhere on the victim's skin (hand, face, heart, etc., your choice), and you may inflict one of the following curses on them:
  • Reduce one of their Pools or their hit points by 1/2, rounded down. This can never result in the victim's death; instead, it limits their ability to recover.
  • All of the victim's attack and defense actions are reduced by one step to their detriment.
  • Every round, the victim has a 50% of acting normally. Otherwise, they cannot act.
  • Any other effect of equal or lesser detriment, subject to GM approval.
    This effect lasts indefinitely. It can be ended with a thought by the one who bestowed the curse, it c an be ended by any effect that ends a numenera effect, such as the countermeasures esotery or a deactivator cypher, or it can be ended by a lengthy and complicated surgery/ritual requiring first a Heal check and a Numenera check, the base DC being your tier plus two.
    A victim can only bear one curse at a time. Action.

Black Mark (4 Intellect Points): With a touch, you can put a black mark on an object that bears a curse. The mark is roughly 1" x 1" and can resemble anything you like, as long as it is black. Anybody besides yourself who tries to handle or use the object without your express consent is subject to a curse. This curse functions the same as that laid by the execrate esotery. A person already cursed by a cypher or the black mark or execrate esoteries cannot be subject to a second curse. The mark persists until you decide to disable it. Action.

New Cyphers

Curse Tablet
Level: 1d6
Usable: A 1' x 1' synth tablet covered in runes and circuit traces. 
Effect: This tablet is meant to be buried or hidden and laid as a trap. When another creature (aside from the one who placed it) steps on or comes too close to the place where it was buried or hidden (GM's discretion), they must make an Intellect defense or suffer one of the following effects:
     Roll 1d6:
  1. The target is struck blind. (See Numenera pg 96 for rules on complete darkness)
  2. The target is driven mad. When greatly stressed or in the presence of a major numenera discovery, the GM can make a GM intrusion without awarding XP. You also have an inability for social interaction.
  3. The target has one of their stat pools reduced by 1/2.
  4. All of the target's attack and defense actions are modified by one to their detriment.
  5. Something weird happens (turned into another creature, forced to speak in rhymes, rendered sexually impotent, etc.)
  6. Nothing happens (the effect was not applicable to you).
    The effect is permanent, but it can be ended by any effect that ends a numenera effect, such as the countermeasures esotery or a deactivator cypher, or it can be ended by a lengthy and complicated surgery/ritual requiring first a Heal check and a Numenera check, with the level being that of the cypher. A player who crafts a curse tablet chooses the effect it bestows. Once the curse tablet has activated against one target, success or failure, it is spent.

Curse Tablet (Memetic)
Level: 1d6 + 2
Usable: A 1' x 1' iridescent synth tablet covered in weird, glowing lines and glyphs.
Effect: This cypher functions as the curse tablet, except that instead of coming too close, it activates on whoever sets their eyes on it. The tablet can curse a number of sentient beings who see it equal to one-half its level, rounded down. All victims must see it simultaneously. Once the tablet curses at least one person, it is spent.

Mystic Mirror
Level: 1d6 + 2
Wearable: Amulet, ring, bracelet, sash, vest
Internal: Implant
Usable: Carried charm
Effect: As long as this cypher is worn or carried on your person, it can reflect a numenera effect, such as the effect of an esotery, cypher, artifact, etc., back on its initiator, as long as the cypher level is equal to or higher than the effect's level. If the original user of the effect is dead or the effect is not applicable to them, mystic mirror nullifies the effect but the original user is not effected.

    Alright, I hope you all enjoyed that. And just to get into the spirit of things, *ahem*:


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