View Full Version : The Curse

2008-06-03, 11:20 AM
In the game I DM, one of the characters was captured by the Big Bad and then later the party found him frozen in some hills and they unfroze him without much thought. (Puts head in hands)

He's been traveling with the party again for a little bit now without anything bad happening but what they don't know is that the Big Bad, an evil wizard, put a curse on him so that he can see, hear, smell, etc. whatever he sees AND can take him over at any given moment. So when this happens, my question to you is... How does the party resolve it? Their wizard is much lower level then the Big Bad so I doubt he could do much, and at the same time I don't want the aforementioned character to be sitting around, unable to do anything, for the rest of the game.

I guess it was kinda poor planning on my part.:smalltongue:

So yeah, tips and suggestions would be nice. Thanks in advance!

2008-06-03, 11:31 AM
I'd let the player know what's happened out of the game, and allow him to RP as the BBEG when he assumes control. This might not be the best option depending on the maturity level of the player, but often times a player will relish the opportunity to be the villain, at least temporarily. That solves your player participation problem perfectly (putrid parsimmons party perrenially!).

As for strength-level, that's gonna be difficult without some deus ex machina. Maybe tailor the curse to where the BBEG can only assume control for a limited amount of time, and then not be able to do it for a while. That way he won't massacre the rest of the party and it changes the dynamic for the party from defeat-the-enemy to stall-for-time. Then they can use their reprieve from the BBEG to search for a way to remove the curse.

2008-06-03, 11:59 AM
given they thawed him out without any research and don't seem to have asked IC what's funky about fred, do you really need to keep the curse as it was, maybe the BBEG intended to do that but it cost too much so just went with a modified mark of justice or a curse that only affects your actions when you're asleep or whatever. If the players know what you intended OOC then this could be told to them or not, whatever. It just seems that the curse you've come up with is major mojo with no real limitations, if the BBEG can cast Mindrape-and-constant-scry on anyone why aren't they ruling the world by now, but casting Greater Curse (beefed up suggestion with permenant duration) isn't so uber.

2008-06-03, 02:46 PM
I would scale this back, as the only other option is to give the players an omniscient opponent, and knowledge is power for the BBEG.

Let's say the curse allows him to see/hear everything the cursed character can for up to 30 minutes a day (in one chunk, not spread out), or gain complete control of the character for 10 minutes per day. However, make (discrete) will saves to determine the level of control the BBEG has over the character. You can scale it so that it's easy to keep the BBEG from killing the other players in their sleep, but not so easy to keep the BBEG from subtly thwarting their plans.

I'd discuss the issue with the player, too, so that you're not stealing his character sheet. If he's in on it, it can make for a very satisfying game.

2008-06-03, 03:47 PM
Go read the spell "Protection From Evil". Rule that the Protection From Evil works against the curse for the duration (halts control when it's in use, say). Leave clues as to what is going on, and let them craft a widget of Protection From Evil when they ask.

2008-06-03, 04:26 PM
Following the same line of thought as many of the previous posters here are some thoughts on the matter:

1) It's something of a wash as to wether you'll be better off if the player knows what's going on. If you think he'll play it well (without IC magically 'figuring out' what is going on) then go ahead. If not then simply ask for a will save, when he fails the first one let him know what (in general) he's doing. Ask for an attack roll against ________, etc... He can do all the rolls his character plays out, he just doesn't get to decide what he's doing for a few rounds.

2) Give the player a will save. When the BBEG wants to take over make it a DC 30 will save of be controlled. 1d4 rounds later it's a DC 20 will save to take control again. 1d4 rounds later it's DC 15. 1d4 rounds later he snaps out of it.

That the player feels he has some hope of taking control when this sort of things happens.

3) Give the player a chance to detect the scrying. Again make the Will save hard. It could be like DC 20 Wisdom check (make it doable for the player) to notice the scrying, then a DC 25 will save to block it. If he fails by less than 5 he gets some idea what's going on here.

4) Ultimately the BBEG should make suboptimal decisions as when to take over. I wouldn't have him turn a dire situation into a TPK, just turn a easy situation into a dire one. Like has be said before, it's no fun to just murder them in their sleep.

I think all these things will simultaneously give your players (the cursed one in particular) the feeling that he has some control, and some hope of figuring out what's going on, while still giving your BBEG a serious edge until they figure it out.

If you want it to be a drawn out discovery (which has some great plot appeal to it) then just make the DCs I described to you nearly impossible at first, and then tone them down until the player (eventually) starts succeeding.

I really like the concept in general. An early 'controlling' that I am envisioning: Let's just say that this controlled player is keeping watch on his shift. He fails his spot check (truth is the BBEG is in control for a moment) and the party gets ambushed.

The next day the rogue needs to climb down a cliff to scout out for a second entrance to a cave or something and there is no good fastening point. The controlled guy offers to help. It's a DC 20 spot check to notice that the rope didn't slip, and that the controlled guy got an evil smile on his face just before he dropped the rogue some distance that he is likely able to survive.

Very fun plot wise, without being instant player deaths (which in general can put some people off)

my 2cp

mabriss lethe
2008-06-03, 09:11 PM
you could actually manage a dummied down version with just Bestow Curse and some means of communicating to the pc over a long distance. Say the curse is pretty open ended. Have the BBEG constantly whispering in his ear, invading his dreams and just being a general nuisance. The Curse placed upon him is worded so that it'll trigger if the PC ever disobeys "the voice in his head." At first it tells him to do little things, harmless things, as the BBEG tests out the limits of his cotrol. Escalate the demands slowly. Have him sow distrust between the members, plant evidence of various backstabbery amongs them. Maybe in battle, command him to make one or two suboptimal choices. Don't tell the PC exactly what's going on, only that there's now a voice in his head that tells him to do things, and he knows he'll be punished if he doesn't obey.

Give the BBEG some sort of limitation on this. Say the curse is a simple spell, but the subtle mental invasion is caused by some unnamed McGuffin. He can pretty much taunt the PC whenever he wants, but can only issue an order once or twice a day. Put a limit on how much time the BBEG is there riding shotgun. Oh, the real reason for the taunting. The BBEG only has the vaguest notion of what's going on when he invades the PCs thoughts. However, the mcguffin also functions as a dectect thoughts spell. His barbs and taunts are designed to cause the PC to mentally "blurt out" important information during stressful situations.

2008-06-03, 09:27 PM
Pull the control, the see, hear, taste, feel thing is kind of cool and I like mabriss' idea of making it just a very weird bestow curse, but make it a little harder to thwart (giving the BBEG the Spell focus and Greater spell focus (enchantment) feats are a good start). Then just start passing him notes with the BBEG's demands, failure to comply -2 to wis and con for an hour. It'll get his attention but won't neccessarily kill him.

2008-06-03, 09:38 PM
Woah, a lot of replies. =P

Thanks a lot, guys, this'll definently help. There'll definently be some interesting RPing going on tomorrow, and I couldn't have done it without you guys. It's always fun to have a character change alignment for a while. =P