Publication:Complete Gear/Variant Rules/Cursed Items
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The easiest way to handle cursed items in a Complete Gear game is to simply ignore them. Most cursed items enter into a game at the Game Master’s discretion, so ignoring them and eliminating them from the game does not alter the balance. However, it does remove some of the fun of the game.
If a Game Master decides to allow cursed items, they can add an extra sense of intrigue. However, for the sake of game play the category of cursed items needs to be subdivided into two categories: Annoyance influences and Blight items. Annoyance influences are equivalent to magical and psionic cursed items that have a drawback or an ill side-effect but which might still be desired by a character. These items usually do not need a special means for removal or a save to avoid the effect of the item. On the other hand, blight items are items that have only a negative effect upon the character and usually have a specific means of being removed from the character. In cases where a blight item does not list a specific means for removal, Complete Gear adds the condition of needing a successfully cast Remove Curse spell or some sort of magical/psionic equivalent action.
If allowed in a game, annoyance influences can be brought about by a character through the attunement process. Just as it is possible for magic to go wrong in the item creation process, it is possible for something to go awry in attuning a character to an item. An example of when this might happen is if a character is interrupted slightly during attunement but not enough to disrupt the process. Or, perhaps the chance of making an annoyance influence increases when a character is using the last of their available IPs. In any case, a character who receives an annoyance influence can choose to accept the annoyance as is or drop the influence and go through the process of attunement on a different day. These are influences that add favor to the game rather than punishments or problems that need to be solved.
Characters may wish to keep annoyance influences in some circumstances. One example of such an item in a standard game is the +3 Mace of Blood, which is actually discounted to 9,000 gp on account of the annoyance associated with the item. In a Complete Gear game, an influence that created an identical effect would naturally cost 9,000 IPs. Another example is the Cursed Backbiter Spear, which offers a much smaller drawback and a corresponding smaller decrease in cost.
Annoyance influences are always admitted to a game only with Game Master approval. Care should be taken to limit the number of annoyance influences that a character can have at one time. Annoyance influences can be seen as a boon in saving IPs, but the drawbacks should always match the discount. An influence discounted by half should only be half as effective, or effective only half the time, or some such equivalent drawback.
Unlike annoyance influences, blight items can only be made as side effects from spells, powers, and perhaps even incantations. They are never made through influences and attunements. This is because an influence can only be used by the one who makes the attunement. No self-respecting character would keep an attunement that left them completely cursed.
Blight items have an interesting affect upon those unlucky enough to don them. Not only do blight items grant the wearer the unfortunate side affect in their description and need a special condition to remove the item, but they also count against a character’s IP pool. As long as the character wears the blight item – or even keeps it in the character’s possession – the character must forfeit an amount of IPs from their pool equal to the cost of the blight item. This does not affect influences already in attunement, but it does prevent new attunements from being formed until the character has more unspent IPs than the cost of the item. When the character is able to remove the blight item, the character gains full access to their complete IP pool once again.
For example, an 8th level character should have 36,000 IPs at their discretion. Through adventuring, the character may find an interesting suit of armor and put it on – only to discover that it is a blighted suit of armor with the Arrow Attraction description. This armor is listed as having a cost of 9,000 gp. When the character dons the item, they do not immediately lose 9,000 IPs worth of influences However, as some of the character’s influences become unspent (such as through the use of influences that act as potions or oils or perhaps through a player deciding to try and change an influence before they realize they have a blighted item on their person) those IPs are not immediately available to be spent again. Only after the character has 9,000 unspent IPs can the character manipulate their influences as normal. Even then, this player can only use 27,000 of the character’s 36,000 IPs available until the player has found a way to remove the blight item.
Furthermore, blight items are made into mundane items when the condition for removal is met. For example, should a character be cursed with a -2 Cursed Sword, the only means for removal is through a limited wish, wish, or miracle spell. When the spell is cast, the blight item would become a normal mundane sword. The character could actually turn around and attune themselves in a meaningful way to the formerly blighted item with no side effects from the item’s former status as a blighted item.