Maledictions - examples?

Hey guys, I'm in the process of designing a cursed knight as an NPC (and example 'companion' - the players are all inexperienced) for a saga I hope to start soon with a few of my students. I want him to have (among other things) the Greater Malediction flaw.

But I'm fresh out of ideas. Nothing in the list of actual core flaws is striking my fancy as a model to build off of.

Could any kind soul give me some examples of Greater (and for comparison, Lesser) Maledictions that they've actually encountered in play, so I get some idea of how powerful and bothersome such curses ought to be?

We have a character in our saga with a lesser Malediction of Sickliness. It means that if he does not take appropriate precautions during the year, he suffers a Medium Wound over winter. As it takes a month to recover from a Medium Wound, it mucks up whatever he is doing that season. We ruled it a lesser Malediction because it is relatively easy for him to overcome, by either ensuring his Living Conditions are good throughout the year, or by using magic to heal the Wound.

The Curses of Himinis as described in HoH: MC are appropriate and have seen use in our saga.

As powerful and bothersome as any of the other Major Flaws.

Look to any story, any movie, any TV show, any cartoon or comic or RPG you remember that had a "curse" in it. Ladyhawke = a variation of Lycanthropy + True Love. The Mummy = variation on Plagued by Supernatural Entity (and then some!). All the characters in Willow seemed to have "Difficult Underlings" in the form of each other, and that could be blamed on the cursed baby. Any number of tales have a curse cause Fury or something like, usually ending in tragedy. LotR has a dozen, from magically caused Personality flaws (King Theoden w/ Wormtongue) to Supernatural Nuisance (Gollum, to anyone who carries the Ring) to Enemies inherited down a bloodline, and beyond. And that's not even counting lesser versions of the classics - Midas, Tantalus, Antigone, etc. Fun for the whole family. 8)

Greater Malediction is both a good and bad choice, imo. It's bad because your newbies have no grasp for how "bad" a major one should be, what a good example would be - less than you do, and you're the SG. They're looking to you, so cowboy up!

But it's good because it shows the flexibility of the system, and that's your salvation - G & L Maledictions are the "Oh, and anything else you can think of" catch-all flaws. So start at the beginning - Why was he cursed? Who placed the curse, and was it person-specific ("I curse you!", "my family was cursed"), or item-specific ("whoever owns the Hope Diamond", "whoever opens the mummy's tomb")? Then make the curse appropriate to that. Can it be lifted (and then replaced w/ other Flaws to balance)? Good story, good RP material.

For a member of the nobility a suitable cure might be the inability to sire an heir in some form, depending on his age.

This doesn't have to be plain old infertility. The children could be born hideously deformed, or the mothers might always die in childbirth. The children might all be girls.

I would be inclined to add an 'until' element and/or an 'unless' feature hat was a pretty horrendous challenge - such as the willing sacrifice of something important to the character like his faith, his soul, or his firstborn etc...

Being greater this might even pass down the line until someone fulfils the requirement.

Loss of a regular season might be another one, such as a winter curse that opens an old wound on the solstice.

Maybe rather than the character being affected those around them are affected - plagued by supernatural entity can take on a new form in this way. The character is the attractive force but not the target. Or it could affect the prospertity of those around him, such as trees being unable to bear fruit, sheep unable to lamb or dairy being sour.

Perhaps his mind is addled in some way and he can never remember what he did 'yesterday'. This could lead to many interesting story opportunites where he finds himself in ridiculous situations.

Whatever you go for it must have an effect of a comparable level to another flaw and in that respect stay focussed on the story elements. The flaw should drive attempts to overcome it, or create problems.


Maledictions for Knights

Judged Unfairly: Your liege blames you for things that go wrong and gives other people credit for the things you make go right. This duplicates a minor flaw, except it's a curse that maybe you can do something about.

Your friends and family with always turn against you: Henry II had this one. Make sure the PC knight starts play with friends and family. Otherwise, this Major Malediction isn't even a minor flaw.

Overlooked: This one is subtle, but works for a brave and bold knight if played pervasively. The knight is overlooked for promotion, for decoration, for being given a leadership role. If he arrives in a village, no one really takes notice of him unless he starts killing, raping or plundering. No glory. Not even the glory of opprobrium: People might take arms against him, but it's not that they notice him so much as the stuff he is doing. His True Love doesn't know he exists. He is ignored and casually snubbed by his inferiors, who don't even notice that they're doing it....

Gets sick at the sight of blood: Say, -3 to all rolls and +3 botch dice. Bluffing and non-violent solutions might be needed, until he can overcome the curse.

Haunted by the ghosts of those his family has unjustly slain.

The major flaw in RoP:F where people are jealous of a character's beauty works nicely too. Curse of Venus works as a maladiction too, but this is worse. Men think he's a fairy--not a faerie :slight_smile:. All the wrong women fall for him, and cause problems for him whether he accepts or rejects them. Joseph (the guy with the technicolor dreamcoat :slight_smile: ) had this one, and it got him sold into slavery, imprisoned and nearly killed.

Every time he wages mortal combat, someone close to him dies. This is usually his horse. :slight_smile: But it can also be his grandfather, or his wife in childbirth, or his baby son in cribdeath...



I had a companion who'd won gambling with faeries. They cursed him. He could never hang on to money. He'd lose it, gamble it away, pay way too much for something, etc.

I had a maga with Strong Faerie Blood who couldn't lie at all.


NICE!!! :smiley: Can make for a really interesting character, specially if he is a master of arms that refuses to fight to the death :slight_smile:


Thanks, folks, all that helps a whole lot. I guess my problem is that there aren't a whole lot of other 'supernatural'-ish, non-Hermetic Major Flaws in the core book to use as examples (it feels like most of the flaws that Companions can take, aside from Personality and Story flaws which are limited in quantity, involve a physically deformed body, which is not an angle I wanted to go with for this guy.) But all of these examples help a lot to set my mind in the right direction for Maledictions.

One form of a curse is a variation on "Luck" - that if anything bad will happen, it happens to those immediately around you. Not invited to a lot of parties once that becomes known.

Serious maledictions:
-have to kill a person every month
-rage is his problem solving "skill"
-fears from Christian symbols: crosses, holy water, sound of bells
-double personality: a good and an evil personality, the evil one cannot be easily detected but the evil person has a typical gesture

I once designed a character with the Personal supernatural ability, and took as a Major Malediction that each perso na had a separate and different Major Personality Flaw that only affected that specific identity. He also took Delusion, and thought that whatever form he was in was his true original form and the others were mere disguises. Who was the real Polyoppeties? The world may never know.

If you still need more, check comics, cartoons and fantasy movies: loads of maleditions there.

Another one, for example: Ulyses Syndrome: In your adventures, you tend to be the only survivor. Pretty controversial, but... :smiling_imp:


Yeah, because it's a flaw for everyone else, right until the point they realize it IC and evict the character.



Hehe, i still remember when all of my group chose that Flaw in another game :laughing: . But i can give you several lesser curses, wich could be Major if you want:

  • On Sundays, the touch of the sun burns your skin (perhaps everyday except sundays for a major flaw)
  • All of your food tastes rotten (putrid water or wine, rotten meat, etc). For a Major Flaw, perhaps Enfeebled due to vomiting.
  • Mars Curse: In every adventure, you must be always in the middle of violence, and always directed at you (for example, in the midst of a street fight), even accidentally.
  • Geminis Curse: You have an "evil twin" that causes trouble, and it´s very difficult to catch (Usually a faerie). As a result, random people could be very angry with you...
  • True Venus Curse: You will always be betrayed by the person you love the most. Or, another variant; the person you love (true love) will always die.
  • You can´t ever remember your name (any name, even invented ones).

Hope it helps!

Roll.... 8! Success!

I have had an idea about Greater malediction, and I would like your feedback about it.

(The character is some kind of researchers of knowledge. He likes to read, anything,...)

Greater malediction: Bane of the researcher whose ambition is devouring .

Due to a faery malediction, you can only open once any book and turn once any page, and you can only turn pages towards the end, and never go back, in your lifetime. Practically, if you try a second time, you will not succeeds : the book will seems to be of iron... in fact, it's just that you are physically unable to go against your fate.

If a book is opened in front of your eyes and you have never read it, you can close it and reopen it from the beginning or you can start reading it from there, but the pages you read at the moment will never been readable again... Be careful when you open a book!

This flaw is especially hard to study from a book. For gameplay purpose, it's assumed that any summa or tractatus figuring in a library which has not been used in adventures is only opened when you study it, and will remain open during the season. But once you end the book (= having studied it one season), you can't ever read it again. Tractatus are lot easier for you, since they already can be studied only one season.

What do you think?

I disagree with your one season thing. If you spend a whole season reading a tractatus, you will go back and forth through the pages. And you could remove the spine (if it is ever there) and spread it out.

Much better is: if you remove your eyes from a page for (lets be generous) an hour, it becomes gibberish forever. This makes it impossible to study or research books.

As an alternative, up the time to a month and you can keep studying a book for years, but if you stop for a season it's over. Yes, you could juggle a few books by reading each page regularly, but keeping a 1000 pages fresh would be the limit (10 days/season = 3 days/month = 1000 pages).

What about "Shadow takes damage" as a Greater Malediction.
Any damage done to your shadow will be as if it was done to you.

Say a horse stepped on your shadow , it will be the same as if it stepped on you.
A weight sufficient to hold you in place , if placed on your shadow , prevents you from moving.
If your shadow falls across a body of water deep enough , you start to drown.

A grog follows you with a parasol, to keep you in the shade. Another one captures your shade with a screen before it touches the ground. People prostrate before you, as looking at the God-Emperor is a sign of disrespect. They kiss the ground that touched your feet to gain your blessing.

Well, who else would be so holy that his/her shade cannot touch the ground? :mrgreen: