Monday, January 16, 2017

1d20 Dwarf Curses

In a previous post, I asked for weaknesses unique to the dwarven race for use in D&D and OSR-style games. I got a bunch of great responses in the comments on this blog, on this Google+ thread, and on the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Facebook fan page. Thank you, folks! I highly recommend checking out the answers I received, since there's a lot of cool material that I didn't end up using (at least not yet).

Eventually, I ended up reading this post by James Young at Ten Foot Polemic, which led me to a Secret Santicore 2013 entry by Erik Jensen called "Of Beards and Brew: Options for Dwarves." This and the aforementioned suggestions inspired me to make the following table.

Roll a d20:

  1. Direct sunlight instantly turns you into stone. In darkness, you return to your fleshly form. Dim, indirect sunlight (like moonlight, or the little bit of light on a very stormy day) does not change you either way, nor does light from other sources.
  2. Instead of normal food, you must eat an amount of precious metals and/or gems each day equal in value to your level in gold pieces (silver pieces in LotFP). Doing so will not physically hurt you in any way, but failing to do so will result in starvation as usual.
  3. If you see any gold and come within 100 feet of it, you will be irresistibly compelled to touch it for at least a moment. If you are removed from both the 100-foot area around the gold and your line of sight of the gold at the same time, the compulsion is broken (this probably cannot happen except by force or accident, since you cannot willingly avoid moving toward the gold to touch it). Otherwise, you have no choice but to keep trying to touch it until you either succeed or are rendered incapable of touching it (say, through unconsciousness or death).
  4. Your beard is extremely sensitive. Critical hits automatically injure your beard, causing double the amount of damage to you that they normally would. If your beard is ever completely removed, you must make a saving throw vs. poison or die.
  5. Merely resting does not heal you. In order to recover HP through rest, you must also "repair" your body with stone, metal, or gems worth 1 gold piece per level (silver pieces in LotFP) per HP healed. The materials used in these "repairs" are consumed in the process.
  6. If you say more than 7 words to the same person over the course of the same day, you must eat one of their hairs within 10 minutes or else take 1d10 damage.
  7. When you are not intoxicated, you take penalties as if you are. When you are drunk, you are treated as sober.
  8. You literally cannot fall asleep unless you are underground. Just being inside a building is not enough - you need to either be beneath what would be considered "ground level" in the area, or else have a great deal of loose soil and/or unhewn rock above you. (Covering yourself with a giant pile of dirt will do in a pinch, as will lying in a hole at least 5 feet deep.)
  9. If someone else touches a weapon which belongs to you, you must attack that person with it at least once within 3 rounds or else you take the maximum amount of damage that weapon can inflict instead (e.g. 8 damage if it is a medium weapon in LotFP). You do not have to successfully hit, but you must genuinely try to hit and inflict damage.
  10. If someone else offers you a drink of an alcoholic beverage, you can only refuse to drink at least one good-sized gulp of it if you succeed on a save vs. magic.
  11. If someone else cuts your beard, you are affected as if that person had cast Charm Person on you. If you cut your own beard, it grows back to its previous state within 1 minute.
  12. Alcoholic drinks sustain you like food, but you cannot willingly eat or drink anything else besides water, and if you do it does not provide any nutrition, and thus does not prevent starvation. Water still prevents dehydration as normal. Alcohol still makes you intoxicated, but you cannot die of alcohol poisoning.
  13. At the end of every day that you do not touch silver, gold, or a precious gem at least once, you take one point of damage per level.
  14. If all of your enemies are defeated and/or flee in combat, you must succeed on a save vs. magic or else begin attacking any allies or bystanders present besides yourself. The DM chooses who you attack each round. You may continue to make a new save vs. magic at the start of each round in order to stop attacking. Otherwise, you may stop attacking when you cannot perceive any more targets (living or animate NPCs or other PCs).
  15. Unless you are intoxicated while doing so, spending or giving away more than 1,000 gold pieces (silver pieces in LotFP) per level per day causes you to take your level in damage.
  16. If someone within 600 feet of you challenges you to one-on-one melee combat and you are safely able to reach them, you must succeed on a save vs. magic or else approach and engage in melee combat with them. You will fight to the death unless the challenger specifically offers a challenge of nonlethal combat. If the challenger cheats (by fleeing, allowing others to attack you as well, using a ranged weapon, luring you into a trap rather than attacking with their own weapons, etc.) or if anyone else physically interferes in such a way as to make the combat no longer count as one-on-one, you may make a save vs. magic to regain control of your actions. If you fail, you may thereafter continue to attempt this save at the start of each round until you succeed or until you or your opponent is defeated.
  17. Exposure to direct sunlight causes an unpleasurable form of intoxication. You are treated as if you are drunk, and in addition your vision becomes slightly blurry beyond 20 feet and extremely blurry beyond 60 feet.
  18. When you are above ground, your beard tugs you earthward. You move more slowly (in LotFP terms, you are treated as having 1 additional encumbrance point), and any falling damage you take is increased by 1d6.
  19. Flying and tree-dwelling creatures (except bats and cave-dwelling creatures) are compelled to attack and/or harass you, even when they normally would not. Birds especially seem to hate you.
  20. You are incapable of attacking or inflicting damage with any weapon that does not seem "dwarven enough." When in doubt about what is off-limits, the DM can refer to the following list of weapons: garrotes, mancatchers, nets, thin-bladed swords (like rapiers and similar slender thrusting swords like the estoc or tuck, as well as some slashing swords like certain sabres), whips, blowguns, bows (although crossbows and guns are okay), darts, throwing stars, throwing knives (melee attacks with knives are okay, as are throwing axes, thrown spears, and javelins), boomerangs, saps, scythes, sickles, claws, nunchaku, or war fans. Also, you receive no AC benefit from wearing leather armor or any other non-metal type of armor.
One possible use for this table: At character creation, a dwarf must roll on this table to find out what manner of curse they must contend with. Each time a dwarf PC levels up, the player can choose to either keep their character's old curse or risk rolling again and replacing the former curse with the new one. If the same curse is rolled again, too bad.

Additionally, these could be used as curses that dwarven magicians place on others. "You think it's easy being a dwarf, you pointy-eared tree-hugger? Let's see how far you can walk in dwarven boots."

Assuming that every member of the dwarf race suffers from at least one of these curses, it could explain an awful lot about stereotypical dwarven culture, as well as the dwarven preference for living underground.

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