A curse is a potent, harmful magical effect - the flip-side of an enchantment
Noble Lord Colwynn de Rondell (L) was a famous victim of the Autumn curse
Like Water Through Your Fingers (now thankfully recovered), while vile
sorcerer Ancel Steward (R) bears the unmistakable mark of the
Freezing Brand of Irremais.

Overview

A curse is a persistent, harmful magical effect. Imperial lore contains many rituals that create curses. Most are not illegal although their use is overseen by the Imperial Conclave. Many eternals have been known to curse those who cross them, but curses can also be caused by malign magical creatures and sometimes just by exposure to magical forces that have run amok.

A target may be under any number of different curses at once.

Pronouncement of Doom

  • Most ritual curses are delivered using a pronouncement of doom
  • One of the contributors must deliver the pronouncement
  • They have 15 minutes after they complete the ritual to deliver the curse
  • They must be close enough to touch the target and audibly curse them using appropriate roleplaying
  • You must have a referee present
  • If the curse cannot be delivered then it will rebound on the caster

Several ritual curses in Imperial lore, such as Gnawing, Endless Hunger, are delivered using a pronouncement of doom. One of the ritual contributors must be selected during the ritual to deliver the curse. Once the ritual is complete, they have fifteen minutes to find the target. A referee, usually the one who observed the ritual, must accompany the magician when they seek out their victim.

Once they have found the target, the magician must use a few seconds appropriate roleplaying that make it clear to everyone present that a curse is being delivered. They must be close enough to touch their target when they make the pronouncement.

If the magician delivering the curse has not found a target within fifteen minutes of the completion of the ritual, the spell automatically rebounds and they are targeted by the power of the curse themselves. A referee may indicate when the deadline is getting close. This backlash is one reason that curses are not lightly invoked; some magicians have even risked cursing an innocent person rather than suffer their own curse, even though they are at serious risk of being declared a sorcerer for such an act.

Being subject to weakness does not prevent someone from delivering a pronouncement of doom - although it could make them unable to contribute to a ritual and thus be ineligible to be chosen to deliver a curse in the first place.

Removal

  • Most curses last for a year or until they are removed
  • It is easier to create a curse using ritual magic than to remove it

Removing a curse is a significant indicating; rituals to remove a curse effect will almost always be many magnitudes higher than the magnitude of the ritual that created the curse. In most cases, a specific ritual or a minimum magnitude will be named. Each curse is unique, and the method of removing it also tends to be unique - there is no generic remove curse ritual in Empire.

Some curses can also be removed by the intervention of a powerful creature or item. Like rituals there is no single eternal with the power to remove any curse, rather specific creatures or items have the ability to remove a specific curse. For example, the ability of the eternal Yaw'nagrah to restore fertility may allow her to remove a curse of infertility, but is likely to be of little use against a Curse of Decrepitude. Powerful creatures almost invariably require quests or favours in return for removing a curse, and gaining their assistance or access to a powerful item are likely to involve difficult quests.

It is possible to make a curse permanent through the use of ilium.

Identification

  • Detect magic can identify the presence of a curse
  • Divination rituals may provide more information on the nature of a curse

The detect magic incantation will detect the magnitude and realm of an effect and indicate if it is a curse. Wisdom of the Balanced Blade will provide more details about the curse. Information about well-known or legendary curses may also be possessed by bards and scholars.

Curses and the Law

  • It is not illegal to curse someone

Using magic on another person is never in and of itself a crime. However if the effect of the magic meets the definition of a crime then the fact that this effect was achieved by magic is no defence. For example, a curse of poverty doesn't meet the definition of any criminal offence but a death curse most certainly does. Any curse that does not meet the definition of a crime falls under the purview of the Imperial Conclave. It is up to the Conclave to decide if a magician has overstepped the bounds and used magic in a way that threatens the Empire. If they decide this is the case, then those involved can be declared sorcerers.

Further Reading