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Arcane Adventures: A Curse Upon Your House

Arcane Adventures: A Curse Upon Your House

The scions of a particular family are known for being unlucky, or the descendants of a famous druid might be known for always having skill with animals. A witch who was wronged might curse not only the knight that wronged her but all the generations to follow. Legends are filled with tales of family lines sharing traits or misfortunes.

In this installment of Arcane Adventures,we look at spells that bless or curse a family line, affecting them for many generations until some condition is met.

Fruit of the Twisted Line

8th-Level Conjuration (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Wizard)
Casting Time: 10 hours
Range: 5 miles
Components: V, S, M (a drop of blood, hair, or fingernail from the target)
Duration: 13 generations

You call down a despicable curse upon the lineage of a humanoid target that lasts for 13 generations or until a specific condition is met. When you cast the spell, you choose one of the following effects that manifests in the target and all their progeny for 13 generations, when each reaches adulthood:

  • Beast. The firstborn of each generation contracts lycanthropy.
  • Hated. The targets make all Charisma ability checks with disadvantage.
  • Incompetence. The targets have their proficiency bonus halved (rounded down).
  • Poverty. The lifestyle costs for the targets are doubled, and the value of any discovered treasure, money earned, or monetary windfalls is halved.
  • Sickly. The targets have their hit point maximum decreased by an amount equal to their number of hit dice and make saving throws to resist disease with disadvantage.
  • Unlucky. The first time each day that the target rolls a 20 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, they must reroll the die and use the new roll.

Spells that normally remove curses have no effect upon this spell. To lift the curse, an afflicted target must complete a difficult task or quest appropriate to the curse. Doing so removes the curse for the entire family. The way to lift the curse is unpredictable and cannot be controlled. When the spell is cast, the GM chooses an appropriate loophole. Examples include establishing and maintaining a temple to the caster’s deity, returning some lost or stolen item no longer in the family’s possession, killing the caster, learning and casting the wish spell to remove the curse, or defeating a legendary monster related to the curse. The spell also ends if the target’s family line dies out.

Prosper Lineage

8th-Level Conjuration (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Wizard)
Casting Time: 10 hours
Range: 5 miles
Components: V, S, M (a drop of blood, hair, or fingernail from the target)
Duration: 13 generations

You enact a blessing upon the lineage of a humanoid target so powerful that it lasts for 13 generations or until a specific condition is not met. When you cast the spell, you choose one of the following effects that manifests in the target and all their progeny for 13 generations:

  • Connection. The targets have a natural connection to the land, such as a specific city or forest. All saving throws and ability checks related to that land are made with advantage. While within its borders the target recovers twice as much food when foraging and cannot be surprised.
  • Fortunate. The first time each day that the target rolls a 1 on an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw, they must reroll the die and use the new roll.
  • Healthy. The targets have their hit point maximum increased by an amount equal to their number of hit dice and make saving throws to resist disease with advantage.
  • Talented. Choose an ability. The targets make all skill checks related to that ability with advantage.
  • Wealthy. The lifestyle costs for the targets are halved and the value of any discovered treasure, money earned, or monetary windfalls is doubled.

To maintain the blessing, one member of each generation must complete a difficult task or quest appropriate to the blessing. The way to further the blessing is unpredictable and cannot be controlled. When the spell is cast, the GM chooses an appropriate cost. Examples include establishing and maintaining a temple to the deity that grants the blessing, creating a great work of beauty or knowledge, donating a great sum to a cause, living a life of service, or defeating a legendary monster related to the blessing. The spell ends if the target’s family line dies out.

Adventure Ideas

Attempting to break a curse or maintain a blessing can lead to epic quests or strenuous ordeals. PCs might be hired to assist a family in need, but even more compelling adventures can be made by making the PCs the target of such a curse and blessing:

  • Family Conflict. The PCs prevent an NPC from completing the quest to end their family’s curse, or to maintain their family blessing, and become the target of the NPC’s entire noble house who mobilizes all their resources to get the job done while eliminating the party.
  • Future Generations. Each member of the party is destined for great things, so their families have made sure to arrange for a blessing. Now the PCs need to undertake a series of adventures to prolong the blessings. An epic which culminates with them coming together in quest to complete the destiny that their parents foresaw.
  • Misfortune. A new PC starts their life of adventure only to manifest a curse. Now the party needs to determine the cause of the curse and how to lift it before their comrade dies.
  • Oracle. A family is cursed, and they don’t know how to lift it. They beseech the PCs to seek out a distant oracle to determine the best way to free the family from the curse. This hook might also be used to start a series of adventures when the family needs the characters’ help to complete the ordeal.
  • Proxies in the Ordeal. A family member needs to undertake an ordeal to keep their family’s blessing intact, but they do not have the adventuring skills required. They hire the characters to accompany them and make sure they succeed.
  • Punishment. Every generation, a lycanthrope terrorizes a village. When the threat rises again, the town hires the characters to not only end the current threat but end the curse forever.

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