The Curse Master

August 11th, 2015

Alex Riggs

Best in Class Archive

                We’re right in the middle of Occultist Week, and you don’t need occult powers to know that means today’s archetype will be for the occultist class. A casual look over the occultist reveals two major things: one, they draw their magic heavily from implements, and two, they really like to work with magic circles. But what if, instead of magic circles, they focused on some other aspect of the occult, such as, for example, curses? And what if the way in which they used these curses, just like with their other magic, involved the heavy and ritualized use of objects? Well, then you’d probably have something a lot like today’s archetype, the curse master.


New Occultist Archetype
Curse Master

                Not all occultists specialize in the creation and use of magic circles. Others focus their attention on other occult matters, such as, in the case of the curse master, curses. The curse master specializes in using objects to curse others, either by cursing the objects themselves, or by using them as a conduit to their previous owners.

                Curse Object (Sp): At 8th level, a curse master learns how to lay a curse upon an object, so that it affects the next person other than the curse master who picks up or handles the object. Preparing such a curse requires one minute (during which time the curse master must be in physical contact with the object to be cursed), and requires the curse master expend 1 point of mental focus (either generic focus or focus from any of his implements). Once completed, the next person to pick up or use the cursed object is affected as though by the spell bestow curse, except that the saving throw DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the curse master’s class level + the curse master’s Intelligence modifier. The curse master must choose which form the curse will take, from among those allowed by bestow curse, when he uses this ability, and it cannot later be changed. The curse remains on the object until it is triggered, or until the curse master chooses to lift the curse (a standard action).

                Once the object is used or handled, the curse no longer remains on the object, and it can safely be used by anyone. If the creature that used the object succeeded on his saving throw, he suffers no ill effects. Otherwise, he suffers from the curse’s effects until the curse is removed (in the same way as normal for bestow curse), or until the curse master chooses to lift the curse.

                An object affected by this ability radiates an aura of necromancy magic whose strength depends on the curse master’s caster level (see detect magic for more information about aura strength). A successful Spellcraft check (DC 10 + the curse master’s caster level + the curse master’s Intelligence modifier) identifies the object as cursed.

                This ability replaces the magic circles class feature.

                Vicarious Curse (Sp): At 12th level, the curse master learns to use someone’s treasured and personal possession to pass along a powerful curse to that person. In order to use this ability, the curse master must possess an object that previously belonged to the person that he wants to curse, and it must have had some amount of significance to that person. This could be an object with a special sentimental value or meaning, one that the target had particularly strong feelings about (such as a favorite shirt or a hated inkwell that always spilled), or one that had been in his possession for a particularly long time. The GM is the final arbiter of which objects qualify for this ability, and which do not.

                By performing a brief incantation over the object (a standard action), and expending 2 points of mental focus (either generic focus or focus from any of his implements), the curse master can create a connection between the object and its owner, and can use that connection to pass along a powerful curse. The curse functions as bestow curse, except that it can affect the target from a range of up to 1 mile per class level, and the Will save to resist the effect has a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 the curse master’s class level + the curse master’s Intelligence modifier.

                At the GM’s discretion, the target may gain a bonus or suffer a penalty on his saving throw based on how much of a connection he had to the object. For a particularly strong connection (a family heirloom he wore every day, his favorite childhood toy, etc.), he might suffer as much as a -4 penalty, while for items whose significance was barely enough to allow them to be used, he might gain up to a +4 bonus.

                This ability replaces the binding circles class feature.

        Greater Curse (Sp): At 16th level, a curse master’s curses become more potent. When inflicting a curse with his curse object or vicarious curse class features, the curse cannot be removed by remove curse, and the DC to remove it with break enchantment increases by 5. Additionally, he can choose from the following options when determining what effects the curse will have:

  • –12 penalty to an ability score, or –6 penalty to two ability scores (to a minimum ability score of 1).
  • –8 penalty on attack rolls, saves, ability checks, and skill checks.
  • Each turn, the target has a 25% chance to act normally; otherwise, it takes no actions.
  • Bestow curse of the ages or unluck.


                If a specific affliction is bestowed, the save DC of this ability replaces the usual save DC of the affliction. As with bestow curse, the curse master can bestow other curses, as well, provided that their effectiveness is in line with the options presented above.

                This ability replaces the fast circles class feature.