Curses of Golarion

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See also: Cursed item

Curses are nasty, sometimes fatal, afflictions usually gained by invoking the wrath of a creature or trying to access a warded item.1 Some creatures can innately curse while others may learn how to do so, for instance, witches.2

Gods and curses

Kostchtchie, cursed by Baba Yaga.

Andirifkhu, Calistria and Desna may grant their followers access to curse-related powers.34

Pharasma, in aeons past, cursed the lamia matriarchs.5

Kostchtchie was cursed by Baba Yaga: Kostchtchie sought immortality by forcing a bargain with the Baba Yaga but Kostchtchie's wish for immortality was twisted by the evil crone, and he found himself transformed into the demonic form of the thing that he hated most: a giant.6

Creatures and curses

A mummy whose touch carries an infamous curse.

Invoking the wrath of certain creatures on Golarion may release a curse from them. Here is a list of just some of the creatures that can curse their enemies:

Spells and curses

Certain spells function as curses, allowing any creature who learns them to curse their foes. Here is a list of some curse spells and an asterisk (*) denotes that there is more information below:

Disease and curses

See also: Diseases of Golarion

Some particularly baleful curses manifest as disease too. Often there is no chance of curing the disease until the curse is lifted. Mummy rot is among the most infamous of such curses.32

Removing curses

Curses can typically be removed only through magic, such as the cleanse affliction spell33 also known as remove curse or break enchantment,2 or by gathering in prayer or to perform occult rites.3334

List of curses

Below is a list of some of the curses that can be bestowed on Golarion. It is by no means an exhaustive list.

Adella curse

The Adella Necropolis in Taldor is warded by a powerful curse.35

Bestow curse spell

Spellcasters with access to the bestow curse spell may afflict an enemy mentally or physically with it.29

Birthing Death

Found probably only in the Valley of the Birthing Death in Icemark in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, the local Varki tribes named the curse within the valley as the 'Birthing Death' as it manifests as a rapid rejuvenation of the afflicted taking them back to childhood and oblivion.36

The Bleaching

The Bleaching is a specific curse of the gnomes, brought upon by lack of stimulation in a gnome's life.37

Coward's Curse

A curse that causes a creature to freeze in fear when confronted with danger, making them useless in combat or other tense circumstances.38

Creature curses

See above under Creatures and curses.

Creeping Senility

Creeping senility is a disease and a curse that attacks the mind over several days unless cured.39

Crow's curse

There is a belief in Irrisen that crows are harbingers of death. There is some truth to this fact as some crows carry a malevolent energy due to the supernatural cold of the country. Close proximity to such an infected murder of crows risks falling victim to a terrible curse causing panic and fear in its victims.40

Crypt Fever

Crypt fever is particularly nasty as, like mummy rot, it is a disease and a curse: the curse must be removed before effectual healing may be applied to the victim. This supernatural disease can be contracted through contact with a contagious entity or by inhaling. The disease wearies the victim: sapping their strength, confidence and self worth; victims are physically marked by the disease too.41

Cursed magic items

Cursed magic items can be terrible perversions of beneficial magic items such as a clumsy sword or a strangling necklace. Rarely made by choice, these items are cursed by sloppy workmanship in the creation of a normal magic item.42

Curse of Bestial Dreams

Victims of this necromantic curse suffer headaches and are more prone to anger. It can be caused by small doses of dream crystal toxin and is a precursor to id mutations.43

Curse of Nightmares

A curse that plagues the subject with terrible nightmares, preventing them from resting.38

Curse of Slumber

A legendary curse that sends a creature into a sleep indistinguishable from death.38

Curse of the Ages

Invoking this curse ages the afflicted by one year.32

Curse of the Drowning Gasp

The Curse of the Drowning Gasp afflicts any who kill a gare linnorm; the afflicted person can no longer drink liquids without the liquid filling their lungs and causing them to start drowning.44

Curse of the Ravenous

A curse that robs the victim of their ability to be sated by what they eat, gradually killing them through starvation.38

Curse of the winterthorn

The curse of the winterthorn is a druidic ritual that creates a stag-horned forest avenger called a herne.4546

Curse water spell

Cursed metamorphosis spell

Powerful spellcasters may turn enemies into harmless rodents, frogs, or some other harmless creature by using the cursed metamorphosis spell,27 sometimes called baleful polymorph.47

Daybane

Daybane causes the victim to take damage when exposed to sunlight or other bright illumination.39

Dayblind

Dayblind causes blindness in areas of sunlight or other bright lights.39

Dissolution

Dissolution is the curse of a wasting disease.39

Famine

Famine is a disgusting curse that transforms any food of the victim to putrescent mush that, if actually able to be eaten, then causes sickness.39

Fevered Dreams

Fevered dreams is a curse that brings on nightmares and consequently fatigue.39

Font of Truth

Font of Truth is a curse that forces the victim to be truthful.48

Grave Curse

A form of curse used to punish those who steal from graves and tombs. When an afflicted creature tries to rest, an incorporeal spirit manifests to harass them and prevent their sleep. When an afflicted creature enters a graveyard or other area containing corpses, zombies and skeletons will spontaneously manifest to attack them. THis curse can be undone by returning whatever was stolen.38

Half-Life Palsy

This disease is also a curse. Interestingly, this disease has extra potency against undead who feed off afflicted victims.49

Kassen's curse

It is rumoured that the tomb of Ekat Kassen, near the modern day town of Kassen in Nirmathas, holds a curse for defilers of his final resting place.50

Lycanthropy

See also: Lycanthrope
Werewolves under a full moon.

Lycanthropy is a supernatural curse which resembles a disease. It can be contracted by being bitten by a lycanthrope such as a werewolf or wererat. The affliction remains dormant until the next full moon, whereupon the victim undergoes an involuntary transformation into an animal and becomes filled with an uncontrollable rage and blood lust. The victim generally retains no memory of any events experienced while transformed, and returns to his or her normal form upon sunrise. Although the affliction can be cured by a powerful cleric, drinking a preparation made of wolfsbane can help the victim overcome it as well.5152

Lycanthropy can also be passed on from a mother to her offspring. Children born with lycanthropy are known as natural lycanthropes, and it is only they who can pass on the affliction through their bite. Natural lycanthropes have greater control over their transformation, and do not suffer from loss of memory. A person suffering from lycanthropy who contracted it through a bite is known as an afflicted lycanthrope.51 Although it is a rare occurrence, a person can become a werebear by drawing the "Bear" card from a Harrow Deck of Many Things.53

Some believe that it was the demon lord Jezelda who first brought lycanthropy to Golarion, although her faithful dispute this claim.54 Lycanthropy is known to be particularly common among the Ulfen of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings (where it is considered a sign of favour given by nature spirits),55 in the small Varisian village of Wolf's Ear,56 and in Darkmoon Vale in northeastern Andoran.57

Minotaur children

Most minotaurs are born to two minotaur parents (as might be expected) but a rare few are born to human parents as the result of a curse.58

Mummy Rot

This supernatural affliction is both a disease and a curse. It is passed on via direct contact with an undead mummy. Symptoms appear within a single minute. It can only be cured if the curse is lifted first via magic. In addition, those infected are highly resistant to any form of healing magic until the curse is lifted. It quickly weakens and severely disfigures the infected person and can kill an average human in under four days. Those who perish from the disease crumble to dust, and cannot be raised from the dead by normal means.3259

Oath of the Flesh

A curse that binds a subject to follow their oath. When the cursed creature makes an oath, they become marked with an ornate symbol carved into their flesh. If they uphold their oaths they suffer no further consequences, but should they break an oath the mark immediately expands into a gaping wound that cannot be healed.38

Oracle's curse

Oracles, the servants of the gods, are always cursed in some way: perhaps by deafness or a rotting away of their body. Despite this curse, the gods' favour is shown in ways which help the oracles overcome their curse in some fashion.4

Parasitic soul

Parasitic soul is a curse and a disease acquired through opening a phylactery of the failed. Succumbing to the curse-disease means the soul of the failed lich contained in the phylactery begins to take over the cursed person's body, ultimately using the body to achieve the goal of lichdom.60

Parched

Parched causes an extreme thirst in the victim requiring gallons of water to quench or else dehydration sets in.48

Ravenous

Ravenous causes a debilitating hunger requiring a day's portion of food to be eaten up to every hour to avoid the onset of starvation symptoms.48

Reviled of Nature

A curse that makes a creature the enemy of nature, driving all animals to attack the cursed creature as soon as they are aware of its presence.38

Reviling Earth

A curse that falls over entire regions, causing its inhabitants to die more easily.38

Sellsword's Folly

A curse that robs a creature of its combat prowess, turning even the most hardened veteran into a fumbling and reckless rookie.38

Shadow blight

Shadow blight is a supernatural strength-sapping disease spread by plague shadows: shadows of disease-bearing animals. Being a supernatural disease, it requires magic to remove a curse in addition to removing the disease in order to effect a cure. If the disease is not cured, the sufferer will die and rise again as a plague shadow within days.61

Shattered self

Shattered self fractures the mind of the victim giving it a second, uncontrolled and particularly nasty personality.48

Slayer's Haunt

A curse that causes a creature to perceive others as those they have previously killed, still maimed and mangled from their death wounds.38

Spirit Anchor

A curse that prevents an afflicted creature from moving on to the afterlife should it die.38

Sword of Anathema

A curse a deity's followers can bestow through divine retribution. When cursed, followers of the deity who bestowed the curse find themselves supernaturally guided in dealing harm to the cursed creature.38

Theft of Thought

A curse used to protect books that affects a creature who steals it. The cursed creature suffers damage to its memories and finds its skills impaired.38

Thief's Retribution

A curse that punishes thieves. If a cursed creature steals something, they soon find themselves loosing something of equal or greater value, though the value may not be monetary. If a creature finds itself bereft of such valuable possessions, the cost will instead be paid with its body, cleaving away entire limbs as necessary.38

Unending Thirst

A curse that renders a creature unable to benefit from drinking, slowly killing them through dehydration.38

Unholy water

Clerics and other spellcasters with access to the spell curse water, who are usually evil, may use it to create unholy water.30

Unluck

Being cursed with unluck makes the recipient of the curse incredibly unlucky.32

Vampirism

Some claim that vampirism is a curse, though some vampires would dispute this claim; Nosferatu vampires would not.62

Vulnerability

This curse makes the victim hurt significantly more when damaged by energy, for instance, lightning or fire.48

Wendigo psychosis

This curse is also a disease.63

Witch's hex

A witch can use a hex to curse a creature or even the land itself.6465

Wizard's Ward

A curse used to protect books from nationalization, most commonly wizards' spellbooks. When a creature damages the book they suffer the same harm and can only be healed of it by repairing the book.38

References

Paizo published a major article about this subject titled "Curses of the Ancients" in Secrets of the Sphinx.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Logan Bonner, et al. “2 Building Games” in GM Core, 86. Paizo Inc., 2023
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Appendix 1: Special Abilities” in Core Rulebook, 556. Paizo Inc., 2009
  3. Via the Curse subdomain as a consequence of its association with those gods' dominion of the Luck domain
  4. 4.0 4.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Classes” in Advanced Player's Guide, 43. Paizo Inc., 2010
  5. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Bestiary” in The Skinsaw Murders, 91. Paizo Inc., 2007
  6. James Jacobs. “Lords of the Abyss” in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2, 8. Paizo Inc., 2010
  7. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 14. Paizo Inc., 2010
  8. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 29. Paizo Inc., 2010
  9. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 24. Paizo Inc., 2011
  10. Greg A. Vaughan, et al. “Bestiary” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 88. Paizo Inc., 2012
  11. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 51. Paizo Inc., 2011
  12. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 54. Paizo Inc., 2010
  13. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 66. Paizo Inc., 2011
  14. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 76. Paizo Inc., 2011
  15. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 83. Paizo Inc., 2011
  16. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 111. Paizo Inc., 2010
  17. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 142. Paizo Inc., 2010
  18. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 145. Paizo Inc., 2011
  19. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 159. Paizo Inc., 2010
  20. Thurston Hillman, et al. “Bestiary” in Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen, 86. Paizo Inc., 2015
  21. Jim Groves, et al. Inner Sea Bestiary, 34. Paizo Inc.,
  22. Jim Groves, et al. Inner Sea Bestiary, 37. Paizo Inc.,
  23. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 219. Paizo Inc., 2010
  24. Sean K Reynolds & Jason Nelson. “Bestiary” in Maiden, Mother, Crone, 88. Paizo Inc., 2013
  25. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 2, 281. Paizo Inc., 2010
  26. James Jacobs, et al. Classic Horrors Revisited, 55. Paizo Inc., 2010
  27. 27.0 27.1 Logan Bonner, et al. Spells” in Player Core, 322. Paizo Inc., 2023
  28. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 246. Paizo Inc., 2009 As baleful polymorph.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 246. Paizo Inc., 2009
  30. 30.0 30.1 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 263. Paizo Inc., 2009
  31. Logan Bonner, et al. Spells” in Player Core, 346. Paizo Inc., 2023 Previously as feeblemind.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Appendix 1: Special Abilities” in Core Rulebook, 557. Paizo Inc., 2009
  33. 33.0 33.1 {{Cite book/Player Core|431]}
  34. Logan Bonner, et al. “Feats” in Player Core, 253. Paizo Inc., 2023
  35. Mike Shel. Tomb of the Iron Medusa, 6. Paizo Inc., 2011
  36. Colin McComb, et al. “The Linnorm Kingdoms” in Lands of the Linnorm Kings, 21. Paizo Inc., 2011
  37. Colin McComb, et al. “Faith: Gods, Gnomes, and the Bleaching” in Gnomes of Golarion, 25. Paizo Inc., 2010
  38. 38.00 38.01 38.02 38.03 38.04 38.05 38.06 38.07 38.08 38.09 38.10 38.11 38.12 38.13 38.14 38.15 Logan Bonner, et al. “2: Tools” in Gamemastery Guide, 116–117. Paizo Inc., 2020
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 Russ Taylor. “Curses of the Ancients” in Secrets of the Sphinx, 73. Paizo Inc., 2014
  40. Mike Shel. “Plots and Perils” in Irrisen, Land of Eternal Winter, 48. Paizo Inc., 2013
  41. Mike Shel. Tomb of the Iron Medusa, 13. Paizo Inc., 2011
  42. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Magic Items” in Core Rulebook, 536. Paizo Inc., 2009
  43. Mike Welham. “Adventure Background” in Doom Comes to Dustpawn, 4. Paizo Inc., 2013
  44. Sean K Reynolds & Jesse Benner. “Bestiary” in Night of Frozen Shadows, 84. Paizo Inc., 2011
  45. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 101. Paizo Inc., 2008
  46. James Jacobs, et al. “Bestiary” in The Worldwound Incursion, 86. Paizo Inc., 2013
  47. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Spells” in Core Rulebook, 246. Paizo Inc., 2009 As baleful polymorph.
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 48.4 Russ Taylor. “Curses of the Ancients” in Secrets of the Sphinx, 74. Paizo Inc., 2014
  49. Adam Daigle, et al. Seldeg Bhedlis (Graveknight)” in Undead Unleashed, 55. Paizo Inc., 2014
  50. Jason Bulmahn. Crypt of the Everflame, 22. Paizo Inc., 2009
  51. 51.0 51.1 Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 196. Paizo Inc., 2009
  52. James Jacobs, et al. Classic Horrors Revisited, 59. Paizo Inc., 2010
  53. Paizo Inc. & F. Wesley Schneider. Harrow Deck of Many Things” in Crown of Fangs, 69. Paizo Inc., 2008
  54. James Jacobs. Demon Lords of Golarion” in Descent into Midnight, 59. Paizo Inc., 2009
  55. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 1: Characters” in Campaign Setting, 35. Paizo Inc., 2008
  56. James L. Sutter. Varisia” in The Hook Mountain Massacre, 69. Paizo Inc., 2007
  57. Mike McArtor. “Chapter 4: Secrets” in Guide to Darkmoon Vale, 55–57. Paizo Inc., 2008
  58. James Jacobs, et al. Classic Monsters Revisited, 41. Paizo Inc., 2008
  59. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 210. Paizo Inc., 2009
  60. F. Wesley Schneider. “Lesser Artifacts” in Artifacts & Legends, 61. Paizo Inc., 2012
  61. Eric Cagle, et al. Shadow” in Undead Revisited, 50. Paizo Inc., 2011
  62. Sean K Reynolds & F. Wesley Schneider. “Bestiary” in Seven Days to the Grave, 88. Paizo Inc., 2008
  63. James Jacobs, et al. “Bestiary” in In Search of Sanity, 82. Paizo Inc., 2016
  64. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Classes” in Advanced Player's Guide, 66. Paizo Inc., 2010
  65. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 2: Classes” in Advanced Player's Guide, 69. Paizo Inc., 2010