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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Studying Cursed Scrolls

    The Dungeon Master's Guide lays out a bunch of different ways magic items can be cursed, on of which is "opposite effect or target". This section says that items cursed in this way can either have the opposite effect that the creator intended (a lighting bolt wand that heals instead of zaps is the example of this later on), or targeting the user instead. Presumably, a scroll cursed in this way could produce a spell the effect of which is the opposite of what the base spell normally would produce.

    With this being the case, would someone who scribes the spell into their book get the cursed version or the base version? Could someone learn "enrage person" instead of charm person from a cursed scroll if they wanted?
    Last edited by Raishoiken; 2019-12-07 at 12:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    Quote Originally Posted by Raishoiken View Post
    The Dungeon Master's Guide lays out a bunch of different ways magic items can be cursed, on of which is "opposite effect or target". This section says that items cursed in this way can either have the opposite effect that the creator intended (a lighting bolt wand that heals instead of zaps is the example of this later on), or targeting the user instead. Presumably, a scroll cursed in this way could produce a spell the effect of which is the opposite of what the base spell normally would produce.

    With this being the case, would someone who scribes the spell into their book get the cursed version or the base version? Could someone accidentally learn "enrage person" instead of charm person from a cursed scroll?
    If the spell has been altered from the original spell, and they scribe that into their book, then yes it would cast the cursed version of the spell if that's how it's ruled by the DM, I would give them checks to recognize that the spell seems off or it doesn't look to work how the play intends it too though.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    My feeling is that it'd be a pretty incompetent wizard who either failed to recognize that the scroll was cursed despite studying it to the point that they'd theoretically be able to learn the spell, or who elected to copy the spell into their spellbook despite being aware that the scroll was cursed in some manner without first attempting to determine what the curse on the scroll actually does.

    As to whether or not you'd copy the opposing-effect aspect of the cursed scroll, I'd be inclined to say no for several reasons:
    1. If the wizard recognizes and correctly identifies the curse before copying the spell into his or her spellbook, you're just making a convoluted way to give them e.g. "Healing Bolt" instead of "Lightning Bolt."
    2. If the wizard fails to recognize or identify the curse before copying the spell into his or her spellbook, then you could really screw the wizard - and possibly the party - up for a session or more, especially if you don't tell the party that it looks like the goblins' wounds are magically closing when the wizard's Lightning Bolts strike them or something else like that for potentially-subtle curses.
    3. If the effect is something that's easily recognizable the first time the spell gets used (e.g. Enrage instead of Charm), then either it comes up once without causing any real issue and the wizard just relabels the spell and goes on with life, or it comes up once in important circumstances and really screws an encounter up, possibly making some people at the table angry about it at the same time.
    4. I personally feel that effect-altering curses on spellcasting items work better as additional on-trigger spells on items rather than as direct spell substitutions - a "Charm" scroll that has Enrage on it is merely mislabeled; a Lightning Bolt scroll that has an additional rider that causes targets to be healed rather than harmed by the lightning bolt is cursed.

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeson View Post
    My feeling is that it'd be a pretty incompetent wizard who either failed to recognize that the scroll was cursed despite studying it to the point that they'd theoretically be able to learn the spell, or who elected to copy the spell into their spellbook despite being aware that the scroll was cursed in some manner without first attempting to determine what the curse on the scroll actually does.

    As to whether or not you'd copy the opposing-effect aspect of the cursed scroll, I'd be inclined to say no for several reasons:
    1. If the wizard recognizes and correctly identifies the curse before copying the spell into his or her spellbook, you're just making a convoluted way to give them e.g. "Healing Bolt" instead of "Lightning Bolt."
    2. If the wizard fails to recognize or identify the curse before copying the spell into his or her spellbook, then you could really screw the wizard - and possibly the party - up for a session or more, especially if you don't tell the party that it looks like the goblins' wounds are magically closing when the wizard's Lightning Bolts strike them or something else like that for potentially-subtle curses.
    3. If the effect is something that's easily recognizable the first time the spell gets used (e.g. Enrage instead of Charm), then either it comes up once without causing any real issue and the wizard just relabels the spell and goes on with life, or it comes up once in important circumstances and really screws an encounter up, possibly making some people at the table angry about it at the same time.
    4. I personally feel that effect-altering curses on spellcasting items work better as additional on-trigger spells on items rather than as direct spell substitutions - a "Charm" scroll that has Enrage on it is merely mislabeled; a Lightning Bolt scroll that has an additional rider that causes targets to be healed rather than harmed by the lightning bolt is cursed.
    These are all good reasons for why a wizard may not want to scribe it, however there are a multitude of spells that become offensively viable if their effects are reversed. So if you come across a healing lightning bolt scroll, that's a free area heals for a wizard which normally doesn't get that

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    In order to scribe a scroll and cast the spell yourself, you need to correctly understand the spell. So I say no. The cursed scroll is designed to trick you into casting the wrong spell, and you dont need to fully understand the spell to cast it from the scroll. But if you tried to scribe that scroll into your spellbook, you would fail as if you had failed the spellcraft check.

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    Quote Originally Posted by Eladrinblade View Post
    In order to scribe a scroll and cast the spell yourself, you need to correctly understand the spell. So I say no. The cursed scroll is designed to trick you into casting the wrong spell, and you dont need to fully understand the spell to cast it from the scroll. But if you tried to scribe that scroll into your spellbook, you would fail as if you had failed the spellcraft check.
    Is there something written anywhere that suggests that you'd fail the check or is that just what you'd rule it as dm? I'm looking for any concrete reasons the game forces it not to work. As a dm it'd probably be a good idea to rule in a spell by spell basis if they somehow don't realize the spell they're scribing is tainted.
    For my purposes, however, it's not seeming as if the texts say anything that says otherwise unless someone can track something along those lines down. The thing that comes closest to blocking it i think is that says that the item itself is what's malfunctioning. But there's also nothing that says that the object "doing the opposite" doesn't include the transfer of the spell

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    I don't know if there's any RAW one way or the other, but I'd rule that the spell on the scroll is the actual spell: It's the scroll itself that's cursed to invert the effect somehow, and it would do the same to any spell that was scribed on it. Maybe it's made of the skin of a particularly malevolent necromancer or something.

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    Quote Originally Posted by Eladrinblade View Post
    In order to scribe a scroll and cast the spell yourself, you need to correctly understand the spell. So I say no. The cursed scroll is designed to trick you into casting the wrong spell, and you dont need to fully understand the spell to cast it from the scroll. But if you tried to scribe that scroll into your spellbook, you would fail as if you had failed the spellcraft check.
    That's not necessarily the case, there's definitely circumstances where cursed items came into being through mishaps, rather than intentional malice. In fact, trying specifically to make something like a lightning bolt that heals would actually come under spell research, something like that would be by pure accident.

    As for actually scribing them into your spellbook, I would say no. The scroll contains corrupted magic, in the same way you might have a corrupted USB drive from which you cannot properly copy the contents into your hard drive (or spellbook in this case). If you wished to create a spell that matched the effects of the cursed scroll, you would need to perform spell research to reverse engineer it.
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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    Perhaps the nature of the curse is either volatile or mutable enough to be altered across different medium: while a cursed Lightning Bolt scroll could heal instead of harm, attempting to deliberately add it to a spellbook would curse the spellbook in such a way that to use it at all the first spell you'd need to memorize at the start of every day would be a vanilla 3rd level Lightning Bolt.
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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    A cursed lightning bolt feels like one of those altered targeting deals rather than healing. So as long as you don't mind being crispied some, it should be fine to study and learn as such.

    It could even have uses with small things invading your square.

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    Quote Originally Posted by Raishoiken View Post
    Is there something written anywhere that suggests that you'd fail the check or is that just what you'd rule it as dm?
    Well, the rules for scribing and casting from scrolls keep mentioning "know exactly what the spell does", "understand the spell", etc. This actually undermines what I said, because it means that you have to understand and know the spell to cast it from the scroll at all. The books mentions that a cursed scroll activates when you try to decipher it, not cast it, and you can't cast it without deciphering it. Unfortunately none of the example cursed items in the DMG are a scroll.

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    Default Re: Studying Cursed Scrolls

    Quote Originally Posted by RSGA View Post
    A cursed lightning bolt feels like one of those altered targeting deals rather than healing. So as long as you don't mind being crispied some, it should be fine to study and learn as such.

    It could even have uses with small things invading your square.
    A lightning bolt that heals is actually a direct example from the DMG.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
    Quote Originally Posted by atemu1234 View Post
    Humans are rarely truly irrational, just wrong.

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