Five Harvest-Themed Cursed Items
IFall is a wonderful time of year. You can go outside without feeling like you stepped into a fetid swamp. There’s new TV and movies. Various sports seasons are…doing sports stuff. It’s also the time of all the best US holidays! You have Halloween in October, and Thanksgiving in November. Both of these are harvest-oriented holidays, which are the best kind of holidays. Food makes the mirth, in my opinion. It also means that ’tis the season for more harvest-oriented content to complement all of that wonderful food. Let’s serve up a heaping helping of thematic cursed items.
If you haven’t looked into it, cursed items in 5e are that good good ish. I’m talking about items like berserker axe, shield of missile attraction, and sword of vengeance. These are items with some beneficial effect, often – but not always – look like other non-cursed items, and carry a thematic and dangerous flaw to them. The items strike a careful balance between necessitating their removal and providing fun for the player until such time as they can be removed. While other “cursed” items like bag of devouring have their place, they are more out and out malicious than 5e’s flavor of cursed items. Sure, it functions as a bag of holding.. but it also totally doesn’t at all. If you look at the berserker axe, it always provides the benefit of being a +1 weapon that grants additional hit points. The axe wants you to use it and only it to fly into a murderous rage to destroy those around you – friend or foe. The curse does a good job of conveying the berserking theme, and the benefits are such that a group might decide they can work around the drawbacks or need to accept the risk for a short period of time. That’s the sweet spot to hit. Hopefully, these five harvest-themed cursed items will provide a similar level of consideration.
Five Harvest-Themed Cursed Items
Wondrous item, legendary (requires attunement)
This three-foot cube of obsidian stone bears the crude image of a scarecrow with people bowing before it. You are immune to disease, the poisoned condition, and poison damage. Further, plants and animals within a three-mile radius are immune to poison and disease, once the stone has been attuned. Crops yield twice their normal amount while they remain within the area of the attuned stone. Up to thirteen people may attune to kuebiko’s plinth at any time. Once the stone has been attuned, it may not be moved from its current location until it is no longer attuned.
Curse. This stone is cursed, and becoming attuned to it extends the curse to those who have attuned to the stone and plants and animals within a three-mile radius of the stone. As long as you remain cursed, you have disadvantage on all Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom ability checks if you leave the cursed area.
In addition, three sentient creatures must be sacrificed upon the stone during the first full moon before the harvest – one each night on the day before, during, and after the full moon. If this sacrifice does not occur, animals in the affected area become diseased and hostile, and plants rot and die. Attuned creatures lose their immunity to poison and disease. They must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be consumed by an overwhelming desire to sacrifice someone on the stone.
This desire does not make the attuned creature less intelligent, but it does prevent them speaking of it to others who are not attuned to the stone. If sacrifices are not made before the next full moon, all attuned creatures will return to kuebiko’s plinth and willingly sacrifice themselves. If sacrifices are made before the next full moon, all affected by the curse return to the state they were in prior to the curse.
Design Note: Everyone loves a good harvest-cult with a council of shadowy elders who protect the town by sacrificing outsiders, right? The stone’s effect is really solid, after all. Who doesn’t love immunity and eating twice as many apple pies?
Weapon (sickle), very rare (requires attunement)
You gain a +2 bonus to spell attack rolls and to the saving throw DCs of your druid spells. While attuned to this magic weapon, you are immune to disease and can pass through non-magical plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard.
As a reaction to a creature within 60 feet of you dropping to 0, you may force the creature to make an immediate death save. If the creature fails, you gain temporary hit points equal to five times your proficiency bonus. If the creature succeeds, nothing happens.
Once you have gained temporary hit points in this fashion, you may not do so again until the sickle is covered in rotting wood for one hour.
Curse. This silver sickle is cursed and contains splinters of a Gulthias tree within its handle. Becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the sickle, keeping it on your person at all times. While attuned to this weapon, you have disadvantage on attack rolls made with weapons other than this one.
In addition, while the sickle is on your person, you must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw whenever the sun sets. On a failed save, you are driven to kill livestock or destroy crops for the next hour. If you are unable to do so, you may not regain hit points until the next sunset.
Design Note: I like the story of Gulthias and the Gulthias trees. A sickle carrying some of that evil seems appropriate for a cursed harvest-themed item. Sickles are always good, iconic fodder for that sort of thing. This should get across the sort of natural culling that needs to occur, counter-balanced with death and decay.
Feasting Horn of Scahrossar
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
This woven leather horn can be used to cast heroes’ feast. Up to five people may attune to this horn, allowing each to cast heroes’ feast – provided they do so simultaneously. Once the horn has been used, it may not be used again until the light of dawn shines upon it.
Curse. This horn is cursed, and becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain attuned to it, eating food or drink from a source other than a feasting horn of Scahrossar does not provide you any sustenance. In addition, for every day that passes without you eating a heroes’ feast from a feasting horn of Scahrossar you gain a level of exhaustion that cannot be removed without eating a heroes’ feast from a feasting horn of Scahrossar.
Whenever you invoke the heroes’ feast, you must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or become overwhelmed by a need to inflict pain upon yourself as an offering to Scahrossar. You lose half of your current hit dice, and cannot recover hit dice for 24 hours.
Design Note: I don’t know all that much about Scahrossar, but a goddess that is into BDSM is a good choice to provide an item like this. A group of people sacrificing their own health in exchange for the health of others seems like it would be a solid narrative for a feasting horn.
Decanter of Flowing Wine
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
This crystalline flask always appears as if it is filled with red wine and possesses three charges.
You can use an action to pour wine into as many empty glasses as you wish that are within your reach. The glass is never overfilled, and no drops of wine are spilled.
You may expend a charge to fortify a glass of wine when you pour it. The imbiber of the fortified wine has advantage on their next Charisma (Performance) or Charisma (Deception) ability check made within one hour of drinking the wine. Fortified wine loses its potency after one hour, if it is not consumed.
The decanter regained 1d4-1 charges the first time the light of the moon shines upon it each day.
Curse. A malicious spirit resides within the flask. This decanter is cursed, and becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain attuned to it, you are unwilling to part with the decanter. While attuned to it, if you do not drink from it once an hour, you suffer a level of exhaustion.
Whenever you deliver a speech or perform within one hour of drinking from the decanter, you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become possessed by a malicious spirit. You will attempt to provoke any who partake of the wine to violence against the nearest creature, stopping only someone you provoke to violence drops to 0 hit points, or causes someone else to drop to 0 hit points.
You can break the curse in the usual ways. Alternatively, casting banishment on the decanter forces the malicious spirit to leave it. The decanter loses all charges, but will still pour wine upon command.
Design Notes: Alcohol isn’t required for holiday meals, but it certainly helps.
The Glutton’s Dinner Plates
Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)
These porcelain dinner plates are inlaid with gold in patterns depicting woodland predators, particularly wolverines. Eating a meal from the plates causes you to gain immunity to the frightened condition and gain 2d10 temporary hit points, as you are emboldened by your full belly.
Curse. These plates are cursed, and becoming attuned to one causes the curse to extend to you. As long as you remain attuned to it, you will not eat a meal unless it is served on your plate.
Whenever you eat food, you must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or continue to eat food until you make yourself sick, gaining the poisoned condition for one hour.
Design Notes: One of the most harvest feast-appropriate things I can think of is eating until you make yourself sick. That horrific gnome deity knows what I am talking about.