[RPG] Cursed items are being Identified too easily


Spellcraft in Pathfinder lets you ID magical/cursed items, and the Identify spell adds 10 to your Spellcraft skill. One of my PCs — in this case a level 8 wizard — has a stupidly high INT, making his standard Spellcraft checks up around 24 on a bad roll. I've tried to implement cursed equipment, but he always figures out what it is before anyone can use it.

I could ramp up the DC, but I was wondering if there was another way to handle it?

Best Answer

Make it so that the curse is still tempting. He'll discover the curse, but make the item useful enough that the party will keep it around just in case the curse is worth it.

Requirements or Drawbacks are good ways of doing this. A Sun Blade that causes a constant solar eclipse in a mile radius, a healing wand that moans in pain and requires you wound yourself for 5HP each time you use it, or a staff with a statuette on top that weeps blood and must be washed in holy water to make it work.

You'll want to balance the item's utility and curse so that even knowing the curse the person is tempted to use it, but not make the item so useful that it's automatically worth dealing with the curse. I find that this temptation is stronger if you give your players exact numbers: "Each time you use it roll a d20 and the curse triggers on a 1" is far more tempting than "there's some mysterious chance that the curse triggers whenever you use it."

Items like this will be far more effective if you make it clear that there's no curse compelling them to keep using the item. Something is much more tempting if you can quit at any time. If they need to use remove curse to get rid of the item, most players will immediately reject it.