I brought it up in the OSR discord, and the glogosphere loved it. So I issued another challenge: write a Curse-as-Class, due by today. These are the other entries, and they’re all great. I'm really happy with the response to this, some really awesome writing from the best gloggers in the business.
Princesses and Pioneers - Curse of the Mirror Struck
A Blasted, Cratered Land - Curse of the Hero
Archon's Court - Nanoweapon Poisoning
Same is Shark in Japanese - Curse of Ska
Slugs and Silver - Curse of the Ogre
Anxious Mimic - Curse of Oath-Rot
Benign Brown Beast - Curse of the Restless Dreamer
Parasites and Paradoxes - Curse of the Doppelganger
Bugbear Slug - Curse of the Abattoir God
Once you’re cursed, you can’t level up in anything else. The curse takes up class templates. If you have a Level 1 Thief and get cursed, you now have Thief Template A and Undying Curse A. Then you have Thief Template A and Undying Curse A and B, then Undying Curse A, B, and C. Finally, the last Curse Template usurps your Thief level, and your character is unplayable.
Curse of the Undying
B: Regain Ego
C: Soften Into Sludge
For every Undying template you have, lose 2 max HP and 1d4 Charisma, but gain 1 Strength and Dexterity. You cannot be reduced to 0 Charisma or HP by this.
Whenever you are killed, you return, with a duration determined by how much damage you suffered before death.
Hours (Minor damage)
Days (Major damage, missing limbs)
Weeks (Exceptional damage, all limbs torn asunder, obliteration)
You can’t gain the benefits of a short or long rest. You can only heal with magical healing (necromancy spells that cause necrotic damage heal you).
You no longer use XP to level: whenever you die, it advances the curse. Deaths to:
Your sense of self is degraded on every death. Every time you come back, you lose a bit of what kept you intact as a living person. The rot is made manifest in your flesh. You may eat the pineal glands of the living to consume memories of humanity and regain fragments of yourself. People who knew you personally (friends, family members, the rest of your party) give the most ontological inertia, while people you have met once or twice or never knew give dregs. Enough dregs can still reverse your descent. You can’t cure the curse by doing this.
Companions: -2 deaths to your curse advancement.
Dregs: -1 death to your curse advancement.
Soften Into Sludge
Your form is soft and mutable from your deaths. The metaphysical bonds holding you together are decaying. You can reduce yourself to a waxy, ooze-like state, able to crawl under doors and in small places, then reassemble your rigid form. Climbing checks have a +2 bonus, and you grapple with advantage due to your sticky flesh. However, you take double damage from fire. You can only take one inventory item with you when you become sludge. You can also possess a sleeping or incapacitated victim by climbing into their mouths and controlling them from the inside. Unwilling victims get a save. Use their physical stats, and their HP counts as armor points that are exhausted with damage.
There is no humanity left in your rotted husk. You have become insane and bloodthirsty, seeking memories that can no longer return you to a previous state. Give your character sheet to the GM. You are now a monstrous NPC.
Ways to break the curse: eat a god, become annihilated so thoroughly that you can’t regenerate (like in a black hole), reach absolute inner peace.