Full Item Description
The Cursing Jar is a hand blown glass jar 18 inches tall and a foot across. The glass itself is of very low quality and though technically clear, has large imperfections such as air bubbles in the thicker sections, grit and debris embedded in the base and sections where the material becomes a murky brown color. However, the real horror of the vessel are it's contents. Inside there are dozens if not hundred of severed fingers, ranging from thick and calloused thumbs, slender scribe's digits to the petit fingers of ladies. Each has been forcefully removed, some sawed, other sliced. The smell that emanates from the jar is terrible, and it also radiates a potent magic of malice.
The Cursing Jar has been passed from owner to owner, passing through many lands, many sects and factions, kingdoms and nations. It has gone through so many hands and taken so many fingers that it's origins have been lost to history.
Thankfully, history can be reconstructed through careful use of divinatory magics. The Jar was created by one Mattoi of Moxengor (MOH-zen-GHOR) a part time politician, flesh trader, and Sorceress of the 3rd Rank. Before the Jar was created, Moxengor was in a time of dramatic upheval, and social unrest. Mattoi was caught in a three way contest with the Sorcerer Ishaen and Ganlowe of the Silver Tongue. A series of events left Mattoi cast out of the Moxengor ruling council, her personal fortune was depleted by sorcerous theft, and her share of the slave market was undermined and her slaves escaped or stolen. Mattoi was close to being a broken woman.
But people pushed into a corner fight back, often recklessly. Mattoi contacted a Hatemonger, a seller of curses and hexes. Not satisfied with purchasing a few folk charms, Mattoi bought the formula to make a cursing vessel. She took this information and what remained of her assets to commision the jar from the local glassmaker. Once the jar was blown, Mattoi started the rituals of purification ands desecration. The glass was warped, and made impure with the layers of curses and maledictions.
Jar completed, Mattoi took up her dagger and cut the pinky finger from her left hand, casting it into the jar and cursing Gorluum, the assistant of Ganlowe of the Silver Tongue. Two days later Gorluum choked to death on a pickled egg sitting in his favorite brothel. After seeing her success, Mattoi removed her ring and middle fingers to curse Sorcerer Ishean. A few hours later, Ishean perished because of a laboratory accident, several reagents mixed incorrectly and detonated, releasing a poisonous cloud into the street. While he survived the explosion and cloud, nearly a hundred citizens and twice that many slaves were slain by the cloud. The resulting riot left Ishaen crucified against the smoldering timbers of his ruined tower.
So the path of revenge went, Ganlowe was murdered by one his his brothel slaves during a fire in the harem. Jusael the coin-lender was killed when part of his lending house collapsed on top of him. Mattoi learned, or perhaps didnt learn, that lists of enemies and vendettas of revenge seldom have good endings, or endings at all. When she was eventually found, the once noble woman and wealthy merchant had used her own teeth to gnaw off her own fingers to add to the jar. The source of the chaos was not found because Mattoi had been robbed of it hours before, and so the jar started on it's long trip through history.
To use the jar, a person must remove one of their own fingers and drop it into the jar while naming the person to be cursed. More than one finger can be used, and experimentation cha show that different fingers have different curse values. The pinky finger is the least valuable, while the index, middle, and thumb digits the most.
While seldom direct, the magic of the Jar stirs events into motion that will cause the death of the person named in the curse. Riots break out, thieves pick the target's home to rob, food is choked upon, and the like are common modes of death. There are several modes of defence, the most important being the preservation of name. If the curser doesnt know the subjects name the curse will not work, and if they have a proxy name, it is only 50% likely to work. this is one reason that many magi use working names and never reveal their true names.
The magic of the jar prevents the fingers from being removed. Shaking the container will not dislodge them, and reaching into the vessel will afflict the offender with the equivalent of a five finger curse, usually an almost instantaneous death by black rot.
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? Responses (15)
Absolutely Fiendish! I love it!
Though I think it is actually pretty cheap to use as is - a pinky is not worth a death in my opinion. Nonetheless, I think it is truely excellent.
Suitably creepy. It sounds like something for the Garage Sale from Hell.
I suspect that there must be counterspells to shield one from such a nasty enchantment, or perhaps the curse could be outmaneuvered, if the victim somehow figures out what form the curse is to take.
Of course, if people learned of such an item's existence, anyone with a missing finger might find themselves accused of witchcraft...
sweet tool for revenge, but you have to pay your pound of flesh
Not exactly a Garage Sale item... jars with fingers are not exactly something you would pick up without a second thought. :|
As Wulf, I think a single missing finger is sometimes too easy a price, but what if there is more? Does the cursing person pay with its own soul eventually? Or does he or she merely die later, to restore the balance? There should be a suitable ritual, that protects the user from undesired consequences.
Still, I really like this item... well, 'like' is not exactly the right word. :)
Great description and story, and I like how you hint that more is needed to pay for some targets - the more important, the steeper the sacrifice. Congratulations, you have made a genuine voodoo item.
I see your point about the Garage Sale from Hell, but I think I could sneak it in...
Lot 27: Alchemical Supply Case, Late Brachan Dynasty. Contents include 16 pieces alchemical glassware, copper still, 23 jars materials and alchemical reagents. All housed in wooden chest, approx. 23' wide x 26' tall x 52' long. Chest bears legend of bear fighting serpent.
One more jar of grotesque materials mixed in with the dried toads and eyes floating in brandy might not be so conspicuous...
Now, I would love to create a fake jar, but deaths keep happening, it is just coincidents that the targets are dying in weird ways, but the curser is still losing fingers
So the vengeance-bound Mattoi of Moxengor gnawed off the last of her fingers in her mad quest for revenge? That suggests to me that perhaps each death brings a feeling of euphoia to the user, making it that much easier to initiate the next arcane murder.
Alternatively, I could see the restless ghosts of the accursed ones returning to claim their due from the jar's owner (Perhaps just pestering her, perhaps displaying more potent abilities). Humans might not perceive these ghosts, but animals aren't so easily fooled by their eyes.
Now that is a brilliant twist, the souls of those revenged upon being contained in the jar and released against the owner to take back more than just fingers
here's a question does it just have the ten charges per user, or if I had a PC with 6 fingers on each hand...
what about others fingers?
Also the proper use of names is interesting, names are powerful and I would not have this work unless the true name was known
Evil, evil, evil. The effect is almost untracable, but you do have to pay a significant price. Given the history, it sounds like the Jar itself feeds the user's desire for revenge.
Yes! I was searching on how to put the effect, and that is it. It's sort of like an evil bag of potato chips, you cant just stop after the first one.
Awesome. Just came across this. Such a cool item. Unbelievably creepy too. great writup. Well worthy of an HoH!
Wicked! And I like the evil bag of potato chips slant. Great background and description. It begs to be used!
Beautifully wicked in its simplicity.