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D&D 5E Quest Item Help


I have a player who has a Warlock who's getting to pretty high levels. He loves the Warlock, and has been building up a following of adventurers and whatnot to do his dirty work for him. I have no qualms with this. He says that he ultimately sees this guy as being a Quest Giver for his own campaigns, which I think is cool. We've done things like this before, allowing for our characters to jump campaigns as long as we have a reason behind it.

A big part of his character is that he only does something for someone if they can pay for it. And if they can't immediately, he expects them to eventually. He tells me recently that he would like for his Warlock, as a Quest Giver, to be able to make a deal with someone, and if they don't fulfill their end of the bargain, they are cursed permanently with something.

I know there are a few spells that can curse, and potentially indefinitely, but Bestow Curse would have to be cast with a 9th level spell slot, and Warlocks don't get 9th level spell slots.

So I thought that maybe he could get a magical item that enacted something like this, and that could be a quest he needs to complete to get it. A bargain is struck, and both parties are then magically bound. If one breaks it, then they are cursed with something very unfortunate. Nothing critical that would completely destroy them as a character, but also not something they would ever want to have to deal with if they can get out of it.

Any thoughts on how I could go about this, or what that could look like?

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That feels less like a what, and more like a who. Maybe he has a tame Devil on retainer who can oversee his bargains, acting to ensure that both sides keep their side of the deal. If either side reneges, they are inflicted with a curse of Imps - that curse being that, at random times on a more-or-less monthly basis, an Imp will be summoned to tail the subject invisibly and cause mischief for them at the worst possible moment. Trashing their things while they're asleep, stealing the vital MacGuffin, yelling out at the nearby monsters they're trying to sneak past, whatever. The Imp will only do this one mischief and then vanish, but it'll keep happening periodically for the rest of the subject's life.

The question then is, what is this devil's retainer? What does the warlock provide in return for his enforcement services?


A very OK person
All he really has to do is ensure a couple of bad things happen to the dealbreaker in the span of a week to a month. After that, the dealbreaker (a person already inclined to making bad decisions) will naturally just blame everything bad that ever happens on that curse.

Here’s the kicker - the curse is permanent and incurable. Because after the initial onset, it doesn’t exist! It’s a belief! No cleric nor deity can remove a curse that doesn’t exist nor change a sincerely held belief.

Should any enforcement actually be required, a mere Imp-messenger that reminds the dealbreaker in the Warlock’s voice, “I haven’t forgotten about you,” will torment the target endlessly.

Of all the Warlock’s powers, secrets, and allies, by far the most powerful is their street rep. A lie from a sufficiently notorious Warlock can be more powerful than any 9th level spell. Or else they would’ve been a wizard instead.

Geas is a good spell for this: make a deal and if the person doesn't fulfill the bargain, bad stuff happens until they start trying to fulfill it.

Who is the Warlock's Sponsor? I think the Curse could come directly from the Warlock's source of power. Given he's high level and has been a good Emissary to that Being, he can act as a broker for the Sponsor. So, while he's giving quests, the quests are handed down from that higher power and so too is the curse.

So, it doesn't have to be an item. It can just be a power. Especially if it's intended to be a plot device for an NPC.

What that curse looks like will also depend on the Sponsor.