Let’s be honest here: that cursed weapon is super tempting. Not only does it deal a metric ton of damage, but it looks super cool and gives you some perks for the time being. Sure, after a long rest, it may start to consume your soul, but who needs a soul when you can look absolutely sick? Well, you do.
You need a soul to keep looking awesome, but there may be a way to keep using that super cool cursed weapon without as many negative effects. Remove Curse is the spell for you – just clear it with your spellcaster (or yourself, if you are the spellcaster) so you can keep slaughtering and dominating the battlefield.
The spell featured in this Remove Curse 5e Guide is a third-level abjuration spell. It requires Verbal and Somatic components, and you must be touching your target to cast. It can break a curse on a person or break attunement with a cursed object.
It likely cannot dismantle “high-level” or complex curses, but you can homebrew the spell to allow for a roll against a DC check to try and break a high-level curse with Remove Curse.
Remove Curse is a third-level abjuration spell, requiring a casting time of 1 action (or six seconds). It requires you to touch your target and utilize Verbal and Somatic components. When you cast the spell on your target, all curses affecting that creature or object end.
If the object is a cursed magic item, its curse stays, but you break the owner’s attunement to the object, allowing you to remove or discard it. Just be aware that most people attuned to a cursed item will likely not want to let it go and will go to almost any means necessary to ensure their attunement stays intact.
What is the School of Abjuration?
The School of Abjuration focuses on magic that blocks, banishes, or protects its user or the caster’s target. Remove Curse falls into this category because it banishes curses, negating the negative effects or removing them from the equation where possible.
The School of Abjuration is traditionally a defensive or reactionary school, which typically is undervalued in the standard DnD game – or at least, in the ones I have played in. If your players have been like mine, it’s tempting to go for the most damaging spells right off the bat. After all, the best defense is a good offense, right? Wrong.
The best defense is good defense, and the School of Abjuration provides the best defense. Players can bullrush their way through many situations, but curses are typically not a situation that they can muscle and fireball your way through.
How Remove Curse Works
So long as you can touch the object and perform the proper components for the spell, you can remove just about any curse necessary. Of course, you also need to keep in mind that this is a third-level spell, meaning that basic curses or cursed weapons (which usually don’t have complex enchantments) can be removed.
A ninth-level curse stemming from a spell like Imprisonment likely won’t be able to be removed or reversed by the comparatively paltry Remove Curse.
When in doubt, an Arcana check, Intelligence check, or the spell Identity can come in handy here. When acting as a Dungeon Master at my tables, checking to see if a spell like Remove Curse will work, I would play it as an Arcana check.
For Dungeon Masters, if you want to give your players a shot at removing a high-level or intricate curse, whether for story reasons or otherwise, but don’t want Remove Curse to be too overpowered, I recommend having your players cast the spell and subsequently roll to see how well it performs.
As for what kind of check it ends up being, that can be your choice – I personally would base it on their Spellcasting Modifier.
At my table, the DC for something like this is set with this equation: 10 + 2 for every level above third. When I state the curse is a level, I mostly mean the intricacy or the difficulty of the curse. For something that I would consider a “ninth-level” curse, or highly intricate, the DC check would be 22.
That may seem a bit high, but it’s a “ninth-level” curse they’re attempting to dismantle with a third-level spell – it’s like trying to use a butter knife to cut through a frozen chunk of butter. You’ll get there eventually, but it will be a pain in the butt.
Who Can Use It
Remove Curse is available to only a few classes in Dungeons and Dragons 5e, though you’re more than likely to have it available to your party. Clerics, Paladins, Warlocks, and Wizards can access and use Remove Curse.
Considering that Clerics and Paladins don’t have to “learn” any of their spells and have access to their full spell sheet from the beginning, their only restriction is their level.
Fortunately, Remove Curse is available to all Clerics from level five onward. Paladins, on the other hand, gain access to their first third-level spell slot, and thus to Remove Curse, after level nine.
On the other hand, Warlocks cannot learn new spells through scrolls or other means. If you’re a warlock and want the Remove Curse spell, you will have to take it when you reach level five or any level after that.
I would argue, however, that if you have a Cleric, Paladin, or Wizard in your class, there are more than likely better options for you to take.
Wizards are the most versatile because they can learn some spells upon leveling up and gaining access to more spell slots or find them in-game and copy them into their spellbook. Starting from level five, when they receive their first third-level spell slot, Wizards can take and cast Remove Curse without sacrificing their ability to learn or cast other things.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to get creative with a spell with a single purpose, but if you pair it with other things, you can do some fun stuff. Suppose your party has a cursed item that deals serious damage but has long-term effects the longer that you’re attuned to it.
In that case, Remove Curse could allow for the cursed item to temporarily be used during battle and subsequently shelved until it’s needed again.
Let’s lay out a specific scenario: You have the cursed, sentient weapon Craven Edge. This sword is a two-handed greatsword that drains the Strength from anyone it hits, absorbing their blood and, eventually, consuming the soul of the wielder.
This sword gives the wielder advantage on Intimidation checks when unsheathed and transfers Strength from foes to the wielder. On a hit, the target needs to make a Constitution saving throw of 12. On a fail, Craven Edge steals one point of their Strength score and gives it to the wielder to a maximum of 25 until their next short or long rest.
Creatures that hit zero Strength due to this feature, whether out of hit points or not, automatically die, having their soul consumed by the blade. If Craven Edge takes enough Strength to bring the wielder up to 25 Strength, then it transforms into a much bigger and deadlier-looking blade.
All attacks in this form deal an additional 2d6 necrotic damage, and the wielder needs to make a Constitution saving throw with a 16 DC, or their soul is immediately devoured, and they die after taking a short rest.
This means that if you get to the point of the shadowed blade, you can have a +13 to hit, dealing 2d6+9 slashing damage PLUS 2d6 necrotic damage for a maximum total of 54 slashing and necrotic damage combined. Pair it with the two attacks a Barbarian has at level ten, and they can do upwards of 108 points of damage in a single turn.
Of course, to try and negate the instant-death part of Craven Edge through the saving throw needed to be made after a long or short rest, someone who has Remove Curse can simply cast it to instantly unpair the weapon.
Depending on how much your DM likes you (or how nice they are), this may end up backfiring, and a Constitution save will still need to be made. However, suppose you know your Barbarian or fighter is wielding Craven Edge.
In that case, you can give them some prep by granting them an advantage on Consitution Saving throws through guidance or something like Bardic Inspiration.
This all hinges on knowing that your party member has Craven Edge (or a similar weapon). Alternatively, if your enemies are using Craven Edge and you are concerned that they will steal your party’s Strength (and subsequently your souls), Remove Curse can be used as an action but make the weapon a standard +2 Great Sword. Although still deadly, the risk is greatly minimized.
Question: How Do I Get a Cleric to Remove Curses?
Answer: If they’re level five, give them a chance for a long rest so they can equip Remove Curse. If you can’t wait that long, go jump around temples until you find a Cleric there who has Remove Curse.
Most NPC Clerics are good-hearted enough that they should be willing to remove the curse for you (possible for a small fee) unless you have seriously offended them.
If it’s a cleric in your party who is refusing to remove the curse, maybe sweet-talking them will help.
If the problem persists and it happens to be that the player is refusing to remove it, rather than the character (meaning that it goes past the boundaries of fun and games), talk to them personally or see if the DM is willing to talk to them about boundaries to try and keep the game fun.
Question: Are there other Ways to Remove a Curse in 5e?
Answer: There are always other ways to do most things in Dungeons and Dragons, aside from the most straightforward way. Another spell that Clerics, Bards, and Druids have access to that can perform the same functions as Remove Curse is Greater Restoration.
However, Greater Restoration has a much higher cost on it, requiring a material component of Diamond Dust worth at least 100 gp to cast. Remove Curse doesn’t have a material component requirement, so you’re best off attempting Remove Curse first (and the DC check if your DM will allow your table to do so).
Question: What Does V S M Mean in Spellcasting Components?
Answer: In spellcasting, you can have three different types of components, often abbreviated as V S M. V stands for Verbal, meaning that you need to be able to speak to cast the entirety of, or part of, the spell.
S stands for Somatic, meaning you need to be able to move (whether it’s your hands or whole body for a bit of flair is up to you) in order to cast the entirety of, if not part of, the spell. Material means that you need to have a material component to cast the spell.
Generally, most material components do not need to be tracked unless you have a spellcasting or component bag on you. You need to start tracking them when they have a value attached to them, such as 100 gold pieces.
Components without a gold value attached can generally be replaced with a focus, but most wizards (and spellcasters in general) don’t use a focus, in my experience. Regardless, the choice is yours.
Remove Curse is a reasonably straightforward spell in the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons. It isn’t horribly powerful, but if your Dungeon Master is willing to fiddle with the rules a bit to allow some wiggle room with a DC roll, then you’re likely going to find more use in the spell than previously thought.
Remove Curse can allow you or your party members to utilize cursed weapons without the negative effects, or at the very least, it will minimize those negative effects. Remove Curse is a spell that doesn’t have much substance to it, but in a game like Dungeons and Dragons, that can be a benefit.
It allows for the spell to be fiddled with and homebrewed to fit the situation and the table. When you have a game like Dungeons and Dragons, where almost all of it is in the theater of your mind, being able to change things until they fit your table and environment while still remaining familiar is important.
There are some spells in Dungeons and Dragons that just have too much attached to them, whether it’s lore or rules, and that can take some of the joy out of getting creative, making it much harder to think outside of the box. Remove Curse, however, is not one of those spells.
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