[Top 10] D&D Best Cursed Items

D&D Best Cursed Items
The Cover of the Dungeon Master's Guide

DMs are here to make sure your playing experience is as good as possible. They give you interesting NPCs to bother, exciting battles to win, and cool magical items to make you feel powerful. Sometimes, however, the players require a bit of revenge. For that purpose, here are 10 great cursed items to put in your D&D game.

10.  Berserker Axe

Talk about a rage.

We’ll begin with an old favorite. The Berserker Axe, perfect for your battle-hungry fighter or murderhobo that needs to be taught a lesson. The Berserker Axe is found in the DMG and is one of the classic cursed weapons in D&D lore, and is popular for good reason. I put this in campaigns to teach greedy, murderous players not to pick up every shiny thing they see, but it also adds a wonderful RP element if they decide the curse is worth the bonuses. This weapon can even cause an alignment shift if the player decides to escalate, which is a good start for an interesting character arc.

What’s Fun about the Berserker Axe

  • The axe itself is a useful weapon, offering an attack/damage bonus as well as increased health depending on your level.
  • The curse: As with most items, you’re unwilling to part with your beloved weapon once attuned to it, to the point of finding your other weapons don’t quite fit in your hand as well as this one.
  • But that’s not all. Once you take damage with this weapon, that’s when the Berserker part of it starts to make sense. With a bad roll, you could start swinging at everyone around you—including your allies! There’s nothing scarier than your friendly neighborhood barbarian fighting at your side before suddenly turning their attacks against you.

Berserker Axe Details

  • +1 attack and damage bonus
  • Your hit point maximum increases by 1 for each level you have attained
  • You are unwilling to part with the axe while attuned, and you have disadvantage on attack rolls with weapons other than the Berserker axe unless no foe is within 60 feet of you that you can see or hear
  • When a hostile damages you, you must succeed o a 15 Wisdom saving through or go berserk. While berserk you attack any creature closest to you with all of your attacks, moving to the nearest possible creature once your target is felled.
  • You stay berserk until the start of your turn with no creatures within 60 feet of you that you can see or hear.

9. Boots of Mysterious Stepping

Poof! And you're gone

These are some of the most tempting items, with an effect that can be hilarious, beneficial, or horribly detrimental. Unlike cursed weapons, these boots can mess up any kind of player, which makes them some of my favorite magical items. They allow you to cast the Misty Step spell once every short rest, though this version of the spell doesn’t work quite the same. As the DM, you can choose where these boots land, be it safely atop the roof or just a few feet off of its ledge. It’s fun to place these in a dragon’s horde or a thief’s secret stash, ready to fall on the feet of an innocent adventurer, unaware that they’re in for a nasty surprise.

What’s Fun about the Boots of Mysterious Stepping

  • Misty Step is a useful spell that can benefit most classes, so it’s easy to get your players to fall into the trap
  • With the ability to choose where the wearer lands, this can lead to many shenanigans, both helpful and harmful. Does your rogue land within the treasure trove or suddenly find themselves in the bathroom of the noble’s wife? The improvisation knows no bounds.

Boots of Mysterious Stepping details

  • This is a homebrew item, so alteration is welcome
  • You can cast Misty Step once per short rest
  • You must succeed on a DC 14 Intelligence saving throw or end up in a location of the DM’s choosing, barring it’s within 60 feet

8. Dust of Sneezing and Choking

Cover your nose when you sneeze

This dust resembles very fine sand, and when Identify is cast on it, it appears to the caster as the useful Dust of Disappearance. Great! Who doesn’t want to be invisible? So your party keeps it, waiting until they prep for that big ambush they’ve been planning for weeks. They sneak inside the base, right outside the BigBad’s den, take out the dust, and… start to cough so loud the enemy knows they’re coming. Oops! Now your ambush has turned into a full-on battle, and your players curse the DM as they smile in glee.

What’s fun about the Dust of Sneezing and Choking

  • Identify is a useful spell, sometimes too useful if you ask me. Most cursed items allow the players to see that it’s cursed with this fist level spell, so when it specifically notes that Identify won’t work as intended, all DMs cheer in unison.
  • This isn’t a “surprise! You’re dead!” kind of cursed item, so it leaves room for a lot of creative uses. You can either thwart your player’s stealth plans or, if a high enough Intelligence check is made, your player can use it against their enemies as a well-earned reward

Dust of Sneezing and Choking details

  • When Identify is used on it, it is identified as the Dust of Disappearance. There is enough dust for one use.
  • When you use an action to throw a handful of the dust into the air, you and each creature that needs to breathe within 30 feet of you must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become unable to breathe, while sneezing uncontrollably. 
  • A creature affected in this way is incapacitated and suffocating.
  •  A conscious creature repeats the saving through at the end of each of their turns. 
  • The lesser restoration spell can also end the effect on a creature.


7. Shield of Missile Attraction

I thought you wanted to be attractive?

Another classic! This shield is like the Berserker Axe in that it’s both harmful and helpful, depending on how you look at it. This is a good punishment for a player that wronged the wrong NPC and can be disguised as a gift of goodwill. This shield places a curse on the player that doesn’t end when the shield of removed and causes arrows and other missiles in-game to automatically target them if they’re fired within a certain distance. Talk about being attractive!

What’s Fun about the Shield of Missile Attraction

  • You can rename the shield to be something less suspicious, usually something along the lines of Shield of Missile Deflection
  • At first glance, this shield allows the bearer resistance against all ranged attacks while wilding it
  • However, all ranged attacks that target someone nearby instant, automatically go to you! So you still have the resistance, but a greater chance of being hit may negate that depending on how good the enemy is at shooting.

Shield of Missile Attraction details

  • Resistance to ranged attacks
  • Whenever a ranged weapon attack is made against a target within 10 feet of you, the curse causes you to become the target instead.
  • You still have the curse when you remove the shield. Only when the Remove Curse spell, or something stronger like Wish, can cleanse you of the shield’s power.

6. Bag of Devouring 

Don't feed it after midnight

This is a player’s worst nightmare. You go to reach into your Bag of Holding, one of the most useful items in D&D where players put their important, plot-relevant items, and what happens? Sharp teeth sink into their hand. All of their items have been eaten by what they thought was a bag, and now they’re at risk of being munched as well! This bag is hilarious and devastating, depending on how long the party has had it and could make for one hell of a character death.

What’s Fun about the Bag of Devouring

  • While not exactly cursed, this bag heavily resembles a Bag of Holding, and most players would certainly feel cursed while having it
  • There’s a bit of chance that comes into play, so depending on how lucky they get a player can easily  reach in and get what they were looking for without repercussions (as long as it’s not edible—those get devoured instantly!)
  • Destroying the bag doesn’t get your items back, either. They get spat somewhere completely unattainable unless your part is high level or has powerful allies. This can lead to a crazy adventure in the Astral Plan if they play their cards right!

Bag of Devouring details

  • Instead of being an extra-dimensional space, this bag holds an extradimensional creature. 
  • All meat or vegetables are instantly devoured
  • There’s a 50% chance a creature is pulled inside of the bag when it reaches inside. Another player can make a DC 20 Strength check to pull them back out.
  • If a player starts their turn inside the bag, they are instantly devoured, their body destroyed
  • The bag can hold 1 cubic foot of inanimate objects. Once a day, the bag swallows any objects inside and spits them into another plan at the GM’s discretion
  • If the bag is pierced or torn, it is destroyed, and anything contained within it is transported to a random location on the Astral Plane.

5. Bracelet of Rock Magic 

Stiff as a... well, rock

This item comes from the Storm King’s Thunder adventure book and is described as a golden bracelet with an inscription written in Terran around the band. It’s a beautiful item, and its immunity to petrification makes it a specifically useful band to have. Or, at least, it looks useful until you try and cast its petrification spell on another creature. You better hope your target rolls low because if they don’t, you risk becoming a statue yourself.

What’s Fun about the Bracelet of Rock Magic

  • It’s easy to lure players in with its immunity from petrification promise, and the dark twist of the band makes it deliciously ironic. 
  • The lore of the band gives the curse a unique twist, allowing dwarves and stone giants advantage on the save (and as a DM, you can extend this to Goliaths and Earth Genasi, or whichever races suit the theme!)
  • When any of the above races fail the save, the spell is twisted against its castor, which can lead to a dramatic character death for story purposes or a silly romp as you shove your ally into your Bag of Holding and run for the hills

Bracelet of Rock Magic details

  • As well as immunity to petrification, when you attune to this bracelet you can cast Flesh to Stone with a save of 15
  • After Flesh to Stone is cast three times, the ability fades and you can cast Stone Shape a total of thirteen times until the bracelet loses all magic
  • Dwarves and Stone Giants make the Flesh to Stone save at advantage, and on a success, the spell is turned on the caster, who makes the save at disadvantage
  • On a failure, the caster is instantly petrified

4. Armor of Vulnerability

Now this is just mean

Beautiful armor with specific resistances are hard to pass up, but your players will be sorry that they picked this one up! Usually renamed to avoid suspicion, the Armor of Vulnerability is good at one thing. Though it may grant one type of weapon damage, whoever is attuned better hope every other enemy has the same weapon, because anything else will cause it to deal extra! This is found in the DMG as well and stands the test of time with its devious uses.

What’s Fun about the Armor of Vulnerability

  • This is perfect for a DM who has a player that just cannot be killed. High HP does mean much if you’re critting with every successful attack
  • It may be mean, but it’s fun to see the smugness of your players when you hit them a few times with their chosen damage type, only to see their faces fall when you swap weapons.

Armor of Vulnerability details

  • When attuned, grants resistance to either bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, with the GM’s discretion
  • Whichever damages the DM didn’t choose, they are now vulnerable to
  • The curse extends even after attunement ends. The only way to get rid of the curse is the Remove Curse spell or similar magic

3. Javelin of Backbiting 

The double-crosser

The name of this item is rather double-bladed. Most players who come across it will think it’s backbiting because when thrown, it returns to your hand. This, however, is not the case. Like an angry pet, treat this weapon badly—as in, rolling a critical miss—and it comes back with teeth. Talk about a backstabber!

What’s Fun about the Javelin of Backbiting

  • The uses of this Javelin are pretty tantalizing. It adds another damage die and increases its range when thrown, as well as an attack and damage bonus
  • Those attuned to it cannot use other weapons as well as this one, nor will they be willing to give it up
  • Like a bad boomerang, a critical miss with this weapon can turn into a nasty stab in the back for the thrower. It’s very fun to watch your players’ look of disbelief when all that attack power is used on them instead! 

Javelin of Backbiting details

  • +2 bonus to attack and damage
  • The range of both normal and long ranges increase by 30 feet
  • You get to roll one extra damage die on a hit
  • The javelin flies back to your hand after you throw it
  • On a critical fail, the weapon bends and flies to hit you the a back. The thrower makes an attack roll against their own AC

2. Sword of Vengeance

Vengence is a powerful, dangerous thing

Quite the ominous title. Players who are sticklers for aesthetic might go for this blade and be met with a nasty shock.  Normally, this sword is a simple +1, so it’s relatively easy to give your players if they’re a lower level.  Said low-level fighter might not realize, then, that a vengeful spirit gives this sword its name, and it’s not very keen on those who cause its wielder damage.

What’s Fun about the Sword of Vengeance

  • This curse can be helpful to the right kind of fighter. It forces you to attack the same person over and over until one of you drops, or at least until they’re out of range. Perfect for someone trying to characterize their PC as ruthless
  • However, those who don’t want it would find this feature disturbing, which is just as good. Items like this can lead players down interesting paths, leading to some cool character moments your players won’t soon forget
  • There’s also the factor of Banishing the sword. This causes the spirit to leave, which the DM can then use as a plot point later down the line!

Sword of Vengeance details

  • You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.
  • This sword is cursed and possessed by a vengeful spirit. Becoming attuned to it extends the curse to you. As long as you remain cursed, you are unwilling to part with the sword, keeping it on your person at all times. While attuned to this weapon, you have disadvantage on attack rolls made with weapons other than this one.
  • Also, while the sword is on your person, you must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw whenever you take damage in combat. On a failed save you must attack the creature that damaged you until you drop to 0 hit points or it does, or until you can’t reach the creature to make a melee attack against it.
  • You can break the curse in the usual ways. Alternatively, casting banishment on the sword forces the vengeful spirit to leave it. The sword then becomes a +1 weapon with no other properties.


1. Staff of the Forgotten One

This should stay forgotten

This staff was owned by the one and only Acererak. Y’know, the guy on the cover of the DMG. It’s topped with a skull from a poor archmage and one of the most feared items in the multiverse. It’s extremely powerful—which, of course, means it’s extremely cursed. It’s a fantastic thing to throw at your high-level players for a little extra spice, giving them both some cool beneficial properties as well as sowing the seed for something truly destructive.

What’s Fun about the Staff of the Forgotten One

  • This staff has a lot going on. Among other things, you get extra good at Arcana and History checks when attuned to this
  • You also get immunity to a host of status effects, making you nearly impossible to stop short of death
  • What’s interesting, though, is that the archmage that the skull belongs to isn’t quite dead. Every time a charge on the staff is used, there’s a chance your PC can be possessed and turned into an NPC for the DM to control. That alone can lead to some insane story moments that you can’t pass up.

Staff of the Forgotten One details

  •  Your proficiency bonus to Intelligence (Arcana) and Intelligence (History) checks is doubled.
  • You can't be blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, petrified, or stunned.
  • Undead with a challenge rating of 2 or lower will neither threaten nor attack you unless you harm them.
  • You can wield the staff as a +3 quarterstaff that deals an extra 10 (3d6) necrotic damage on a hit.
  • The Staff of the Forgotten One has 7 charges and regains 1d4 + 3 expended charges daily at dawn. While holding the staff, you can use an action to expend 1 charge and target one creature you can see within 60 feet of you. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw (using your spell save DC) or be cursed. While cursed in this way, the target can't regain hit points and has vulnerability to necrotic damage. A greater restoration, remove curse, or similar spell ends the curse on the target.
  • The bodiless life force of a dead archmage empowers the staff and is imprisoned within it. The rune carved into the staff's skull protects Acererak from this spirit's vengeance. Each time a creature other than Acererak expends any of the staff's charges, there is a 50 percent chance that the life force tries to possess the staff wielder. The wielder must succeed on a DC 20 Charisma saving throw or be possessed, becoming an NPC under the DM's control. If the intruding life force is targeted by magic such as a dispel evil and good spell, it becomes trapped in the staff once more. Once it takes control of another creature, the insane spirit of the dead archmage attempts to destroy the staff.
  • A creature in possession of the staff can use an action to break it over one knee or a solid surface. The staff is destroyed and releases its remaining magic in an explosion that expands to fill a 30-foot-radius sphere centered on it. Each creature in the area must make a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw, taking 132 (24d10) force damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. When the staff is destroyed, the life force of the Forgotten One is released to the afterlife. Where it goes is anyone's guess.


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From passion grows the urge for knowledge, and Hannah has trekked through Dwemer ruins and Tevinter temples to find the best lore in the multiverse.
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