The curse of the infernal body clock is an idea I had for a curse type spell for a tabletop role playing game, such as Dungeons and Dragons, or any setting with magic. I got the idea from something somebody said on twitter about not being able to sleep, and I came up with this as a joke. However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. So, I decided I would write about it.
The Infernal Body Clock
Lore: Created by the sorceress Milgraf Alfgahee, the curse is an inconvenience at best and deadly at worst. Alfgahee created the spell because she was tired of adventurers invading the forest where she lived. They came at all hours, stomping through the dirt, snapping and trampling the foliage, and generally being careless jerks.
Now, Milgraf was a powerful sorceress, but she was also a pacifist, and because of that she didn’t want to directly harm those who trespassed in her forest. Still, she couldn’t just sit back and allow them to move through her home without reproach. So she did what any good magic using pacifist would. She created a spell that would do the violent work for her.
Creating the curse of the infernal body clock was simple. People need to sleep, and they need to be awake. Milgraf thought if she could somehow control that, then her home would be safe. So, she searched her woods for a variety of ingredients that she could use to force sleep on her enemies. But, just putting them to sleep wasn’t enough.
She also wanted to make it difficult for them to go to sleep, or to wake up. An adventurer who can’t resist falling asleep in the heat of battle will surely meet his doom quite easily. And an adventurer who can’t wake up when it’s time runs the risk of alienating her traveling companions and having a falling out with the group. Both of these circumstances fit Milgraf’s purpose perfectly, and so she created the curse of the infernal body clock.
Once she gathered the needed materials, she cursed her forest, ensuring any who caused harm to the place would fall victim to her vengeance. Thus began the story of how her woods were haunted, but that is a different story for a different time.
How It Works
The curse sets the victim’s body clock to a certain time of day. When that time passes, the victim must make a difficult check against their willpower, or willpower like ability. As this is a generic curse, which stat you use will depend on the system you are playing.
If the check succeeds, everything is fine and the victim of the curse can go about their business until eight hours have passed. After this eight hour period, the victim must make another check. This continues every eight hours. If the victim is asleep, the check is to see if they wake up. If they are awake, the check is to see if they fall asleep. Once the victim is asleep, they are nearly impossible to wake up–the circumstances of which are left up to the Dungeon/Game Master.
Breaking the Infernal Body Clock
The only known way to break the curse is to convince Alfgahee to lift it. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to be willing to do that. Until she is, anyone suffering from the curse must continue to suffer. Sure, maybe an act of divine intervention, or powerful magic could lift it, but no one knows for sure.
One thing is for sure, the curse is dangerous and inconvenient. It has the potential to topple the most powerful fighter in a matter of moments, or to break up adventuring parties due to inability to perform basic duties. It’s like magical narcolepsy, and there are plenty of fun situations in which it could be highly entertaining.
So, that’s the curse of the infernal body clock. I hope you liked reading about it, and if you end up using it, or something it inspired, in one of your games, let me know how it went.
Thanks for reading, and for putting up with my bad artwork. I am not an artist.