The remove curse spell states:

At your touch, all curses affecting one creature or object end. If the object is a cursed magic item, its curse remains, but the spell breaks its owner's attunement to the object so it can be removed or discarded.

A similar feature is given to the School of Transmutation Wizard as a way to use their Transmutator's Stone:

[...] Panacea. You remove all curses, diseases, and poisons affecting a creature that you touch with the transmuter's stone. The creature also regains all its hit points [...]

Player's Handbook (page 113)

Both of these remove curses affecting the target creature, and remove curse has specific effects for when targeting a cursed item, but what (if anything) happens when you target the actual creature? Assume the creature is attuned to a generic cursed magic item: one that does not have a specific way to remove its curse.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand your question. Both things you've quoted are targeting the creature (and it breaks their attunement), so what about that is not being understood? \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 22:54
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @GreySage The phrasing only breaks attunement when the itrm is targeted, not the wielder. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


Targeting a creature does not free them from a cursed item.

You are on the right path with your logic, there is indeed a separate interaction between removing a curse from a player, and from an item.

Most curses in the game are single-instance effects that inflict the curse.

The most common example is the bestow curse spell, which inflicts a curse for a duration when the target fails its saving throw. Targeting a creature with the remove curse spell or by using the Panacea effect of a transmuter's stone, would clear this curse permanently, as the source of the curse has already resolved (the bestow curse spell).

Cursed items break this mold, by being a persistent source of the curse.

As you already referenced, remove curse has specific verbiage regarding targeting cursed items, which does not remove the curse, but does break attunement. By referencing the "Curse" section of a cursed item, you can see that the curse is extended to any creature that is attuned to the item. So what happens when you cast remove curse on the attuned creature instead?

  1. Remove curse is cast, targeting the creature.
  2. Remove curse resolves, and ends the curse.
  3. The item is still attuned, so the curse instantaneously re-applies to the attuned creature.

This interaction can be inferred simply by the fact that remove curse cites specific conditions for dealing with cursed items. Since this specific ruling is assumed to overrule the general rule regarding curses, it maintains that using remove curse or Panacea on the creature would have no lasting effect in this situation. Panacea in particular gives no mention of effects on items, so it cannot be assumed to override the specific ruling set forth by cursed items (in that they curse their player as long as attunement is maintained).

Also of noteworthy mention is this question which gives an example of the Sword of Vengeance, an item that has specific rules regarding another way in which to remove a curse. This reinforces the assumption that removing non-standard curses requires a specific ruling stating how to do so.


Well, seeing the remove curse description is a little cryptic, it does say "all curses affecting one creature or object end", so if you cast Remove Curse on a player or creature, it would remove the curse, but I'm assuming that it doesn't end the actual attunement to the item, so if the curse is only effective while attuned, you would have to use it on the item. If the item is removable but the curse lingers, you would have to cast it on the person to remove the effect of the curse.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 5:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer makes sense, but could you provide some examples of this in the books? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 12:06

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