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If a player from my campaign sees this, please don't take any offence to it. It's just I'm really not enjoying the item and can't RP it in a way that other players will care about.

My character recently got a cursed magic item in our campaign that is weakening him. We (as players) know it is cursed, but our characters don't. My character's attachment to the item can be broken with a remove curse spell, a spell which my character can cast, but I'm concerned about how to handle it.

I'm not just getting rid of the item as I don't like it, but it's been creating friction in our group. My take on the item has been a bit controversial. When the item says "you are unwilling to part with the item", I took it in a very literal sense, and it is a running theme that it cannot leave his person, and if he takes it in his hand, he cannot put it down, or drop the pouch he has put the item in, meaning it can never leave his person, and if anyone attempts to take it, he will swat their hand away, but the item's magic has made him very accepting of these changes, and he just believes that they are defects that come with using the item, and he even takes it into the bath like a rubber duck he is fond of.

This, however, is not how my DM wanted me to RP the item, and objected to my take, as did another player. They explicitly showed my the video summary of the Corecut Dagger from Critical Role as reference. However, this isn't CR, and while Sam Riegel's take was interesting, he got a +1 dagger that did 3d6 necrotic damage. My item has no positive benefits, just a penalty, and it's hard to be motivated to RP a situation you don't personally like, but it seems that the DM wanted this to be an item that everyone but the person attuned to it can discover, so I'm feeling a bit excluded from the party.

The curse can be broken with remove curse, and while I want to cast it on myself, I know that I will get flak for this, but the party wizard/cleric and bard couldn't care less, and the only party member who has in character seen me fail rolls I'm supposed to pass is blunt that he enjoys seeing me struggle with this item, and is saying his 18 Wisdom and 19 Intelligence character knows nothing. The disapproval of my take from others doesn't help: it feels like I don't have full control over my own character and how I want to RP him, and I'm taking a break from the campaign as I've been feeling really frustrated recently.

How should I RP this? Am I being unreasonable? It was meant to be a cool RP item, and I thought I would have the creative choice in how I wanted to do it, but I'm really not enjoying this arc and really want to put it to bed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What are the mechanical effects of the item, just in case they're relevant? Also, have any of the other characters suggested that the item might be cursed (looks like "no", but...)? \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Sep 13 at 19:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I understand exactly what's happening with this item. My understanding is that the party seems to be annoyed both by you roleplaying as being cursed, but also doesn't want to help you get rid of the item. Is that correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cooper
    Sep 13 at 20:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Worth to keep in mind: CR is a show, first and foremost. It isn't made to only entertain those that play, but also those that watch it. It isn't because something works for CR that it makes something fun to have on your table or to play out yourself. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Sep 14 at 12:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm still a little confused by what the conflict here is. Are you saying that you're roleplaying the curse as the knife making you mentally unwilling to remove it from your person, and they're saying it should be more like your hands are locking up and you're looking at them going "Whaaa?" Like what are the options here that are being argued? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14 at 22:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ "What are the mechanical effects of the item, just in case they're relevant? Also, have any of the other characters suggested that the item might be cursed (looks like "no", but...)?" I'm not gonna say what it does, but one other PC (whose character has 18 Wisdom and 19 Intelligence ) has noticed the effects twice now, but is intentionally choosing not to do anything as he "likes watching me struggle" \$\endgroup\$ Sep 15 at 16:38
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I believe it is reasonable, but beware "my guy" syndrome...

Not only do I think your take on it is reasonable, it is the one I would take. A cursed item is not meant to be "unequipped" easily. That's part of the point. If I were your DM, this is exactly what I would want and expect...

But I am not your DM. Your interpretation seems to be causing actual friction with your group. In fact from your description, it sounds like this is annoying most or the entire group including your DM who at least in a sense is in control of the curse.

You do not want to create friction within your group at all when it can be avoided and you certainly do not want to do it without good reason. Unless you are very, very tied to your idea of how the curse affects you, then I recommend acknowledging that the DM controls the details of the curse and change your play to fit his description of the curse. If you are very tied to the way this curse works (and it sounds like you aren't, or you wouldn't want to cast remove curse...), then you may want to have an out of character conversation with the group about how you can maintain your enjoyment of this quirk, and keep full control over your character, without annoying everyone else.

The other issue of course is how to get rid of it without metagaming and as you said catching flack for it. If you want to do it very fast and your group is even somewhat supportive, you may want to not worry about the flak and allow yourself a very limited amount of metagaming. Tell the other players bluntly that this item is impacting your enjoyment of the game and ask them to have their characters take notice and help. This is metagaming true, but fairly limited and of a kind that resolves a tension point for the whole group. Another option, that again admittedly involves a touch of metagaming but very little, is to find any plausible reason to cast remove curse on yourself and just do it. Then you can discard the item.

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to address this without either a touch of metagaming, or the other players actively stepping in without you having to call it out. In most groups I would expect the second one to happen, but you say it simply isn't happening unprompted so if you want to address it, you either need to prompt them or engage in limited metagaming.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you have some good insights into the matter. After meeting the DM IRL recently for the first time, I have discovered that the whole thing is causing him more grief then I realised too, and so I'm going to change my approach, but in a way that also gives me a way of ending my attunement to the item. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 15 at 16:20
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You and the table have misaligned expectations. Discuss those expectations out of character.

It is quite clear from your description of the situation that the DM and the other players at the table have brought with them certain expectations for the dagger's function that you do not share. This leads to disappointment and friction, as you have observed.

It's time to stop allowing this friction to play out in character.

You need to be forward with the table about the trouble you are having with the curse feature:

I think we all have different expectations about how this curse is supposed to function.

But you seem to be missing something important here: the DM determines the nature of the curse. So the previous statement about expectations should read something more like:

I think we all have different expectations about how this curse is supposed to function. DM, could you clarify how you understand this curse to work?

And then just go with whatever they say about the curse. Your DM may be trying to tell you, "hey, the curse isn't as bad as you're RPing it to be", instead of "you're RPing it wrong". You feel like you are having your agency restricted in how you roleplay the curse, while it's possible your DM just feels bad about your agency being restricted so much by the curse and wants you to feel like you have more choices. It could just be a miscommunication.

Okay, our expectations are aligned and I'm still not having fun.

This is where it gets a bit tougher. There is no simple fix for this except having a candid conversation with your DM:

I am not enjoying being cursed by this item in this way. I'd like to see something change, what can we do about this?

If your DM won't budge on it, you have to consider how important it is to you. As the saying goes, "No game is better than bad game". It will always be better to spend your time doing something else than it will be to have a miserable time playing D&D. And that's okay. If your DM doesn't want to change how they think the curse functions, and you don't want to deal with that, just say, "Okay, then this isn't really the game for me." Don't threaten to quit or use quitting as leverage for them the change. Just let them know that it isn't working out and you think it's a better idea to move on. And if they do concede at this point, consider that they didn't want to work with you until after you decided to leave the table, and make your decision to stay or go. That's up to you.

A word to DMs: Curses are a Session 0 item, I still have frequent check-ins with players who get cursed.

Cursed items are tough. Nobody likes to have their player agency stifled, and that is exactly the point of a lot of curses in D&D. It only took one disappointed player for me to put curses on my list of topics covered at Session 0.

How do you guys feel about curses?

I explain to my players the concept of agency and how curses interfere with that. I've had players tell me that being cursed would almost certainly diminish the fun for them. So I keep the curses away from those players.

And when I do have a player that doesn't care on way or the other, and they end up getting cursed, I try to check in with them regularly to make sure they are still enjoying the game, and that the curse is enhancing some aspect of play for them, be it a role playing challenge they haven't had before, or the prospect of completing a quest to break the curse being interesting to them. And if they say, "You know, this kinda sucks", I'll work on a way to get the curse removed. Even if it's cheesy and non-immersive, because their fun is more important than not being cheesy or non-immersive.

Sam Riegel played the dagger inconsistently, so Veth makes a poor rule to follow.

So you've been pointed toward Sam Riegel's interpretation of this kind of curse, as experienced by his character, Veth Brenatto. Sure, Sam is a great actor, and his interpretation of Veth is endlessly entertaining, but he makes a poor example of a rule to follow for the curse. He simply was not consistent with how strictly he understood the curse. In one fight Veth threw the dagger, then on her next turn forewent her attack to retrieve the dagger. Then in a different fight, she threw the dagger and then didn't bother retrieving it till later on in the fight.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Or rather Sam Riegel did a reasonable thing by being inconsistent. Letting the curse act as much as was interesting and enjoyable at the moment. As you might say, fun is more important than being consistent. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14 at 17:23

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