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It appears that a character can merely destroy a cursed item in order to rid himself of it (other than a Loadstone):

The damaging magic items section of the SRD says

Magic items, unless otherwise noted, take damage as nonmagical items of the same sort. A damaged magic item continues to function, but if it is destroyed, all its magical power is lost.

and the Major Artifacts section says:

Unlike all other magic items, major artifacts are not easily destroyed. Each should have only a single, specific means of destruction.

(emphasis mine)


Is this conclusion correct?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I used the boots of dancing as an example in my answer, but I think my answer and others would benefit from knowing exactly which cursed item is the subject of the question. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 11 '17 at 11:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Uhh, no specific item in mind... but the boots of dancing are a great example. \$\endgroup\$ – Chemus Apr 11 '17 at 14:33
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If some specific cursed items can be destroyed (rather than taking the suggested steps for their removal) depends on the campaign

While randomly cursed items are quirky, randomly cursed magic items' powers are otherwise determined normally, they are otherwise employed normally, and they can otherwise be destroyed just like the normal versions of those magic items. A pearl of power that can only be used by a creature who worships a specific deity remains, at its core, just a pearl of power. (Randomly cursed items are described on pages 272-3 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.)

However, specific cursed items require DM adjudication on an individual basis. For example, the boots of dancing (DMG 272) (30,000 gp; 0 lbs.) says, "Only a remove curse spell enables the wearer to be rid of the boots once their true nature is revealed." What this phrase means exactly is up to the DM, and the DM has several options.

  • Destroying the boots of dancing causes them to instantly recreate themselves around the possessor's feet.
  • Removing the possessor's feet causes the boots of dancing to appear on the horrified possessor's bloody stumps.
  • Attempting to destroy the boots of dancing deals damage to the wearer, but no matter how much damage is dealt to the boots, they always have at least 1 hp remaining.
  • The wearer can remove and discard the boots of dancing, but when in a position where the boots would once again activate, the boots reappear on the possessor's feet.

…And countless variations of the above and entirely new options besides.

In the end, it's up to the DM. There's no way of knowing if a specific cursed magic item can just be broken or lit on fire so that its curse is lifted, bypassing the need to get a remove curse or similar effect, without also knowing how the DM intends to handle cursed items in the campaign.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And unless the item states otherwise, the curse is not dependent on the item being intact. Which means even if you did destroy it, you may still have the curse on you, and now you have nothing to examine in an effort to help remove it if there's only a specific way to do so. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Apr 11 '17 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ It still seems all your scenarios could be efficiently countered, or abused, by the Artificer's retain essence. \$\endgroup\$ – Weckar E. Apr 12 '17 at 19:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WeckarE. That special ability hadn't even crossed my mind! I suspect a DM in such a situation would rule that After one day, the item is destroyed and the artificer adds the XP it took to create the item to his craft reserve means that the item must be able to be destroyed in the first place, and such a DM would rule that circumstances (Only a remove curse spell enables the wearer to be rid of the boots once their true nature is revealed) prevent the boots from being destroyed, much like a DM will likely rule an artificer can't destroy an artifact by squinting at it for a day. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 12 '17 at 19:38

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