Cursed Items To Screw Up Your Players
"The Can of Infinite Despair"
A tin can sits, covered in dust and cob webs, upon an altar. It is a plain and old tin with a paper label which, despite the age of the room around it, appears pristine and untouched by time.
The Tin is is branded "Ziens Prototype" and along the label it reads "Diamond Encrusted Gold in a light Mercury Soup" with the slogan "Ziens, The Superior Soups for Superior People". The tin looks innocent and if a tin could look smug, it would look smug.
As you approach, something about the tin doesn't feel quite right. The tin's shadow seems to stretch on far too long, wide and dark. The lid looks to have been opened once and then resealed. You can see scratches where nails have tried to open the lid.
Caution may have stopped you, and common sense might have warned you against it but something about the contents of the tin draws you forward. Perhaps it is because it includes gold...encrusted in diamonds. Against your companions better judgement you reach out and grasp it tightly.
Nothing happens. It feels like an ordinary tin.
Suddenly spurred by confidence you seize the clip and pull the lid of the tin off in one dramatic sweep of your arm. You peer into it expecting to see gold, diamonds and a strange metallic liquid floating in the bottom ripe for the taking.
Instead, you see nothing.
There is a void within the can so pitch dark you cannot make out the bottom. Something moves.
Time seems to have stopped and your comrades screams are muffled, distorted as if you are underwater. Suddenly, long, thick, black tendrils erupt from the can and wrap themselves around your wrist and neck. You struggle to escape but to no avail as the tendrils tighten and small mouths with serrated teeth gnash the air. In horror you stare at the monstrous tentacles as they begin to consume the flesh it has gripped. Unbearable pain courses through your body as you collapse to your knees. More and more slither out of the can and tear at your body, slowly eating you alive.
Your comrades watch in horror as your body is shredded and each tendril carries a piece of you back into the can until there is nothing but a gore stain smeared on the ground.
The can drops, it clunks along the floor and then the lid snaps shut.
It rolls and hits the boot of your comrade. She leans and picks it up to read the back of the label.
It reads, "Beware; contains fools gold."
The can of Infinite Despair is an item designed to kill players foolish enough to fall for it and open it. It can be used in any setting and if you are not comfortable with it being a tin can you can replace this with a jar or a bottle of any kind.
There should be a Save Vs. Magic/ Save Vs. Will to avoid falling for the curse of greed that the can has to lure victims. The player should also be allowed to grapple with the can and free themselves from the tendrils. The difficulty is entirely up to you. Enjoy your insta-kill!