First time DM here who is still learning how to balance homebrew mechanics.
TL;DR: I gave my player a mechanic that isn't quite balanced (allows them to almost insta-kill an enemy) and suggestions would be useful.
So I've spent a long time making my own campaign with plenty of homebrew elements. One of these elements is surrounding curses and the creation/destruction of powerful curses. You don't need to understand exactly how these curses work besides the fact that intent is important and the remove curse spell (or dispel magic), isn't a thing…. yet.
To provide context, I have a player who has quite the medical background (like, future surgeon). They play a dashing warlock who has a finity for inventive and wonderful ideas (this warlock also has a medical background). Basically, this PC screwed around, and they have now been cursed. This curse basically has 3 charges (recharges at dawn, lasts for 1 round) which can be expended to cause the PC to enter this shadowy/transparent form that is very difficult to observe and can move through things. They have come up with the genius idea of just shoving their dagger/rapier (which is transparent with them) into an enemy and ending the effect early. This means that while they do take x amount of force damage as their hand is forcibly expelled from the monster…… the dagger is also forcibly expelled, much to the detriment of the creature.
Now, because of the background of this player, they give very detailed descriptions of exactly where they are placing the dagger (the brain cord or hippocampus or major artery etc). I'm not sure how I can balance this auto-kill mechanic. There was balancing around the curse itself – if the PC uses the charges in succession with no break, or a couple of other specific conditions, I roll on this home-brew table, and determine its effect. Mostly stuff like the PC will actually start losing their humanity as they are corrupted and will literally cease to exist if they push the upper bounds of this curse (it is a curse after all). I just… didn't expect this specific scenario and therefore, wasn't prepared for it.
I don't want to take away this player's fun (because this was a bloody brilliant idea), yet I want to find a way to balance it so that it can be used this way, with slightly more consequence, and this becomes a decision to make, not the first thing they do in combat. It is breaking my encounters.
Thank you in advance.
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More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Need Help Balancing Homebrew Curse/Mechanic" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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