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Cursed Altar

th tier (
(less than 1 hour)

A black stone altar is carved with the symbol of a death god. Atop the altar are 14 tarnished silver coins and a golden chalice.

Removing an item from the altar, or knocking an object off with a weapon, pole, or similar item, triggers a Critical Failure.

Exploration. A Religion check reveals that many altars are enchanted to punish interlopers. An Investigation check, or an examination of the coins, reveals that the coins are also stamped with the god’s symbol. The golden chalice is worth 100 gp.

Magical Effect. This is a magical effect created by necromancy magic. Casting remove curse or a successful dispel magic on the altar triggers a Critical Success.

Possible Solutions
  • With a Religion check, a creature can perform a 10-minute ritual to purify the altar, with a success triggering a Critical Success.
  • A creature can make a ranged attack to knock the coins or the chalice off the altar. The chalice has AC 10, but the coins have AC 14.

Potential Outcomes

Critical Failure. The trap is triggered. If the triggering creature is a humanoid, it gains 10 (3d6) temporary hit points, and the humanoid creature nearest to them within 500 feet takes the same amount of necrotic damage. This damage can’t be avoided or reduced in any way. The altar’s magic then ends.

Failure. The altar and the items on it dissolve into smoke, and the magical effect ends.

Success. An item is knocked off the altar, and the trap isn’t triggered. The magical effect ends once all the items are knocked off the altar.

Critical Success. A successful ritual ends the magical effect, allowing items on the altar to be removed safely. A Critical Success with a ranged attack knocks 1d4 + 1 items off the altar.