Perhaps you are perched atop a vast storehouse of wealth that you have acquired through your wrongdoing, and you plan to take it with you as you transition to your next phase of being. Or perhaps all your best efforts, you have been cornered but are loathe to allow your precious goodies to fall into the hands of your adversaries. In such circumstances is the millennia-old standby, a Curse From Beyond the Grave, your best ally.
Strokes of genius
- Select your imprecation. Take any garden-variety malediction and check whether it can be modified to be good on inanimate objects and long-lasting. Apply the physical manifestation of the curse liberally, upon all the goods you wish to protect.
- Aim it. At one point in the application of your curse, you will name the object of the hex, specifying him or her according to a few well-chosen unmistakeable signs. It is to be hoped that you will have thought these out carefully in advance to guard against misfires or false negatives at the time of trial. Get a lawyer involved if you have any doubt as to the interpretation of this vital clause.
- Two coats. If you have a really boffo horde, curse it, but also have a second curse on the door of the treasure chamber as well to be sure. This is called defense in depth. Also, remember that having a curse or two does not preclude the normal sorts of booby-traps one always likes to see in such places.
- Anticipate consequences. If you curse a gem so that no one else can ever wear it, do not be surprised if someone takes it and casts it into eternal flame. What else can one expect? Console yourself that you were the last one to wear the bauble.
- Be the curse. Many villains appreciate the elegance of inhabiting their favorite treasure item in spirit, available to rain down wrath against anyone who should disturb your trove and providing a comfortable post-corporeal career. Have fun when you meet your would-be grave robber.
- Publicize. What good is it to have a dire curse nobody knows about, from the eternal infamy point of view? In fact, even if you don't have an actual curse, why not talk up the potential of one, in order to gain the notoriety?
- Punishment fitting the crime. Let the form of your retribution reflect your personal style. For instance, turning the thief into a toad would be apt irony if you happen to lead an amphibian lifestyle.
- Stickum. Nothing worse than a curse crafted for the ages which falls off after only a few centuries. Make a point of checking how long the adhesive properties of your curse is guaranteed for.
Traps for mere fools
- Premature triggering. If you are unlucky or if you ignore the manufacturer's prescriptions, you may find that in the middle of preparing your fearsome hex, it all starts to unravel around you. Did you remember to wear protective clothing and set up protective wards beforehand? And did you clear a path to your defensive perimeter, so you can fight back with a counterhex? Once you have tamed the worst of it, take the time to mop up thoroughly.
- Curser's remorse. This is what happens when you have gone and lain a curse on anyone who might dare to possess your fleet of cybernetic dragon-boats, but later decide you would like to give one to your nephew who did you a favor when he really did not have to. Of course, you spent considerable effort into making your trap one that was difficult to unwind from around your prized possessions, and because of the passage of time, you may be a little hazy on the safest way to do it. The best thing to do is to back away, slowly, and try to come up with something else to appease your intended recipient. Even if you are able to lift the spell, some vestige of it may still lurk undetected, spoiling your gift and maybe also the receiver.
- The Pandora effect. Especially with practice items around the lair which your consort or your chief henchman might inadvertently happen upon, you really should leave clear instructions on what not to meddle with. The list of such cursed possessions is useful, too, if you yourself are prone to senior moments.
- The bounce. Often when not reading the mfr's instructions on how properly to apply the curse, instead of cursing the target of your wrath you end up cursing yourself. Oh bitter irony!
- Obviousness. If the main curse is embodied by a huge fire-breathing dragon in your vault, reflect that increases in technology down the road are likely to lead to an effective countermeasure against the creature someday by someone. Put an unobtrusive second curse on your stuff that nobody knows about and will be unprepared to counter once they have faced down the worm.
Precious and needful
- Money, in abundance.
- Nitrile gloves.
- Gaffer's tape.
- Water- or oil-based primer.
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- Image credit Hope Diamond
- Image credit Gold on the street! by lovestruck.