Intrinsic cursing is an adverse condition that may be inflicted on characters through a variety of sources which include the following:
- Drinking from a pool ("You sense trouble." and "You start a trip on a road to nowhere." messages will indicate getting cursed).
- Getting cursed by magic-using monsters (green hags, black wizards, annis hags, liches, master liches, lich kings and emperor liches).
- Eating certain monsters and NPCs (quasits, green hags, annis hags, least daemons, lesser daemons, hell hounds; cute dog, dwarven children, Ruun, white unicorn, Yrruir, royal guardian, Thrundarr and the cat lord).
- Reading a scroll of ill fate if character has Lucky intrinsic. (Cursed scroll will remove Fate smile if present first)
- Suffering karmic backfire from striking a karmic creature.
- Suffering divine retribution.
- Wielding certain items (rings of doom, Executor, crown of science, Crown of Chaos, Medal of Chaos, boots of great speed, black torc, Sceptre of Chaos).
- Generating character on any Friday 13th.
The primary effect of cursing is to reduce the character's luck. The luck lost due to intrinsic cursing is approximately equal to the luck gained from Fate Smiles. Reduced luck can have a variety of undesirable effects such as increased monster critical/armor-penetrating hits and item destruction. While these effects can be significant, cursing is not an extreme of concern as dooming. Consequently, powerful artifacts that inflict the cursed status (most notably Executor) are still considered worthwhile since the benefits of the artifact far outweigh the problems associated with cursing.
Being Cursed also lowers the PC's effective piety when asking for favors; a significant consequence of this is that prayers are effective only at piety status of very pleased or higher, so getting cursed early on can be very dangerous as this essentially blocks healing prayers before finding an altar. The PC may be denied crowning when 'absolutely close' to their deity (signified by the message "You feel a stain on your relationship with <deity>").
Cursing can be treated in several ways: