Curse is a mechanic in Dead Cells where the Beheaded is punished for angering the gods. Curses cause any amount of damage to one-hit kill the player, and they must kill enemies in order to lift it. Curses function as a risk-reward mechanic that can greatly benefit the player with rewards such as Scrolls, Gems and healing.
Nearly all sources of damage kill the player while cursed, regardless of their current health or any damage-reducing abilities they may have.
- Curses work off of a point-based system, where killing enemies reduces your total points by one. Each time you get cursed, another set of points is added to the total amount of curse points you have.
- Curses have synergies with certain Gear and Mutations.
The following damage sources instantly kill the player while Cursed:
- Any enemy hit that deals at least 1 damage, even while blocking with a shield.
- Any trap hit.
- Jumping into a bottomless pit.
- Damage-over-time due to poison.
- Self-damage from using Lightning Bolt continuously for too long.
While most sources of damage kill the player in a single hit while cursed, there are a few exceptions:
- Darkness in the Forgotten Sepulcher.
While cursed, the player can not use the Homunculus Rune.
- However, the player can still use the Homunculus Rune if the only source of curse is the Cursed Sword.
There are a few different ways one can be afflicted with a curse:
- Opening a cursed chest (10 points).
- Breaking a golden door (10 points for normal ones, 50 points for the 3 found in the specialist's shop, and 30 points for the one in the Forgotten Sepulcher that bars access to the Night Light).
- Picking up a Corrupted Artifact (20 points).
- Eating food when having the mutation Acceptance (5).
- Equipping the Cursed Sword (as long as the weapon is equipped or in the backpack).
- While cursed, the Spite Sword does critical hits.
- Alienation makes it so decreasing the curse counter restores 5% HP but increases the number of enemies required to lift the curse by 50%.
- Acceptance reduces gained curse counter from sources by half, but consuming food curses you.
- Having both alienation and acceptance will reduce curse gain by 25%, rounded up.
- Ice Armor will prevent instant death when getting hit while the skill is active.
- Gaining curse while having the Cursed Sword equipped still gives you a curse counter.
- The amount of curse received from cursed chests can be changed using custom mode to any number between 0 and 99. This blocks achievements.
- Curses are the only mention of gods in the entire game.