(How) Can the Cursed -2 Sword be turned into an indestructible +2 sword of instant summons?

One of the standard cursed items is a longsword that causes the user to take a -2 penalty to attack and damage rolls, and is automatically drawn and fought with, even if the user intended to use another weapon. It also can’t be “gotten rid of” except with limited wish, wish, or miracle.

This has some interesting properties that seem like they might be beneficial: for one, the sword doesn’t say that it needs to be on your person in order for it to force itself into your hand, meaning you’re always a move action away from having a sword to use, even if you left the weapon at home or on another plane. For two, the sword’s specific ways of being “gotten rid of” implies that the sword is immune to damage (and possibly even much more powerful effects, like mage’s disjunction)

However, the penalties in combat are annoying, as is the fact that you would be unable to, for example, wield a mace or bow for specific situations.

Issue 348 of Dragon Magazine offers a potential solution for the first issue, a special type of casting of the bestow curse spell:

The target’s armor, shield, or one of his weapons (caster’s choice) becomes cursed. Its enhancement bonus is reversed and it loses any other special abilities, so a +4 flaming longsword becomes a -4 longsword.

It’s clear that the Cursed -2 Sword’s combat penalties are those of a -2 magic weapon. In fact, “-2” is even in the name of the weapon, much like weapons with positive bonuses. However, it’s a situational penalty. Is this still the same as a “negative enhancement bonus” for the purposes of remove curse, and therefore can be reversed to create a “Cursed +2 Sword”? (I’m assuming that it would retain the rest of the curse if so, because cursed item “properties” aren’t “special abilities”. This also means that the enhancement bonus wouldn’t function against practice targets, but that isn’t a big deal)

From there, we’re left with a fairly potent, if narcissistic (considering it’s not sentient) sword. Removing this particular aspect of the curse is where I’m at a bit of a loss.

The closest I can think of is the likes of a miracle, which is able to “Undo the harmful effects of certain spells, such as feeblemind or insanity.”, or limited wish/wish, which are similar. Seeing as how the Cursed -2 Sword requires bestow curse and limited wish or miracle to craft, it seems like it may be the case that its curse is the result of a spell. But is it within those spells’ power to undo only part of a “harmful” effect, rather than completely removing the curse? And even if so, it’s not like the alteration is simply removing a block of text. It’s changing

After one week in a character’s possession, the sword always forces that character to employ it rather than another weapon. The sword’s owner automatically draws it and fights with it even when she meant to draw or ready some other weapon.


After one week in a character’s possession, the sword can always be employed rather than another weapon. The sword’s owner automatically draws it and fights with it if she wants to.

(or something to that effect, probably worded in a way that flows better but keeps less of the original text) Effectively, it removes the “always” from the cursed behavior, and allows it to function more like any other item–that is, at the user’s volition.

So, is it possible to make these two alterations to the Cursed -2 Sword? And if so, is it possible using the above methods, or are there some other rules/spells that must be used?

(This is proooooobably more of a thought experiment than anything I’d try to get with in an actual game–cursed items are pretty uncommon, and at the sword’s caster level, limited wish, instant summons, and numerous weapons stronger than +2 are generally available. As such, I don’t mind silly-but-functional solutions or those that involve substantial amounts of cheese)

Can massive damage knock out rather than causing instant death?

Suppose, as happened last night, a character intends to subdue rather than kill an opponent. She made a melee attack, hit, declared her intent to knock out. The damage roll was enough to reduce the opponent to zero and the remaining damage exceeded the opponent’s maximum HP.

Now we would seem to have two rules invoked:

Instant Death. Massive damage can kill you instantly. When damage reduces you to 0 hit points and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum. (PHB p.197)

Knocking a Creature Out. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable. (PHB p.198)

So which rule takes precedence? Or is it neither?

Does an Instant Fortress Harm the Activator?

The Instant Fortress magic item has the potential to deal a great deal of damage (~55 on a failed save, more than a 9th level Fireball spell). Many adventurers who acquire this item attempt to weaponize it. The text for the Instant Fortress reads:

You can use an action to place this 1-inch metal cube on the ground and speak its command word. The cube rapidly grows into a fortress that remains until you use an action to speak the command word that dismisses it, which works only if the fortress is empty.

Each creature in the area where the fortress appears must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 10d10 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. In either case, the creature is pushed to an unoccupied space outside but next to the fortress. Objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried take this damage and are pushed automatically.

In order to activate it, “You can use an action to place this 1-inch metal cube on the ground and speak its command word”. Rules as written, it seems like the activator will be caught in the “blast radius” of the expanding fortress. Is that true? If so, are there any ways for the activator to avoid the “blast”?

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Can Drawmij’s Instant Summons retrieve a lost Leomund’s Secret Chest?

Suppose that I cast leomund’s secret chest and then bind the chest itself with drawmij’s instant summons. I’ll then send it into the Ethereal Plane, and while it’s hidden, I’ll end the spell effect.

Leomund’s secret chest says that this will cause the chest to be irretrievably lost.

Finally, the question is, if I crush the sapphire after all of this, will I be able to get the chest back? Drawmij’s instant summons says the item appears in my hand regardless of physical or planar distances.

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What happens when Daern’s Instant Fortress expands into a space that’s too small?

Daern’s Instant Fortress (DMG 160) is ordinarily a 1-inch metal cube, but rapidly grows into a 20x20x30 ft fortress when activated, dealing 10d10 bludgeoning damage to anything in its way.

What if the 10d10 damage is not enough to clear its space? For example, what would happen if a player tried to activate the Fortress deep inside a small cave? Would the item fail to activate, or would it take damage/be destroyed, or would it burst through the walls of the cave?

While this question is specifically about the Instant Fortress, I’m also interested about a general rule for this circumstance. Some items, like the Figurines of Wondrous Power, have an explicit restriction on changing size in enclosed spaces, whereas others, like the Staff of the Woodlands, do not. Is there a general way to reconcile these inconsistencies, or do I just have to make a ruling?

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