# Curses work by shouting - How to avoid collateral damage?

If I want to curse my enemy I say the curse to him. As a result, he will become sick and have a lot of bad luck.

However, if he puts his fingers in his ears or uses some kind of earplug, I have to shout to make him hear it.

Personal experience tells me that even the best of earplugs are not perfect sound insulators. We are in a medieval type setting so no electronic noise cancelling is possible.

So, let us assume I meet my enemy and shout my curse at the top of my lungs. There is now a problem. The curse will affect anyone who hears (and understands) it.

Question

How can I focus my shouted curse on my enemy without cursing other people in the vicinity. (It is impossible to curse myself)

• Not worthy of an answer but with magic. You can't really direct sound good enough with that tech level to have no collateral damage. Mar 26, 2019 at 16:35
• This is why us folks on nice, quiet Privet Drive want nothing to do with you loud, messy, magic-using hoodlums. Mar 26, 2019 at 19:13
• Send them a letter all in caps. That is socially considered a form of shouting. Mar 26, 2019 at 19:21
• By saying their name.. Mar 26, 2019 at 20:20
• Do you have to be able to understand the curse yourself? Just imagining that Monty Python sketch where they create a fatally hilarious joke in German during WWII which anyone who does not understand German is immune to. You'd just have to know your target well enough to curse him in a language only he understands... Mar 26, 2019 at 20:53

Say who the curse is directed to as a part of the curse, for example let's say you curse someone to step on a thousand Legos (or anything else, this is just a random and amusing example), you could shout

May you be cursed to step on a thousand Legos!

and anyone who hears it is now cursed, but you could include their name or some other way of identifying them such as

May you, John Smith, by cursed to step on a thousand Legos!

or

May you, that guy with the green jacket and blonde hair be cursed to step on a thousand Legos!

If this doesn't work (as in you can't put an identifier in front, it goes to everyone who hears it regardless) then there is a second way, I assume you can add a condition to the curse? Then add a condition that only applies to them like

May you be cursed to step on a thousand Legos, on the condition that at birth your name was John Smith!

or

May you be cursed to step on a thousand Legos, on the condition that you are the guy I am looking at right now who has a green jacket and blonde hair!

• +1, This is where I was going to go with an answer. Mar 26, 2019 at 17:53
• Or "May you be cursed to either step on a thousand Lego bricks* or not be named John Smith" *The "correct" term is "Lego brick" Mar 26, 2019 at 22:10
• @Acccumulation - There is actually a controversy about this. Even the manufacturers have an official position! - english.stackexchange.com/questions/10839/… Mar 26, 2019 at 23:00
• I like the idea. But it's all stated awfully imprecise. The dark magic of the curses has so many opportunities to go wrong with this. So everyone hearing the curse will be forced to not only step on thousand Lego bricks, but after that, step on the condition too. And for the simpler variant, be named John Smith from now on forever.
– avek
Mar 27, 2019 at 7:29
• Automate it. if [ "\$name" == "John" ] && [ "\$wearing" == "Green Jacket" ] && [ "\\$hair" == blonde ]; then do f_cursed ;else echo "never mind bro, you aint heard nothing"; fi Mar 27, 2019 at 9:21

# Audio spotlighting

If your magic user can somehow replicate this principle then in theory it is possible to send a concentrated beam of sound straight at your target like a laser. Now making the human throat emit a noise of that frequency might be difficult, but hey magic.

If you want a dark take on this, then surgically (as best you can with medieval tech) deafening oneself would be a great way to become immune to curses.

• I must say I'm tempted to remove the medieval restriction. This is such a great idea. Mar 26, 2019 at 16:58
• Do the forbidden cursed laser! Laaaaser! Mar 27, 2019 at 9:20
1. You don't care. Yell loud and curse 'em all! After all, that's what they would do to you if they could curse folks.

2. Wait until your target is alone and curse him then.

3. Rassle him and when you get him down, whisper curse in his ear.

4. Megaphone. Point it at your target's head and curse, curse, curse.

If you can't get your target alone, change the spell so that's a bonus.

You can ruin things for your target by cursing everyone but him. You can control a person's whole life without ever touching them with magic.

For example:

Everyone is cursed to think John has too many arms and one of them must be cut off. John is in serious danger.

Everyone is cursed to think Ricky smells like poo. Ricky has a hard time making friends.

Everyone is cursed to think Jane is cursed. They wont trust her with anything important and the blame her for any bad luck.

Quite simple: The target needs to understand the curse's content and that it's meant for them.

Shout it at someone directly and they'll see it all right. Shout their name and they'll know even when they are in a group. Define them loosely and it'll do the trick ("big guy in red armor"). AoE curses are possible with this.

• Thanks for answering but don't forget to check what others have said. Your answer is already covered in the answer by DJ Spicy Deluxe-Levi. Mar 27, 2019 at 10:09

questions:

• What constitutes sufficient "hearing and understanding" of the curse?

• Can you previously communicate with the rest of the guys in the area?

Imagine this scenario:

People who are listening to something else while you're speaking the curse can mitigate/cancel the affects of the curse. The rest of the people around you are people who know you and are on your side (e.g. your team mates/underlings), and they know that when you say "It's time" or "Let's get it on" or whatever, you're about to curse. You've instructed them that if they whistle to themselves/talk directly next to each other's ear while you're cursing, they'll be immune.

Viola! Curse and shout away, just make sure to drink lots of tea with honey afterwards.

• I suppose the problem is that your victim could also start whistling. If they don't hear the end of the curse it won't be effective. So, if whistling is effective, no-one gets cursed and if whistling is ineffective, everyone gets cursed. Of course you would have to be certain that everyone in the neighbourhood was on your side, otherwise they would warn the victim that whistling was the best defence. Mar 27, 2019 at 9:49
• @chasly added "are on your side" Mar 27, 2019 at 10:58

Hold up....what if the words of the curse, while understandable to your teammates, actually have a different meaning? A good example would be Canadian political speech; they can grievously insult someone with any unaware listeners being completely unaware that someone was just targeted. For example; "My learned colleague" means "You cheese-eating throwback!" Would someone hearing those words think "Oh yeah, he just got roasted" if they didn't even know there was another translation?

A similar mode of expression could allow the curser to seemingly be holding a polite conversation on the battlefield, while in reality, he is barraging people with horrific hexes and cruel curses. And if the enemy doesn't figure out a way to translate this 'code,' they'll never know if they're safe, because nothing says the curse can't be sent.

Picture this: the enemy general is told someone has a message for him, he has that person brought in, and when that person reads their message, the general inexplicably dies on the spot. When the enemy investigates, they find what seems to be just a normal letter. Since they can't for the life of them figure out why the general up and died at such an odd time, they figure it was an act of God or a coincidence and let the matter drop.

Eventually, this could lead to people being extremely cautious about letters and messages in general, which would of course hamper the effectiveness of intelligence reports.

You must also make direct eye contact with the victim while cursing them. It's not enough to just to say the words you have to look into their soul (via their eyes). That should stop most bystanders from being affected, but leaves open the need to get very close to you enemy to guarantee you don't hit anyone else.

That's also why you can't curse yourself (unless you curse while looking in a mirror).