Cursed Items Mini-HandbookCursed items: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/cursedItems.htm
Looking through the cursed items section, I noticed that a lot of them are cheaper than normal items of their quality. With that in mind, it's worth looking at them in order to consider their benefits for low-level characters who can't afford an item they might want. In other cases, the drawbacks can be turned into benefits or ignored with some preparation.
As a note, I'm not going to cover the situations where you can buy a cursed item and give it to an NPC with sleight of hand or bluffing or what-have-you. Good buys:
Item: Armor of Rage (+1 Full Plate)
Cost: 1,600gp (compared to 2,650 for +1 full plate or 1,650gp for masterwork full plate)
Drawback: -4 penalty to Charisma, and enemies gain +1 morale to attacks.
Notes: If you don't care about charisma (like most fighters), this could be worth purchasing, since your armor is magical and will have better saving throws, etc. The morale bonus against you won't stack with bless or other morale bonuses, and frankly your DM is likely to forget it half the time.
Item: Bag of Devouring
Drawback: eats stuff
Notes: Great for garbage disposal in a stronghold if you can get one.
Item: Dust of Sneezing and Choking
Drawback: none if used correctly
Notes: Probably the best cursed item on the list. Stuns targets in a big spread for 5d4 rounds if they make their save, and massive constitution loss if they don't. 2,400g is pocket change by the higher levels anyhow.
Item: Flask of Curses
Drawback: All within 30ft when it's opened must make a DC 17 will save or be cursed, taking a -2 penalty on attacks, saves, or skill checks.
Notes: useful for a debuff build such as a hexblade - charge forward and open your flask in the middle of a crowd of enemies! Also good if you're almost guaranteed to succeed on the will save, like a high level wizard whose familiar opens the flask.
Item: Gauntlets of Fumbling/Ogre Power
Cost: 1,300g (compared to 4,000g)
Drawback: they fail in combat
Notes: as long as they aren't used in combat, these gauntlets are a pretty good purchase. Dexterity is useful for open locks and disable device, for example, and strength can be good for swimming, jumping, and climbing, or for friendly barroom brawls.
Item: Medallion of Thought Projection
Drawback: you project your thoughts and can't actually read thoughts.
Notes: you might be able to use this to communicate without languages, if you can project general friendly emotions into the mind of an ooze or something. Might even work for a wildshaped druid. Reminds me of E.T. or Star Trek too.So-so buys:
Item: Helm of Opposite Alignment
Drawback: change alignment!
Notes: Good if you need an in-game excuse to change alignments.
Item: Armor of Arrow Attraction
Cost: 9,000g (compared to 9,650g for +3 full plate)
Drawback: -15 AC against ranged weapons.
Notes: this could be worthwhile if you have a persistent protection from missiles or entropic shield up, but overall the price isn't low enough to warrant it. The 3.0 version, however, is excellent for tanks, as the drawback is a benefit if you want people to target you!
Item: Sword, Berserking
Cost: 17,500g (nothing to compare directly to, but probably around the 36,000g mark for a +2 sword that lets you rage without killing your allies)
Drawback: you go berserk and gain barbarian rage!
Notes: possibly good for a solo game. Also decent if you're a frenzied berserker, because hey, the party's already going to try and calm you down! Iron Heart Surge for a warblade can probably remove this effect, since unlike a frenzied berserker it was forced onto you.Very situational buys:
Item: Amulet of Inescapable Location
Drawback: you're easy to scry on.
Notes: This has an advantage if you want people to scry on you for whatever reason, like if you're infiltrating a thieves' guild while the rest of the party watches.
Item: Mace of Blood
Cost: 16,000gp (compared to 16,310g)
Drawback: might turn evil (very low DC), must dip in blood
Notes: the price isn't lower enough to warrant the cost in most cases.
Item: Net of Snaring
Drawback: only works in water
Notes: who the hell pays 10,000 GP to get +3 to attacks with a freaking net? This isn't cursed, it's stupid!
Item: Ring of Clumsiness
Cost: 500g! (compared to 2,000gp)
Drawback: you're clumsy and get 20% spell failure
Notes: good to have around if you expect to be jumping off from cliffs and tall buildings quite often. At 500g, it's pretty cheap to have.
Item: Spear, Backbiter
Cost: 7,500g (compared to 8,302g for a +2 shortspear)
Drawback: hits you on a natural 1
Notes: the 3.0 version is only 2,000g and was worth buying. This one...ehh. Not so much.
Item: -2 Sword, Cursed
Drawback: pretty obvious.
Notes: hey, at least you can hit incorporeal opponents with it!
Well, that's it for the SRD items worth buying. If anyone has some more cursed items from other books or other good uses for stuff, just post and I'll add them in!