Using curse dice represents giving in to the irreconcilable and maddening nature of magical energy. This surrender allows the protagonist to exceed the limits placed on disciplined wizards and it is frowned upon by the Maesters of The Order.
Any time the player rolls dice for his protagonist, he may choose to add curse dice to the roll – up to six. By making use of curse dice, he is choosing to put his protagonist at risk. Curse dice do not “hang around” like fixation dice do – so they may be used as the player feels they are needed, without needing to be used again.
When curse dominates, regardless of the outcome, the situation takes on a dangerous aspect that is related to one of the protagonist’s Affinities. The fundamental wrongness of magical energy asserts itself in some way, and the protagonist may find himself falling victim to the risks he’s taken.
This has the game effect of checking off a box on the protagonist’s twilight track.
If no twilight boxes are available to be checked, then the protagonist has hit a break point, and he goes insane.
A protagonist goes insane because he he had no twilight boxes to check off and was required to check off another. This is a moment of extreme stress, and he is in imminent danger of going simply, starkly insane – by the end of the scene, if not earlier. A protagonist who goes insane must spend at least one scene (or the remainder of the current one) acting on his psychotic break. From a player’s perspective, this can be a fun time – pick one of your affinities and magnify it. There should be lots of damage done and havoc wreaked. Sometimes going insane is temporary, and sometimes it’s permanent, but either way, it erodes the protagonist’s gift.
When a protagonist goes insane, his twilight boxes all reset (get cleared of check-marks), his gift score drops by one, and he gains a single, permanent curse die. This permanent curse die is rolled in addition to any the player might temporarily add to his pool. Permanent curse signifies that even if he gets better, the protagonist’s still a little cracked from the experience. Multiple episodes of insanity decrease gift and increase permanent curse again, until the protagonist loses all of his gift.
Once a protagonist’s gift drops to zero, the taint of magic transcends his mind and takes root in his flesh, and he is transformed into a demon. This effectively kills the protagonist and replaces him with a monster under the GM’s control.