This spell allows you to scribe a potent rune of power upon a surface. When triggered, a symbol of death
slays one or more creatures within 60 feet of the symbol (treat as a burst) whose combined total current hit points
do not exceed 150. The symbol of death
affects the closest creatures first, skipping creatures with too many hit points
to affect. Once triggered, the symbol
becomes active and glows, lasting for 10 minutes per caster level
or until it has affected 150 hit points
' worth of creatures, whichever comes first. Any creature that enters the area while the symbol of death
is active is subject to its effect
, whether or not that creature was in the area when it was triggered. A creature need save against the symbol
only once as long as it remains within the area, though if it leaves the area and returns while the symbol
is still active, it must save again.
Until it is triggered, the symbol of death is inactive (though visible and legible at a distance of 60 feet). To be effective, a symbol of death must always be placed in plain sight and in a prominent location. Covering or hiding the rune renders the symbol of death ineffective, unless a creature removes the covering, in which case the symbol of death works normally.
As a default, a symbol of death
is triggered whenever a creature does one or more of the following, as you select: looks at the rune; reads the rune; touches the rune; passes over the rune; or passes through a portal bearing the rune. Regardless of the trigger method or methods chosen, a creature more than 60 feet from a symbol of death can't trigger it (even if it meets one or more of the triggering conditions
, such as reading the rune). Once the spell is cast, a symbol of death
's triggering conditions
cannot be changed.
In this case, "reading" the rune means any attempt to study it, identify
it, or fathom its meaning. Throwing a cover
over a symbol of death
to render it inoperative triggers it if the symbol reacts to touch. You can't use a symbol of death
offensively; for instance, a touch-triggered symbol of death remains untriggered if an item bearing the symbol of death
is used to touch a creature. Likewise, a symbol of death
cannot be placed on a weapon and set to activate when the weapon strikes a foe.
You can also set special triggering limitations of your own. These can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. Special conditions
for triggering a symbol of death
can be based on a creature's name, identity, or alignment
, but otherwise must be based on observable actions or qualities. Intangibles such as level
, class, Hit Dice
, and hit points
When scribing a symbol of death
, you can specify a password or phrase that prevents a creature using it from triggering the effect.
Anyone using the password remains immune to that particular rune's effects so long as the creature remains within 60 feet of the rune. If the creature leaves the radius and returns later, it must use the password again.
You also can attune any number of creatures to the symbol of death,
but doing this can extend the casting time
. Attuning one or two creatures takes negligible time, and attuning a small group (as many as ten creatures) extends the casting time
to 1 hour. Attuning a large group (as many as twenty-five creatures) takes 24 hours. Attuning larger groups takes proportionately longer. Any creature attuned to a symbol of death
cannot trigger it and is immune to its effects, even if within its radius when triggered. You are automatically considered attuned to your own symbols of death
, and thus always ignore the effects and cannot inadvertently trigger them.
allows you to identify
a symbol of death
with a DC 19 Spellcraft
check. Of course, if the symbol of death
is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.
A symbol of death
can be removed by a successful dispel magic
targeted solely on the rune. An erase
spell has no effect
on a symbol of death. Destruction
of the surface where a symbol of death
is inscribed destroys the symbol
but also triggers it.
Symbol of death
can be made permanent with a permanency
spell. A permanent symbol of death
that is disabled or that has affected its maximum number of hit points
becomes inactive for 10 minutes, then can be triggered again as normal.
such as symbol of death
are hard to detect and disable. A rogue
(only) can use the Search
skill to find a symbol of death
and Disable Device
to thwart it. The DC in each case is 25 + spell level
, or 33 for symbol of death
Mercury and phosphorus, plus powdered diamond and opal with a total value of at least 5,000 gp each.
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