Symbol of Insanity

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NameSymbol of Insanity
SchoolEnchantment (Compulsion) [Mind-Affecting]
LevelArc 8, Clr 8, Sor/Wiz 8, Wuj 8
ComponentsV, S, M
Casting Time10 minutes
Recharge TimeGeneral
Range0 ft.; see text
EffectOne symbol
DurationSee text
Saving ThrowWill negates
Spell ResistanceYes
SourcesSystem Reference Document on page 290
Short Description

Triggered rune renders nearby creatures insane.


Mercury and phosphorus, plus powdered diamond and opal with a total value of at least 5,000 gp.

Living GreyhawkOpen

This spell allows you to scribe a potent rune of power upon a surface. When triggered, a symbol of insanity causes insanity on one or more creatures within 60 feet of the symbol (treat as a burst) . Once triggered, the symbol becomes active and glows, lasting for 10 minutes per caster level. Any creature that enters the area while the symbol of insanity 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 insanity is inactive (though visible and legible at a distance of 60 feet). To be effective, a symbol of insanity must always be placed in plain sight and in a prominent location. Covering or hiding the rune renders the symbol of insanity ineffective, unless a creature removes the covering, in which case the symbol of insanity works normally.

As a default, a symbol of insanity 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 insanity cant 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 insanitys 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 insanity to render it inoperative triggers it if the symbol reacts to touch. You cant use a symbol of insanity offensively; for instance, a touch-triggered symbol of insanity remains untriggered if an item bearing the symbol of insanity is used to touch a creature. Likewise, a symbol of insanity 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 insanity can be based on a creatures name, identity, or alignment, but otherwise must be based on observable actions or qualities. Intangibles such as level, class, Hit Dice, and hit points dont qualify.

When scribing a symbol of insanity, 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 runes 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 insanity, 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 insanity 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 insanity, and thus always ignore the effects and cannot inadvertently trigger them.

Read magic allows you to identify a symbol of insanity with a DC 19 Spellcraft check. Of course, if the symbol of insanity is set to be triggered by reading it, this will trigger the symbol.

A symbol of insanity can be removed by a successful dispel magic targeted solely on the rune. An erase spell has no effect on a symbol of insanity. Destruction of the surface where a symbol of insanity is inscribed destroys the symbol but also triggers it.

Symbol of insanity can be made permanent with a permanency spell. A permanent symbol of insanity 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.

Note: Magic traps such as symbol of insanity are hard to detect and disable. A rogue (only) can use the Search skill to find a symbol of insanity and Disable Device to thwart it. The DC in each case is 25 + spell level, or 33 for symbol of insanity.

Source Copyright: System Reference Document Copyright 2000-2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Rich Baker, Andy Collins, David Noonan, Rich Redman, Bruce R. Cordell, John D. Rateliff, Thomas Reid, James Wyatt, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

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