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D&D 3E
Confused by Symbol of Death 
5th-Jan-2009 08:32 pm
From the 3.5 SRD

To be effective, a symbol of death must always be placed in plain sight and in a prominent location.


Magic traps 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.

While this is the standard wording for a magic trap, I can't see how it would take a DC 33 Search roll to find a trap that only works if it can be seen from 60' away. The only interpretation I can think of that makes sense is a Rogue searching a square more than 60' from a symbol and noticing that if they enter that square they would see the symbol(and possibly activate it, if reading is the trigger) i.e. a Rogue can Search and Disable the "60' radius trap" centred on the symbol itself?
5th-Jan-2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking someone screwed up. ;)
5th-Jan-2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking that the symbol of death trap is inactive and hard-to-see until triggered. I mean, it doesn't have to be effective if it's just sitting there waiting to be set off. When it becomes active, it's in full view.
5th-Jan-2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
symbol of death is int he wall...step on trigger, symbol pops out in front of characters...death!
6th-Jan-2009 01:05 am (UTC)
Like the Bible, D&D is full of internal inconsistencies.
6th-Jan-2009 04:47 am (UTC)
The same language is used for Glyph of Warding, too. It looks like they simply did a copy/paste, and failed to account for the specifics of the Symbol traps (all of them, not just Symbol of Death). Typically, the specific rule outweighs the general, and house rules outweigh all, eh?


Everybody walks into the room, sees the symbol, but suppose they don't recognize it for what it is. When the rogue is doing the search, they make their role, and realize that the symbol is a trap.
6th-Jan-2009 08:06 am (UTC)
You are close. We tend to see things when our attention is drawn to them. You can see something, and not know what it is.

In the case of a Symbol of Death, your character sees it, but doesn't realize what it is. Until, that is, something happens that makes him aware, sort of wakes him up, and the symbol's magic affects him.

The study of perception covers a lot of territory.
6th-Jan-2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
7th-Jan-2009 10:20 am (UTC)
That is how I always thought of it.
7th-Jan-2009 10:25 am (UTC)
Also you cannot, for instance, put it behind a grating or something that would partially obscure/disguise it and still have it work even if there is still a line of sight/effect between the symbol and the viewer, unlike most spells.
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