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Breath of life was a necromancy spell that allowed the caster to cure nonmagical diseases in many people over a wide area. The reverse of this spell, breath of death could infect people in a large area with a fatal disease.
The caster had to pick a particular disease when casting this spell—only one disease could be cured at a time. Natural diseases could be cured, but not magically created disease, parasites, rot grubs, green slime, lycanthropy, etc. Once cured, this spell did not prevent recurrence of a disease due to re-exposure.
The area covered by this spell was centered on the caster, who had to remain in one place for the 10 minutes it took to cast breath of life. He or she exhaled a pleasant-smelling breath that formed a gently swirling breeze that was unaffected by wind or weather. The breath of life expanded in a circle, increasing in diameter by 300 ft (91 m) every hour, for an hour per experience level of the priest. This magical zephyr instantly cured the chosen disease in everyone it touched.
When cast in reverse, the breath of death was a foul-smelling miasma that crept outward, infecting all those who could not resist its death magic with the chosen, nonmagical disease. Infected victims could not heal wounds either naturally or by magical cure spells, and would die in one to six weeks unless the disease was removed or otherwise cured.
As part of the verbal component, the priest had to utter the name of the disease to be cured or inflicted. The somatic component included exhaling the breath. The material component for breath of life was burning incense that had been blessed by the highest priest of the caster's religion. Breath of death required a handful of dust taken from the corpse of a mummy.