Sepia snake sigil (originally called Hersent's sigil[1]) was a conjuration spell from the creation subschool that left a symbol on a page that would later turn into a snake and attack a reader, immobilizing him or her with a field of force.[2] Guardian genies, a type of tasked genie, had an innate power to inscribe something similar to a snake sigil.[6]


After ten minutes of preparation and casting, this spell left the invisible symbol of a serpent on the page of a text, provided said text contained enough words. The symbol would remain hidden on the page until triggered. Triggering the sigil involved simply reading the text of the page. It was not enough to simply see the words; they must have been read.[2]

A triggered snake sigil would become visible, and the sepia-colored image would spring from the page, as if a living snake, and attempt to bite the reader. If the sepia snake succeeded in biting the reader, he or she would suddenly become enveloped in a powerful, amber-colored field of force that would immobilize and preserve the target in suspended animation. If the snake missed its prey, it would loudly burst into a cloud of dull brown smoke and a flash of light.[2]

A suspended victim would remain in such a state, not aging, breathing, moving, or requiring any physical necessities for six days or longer, depending on the power of the caster. Alternatively, the caster could release a victim from the magic suspension by command.[2]

It was possible to harm or kill an entrapped victim of a sepia snake sigil, but an injured victim would neither worsen nor recover until the effects of the spell were ended.[2]

A page with a sepia snake sigil would glow with a magical aura if magic were used to detect its presence, but such magics would not reveal the presence of the sigil. The sigil could be removed, however, by the dispel magic spell or by using magic to erase the whole page of text.[2]


In addition to verbal and somatic components, the spell typically required powdered amber valuing at least 500 gold pieces, the scale of a snake, and a tiny bit of spores from a mushroom.[2]


The spell was invented by the Netherese arcanist Hersent in −1009 DR.[7]

In the late 14th century DR, the shopkeeper Xara Tantlor defended her shop with snake sigils hidden among the scrolls she had for sale.[8]


See AlsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 23. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 276. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
  3. David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), pp. 152–153. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
  4. Jeff Grubb and Andria Hayday (April 1992). Arabian Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 152. ISBN 978-1560763581.
  5. slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 121. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  6. Wolfgang Baur, Steve Kurtz (1992). Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix. (TSR, Inc). ISBN l-56076-370-1.
  7. slade, James Butler (November 1996). Netheril: Empire of Magic (The Winds of Netheril). (TSR, Inc.), p. 27. ISBN 0-7869-0437-2.
  8. Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl (July 2002). Silver Marches. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 65. ISBN 0-7869-2835-2.