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I am wondering if it is possible to use the Symbol spell (PHB p. 280) more than once in close proximity to create a deadly trap, where it deals damage twice per round.

First of all, can the Death version of Symbol cause damage twice within the same round?

From the wording, it seems like it could trigger twice - once when triggered, and another time at the end of the turn:

Once triggered, the glyph glows, filling a 60-foot-radius sphere with dim light for 10 minutes, after which time the spell ends. Each creature in the sphere when the glyph activates is targeted by its effect, as is a creature that enters the sphere for the first time on a turn or ends its turn there.

Death. Each target must make a Constitution saving throw, taking 10d10 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful save.

Secondly, can you cast Symbol spells more than once in close proximity to each other on top of that, e.g. Stunning?

Stunning. Each target must make a Wisdom saving throw and becomes stunned for 1 minute on a failed save.

I know this would be a very expensive endeavour because of the Materials cost, but just wanted to know if it's possible to use Symbol in this way to set a rather nasty trap.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Very closely related: Can a Symbol spell affect the same creature more than once? \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jan 7 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil answer to that question also mentions using two symbols to create almost inescapable situation. \$\endgroup\$ – Revolver_Ocelot Jan 7 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ While your questions relate to the same spell, they are definitely separate and should likely be split up. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Jan 7 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical yeah, the second question isn't exactly answered in the linked question, either, now that I look at it again. It seems to assume you can cast them overlapping without supporting that assumption. That said, I'm pretty sure nothing stops you from doing it. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Jan 7 at 21:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ETgothome This still appears to be two separate questions. I'm not sure if others will reopen as is or not. \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Jan 8 at 0:21
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An existing answer addresses your second question, indicating that putting Death and Stunning together is incredibly fatal, since it prevents leaving the area so the symbol of death can keep doing its damage.

To answer your first, I'll direct you back to your own quoted text from the symbol spell description: A creature within the sphere of dim light becomes targeted by the effect under three circumstances:

  • When the symbol is triggered initially,
  • When they enter the area of an already-triggered symbol for the first time in a turn, and
  • When they end their turn in the area.

Note the second bullet point doesn't specify their own turn, so you can cause someone to get targeted by the symbol by forced movement off their turn.

But, back to your question, yes, you can trigger a symbol or walk into its area during a turn, get targeted by the effect, then end your turn still within the area, and get targeted again on the same turn. The spell's text offers exactly three ways to get hit by it, and gives no indication that being hit by one prevents the others from hitting you as well, so the spell does what it says it does.

Note for something like symbol of stunning that it keeps hitting you while you're stuck in the area, so you'll need to make several consecutive saves to get a chance to move out of the area.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You should really include the link in your answer. Comments are not permanent even if related links tend to be left around. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Jan 7 at 21:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil Honestly, I expect the second question to need editing out of this one, to prevent it being closed as a duplicate. But since the first question is unique, I went ahead and answered. But yeah, I'll change that, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Jan 7 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You cannot combine symbols - the same magical effects do not stack. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jan 8 at 23:41
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No, you cannot usefully combine Symbols

From Combining Magical Effects:

The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect--such as the highest bonus--from those castings applies while their durations overlap, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap.

This is the "same spell cast multiple times" so the effects don't combine.

Your other question is a duplicate of Can a Symbol spell affect the same creature more than once?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you but I'm not convinced. In your own answer to Can a Symbol spell affect the same creature more than once? you say "A Symbol (Death) combined with two Symbol (Stunning) is quite likely to kill anything that triggers them." So, which is it? :) In the quote (PHB p. 205) where it says "the effects" it appears to be referring to the "same effects", e.g. you cast say Aid twice; one effect remains. In Symbol how do you decide what is the "most potent effect" when they are different effects? Also, what if you place separate triggers which come into effect simultaneously? Please expand. \$\endgroup\$ – Senmurv Jan 9 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ETgothome read the answer again - it doesn't say that anymore because it was wrong. There is nothing ambiguous about "the same spell cast multiple times" \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jan 9 at 1:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @Dale M. It did not say that when I posted; but I see it does now. :) Still, I think that the guidance on Combining Magical Effects is to do with same spell effects which provide a bonus, e.g. AC, saving throw, temporary hit points, etc. If two players with the same initiative cast Create Bonfire in one place, both spells will cause damage. Maybe this needs further discussion? \$\endgroup\$ – Senmurv Jan 9 at 10:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ETgothome maybe worth a question on its own \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jan 9 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ETgothome Somewhat related to some of that discussion: "If you cast Blindness/Deafness on the same creature twice, what conditions are applied?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jan 14 at 22:49

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