Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki
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(in Repentance)

Damocles is an unlockable activated item added in The Binding of Isaac: Repentance.

Effects[ | ]

  • Upon use, summons a sword that hangs directly above Isaac. As long as the sword hangs above Isaac, all item pedestals are doubled, spawning an additional free item next to them.
    • Items spawned via other means, like Machines, BeggarBeggars, and certain items and cards, are also doubled.
    • The extra item will be pulled from the current room's item pool, even if the original item is from a different pool (ex. Beggars or items from Collectible Alabaster Box iconAlabaster Box).
  • After Isaac gets hit once with the item activated, at any time with only a brief warning, the sword may fall, instantly killing Isaac regardless of his health. The sword has a 1/10000 chance every 4 game ticks (every 0.133 seconds) to fall, so on average, 50% of all Damocles runs will not drop the sword until after at least 15 minutes and 24 seconds have passed.

Notes[ | ]

  • The chance for the sword to fall does not increase beyond the first hit taken.
  • Items from ChestChests will not be doubled, which greatly limits Damocles' benefit in Chapter 6.
    • The exception to this is Mega ChestMega Chests, which will spawn one extra item alongside the 2 original items for a total of 3 items.
  • In scenarios that have multiple items to choose from (such as rare double Treasure RoomTreasure Room layouts and Boss RushBoss Rush), an additional set of items for Isaac to choose from spawns. Only one item from each set can be taken.
  • In alternate path treasure rooms, one item from the second set is known.
  • Having multiple Damocles active at once does not spawn additional items.
  • The only way Isaac can survive the falling sword is if he's invincible at the time it falls or, by technicality, with a respawn item. After the sword falls, extra items will no longer spawn.
    • Losing a life before the sword falls does not remove the sword or its threat.
  • Items with associated costs, like those in Devil RoomDevil Room or ShopShop, will not create additional items. This severely limits this item's benefit when used as Character Tainted Keeper iconTainted Keeper, since most items that are normally created as pedestals are instead Shop items.
  • This can cause items that are in inaccessible spots in certain room layouts to be moved to a more convenient location due to not having space for two pedestals in that spot. It can also cause items to move to less convenient spots.

Synergies[ | ]

  • Collectible The Book of Belial iconThe Book of Belial + Collectible Birthright iconBirthright as Character Judas iconJudas / Character Dark Judas iconDark Judas: The sword also increases Judas' damage by x1.4 then a flat +1 while it's active.
  • Collectible Book of Virtues iconBook of Virtues: Spawns a wisp on the middle ring, looking like a sword. The wisp's tears look like Collectible Spirit Sword iconSpirit Sword's beams, but there are no other effects.
  • Collectible Blanket iconBlanket / Collectible Holy Mantle iconHoly Mantle / Holy CardHoly Card / Wooden CrossWooden Cross: Damage blocked by the shield doesn't count as damage taken. It will not, however, protect Isaac from the falling sword.
  • Collectible Book of Shadows iconBook of Shadows / Collectible Empty Vessel iconEmpty Vessel / Rune of AlgizRune of Algiz / other items that give shield: Nullifies the instant kill of Damocles if the shield is active when the sword falls.
  • Collectible Cone Head iconCone Head / Collectible Host Hat iconHost Hat / Collectible Infamy iconInfamy / Collectible Metal Plate iconMetal Plate: Blocked damage does not count as damage and can delay the triggering of Damocles.
  • Collectible Crooked Penny iconCrooked Penny / Collectible Diplopia iconDiplopia: An extra item is spawned per each item cloned.
  • Collectible Dark Arts iconDark Arts: When in the shadow state, Isaac can survive the instant kill of Damocles, though this requires precise timing and can be impossible if Dark Art's charge is empty as the sword is falling.
  • Collectible Gnawed Leaf iconGnawed Leaf: If in the form of the statue, Isaac will be immune to the falling sword.
    • Collectible Tooth and Nail iconTooth and Nail's statue form can also save Isaac, but the statue transformation time lining up with the sword falling is unlikely.
  • Character Lazarus iconLazarus' revival mechanic allows him to continue the run after dying to Damocles.
    • This extends to other extra-life items such as Collectible 1up! icon1up! or Collectible Dead Cat iconDead Cat.
  • Character The Lost iconThe Lost / Character Tainted Lost iconTainted Lost: Any damage the Lost would take is likely to kill him instantly, meaning that the item's downside is greatly mitigated. Dying and respawning, however, will still trigger the chance of falling.
  • Collectible Magic Skin iconMagic Skin: Spawns 2 items on every use instead of 1.
  • Collectible My Little Unicorn iconMy Little Unicorn / Collectible Unicorn Stump iconUnicorn Stump / other items that give invulnerability: If active, will negate the sword's lethal fall, saving Isaac.
  • Collectible Mega Mush iconMega Mush: When activated, protected from falling Damocles.
  • Collectible Mystery Gift iconMystery Gift: When Damocles is activated, a second item will be spawned with adherence to the item pool for the current room. Even if Mystery Gift "fails" and spawns either Collectible The Poop iconThe Poop or Collectible A Lump of Coal iconA Lump of Coal, a second item from the room's item pool will be rewarded.

Interactions[ | ]

  • Collectible Blood Oath iconBlood Oath: Getting stabbed by Blood Oath does not trigger the chance of falling.
  • Collectible Car Battery iconCar Battery: No effect.
  • Collectible Clicker iconClicker: The sword cannot be removed from Isaac's inventory.
  • Collectible D4 iconD4 / Collectible D100 iconD100 / Character Tainted Eden iconTainted Eden: The sword does not get rerolled.
  • Devil's CrownDevil's Crown: The Devil Room items that appear are not doubled.
  • Collectible Flip iconFlip: The extra item will not have a "ghost" item to flip to.
  • Collectible Glitched Crown iconGlitched Crown: Duplicated item pedestals do not reroll.
  • Collectible Holy Mantle iconHoly Mantle: Does not protect Isaac from death when the sword falls.
  • Collectible Isaac's Heart iconIsaac's Heart: Taking damage still allows it to fall, and the sword will still kill Isaac if it falls.
  • Character Jacob and Esau iconJacob and Esau: The sword only gains the chance to fall if the brother who used it takes damage.
  • Collectible Metronome iconMetronome: Can invoke the effect of Damocles, which applies permanently.
  • Panic ButtonPanic Button: Not recommended. Panic Button will activate Damocles right before Isaac takes damage, guaranteeing Damocles will fall later in the run even if Isaac hasn't activated it yet.
  • Collectible Spirit Shackles iconSpirit Shackles: Does not protect Isaac from death when the sword falls.
  • Character Apollyon iconApollyon / Collectible Void iconVoid: Using Void on Damocles will activate the effect and begin hanging the sword above Isaac on the next use of Void. Subsequent uses of Void will do nothing in regards to Damocles.
    • If the player has Collectible Damocles iconDamocles and Collectible Birthright iconBirthright on Character Apollyon iconApollyon and after using Void previously destroyed item appeared, Damocles will spawn an additional item.
  • Character Tainted Eden iconTainted Eden: Taking damage does not reroll an active Damocles.
  • Character Tainted Forgotten iconTainted Forgotten: The sword will hang over Tainted Forgotten's body but will still kill the character despite being invincible.
  • Character Tainted Isaac iconTainted Isaac: Damocles does not count toward his passive item count, and cannot be removed.
  • Character Tainted Lazarus iconTainted Lazarus: The character that used Damocles must be active for double items to spawn.
    • In the case of Boss RoomBoss Room, the character that did not use Damocles must fight the boss for it to drop double items.
    • If the player has Collectible Birthright iconBirthright and the inactive form has Damocles, the sword can fall on them and kill the player, bypassing the inactive form's immunity to damage.
  • XVII - The Stars?XVII - The Stars?: The sword will not be removed from Isaac's inventory.

Survival[ | ]

Given the 1/10000 chance for the sword to fall every 4 game ticks (0.133 seconds), Isaac has a ~4.4% chance to die for every minute of gameplay that passes after he takes damage with Damocles active. The following is a table for times Isaac could survive to after getting hit, along with the chances of reaching them:

Time passed Chance of Survival
2 Minutes 20 seconds 90%
4 Minutes, 57 seconds 80%
7 Minutes, 55 seconds 70%
11 Minutes, 21 seconds 60%
15 Minutes, 24 seconds 50%
20 Minutes, 21 seconds 40%
26 Minutes, 45 seconds 30%
35 Minutes, 40 seconds 20%
51 Minutes, 9 seconds 10%

In-game Footage[ | ]

Trivia[ | ]

  • Damocles originates from the Antibirth mod. In Antibirth, the sources of damage Damocles would ignore was very limited, only being damage that would not lower angel/devil deal chance under any circumstances. The more times Isaac would get hit, the higher the chance of Damocles falling became.
    • Damocles' doubling effect would also double all item pedestals including ones from chests, shops, and devil deals with the extra items created by Damocles being free.
    • Damocles would also appear in Secret RoomSecret Rooms.
  • The item's appearance and effects are a reference to [the] Sword of Damocles, a story in which Damocles frequently praised King Dionysius's life of wealth and luxury, and is offered to switch places with Dionysius on the throne for a day to have a taste of his power. Damocles accepts, only to find that Dionysius had a sword hanging over his throne by a single horse hair to remind Damocles of the never ending threats to both themselves and their country that a ruler must deal with during their reign, causing Damocles to beg to give the throne back to Dionysius
  • Damocles can be seen hanging over Isaac's head on the Antibirth album cover.
  • There are actually two different Damocles items in the game: one (item ID 577) is the active item that Isaac can encounter, and the other (item ID 656) is a hidden passive item that is given when the active Damocles is used and that carries out the item's effects. The passive Damocles cannot be encountered through any normal means, even via Collectible Spindown Dice iconSpindown Dice or Collectible Death Certificate iconDeath Certificate, nor does it appear in the collection grid. If spawned on a pedestal via the Debug Console, collecting the passive Damocles will immediately put the sword above Isaac's head as if the active Damocles were used.


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