Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Wiki

Added in Repentance

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


  • 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, Beggar.png Beggars, 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 Alabaster Box Alabaster 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 frames 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.


  • The chance for the sword to fall does not increase beyond the first hit taken.
  • Items from Chest Chests will not be doubled, which greatly limits Damocles' benefit in Chapter 6.
    • The exception to this is Mega Chest Mega 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 Room Treasure Room layouts and Boss Rush Boss Rush), an additional set of items for Isaac to choose from spawns. Only one item from each set can be taken.
  • 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 Room Devil Room or Shop Shop, will not create additional items. This severely limits this item's benefit when used as Tainted Keeper Tainted 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.


  • Blood Oath Blood Oath: Getting stabbed by Blood Oath does not trigger the chance of falling.
  • Book of Virtues Book of Virtues: Spawns a wisp on the middle ring, looking like a sword. The wisp's tears look like Spirit Sword Spirit Sword's beams, but there are no other effects. Likely not fully implemented.
  • Blanket Blanket / Holy Mantle Holy Mantle / Holy Card Holy Card / Wooden Cross Wooden Cross: Damage blocked by the shield doesn't count as damage taken. It will not, however, protect Isaac from the falling sword.
  • Book of Shadows Book of Shadows / Empty Vessel Empty Vessel / Rune of Algiz Rune of Algiz / other items that give shield: Nullifies the instant kill of Damocles if the shield is active when the sword falls.
  • Cone Head Cone Head / Host Hat Host Hat / Infamy Infamy / Metal Plate Metal Plate: Blocked damage does not count as damage and can delay the triggering of Damocles.
  • Crooked Penny Crooked Penny / Diplopia Diplopia: An extra item is spawned per each item cloned.
  • Dark Arts Dark 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.
  • Gnawed Leaf Gnawed Leaf: If in the form of the statue, Isaac will be immune to the falling sword.
    • Tooth and Nail Tooth and Nail's statue form can also save Isaac, but the statue transformation time lining up with the sword falling is unlikely.
  • Lazarus Lazarus' revival mechanic allows him to continue the run after dying to Damocles.
    • This extends to other extra-life items such as 1up! 1up! or Dead Cat Dead Cat.
  • The Lost The Lost / Tainted Lost Tainted 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.
  • Magic Skin Magic Skin: Spawns 2 items on every use instead of 1.
  • My Little Unicorn My Little Unicorn / Unicorn Stump Unicorn Stump / other items that give invulnerability: If active, will negate the sword's fall killing Isaac.
  • Mega Mush Mega Mush: When activated, protected from falling Damocles.


  • Butter! Butter!: Using active item will drop it and spawns an extra item pedestal on the ground; Getting hit may cause Isaac to drop the sword, removing the effect and chance of falling.
  • Clicker Clicker: The sword cannot be removed from Isaac's inventory.
  • D4 D4 / D100 D100 / Tainted Eden Tainted Eden: The sword does not get rerolled.
  • Flip Flip: The extra item will not have a "ghost" item to flip to.
  • Glitched Crown Glitched Crown: Duplicated item pedestals do not reroll.
  • Holy Mantle Holy Mantle: Does not protect Isaac from death when the sword falls.
  • Isaac's Heart Isaac's Heart: Taking damage still allows it to fall, and the sword will still kill Isaac if it falls.
  • Jacob and Esau Jacob and Esau: The sword only gains the chance to fall if the brother who used it takes damage.
  • Kamikaze! Kamikaze!: Isaac blowing himself up does trigger the chance of falling.
  • Metronome Metronome: Can invoke the effect of Damocles, which applies permanently.
  • Panic Button Panic Button: Does not activate when the sword falls on Isaac.
  • Spirit Shackles Spirit Shackles: Does not protect Isaac from death when the sword falls.
  • Tainted Eden Tainted Eden: Damocles does not reroll when damage is taken.
  • Tainted Forgotten Tainted Forgotten: The sword will hang over Tainted Forgotten's body but will still kill the character despite being invincible.
  • Tainted Isaac Tainted Isaac: Damocles does not count toward his passive item count, and cannot be removed.
  • Tainted Lazarus Tainted Lazarus: The character that used Damocles must be active for double items to spawn.
    • In the case of Boss Room Boss Room, the character that did not use Damocles must fight the boss for it to drop double items.
    • If the player has Birthright Birthright 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.


Given the 1/10000 chance for the sword to fall every 4 frames (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[]


  • Damocles originates from the Antibirth mod. In Antibirth, the more times Isaac would get hit, the higher the chance of Damocles falling became.
  • 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 Spindown Dice Spindown Dice or Death Certificate Death 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.