Silence

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Silence.png Silence
Level 5
School1 Hexes
School2 Air
Source(s)
Casting noise 0
Spell noise 0
Eliminates all sound near the caster. This makes reading scrolls, casting spells, invoking divine abilities, or shouting impossible in the caster's vicinity. The spell's oppressive, unnatural effect will greatly hamper stealth.

Certain monsters have innate magical or special abilities which will still be usable while silenced.

The effect starts out with a radius depending on power, which will then shrink, eventually covering only the caster, before it times out.

Silence is a level 5 Hexes/Air Magic spell which makes reading scrolls, casting spells, praying, or yelling in the caster's vicinity impossible (this applies to the caster too, of course). The duration and radius of the spell effect is somewhat randomized, but the higher the power of the spell, the more likely it is to be bigger and last longer.

In spite of the flavor text, very stealthy characters can still go unnoticed when silenced; it merely hits you with a -50 penalty to your stealth score. On the other hand, monsters that are already aware of you will be unable to shout while silenced, and loud actions performed within the aura will produce no noise. Bear in mind that demonic monsters ignore silence effects.

Using a scroll of silence creates a similar effect at a power of 25. On average, this will create a starting radius of 4 or 5.

Strategy

Silence is an excellent method for preventing powerful enemy casters from accessing their most dangerous abilities. So long as you are capable of dealing damage without use of spells, you can reduce many powerful uniques and devastating spellcasters to pitiful melee opponents. Just be sure to defeat them before the spell wears down too much, as a fight can rapidly turn ugly during that period at the end of the spell in which only you are silenced.

At the same time, there are many monsters who have unsilenceable special abilities: eg, dragons, draconians, demons, eyeballs, arthropods, Mara.1

If you happen to have any potions of cancellation, consider quaffing one any time you need to end your own silence aura early. It'll eradicate any other status effects you may be enjoying, but it's better than being stuck unable to read a scroll of blinking or teleportation when you most need one. Just remember that it'll have no effect on the silence auras of your enemies.

Formula

The radius starts shrinking with 43 turns to go, and during the last 6 turns only the center tile (you) is silenced. Pre-squared radius is reduced linearly from 37 = 6*6+1, which means that radius is reduced like sqrt(dur) (slowly at large radius, and faster near the end).

For reference, cast_silence has:

   you.increase_duration(DUR_SILENCE, 10 + random2avg(pow,2), 100);

That's at least 10 turns, at most 100. At 50 power (mid-game caster) you'll get an average of 35, which means you'll usually start below maximal radius.

Monster Version

The following enemies cast Silence:

The following enemies may be able to cast Silence, depending on their spell set:

The following enemy inherently radiates Silence:

Short of letting the spell run its course, only killing or otherwise removing the silencing monster removes the effect. Paralysis, confusion and sleep, etc. have no effect. In the case of silent spectres, their silence aura has an effect larger than your [[LOS], so you will have to resort to non-silenceable means of fighting them.

Alternatively, a player in distress will need methods to rapidly remove himself from the silencing aura faster than the radiating monster can follow. This can prove a difficult task, given that Mennas, Ereshkigal, and many silencing Pan lords move faster than the player. Sources of escape like teleport traps, shafts, staircases, or a Blinking ability (via an artefact or mutation) can be invaluable. Even a ring of teleportation is better than nothing.

History

Before the magic school was removed from the game, Silence was an Enchantments/Air Magic spell.

Footnotes

1By outward appearance, these abilities might look like spells and, in fact, are listed in this wiki as "Spells." Nevertheless, any spell denoted by a "Natural flag", "Magical flag", or "Demonic flag" is not affected by silence. Exception: any spell that also has a "No Silent flag" is always affected by silence. When in doubt, consult the specific monster's spell details to be certain of its susceptibility: eg, Arachne, while a spider, nevertheless casts wizard spells and is affected by silence; Ushabtiu, while constructs, have their Warning Cry (and only their Warning Cry) affected by silence.