Skull (status)

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A skull is a status effect that may appear in PvP scenarios. They are visible above the affected player. If a player is opted into PvP, they will stay opted into PvP until they speak with Vala in Edgeville to toggle it back off. Opting into PvP only affects the Wilderness area, however some parts of the game such as Soul Wars requires the player to opt into PvP to attack other players familiars.

PvP Skull[edit | edit source]

A skulled player.
Skull.png

The PvP Skull (also known as the white skull) is a feature that appears when a player:

  • asks Vala in Edgeville to opt into PvP and then agreeing to the warning prompt that appears when attempting to enter the Wilderness while opted in
  • agrees to harvest cursed wisps in the Wilderness Crater, or agrees to pick up cursed energy
  • agrees to enter the Wilderness carrying a Demonic skull, Divine-o-matic vacuum or cursed energy
  • agrees to withdraw a Demonic skull, Divine-o-matic vacuum or cursed energy from a bank inside the Wilderness
    • Includes withdrawing cursed energy to either a nightmare muspah or Beast of Burden familiar
  • agrees to loot supplies from a tent in the Wilderness Warbands camp
  • is wielding an augmented item with the Committed perk (this feature is currently disabled)

As soon as one of the methods above occurs, the skull will appear above their character. If a player dies with a skull in the Wilderness (and dungeons linked to the Wilderness, excluding the King Black Dragon's lair), they will drop all of their items upon death, unless a Protect Item mechanic is used (the prayer itself, scattering powder of item protection, or consuming a Fury shark), in which they keep their most valuable item with them, up to three items if they are combined.

Having a skull is required to:

  • attack other players who are opted into PvP
  • pick up and use the Hellfire bow
  • loot supplies from a tent in the Wilderness Warbands camp
    • Players can participate in the various activites to help clear out the camp without opting into PvP
  • harvest Cursed wisps or pick up cursed energy
  • bring the Demonic skull, Divine-o-matic vacuum or cursed energy items into the Wilderness
  • load the Demonic skull, Divine-o-matic vacuum or cursed energy items within a preset, or withdraw them from the bank while inside the Wilderness
  • make the bandits at Wilderness Bandit Camp tolerant and access the camp's shop

Historical gameplay[edit | edit source]

Hitpoints historical.png
Skull (status) was significantly altered after an update.
This article is retained to provide information on past elements of RuneScape.

Before opt-in PvP, players would become skulled when attacking another player in the Wilderness or by asking Mr Ex to skull them.

If a player is attacked by another player, the former can retaliate without getting skulled for a certain amount of time. However, they may still become skulled if their AoE attacks, spells or abilities hit nearby players in a multi-combat zone. If an attacked player dies to the attacker, then the ability to retaliate without penalty is lost; going back into the Wilderness to attack the aggressor in this case will result in a skull for the attacked player.

Dwarf multicannon will skull the player if it hits another player's familiar.

Upon leaving the area where the skulled status appeared, a timer of 10 (or 20 if you attacked another player/familiar)[1] minutes (of in-game time) will count down; once this timer expires, the skull is removed from the player. Skulls are immediately removed upon dying by any means, including safe areas such as Soul Wars or the flame pit in an Oubliette, or upon visiting and then leaving the Life Altar.

If a skulled player dies outside the Wilderness, they will keep none of their items (unless Protect Item or the Portent of item protection or Sign of item protection are active) and their gravestone will appear. However, because they retain none of their items, Death will charge the player for all items that were not kept, significantly increasing their reclaim fee.

Red skull[edit | edit source]

The current champion of the TzHaar Fight Pits will have a red skull over their head.

The Red skull is a status effect which players will gain after winning a round of the TzHaar Fight Pits, or if players participate in supply runs on Mazcab. The red skull disappears if the player with it leaves the Fight Pits, finishes a supply run, or switches worlds. It will also disappear if another player wins the next round of the Fight Pits. Players with a red skull will not lose their items if they die, as the Fight Pits and supply runs are "safe" minigames.

Demonic skull[edit | edit source]

A player with a demonic skull equipped

Players with a demonic skull equipped while inside the Wilderness will have it displayed above them. This will also automatically opt the player into PvP causing them to also have a PvP skull above their head. This allows other players with PvP enabled to attack them regardless of combat level.

Bounty Hunter[edit | edit source]

A skulled player in the original Bounty Hunter mini-game

In the now-removed Bounty Hunter minigame, players had different skull icons depending on how much wealth they were carrying.

Update history[edit | edit source]

This information has been compiled as part of the update history project. Some updates may not be included - see here for how to help out!
  • patch 3 October 2022 (Update):
    • Characters who have PvP disabled can no longer use the 'Intercept' ability on players with PvP enabled in the Wilderness.
  • patch 8 August 2022 (Update):
    • The Abyss can now be entered without the requirement of being opted-in to PVP. The 250% Runecrafting XP bonus still applies for opted-out players who Runecraft via the Abyss. Players who do opt-in for PVP and use the Demonic Skull receive the 350% XP bonus.
  • patch 25 September 2017 (Update):
    • Players are no longer able to 'Whack' others in the Wilderness with fun-styled weapons, to prevent people being tricked into skulling.
  • patch 5 September 2016 (Update):
    • It is no longer possible to become skulled on players you cannot attack.
  • patch 9 November 2015 (Update):
    • Applying damage-over-time effects to familiars will now correctly skull the attacker.
  • patch 2 November 2015 (Update):
    • Players will no longer be skulled by a familiar retaliating against a player who just respawned after death.
  • patch 13 April 2015 (Update):
    • Players will no longer be skulled when their aggressive familiars are provoked in PvP.
  • patch 19 January 2015 (Update):
    • It is no longer possible to skull a PvP opponent by attacking their familiar.
  • patch 26 August 2014 (Update):
    • Cosmetic overrides will no longer be removed when a PK skull expires.
  • update 30 January 2001 (Update):
    • Added to game.
      • Attacking another player will now lose you the item-protection for 20 minutes of game time!

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In RuneScape Classic, getting marked with a skull was officially known as setting one's alignment to Evil.[2]
  • The skull is said to be the mark of Zamorak during the Enter the Abyss miniquest.[3]
  • Sir Renitee used to ask for the player to be skulled for switching to the "Skull" family crest.
  • After the Evolution of Combat, the function of Wilderness skulls were changed. The skull then signified whether a player was in multi or single way combat. This meant that players who died in the Wilderness lost all items unless Protect Item was active, allowing them to keep their single most valuable item, essentially treating players as if they were permanently skulled according to its previous purpose. After Legacy Mode update, skulls had their original function restored.
  • There was a glitch with the discontinued ability Single-Way Wilderness; if a player still had it on their action bar after it was removed from the list of abilities, they would be able to toggle their Wilderness Skull on and off. This has been fixed.
  • There are several bugs involving familiars and specific abilities that can make innocent players get skulled, even if they did not attack other players while unskulled.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Wilderness manual, RuneScape. "However, if you attack another player who hasn't recently attacked you, you may be marked with a skull for 20 minutes;"
  2. ^ Jagex. Online Manual: Fighting other players. (Archived from the original on 4 February 2002.)
  3. ^ Abyssal book, "Enter the Abyss", RuneScape. "Anybody who uses this teleport will inevitably be marked by him - or become ‘skulled’ as the common folk put it."