Glyph of warding was an abjuration spell that stored an evocation effect in a magical inscription to prevent intrusion.[2][5][6][9]


A glyph could be set on a object or on a suitable area. An object had to be touched by the caster. An area had to be accessible by the caster to trace the inscription with burning incense, i.e., not under water or similar conditions at the time of casting. The size of the area depended on the experience of the caster, being 5 ft2 (0.46 m2) per level.[note 1]

The optional trigger conditions and optional password were set by the caster at the time of casting. The glyph had a perception of sorts and could trigger on characteristics of creatures such as height ("under 5 ft/1.5 m"), weight (over 400 lb/182 kg), race ("dwarf"), family ("dogs"), genus ("foxes"), species ("red-tailed foxes"), type ("dragons"), subtype ("metallic dragons"), kind ("brass dragons"), or origin ("fey", "aberration"). The glyph could also differentiate between good/evil, lawful/chaotic, or if the individual was a member of the caster's religion.

Because glyphs had a kind of perception, they could sometimes be fooled. Invisible creatures were detected by the glyph, but not ethereal travelers. Magical protections and disguises, such as polymorph, mislead, and nondetection could be used to bypass a glyph, but not mundane disguises. Once the caster completed the spell, the warding symbol and the tracery lines to the edge of the warded area became nearly invisible. Glyphs could be dispelled and were also susceptible to the Find/Disable Traps skill of experienced thieves, but physical or magical probing was useless. Those with skill in spellcraft and a read magic spell could learn things like the version or damage type of the glyph, but not the password or triggering conditions.

Only one glyph could be placed on an object or area, but each drawer of a cabinet could be individually warded.

Any creature matching the trigger conditions (if any) opening the enchanted object or violating the warded area without speaking the password was subject to the effects of the spell.

Known versionsEdit

Blast Glyph 
An explosive burst of acid, cold, fire, electricity, or sonic vibrations would impact the triggering creature and any within 5 ft (1.5 m) of it.
Spell Glyph 
The caster could store any offensive spell that he or she knew and that was equal to or less than the level of glyph of warding. The stored spell was delayed until the glyph was triggered and then took immediate effect. If the spell required a target, it was the triggering creature. Otherwise the effect was centered on the triggering creature and any summoned monsters would turn on the being who tripped the glyph.[1]
Explosive runes 
After the Second Sundering, the effects of explosive runes were available as a version of this spell.[1]


Verbal components included speaking the password. Somatically, the caster had to trace the glyph and, if cast on an area, connect it to the boundaries of the area to be warded. The tracing was done with burning incense that was first sprinkled with 200 gp worth of diamond dust. The older version of this spell instead required that any area greater than 50 ft2 (4.6 m2) be sprinkled with 2,000 gp worth of diamond powder.



  1. The older version of this spell gave the caster an area equal to his or her level in feet, squared. So a 6th level caster could cover 36 ft2 (3.3 m2) in any contiguous shape. See page 211 of the Player's Handbook 2nd edition or page 268 of the Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised).


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