Glyph of Warding is a unique 3rd-level utility spell with offensive elements. It is part of the Artificer, Bard, Cleric, and Wizard spell lists.
Glyph of Warding is perfect for any party member adept at making calculated decisions.
It provides a way to ambush enemies without even being in the vicinity, as well as many more potential uses.
The Player’s Handbook Description states the following:
Glyph of Warding 5e
Casting Time: 1 hour
Components: V, S, M (incense and a powdered diamond worth a minimum of 200 GP, which the spell will consume).
Duration: Until dispelled or triggered
When you cast Glyph of Warding, you inscribe a glyph that will create a magical effect triggered by other creatures.
The spell can be cast upon surfaces (such as tables, sections of floor, or walls). Players can also place it within a closeable object (such as a book, scroll, or treasure chest) to conceal the glyph.
The glyph cannot cover an area larger than 10 feet in diameter. If the object or surface is moved more than 10 feet from the position you cast the spell, the glyph will be broken, and the spell ends without being triggered.
Note: This glyph is nearly invisible as it requires a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against the caster’s spell save DC to even be found.
Triggering Glyph of Warding
You may decide what will trigger the glyph upon casting the spell.
Glyphs inscribed on surfaces have typical triggers such as touching or standing on it, removing another object that’s covering it, approaching within a certain distance, or attempting manipulation of the object on which the glyph is inscribed.
Glyphs inscribed within an object have common triggers, such as approaching within a certain distance of the triggered object or seeing or reading the glyph.
Note: Once a glyph is triggered, Glyph of Warding ends.
Players can further refine triggers that enable the spell to only activate under certain circumstances or according to physical characteristics (such as weight or height), creature kind (example – the ward could be set that it only affects aberrations or drow), or alignment.
You may also set conditions for creatures that shouldn’t trigger the glyph, such as those who say a specific password or phrase.
Note: When you inscribe the glyph, you can choose between explosive runes or spell glyphs.
When triggered, this glyph erupts with magical energy in a 20-foot-radius sphere shape centered on the glyph. The sphere is capable of spreading around corners.
Each creature in the immediate area must make a Dexterity saving roll.
On a failing save, a creature will take 5d8 acid, fire, cold, lightning, or thunder damage (you choose the damage type when creating the glyph).
If the saving roll is successful, the creature will only take half as much damage.
You can store a prepared spell of the 3rd level or lower in this glyph by simply casting it as part of its creation.
The spell must target an area or a single creature. The spell chosen to be stored has no immediate effect when cast this way.
When the glyph becomes triggered, the stored spell is cast. If the spell has a target, it will target the creature that triggered the glyph.
If the spell chosen affects an area, the area is centered on the creature. If the spell summons creates harmful objects or hostile creatures or traps, they will appear as close as possible to the intruder and attack it.
If the spell requires concentration when cast, it will last until its full duration ends.
At Higher Levels: When you cast Glyph of Warding using a spell slot of 4th-level or higher, the explosive rune glyph will increase by 1d8 for each slot above the 3rd.
If you create a spell glyph, you may store any spell of your choice up to the same level as the slot you have used for the glyph warding.
Classes That Can Pick Glyph of Warding
Traditional classes, such as the Artificer, Bard, Cleric, and Wizard, have Glyph of Warding in their spell list.
Subclasses like the Eldritch Knight (Fighter) can unlock and use the spell at level 13.
Arcane Trickster (Rogue) can also unlock and use it when reaching the 13th level.
Is Glyph of Warding Good in 5e?
Glyph of Warding isn’t good because of its damage or ease of use. It’s good because of its range of possibilities.
There are endless creative ways players can use Glyph of Warding for.
Advantages – Glyph of Warding
Many Damage Types
Rigging the Explosive Rune ability has the player choose from the Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, or Thunder damage types.
Knowledgeable players will choose the damage type to which the current targets are weakest, thus doing damage that’s nearly impossible to avoid safely.
Extremely Long Duration
If a glyph isn’t triggered, it won’t disappear. Therefore, a glyph set in a dungeon a year ago could still be triggered by some wandering goblins!
Disadvantages – Glyph of Warding
Consumable Material Component
Materials are difficult to come by, and when a spell uses that material, it can be costly and time-consuming for party members to obtain it again.
When Should I Use Glyph of Warding?
Glyph of Warding has so many elaborate ways to be used, but the most common form could be setting up traps and ambushes. No surprise there since adventurers love being tricksters!
Traps are a stable of any adventure. Whether it’s setting them up, dismantling them, or keeping an eye out, they’ll always find a way into a Campaign.
With this spell, you can also set up specific traps.
The difference is that you can set up personalized traps to target particular creatures rather than others.
For example, lizardfolk live in swamps and near water. Meaning they could have less resistance to fire.
Therefore, trapping a lizardfolk’s main entrance with a fire glyph can deal severe damage.
Note: Be careful that your targets do not see you setting traps!
Glyph of Warding isn’t a spell players should easily overlook. It provides a sizable utility, especially for adventurers with a playstyle of trapping or setting up ambushes.
You’ll never go wrong with adding more utility to your arsenal!