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When using Glyph of Warding to store a spell, it gives the following restriction on what spells can be stored:

You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or an area.

On page 204 of the PHB, it says the following about spell targeting:

A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).

Looking at those passages together, it seems like a spell with a target of self (for example, Fire Shield) would be a valid spell to store in Glyph of Warding as it targets only a single creature. As long as the Glyph of Warding was cast at 4th level or higher, I don't see any reason why that wouldn't work.

Am I interpreting the rules correctly?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What effect do you expect when the glyph is activated? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Feb 15, 2018 at 17:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ "If the spell has a target, it targets the creature that triggered the glyph." When the glyph triggers, it will target the person who triggered the glyph. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dacromir
    Feb 15, 2018 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you want to cast a spell with the "self" range on another person, using the glyph, am I correct? Could you clarify this in the question? \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Feb 16, 2018 at 13:33

6 Answers 6

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Yes you can cast spells that target self into the glyph

Spells that target "self" meet all the criteria for allowed spells

Glyph of Warding describes all the limitations for which spells can be stored in it:

You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or an area.

There are no other limitations.

Since spells that target "self" only target a single creature explicitly they meet the single-target criteria.

Targeting - specific beats general

One might wonder how a "self" spell would be targeted upon the glyph being triggered, but the spell covers that as well:

If the spell has a target, it targets the creature that triggered the glyph.

Does a spell that targets self have a target? Yes. So, according to the spell that self spell will now target the creature that triggered the glyph.

Specific beats general. So this supersedes the restriction that self spells only be able to target the caster.

In order for this spell to function as designed, it necessarily supersedes the normal targeting rules for spells with its description.

It's worth noting that this spell also necessarily supersedes several other major general rules (Spellcasting effects, concentration) with its specific effects in order for it to function.

Thus, there is absolutely no reason why this isn't fully allowed.

The spell's wording has changed

It is worth noting that an older version of the spell description began with the line:

When you cast this spell, you inscribe a glyph that harms other creatures.

However, the spell has been the subject of errata, and the first line now says:

When you cast this spell, you inscribe a glyph that later unleashes a magical effect.

This appears to be a confusion point.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There's another part of the rules that may apply here, under casting a spell -> range: "Other spells, such as the shield spell, affect only you. These spells have a range of self". This isn't a target, it's a range; targeting restrictions (humanoid, enemy etc.) are usually specified in the spell description. I'm not sure Glyph of Warding overrides the limitations of Self. \$\endgroup\$
    – Haravikk
    Aug 27, 2021 at 23:03
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Yes, you can

As of the 2017 PHB errata, the opening sentence of the glyph of warding spell description was changed to read:

When you cast this spell, you inscribe a glyph that later unleashes a magical effect.

I believe D&D beyond includes all errata, so this should be the correct wording.

Later in the spell description, the Spell Glyph option says:

Spell Glyph. You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or an area. The spell being stored has no immediate effect when cast in this way. When the glyph is triggered, the stored spell is cast. If the spell has a target, it targets the creature that triggered the glyph. If the spell affects an area, the area is centered on that creature. If the spell summons hostile creatures or creates harmful objects or traps, they appear as close as possible to the intruder and attack it. If the spell requires concentration, it lasts until the end of its full duration.

So, yes you can trigger your own glyph and let it concentrate on the spell for you (not that Fire Shield requires concentration). You can even have an area-of-effect buff spell stored in it.

(This is especially useful in a portable hole.)

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I know an answer has already been accepted, but there was a tweet from Jeremy Crawford back in Nov 2017 that I think contradicts the answer. Here is the link.

Here is the so that this answer is not simply a link:

Q: Can you cast a spell with a range of Self into a Glyph of Warding, and have it target the person triggering it?

A: A spell with a target of “Self” can be cast only on the spellcaster, unless a special rule says otherwise.

So Jeremy did not conclusively say yes or no to the answer, though I believe the implication is that no, you cannot cast a spell witih a range of Self into a Glyph of Warding.

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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, someone can also apply "specific over general" from PHB p. 7 to arrive at the opposite conclusion than you did, given that Crawford wasn't any more specific than that. Thanks for the link, I improved the format a bit so that the summary you provided is in a quote box, and the link is a bit cleaner. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2018 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the formatting! And you are right, sometimes Crawford's tweets are maddeningly unclear when a simple 'Yes' or 'No' would suffice ;) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2018 at 16:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Q: "There is a specific rule saying one thing, does it apply to X?" JC: "X only works one way, unless there is a specific rule"... thanks Crawford. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Dec 7, 2018 at 18:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know why this says Crawford didn't give a conclusive answer to this. Here he is stating "No" the ruling for glyph of warding does not override the ruling for the limitations of a self ranged spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sean
    Jul 29, 2020 at 16:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW sageadvice.eu/2017/12/30/… has been posted with a full explanation -- Jeremy unequivocally says no, this is not possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – TylerH
    Aug 26, 2020 at 15:44
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Yes - you can store the spell inside the glyph... but it is unclear what happens when it is triggered

There is nothing preventing a spell with a range of "self" to be stored in a glyph of warding. The only two requirements are (1) the spell must be of lower or equal level to the glyph, and (2) the spell must target a single creature or an area.

However, when the glyph is triggered, complications happen:

When the glyph is triggered, the stored spell is cast. If the spell has a target, it targets the creature that triggered the glyph.

Here are the possible interpretations of what happens when a spell with a range of "self" is triggered:

  1. The "self" spell targets the triggering creature
  2. The "self" spell targets the glyph itself
  3. The "self" spell targets the creator of the glyph
  4. The "self" spell targets the creator of the glyph if it also is the triggering creature
  5. The "self" spell has no valid targets

I personally think option 1) makes the most sense, however it has been explicitly rejected by Jeremy Crawford. His argument is that the Glyph of Warding spell doesn't allow you to break the general rule that spells with a target of "self" can only target the caster. If you subscribe to Jeremy's thinking, then 1) can't be correct.

Option 2) seems silly to me. It requires us to interpret "the stored spell is cast" language to mean that the glyph itself somehow ends up "casting" the spell, and becomes the "self" of the spell. Yet, there is no clear indication in the text that the caster changes; on the contrary, it is the creator of the glyph that actively casting and storing the spell into the glyph, and the spell has their DC and spell attack bonus. Option 2) also clashes with other established answers.

Option 3) makes a bit more sense. Under this view, the glyph of warding tries to change the target but can't do so, and thus the target remains the creator of the glyph. However, I actually think 3) is wrong - if the target can't be changed to the triggered creature, then in my view the target is invalid as it violates the targeting rule of Glyph of Warding, and no target is affected.

Option 4) might be the right one, at least if we side with Jeremy's view that 1) is incorrect. If the creator of the glyph is the same as the triggering creature, then both targeting rules are respected: the target satisfies the general rule that a "self" spell can only target the caster, and the target also satisfies the Glyph of Warding rule that the target of the spell must be the triggering creature.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I upvoted this, I think it is well thought out. Apparently, if a Self spell has a target at all is abiguous, even though consesus is it targets the caster, so glyph could change the targeting. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 4, 2023 at 10:09
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Yes, but what happens has to be a DM decision

There is no doubt that you can store the spell, but there is ambiguity in Glyph of Warding that is not covered by the written rules about what happens when you trigger the glyph, to the DM will have to make a call.

Depending on how the DM rules, the effects will work on the triggering creature, the original caster, or not at all.

I personally think the most interesting and natural (and exploitable) reading it that it would work, and you could transfer Self spells onto other creatures with help of a Glyph of Warding. But other DMs' mileage can vary.


You can store the spell

Technically, you can store a spell with a range of Self into the glyph:

You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. The spell must target a single creature or an area. (...)
At higher levels (...) If you create a spell glyph, you can store any spell of up to the same level as the slot you use for the glyph of warding.

So the conditions are:

  • Spell is of 3rd level (or the level you cast glpyh at) or lower: check
  • Spell must target a single creature: the caster is a single creature, check

Both conditions can be fulfilled, so you can store the spell.

Do self Spells target the caster?

Glyph of Warding also says:

If the spell has a target, it targets the creature that triggered the glyph.

So the glyph rewires the target of the spell. Does the spell have a target? Self is a range, and there is not explicit statement in the rules that the caster of a Self spell is also the target. The consensus and inofficial Sage Advice by Jeremy Crawford both conclude that a range of self means the caster is the target1. However, consensus and inoffical statements are not rules text, so ultimately, it is the DM's decision if the spell targets anyone to begin with, or not.

Who is the caster of a spell in Glpyh of Warding?

Another issue is that Glyph of Warding both states that you are casting the stored spell, and that the stored spell is cast when triggered:

You can store a prepared spell of 3rd level or lower in the glyph by casting it as part of creating the glyph. (...) When the glyph is triggered, the stored spell is cast.

So, when is the spell cast? When you cast it into the glyph, or when the glyph is triggered? And who then is the caster? Is it the original caster, or is it the glyph or some unnamed entity when the spell "is cast"? All of this is ambiguous, and needs the DM to decide.

Who is "you" in the spell description?

Normally, for spells with a range of Self the caster and the target (if you rule there is one) are identical. When the spell says "you", it refers both to "you, the caster", and "you, the target". However, if we rewire the target of the spell to be someone else than the caster, then suddenly it is not clear who "you" refers to.

In general, when spells use the word "you", they refer to the caster of the spell, not the target of the spell. Picking a spell to demonstrate this, here is Aid from the first page of spells, p. 211 PHB:

Your spell bolsters your allies with toughness and resolve. Choose up to three creatures within range. Each target’s hit point maximum and current hit points increase

"You" clearly refers to the caster. Is is "your spell", the caster's spell. The targets are different (although they could include the caster, who also is a creature in range). There also is the Etherealness spell, which has a range of Self and states:

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 8th level or higher, you can target up to three willing creatures (including you) for each slot level above 7th.

So clearly, you refers to the caster ("you cast") and can differ from the targets of the spell, even for a spell with range Self ("you target up to three willing creatures (including you)".

If the DM rules Self spells target the caster, it would be up to them to rule if "you" should really read "the target" for these spells, instead of "the caster".

Putting it all together

What does this mean for the effect of the spell? Fire Shield for example says:

Thin and wispy flames wreathe your body for the duration

  • You is the caster, the spell is cast by the original caster: when the glyph triggers, the original caster's body is weathed in flames, wherever they are at the time.

  • You is the caster, the spell is cast by the glyph: when the glyph triggers, nothing happens (the glyph is not a creature and has no body to be wreathed in flames).

  • You is the target (which means there is targeting, and it does not matter who cast the spell): the creature triggering the glyph receives the spells effects.


1 Interestingly, Jeremy also ruled that Self spells can only be cast on the caster.

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Probably not.

The first paragraph of the description of Glyph of Warding says that:

When you cast this spell, you inscribe a glyph that affects other creatures ...

I would say that this precludes spells that affect "self".

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    \$\begingroup\$ The sentence you quote has since been removed through an errata. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 28, 2022 at 4:55

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