The spell description mentions "your personal mark":

This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters.

Does "your personal mark" assume a one particular mark which is always the same (like a signature), or can you choose which personal note do you inscribe (like an autograph) every time you cast the spell?


3 Answers 3


The mark is personal, but doesn't have to always be the same

Arcane Mark has been used countless times on adventure paths as a means to write invisible arcane text and, as finely pointed out by @Ifusaso on his answer, even on recent books. But that doesn't change the fact that it's the personal signature of a spellcaster, and changing that signature makes each signature even less important as they no longer identify the caster.

Being personal means that it's not easy to fake the mark as being another caster's using the Arcane Mark spell, even if you two write exactly the same mark, you would have to make a forgery (more on this in a bit).

This has been pointed out on two occasions by James Jacobs (Paizo's Creative Director), on his own personal "Ask Anything" thread, first here:

1) Can the "personal rune or mark" be changed by the caster at any point in their career, or are they stuck with whatever was picked when the spell was learned?

You can change your rune/mark whenever you want, but the more you do so, the less valuable it becomes as your personal rune and the more it becomes "the scribble of the month."

2)What constitutes a "mark"? Could it be a picture, and if so: how complex?

A mark is basically the fantasy version of a signature. It's a rune, essentially. It could easilly be as complex an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic, for example.

3) Is an Arcane Mark monochrome?

Only if you want it to be.

4) Is its size fixed, other than by the "one square foot" limitation of the spell?

The spell limitation is all that limits its size. Just as you can sign your name huge or tiny, there is no "official" size for your arcane mark.

5) Are they unique and if so: is there a way to connect a specific mark to a specific caster?

They are not unique, although it's not very classy to knowingly copy someone else's mark, and in some cultures doing so would be considered akin to forgery of a signature.

Then here, clarifying this exact same topic:

Seeing the popular idea of using "Arcane Mark" to writhe "Thief" or "Assassin" and similar words on a target, it is possible to change the text on the fly or you can change it only when you prepare your spells?

I wouldn't necessarily call it a "popular idea," since this is actually the first I've heard anyone doing this. Perhaps popular in a real-world region or a campaign—but remember, the game and its gamers are pretty widespread, and folks generally don't play the game the same. Is this something folks are doing a lot over in the Pathfinder Society? Anyway, the spell arcane mark is not called arcane word—it only allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, not any word you want. You can certainly change your personal rune or mark, just as easily as you can change your name, but whether or not the rest of the world acknowledges your name change depends on the world, not you. Frankly, if a spellcaster in my game tried to use this spell to write "thief" on a target (he couldn't write "assassin" since the spell limits your mark to 6 characters), I would start calling him "Thief" instead of whatever the character's real name was, just to drive home the in-game abuse of the spell.

Keep in mind that, by no means, James Jacobs is a rules authority on Pathfinder, but his opinions are considered rules as intended by the majority of the paizo's community.


This GM reads it as being pretty clear that you get "your personal rune or mark", not "a mark" or "a rune", but "your rune". Further, both versions also state:

An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed.

Could a caster choose a different mark on each casting of the spell, the spell description would say something like:

This spell allows you to inscribe a rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. An arcane mark spell allows you to etch a rune upon any substance...

I think the spell reads pretty clearly as being a magical signature: my mark is on this object, so I marked it.

Also, the Pathfinder cantrip/osiron Scrivener's Chant exists, which allows copying a written work "at the rate of one normal-sized page per minute". Could Arcane Mark be changed at will to any other mark, Scrivener's Chant would be unnecessary.

That said, a significant change in a character (eg., shifting alignments, worshiping a new deity, starting a new class, etc.) could well be sufficient to allow the character to change their mark.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting what "personal mark" means in historical context, I think. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 8, 2018 at 5:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd submit that even if you could change the output of Arcane Mark, it doesn't make Scrivener's Chant redundant. Scrivener's Chant is much, much faster at copying than Arcane Mark would be - a page per minute is way better than a character per second. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Aug 8, 2018 at 7:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I dont see how Scrivener's Chant existance is relevant here. It animates a quill to copy text from one object (ie: a piece of paper) into another object. It doesnt mention arcane writings at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Aug 8, 2018 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't follow your logic, why "your personal mark" implies a single one mark. For instance, an artist leaves autographs for his fans — they doesn't have to be the same, but they are still "his personal marks". \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Aug 8, 2018 at 14:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ If it helps, FRCS p.28 says Mystra doesn't like people forging other people's marks. If you do it intentionally, that comes with saves against a handful of nasty effects. Forgotten realms only, and it's a 3.0 source, but it is a crunch rules effect (both in that you can copy and in that it's penalized). May be a good add. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Aug 9, 2018 at 2:52

Arcane Mark allows you to place any 6 characters, chosen when cast.

Arcane Mark is shown to be used, at least in PZO90121E Adventure Path #121 The Lost Outpost, to provide information to the PC's if they find hints left over by an NPC who has cast it. One spellcaster is shown to be able to Arcane Mark at least 3 or 4 words in Arcane Marking. Spoiler with more information:

While exploring the settlement they were supposed to be joining, which has been abandoned, the PC's may find an arcane spellbook. Inside the book are Arcane Mark(s)* spelling out "Hendrake" (the spellcaster's last name). Additionally, they may find a town log book with "plum" and "tree" Arcane Marked on to it, by the same spellcaster.
Note: it is written that "Hendrake" is one Arcane Mark, but I suspect this was an overlooked typo.


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