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The linked glyphs spell involves making two glyphs: a detection glyph and either an alarm glyph or an effect glyph. The detection glyph acts as a sensor, and when it's activated, it sets off the alarm or effect glyph. An alarm glyph acts like the alarm spell, and an effect glyph casts a spell of your choice. It's basically glyph of warding but with the sensor and the effect in separate places.

The spell specifically forbids moving the detection glyph:

If the surface or object is moved more than 10 feet from where you cast this spell, the detection glyph is broken, and the spell ends without being triggered.

The other glyph seems like it can move freely, as long as it stays within a 100-mile radius:

Each of these two glyphs must stay within 100 miles of the other or the spell effect ends.

But I'm curious why this is, since the intent appears to be for the glyphs to stay relatively close together. For example, if your effect glyph casts a spell that targets a creature, it always attempts to target the creature that set off the detector, even if that creature is 100 miles away; this will usually fail, since most spells don't have that much range.

On the other hand, the ability to move the effect glyph around seems to be the big difference between linked glyphs and glyph of warding. So: why is it there? I'm sure there are plenty of ways this can be exploited by clever players (for example, a portable effect glyph can concentrate on a spell for you), but I'm curious about the reasoning behind the spell working this way. Even if we don't know the designers' intent, there may be examples of wizards using this spell in published materials, for example, or rulings given about what it can or can't do.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve never heard of this spell linked glyphs, where did you find it? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 3:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ It appears to be from one of the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms supplemental modules that came out when the MTG set did. \$\endgroup\$
    – CTWind
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov It's from the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms adventure series, a couple pre-written adventures meant to tie in with the Forgotten Realms Magic the Gathering set. I'm unsure how official they are but they're published by WotC which is enough for me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Draconis
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:01

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A Verdant Tomb was not written by the Wizards D&D team.

After doing some searching, it seems the spell linked glyphs was published in the one shot adventure A Verdant Tomb, which was released as a sort of crossover event with the release of the Forgotten Realms Magic: The Gathering set. It was written solely by Will Himdmarch, who is not part of the Wizards D&D team. This adventure is basically official homebrew, similar to other MtG material - it does not go through the same rigorous play testing and quality control as the official releases.

That said, reading through A Verdant Tomb, the spell is presented as a DM-facing plot device. The adventure can be downloaded for free here and should give you an idea of how the adventure uses it. If it isn’t balanced for regular play by actual players, it’s because it didn’t go through playtesting and was originally written to be used as a more flexible version of glyph of warding for DMs running this one single session adventure.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting; is there a good way to know whether something is "official homebrew" or properly official? I figured since it was released by WotC it was official material. \$\endgroup\$
    – Draconis
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Draconisn That’s more going to be whatever your opinion is about the hierarchy of material. In my opinion, only the published hardcover sourcebooks are “official” game materials, with the exceptions being digital materials that are explicitly described as official, such as the Sage Advice Compendium. Additionally, I’d say Adventurer’s League material is official for the purposes of AL, but don’t bring your unique-to-AL rewards to my table and expect me to respect them the way I would the PHB. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Draconis So by that definition, the only “official” MtG materials are the Ravnica and Theros sourcebooks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ The fact that it was published only on the MtG site (magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/magic-story/…) and not the DnD site is a good hint that it's not "real" official D&D. I'm a little more lenient than Thomas but he's right -- the author wrote this spell just as a plot device, which wasn't even really needed. The DM can do lots of stuff and just go "eh, is magic" without defining spells to do those things. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Draconis Basically, there’s a reason Planeshift: Kaladesh is a free pdf that didn’t have any real marketing associated with it and Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica is still $50 at my local game store and I got YouTube ads about it for several weeks prior to its release. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:12
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Moving the spell glyph might not always make sense, but being able to move the alarm glyph around as you go about your day makes total sense. If the detection glyph is covering a secret passage or locked door in a large castle, the person responsible for monitoring it can bring the alarm glyph with them whether they're in the wizard's tower, the royal audience room, or visiting the master of the watch on the outer walls.

Of course, carrying the spell glyph around might also make sense, depending on the effect you've stored in it.

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