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This question covers a delectably lactose-tolerant method of accessing one or more Glyphs prepared in an extradimensional space, which it's assumed a DM would rule does not "move more than 10 feet" even as your character moves around in their host dimension. Namely, use magic items that give you an extradimensional space that you can fit inside, and precast Glyphs therein.

Aside from precasting the glyphs in a demiplane, which is far less cheesy but far higher-level, I'm having trouble thinking of another method of keeping an arbitrary number of aces up the proverbial sleeve, though, especially RAW.

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

So it's impossible even to teleport an object to yourself. It looks like pickings are pretty slim, right? The caster seems more or less bound to creating some immobile Glyph Zone which is equally accessible from all other locations, and popping in and out to activate his buffs.

Have I missed something here? Is there no other way?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @stevenjackson121 Please do not answer in comments. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9, 2023 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ To be clear, you are presenting a possible dichotomy: either you bring your glyphs with you by means of a portable extradimensional space, or you keep your glyphs in a fixed location and you move yourself in and out when you want to use them. Your question is: Is this really a dichotomy? Are these the only two options? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 9, 2023 at 21:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov thanks for that link. I had seen "dont answer in comments before" but didn't realize "partial answers" and similar were included, I will be sure to follow this in the future. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9, 2023 at 23:01

2 Answers 2

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Pickings are slim

Glyph has been errataed to what you quote to limit any movement shenanigans. It now says:

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

So there is not even a question about what would happen if you can move the surface, like there is with Symbol, where the language was not cleaned up.

Putting glyphs into other dimensions or extraplanar spaces

The only* way you can bring the glyph close to its targets in a way that does not make you move the targets and is always available is to have access to an extradimensional space, or to another dimension, where you install the glyph, and open a connection to that place. This can include a demiplane, or a portable hole.

There is no general rule about the distance via portals, and not all extradimensional spaces have the same language as portable hole about their entrance, so not even all extradimensional spaces work.

For example bag of holding says that "Retrieving an item from the bag requires an action.", so just opening that may not work to expose a direct line of distance to an interior wall of its extradimensional space, because dropping something into it would not require an action. Although, as there is so little text on it, this likely is up to the DM in practical terms.

One option that you can get at relatively low levels if all you want is to access buff spells is the Genie patron warlock's Genie's vessel. (Kudos to @smbailey for the idea). This gives you an extradimensional space at the cost of taking one level in warlock. It won't work for blasting your opponents, as there is no open doorway or connection, but you can enter it once per long rest as an action; you just must take care that your group protects your vessel while you are there.

Yet another way (kudos to @Kirt's answer) is inscribing the glyph on a secret chest on another plane, and then summoning and sending back that chest. This should also work, because distance between planes is undefined, and the chest in doing so never changes position on the plane where you inscribed the glyph. This is a relative cheap, reusable way requiring only 5,000 gp for the chest/replica, a level 4 slot, and of course, a way to travel to another dimension to set up the glyphs. But it is still "extraplanar cheese", of course.

Portals

Ways to create portals also can work, like the gate spell, which creates "a portal linking an unoccupied space you can see within range to a precise location on a different plane of existence". As pointed out above about portals, there is still some DM judgement needed if spell effects work across it, as it only says "Travel through the portal is possible only by moving through its front. Anything that does so is instantly transported to the other plane", and if spell effects are a anything or count as travel may be debatable. And gate is a 9th level spell, even harder than demiplane.

The hither-wither staff can create two portals within 1,500 feet from each other so that "Any creature or object entering one portal exits from the other as if the two portals were a single opening that connects their locations." This would be limited to summoning effect or spells that create objects, and as a legendary item is rarer than a portable hole.

Lower level options are hard to find and tend to work even less. Arcane Gate on level 5 only has 500 feet range, and only transports any creature or object entering the portal, so no spell effects that do not create objects or creatures. If you can summon fey, for example with the eponymous spell from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything at spell level 3, and your DM plays ball, you could get a boggle that can create a dimensional rift, and that bridges the distance between that space and any point within 30 feet of it that the boggle can see or specify by distance and direction, but again, 30 feet is not much help unless you essentially want to stay put where your glyphs are.

*True Polymorph

@SeriousBri had the idea of transforming the object bearing the glyph into a creature with true polymorph. This requires both a 9th level spell, and a DM who goes along with it. Spell effects normally continue to affect polymorphed creatures, but in this case, the enchanted thing would not be an object any more. Rules as written it is not clear what happens to an ongoing spell effect when the target becomes temporarily invalid, but designer guidance is that it would be supressed.

If the DM agrees with this, the glyph (and with it the clause that cancels it) will temporarily be supressed. Then, when you dispel true polymorph or kill the creature so it reverts, the object will reappear. It again will be up to the DM if they consider the fact that the object has changed location as the object having moved, or if they agree only a creature has moved, not the object. If they agree with that, you now have access to your glyph.

Teleporting won't work

The argument for teleporting is that movement is a defined term and only spending speed counts as movement, or least it is not clear what kind if movement "is moved" refers to, and hence it would be up to the DM to count this as "is moved" or not.

When the game uses movement as a defined term for the process of spending speed in the combat rules, it refers specifically to you moving, that is specifically characters actively moving themselves. So for a character teleporting themselves it may be ambiguous if they "moved" because they did not do that.

However, this is a purely active thing. A character can not "be moved" in this sense, just as they cannot "be lived" or "be breathed", they can only move in that way.

Objects also generally have no inherent speed to spend and can not move themselves in this way. One would have to assume that "is moved" is expressly meant as a shorthand for "is carried by someone moving", but that is both a much more narrow definition of what it means for something to be moved, and it also is not what the text says. There really is no indication supporting that this more specific and different meaning of the term would apply here.

Because that is so, "is moved" cannot refer to movement in this narrow sense, and teleporting cannot circumvent it. To understand what "is moved" means then, instead we go back to the dictionary definition that tells us to move means:

to (cause to) change position

And teleporting does change the object's position. So teleporting will break the glyph.


P.S. As @StevenJackson points out in a comment, you could potentially move the surface by enlarging the object, but arguably even that moves the glyph from where it was cast, and of course, that is a far cry from having access to it all the time, unless you want to stay very close to the thing you plan to enlarge all the time.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Answers in comments are deleted rather swiftly, so linking to an answer in a comment is going to expire quickly. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 9, 2023 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ A single level in genie warlock gets you a free extradimensional space you can enter once per day. Granted, you'd need to make sure the vessel is protected while you are inside. \$\endgroup\$
    – smbailey
    Nov 9, 2023 at 21:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Even if the extradimensional space of a rope trick persists between castings, it is explicitly a space. GoW must be cast on a "surface", not a point in space. Unlike demiplane, rope trick has no surfaces upon which glyphs may be cast. If there are any surfaces within the space of the rope trick, they would be "things", which would drop out at the end of the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 9, 2023 at 22:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @smbailey Great observation! This is better than most of the alternatives, I will add it. If you want to make a separate answer of it, I can take it out again, I think this is a good enough idea to stand on its own. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2023 at 5:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am happy for you to add it, this type of question is usually best with a single answer covering everything \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Nov 10, 2023 at 20:36
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Bring them to You

Extradimensional is out of bounds

The OP has given us a dichotomy, and asked whether it is true - if glyphs cannot be moved more than ten feet from its origin without deactivating them (and the spell says that they can't), are our only choices to place the glyphs within an extradimensional space, which we have access to regardless of where we move, or to travel to and from the location of the glyphs? Are there no other possibilities?

By the OP's terms, we can dispense with such strategies as placing our glyphs within a portable hole, demiplane, or a warlock's genie vessel. All of these are explicitly extradimensional and so out of bounds by the OP's definition. What then remains? If we can't carry the glyphs with us, and we can't go to them, then we need to bring them to us. There are a few strategies that would permit us to do that, but which rely on specific rulings and interpretations.

Leomund's Secret Chest, IF it uses only the Deep Ethereal

Although using extradimensional devices is out of bounds by definition, we can try multidimensional strategies. First we take an exquisite chest and a tiny replica of that chest. We can then inscribe our glyphs on the larger chest - and the glyph of warding spell even gives us treasure chests as an explicit example of 'an object than can be closed' for the second type of target of the spell.

When we have the chest prepared with as many glyphs as we would like to add to it, we cast upon it the 4th level spell Leomund's Secret Chest and hide it in the Ethereal Plane. The problem here is that, as written, the spell does not tell us whether it sends the chest to the Border Ethereal, Deep Ethereal, or both. It will be of no use to us if the chest is in the Border Ethereal - since that part of the plane maps one-to-one with ours, if we move in our world and then summon the chest to our new location, it will need to move on the Border Ethereal just as far as we did, deactivating the glyphs.

However, if our spell has sent the chest directly to the Deep Ethereal, where "distance is meaningless" (DMG 49), we can move any distance on our current plane and then summon the chest. It will arrive within five feet of us, and during its entire journey it will not have moved any distance, so all of our glyphs should arrive intact.

Personally, I believe that the spell does use the Deep Ethereal, but that is a question your DM will have to resolve (and see What is the movement distance to the Ethereal Plane?).

Five thousand fifty gp for the chest and its replica is certainly a big up-front investment, but this is probably the most useful strategy in terms of having efficient access to your glyphs. Presumably you could place as many glyphs as you wanted on the chest. Then you could summon it, use the ones you desired, and send it back to the Deep Ethereal with the others intact. You can continue to add glyphs to the chest as you use old ones. You can use this fourth level spell as early as seventh level which, depending on your campaign, may be the point at which you start having surplus gold that can be turned into glyphs.

Caveat: Note that you are inscribing the glyph at one location on your plane, sending it to the Deep Ethereal without moving it, and returning it to a different location on your plane without moving it. However, the place you are returning it to is likely more than ten feet from where you inscribed it. By some interpretations this means the glyph has been moved (since it has changed position), and would be broken.

Further reading: What is the movement distance to the Ethereal Plane?

Instant summons from another plane

The most direct method to bring things to you is the 6th level Drawmij's Instant Summons spell, which exists for precisely that function. For the price of a 1000gp sapphire, you can use it to bring to you a small object with all the pre-cast glyphs on it that you would like.

Instant summons has an advantage over teleport in that it can bring things from other planes. It says:

The item instantly appears in your hand regardless of physical or planar distances, and the spell ends.

Presumably if the item summoned was from the plane we were on, it would be a 'physical distance', but if it was on another plane it would be a 'planar distance'. Since the 'distance' from one plane to another is not well defined by the rules (see here and here), if you are summoning something from another plane, your DM may rule that it has not traveled any distance to get to you.

If your DM rules that secret chest works, you should probably use that in preference to instant summons. But if your DM rules that secret chest doesn't work specifically because a glyph inscribed on your plane would break when returned to that plane, then you can travel to another plane, inscribe glyphs on an object there, and use instant summons to summon that object to a plane in which it has never been before. You can't say that this object has changed its position ('moved') if, when brought to you, that is its first and only location on the plane, right?

This strategy has more set-up involved than the secret chest. You will need to establish a 'scribing station' on another plane, in which you keep the items you are inscribing with glyphs while there. You will need to establish a reliable way to return to that location when you wish to add more objects, or add more glyphs to existing objects. You have the most rules support for travel from a Deep Ethereal location not counting as movement, because on that plane "distance is meaningless", but it also would be difficult to travel to and even more difficult to find your way back to any station you established. Thus, any non-hostile plane you can reliably access is acceptable.

The problem is how to send a summoned object back with any glyphs intact that you don't immediately need. Alternately, you could pay the cost of placing the spell on multiple objects, each with its own glyph.

Teleport them in - IF teleporting isn't moving

Despite OP's assumption that teleportation will not work, the vague wording that exists in the PHB allows the point to be argued either way. The glyph spell clearly says:

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

But it does not say whether teleporting an object on which your glyph has been cast counts as it having been moved. What is the distance you move when you teleport? Is it nothing at all? Or is it the distance between your starting and end points, perhaps measured by the shortest line you would have had to travel had you not teleported - even though you didn't actually travel by that path?

If your DM says that teleporting counts as moving objects, then we are done here - try one of the previous strategies. But if your DM agrees that teleporting an object with glyphs does not count as moving it, then the obvious choice is to set up systems that bring your prepared glyphs to you from somewhere else. While cheaper for a single use than a secret chest or instant summons would be, here you still have the problem of how to send back, rather than waste, any glyphs you do not have an immediate use for.

A relatively cheap (per glyph) but higher-level alternative to secret chest and instant summons is to have a glyph guardian - some creature awaiting your command, who is ready to gather up whatever objects you have cast glyphs on (or who is already bearing them) and then teleport to you. Since said creature should have no other function, it is best to have this be a construct or undead who won't wander off or otherwise be distracted by the vagaries of life such as eating. It is doubtful that this creature will be able to cast teleport itself, but for just 200gp you can inscribe a glyph with the 7th level teleport spell, place it near your guardian, and then program the guardian with the behavior it needs to activate the glyph when it receives your signal - perhaps through a sending or sending stone. Twenty-five words should be enough to tell it which glyphed items it should select to bring with it before it activates the teleport glyph.

Since a teleport glyph will cost you only 200gp to inscribe, you might consider having a 'control panel' with multiple teleport glyphs available, and then an object supply, with each object having one or a few glyphs on it. Your guardian would receive the command from you indicating which object(s) to send, locate them visually, and send them to you without bringing itself, by using the teleport clause "This spell instantly transports you and up to eight willing creatures of your choice that you can see within range, or a single object that you can see within range, to a destination you select." Here again the tradeoff is spending more on individual teleport glyphs to bring multiple objects, compared to casting multiple glyphs on one sent object but paying to send unused ones back or wasting them.

Ideally you should give your guardian something deeply personal of your own, such that when it chooses to send the glyphed object(s) to you and chooses your 'current location' as the destination, your DM rules that this counts as an 'associated object' for you and thus has no chance of failure. Alternately, your DM could say that the 'associated object' works only for specific locations, and the best you can get by this method is 'very familiar', with a 25% chance of failure.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Whoa, this is the first I'm hearing the idea that teleportation isn't movement. That's huge! \$\endgroup\$
    – order
    Nov 11, 2023 at 11:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with the interpretation on teleporting because the wording on glyph is quite explicit that it's not just movement but the distance: "If the surface or object is moved more than 10 feet from where you cast this spell." To me it is very clear that it has been moved more than 10 feet away from the point it was cast if you teleport it, say, 20 feet! Trying to mix in wording about creature movement seems at best misguided because you'd need to have a very generous interpretation of a "surface" as described in the spell to be able to cast one on a creature in the first place... \$\endgroup\$
    – Kryomaani
    Nov 11, 2023 at 22:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kryomaani Note that the wording of the spell is "If the surface or object is moved more than 10 feet from where you cast this spell" and not "If the surface or object is moved to more than 10 feet from where you cast this spell." By the second wording, which the spell does not have, teleporting it to a new location would certainly deactivate the glyph. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 12, 2023 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kryomaani I suspect many other people have the same interpretation as you. I have edited the question to make it more explicit that for teleport to be an option, the DM would need to agree that teleportation does not count as being moved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 12, 2023 at 6:44

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