I was DMing a game and eventually set up a scenario where the players had to choose between leaving their wagon, or bringing it to a dangerous place where it could be destroyed.

The enchanter thought it'd be a great idea to use two Glyph of warding spells, one for Touch of Idiocy and one for Suggestion, to lower the will of whoever enters, then suggesting them to leave (which he worded reasonably enough).

Now the problem is the fact Touch of Idiocy is a touch spell with no other save. I'm not sure if the fact a person stands in the area counts as touching, or if the enchanter has to roll for a melee touch attack on a flat footed creature (which is just 10 most of the time)

There are a few other problems (how does suggesting a course of action work for the suggestion spell, decided on cast or in person? Can the enchanter stack the idiocy penalty with more glyphs as it has no label (circumstance, inherent, etc)?) but I can see it being justified as it doesn't affect mindless creatures and it only helps against one person, leaving the wagon vulnerable to future thieves (or even the same thief who later on gets brave again).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ask your follow up questions as separate questions. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2015 at 16:59

3 Answers 3


Multiple glyphs of warding can't ward the same thing...

The target of the glyph of warding is listed as object touched or up to 5 sq. ft./level, and the spell's description says

Multiple glyphs cannot be cast on the same area. However, if a cabinet has three different drawers, each can be separately warded.

This prevents chained glyphs exactly as you describe, and for good reason. For example, were multiple glyphs able to ward a lone tiny box, triggering them all simultaneously creates disastrous consequences for the approaching army—seriously, a tiny box will be picked by someone and opened (especially if it's a shiny box), and if there are hundreds of glyphs of warding on that tiny box then boom—goodbye, army. (To actually run such a trick, try the spell explosive runes instead.)

...And a touch spell stored in a glyph of warding will affect the creature that triggers the glyph

The spell's description says

You can store any harmful spell of 3rd level or lower that you know. All level-dependent features of the spell are based on your caster level at the time of casting the glyph. If the spell has a target, it targets the intruder.

Emphasis mine. The spell touch of idiocy has as its target living creature touched, so a living creature triggering a glyph storing touch of idiocy will be the target of the spell despite the spell's typical casting method. (By the way, multiple penalties from multiple touches of idiocy—as they're from the same source—shouldn't stack, but ask the DM; a penalty is a little more complicated than a bonus, despite the lengths of those linked entries.)

Although the text isn't specific, it's safe to assume that summoned creatures from a spell glyph aren't random creatures from the summon monster list and instead chosen by the glyph's creator when the glyph is created. Likewise, a suggestion spell held in glyph should offer a suggestion that the caster chooses upon creating the glyph rather than offering a suggestion of the caster's choosing when the glyph is activated.

That said, this is a really expensive way to secure a wagon

A heavy wagon only costs 100 gp. Spending hundreds of gp to protect it is an unusual use of resources. If available, consider hiring some locals to guard it. They'll be thankful for the generous 1 gp per day that you pay them to guard your wagon.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, but you can chain Glyphs pretty easy. You just have to be careful about it. A wagon, as a really big object, is pretty easy to get multiple glyphs on (one on the door, one on each wheel, one on the whole wagon's interior, one on the floor, etc) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2015 at 17:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Chaining glyphs will depend a lot the generosity of the GM, though. I mean, sure, you could build a miniature chest of draws with 100 itty-bitty drawers and glyph each drawer and toss that at the army, but I'd expect the GM to toss a book right back at your head. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2015 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan How you'd get every single person in the army to touch every single drawer is the question, if I'm imagining your scenario right, a person in the army has to pick it up, open it, and scrape his finger against all the tiny 1 mm wide drawers as they explode. \$\endgroup\$
    – Teco
    Dec 24, 2015 at 7:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Everyone was too lazy to search for a nearby civilization and they had 400gp worth of diamond dust lying around for some reason... It was used to guard 16000 ish gold \$\endgroup\$
    – Teco
    Dec 24, 2015 at 7:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Teco That'd be an interesting way to bypass a glyph then — by upending the whole desk! "You mean the glyph does not trigger, right, DM?" says the player. "Because when Tordek flipped over the desk, Tordek didn't open drawer; gravity opened the drawer!" Seriously, though, a lot of inventive uses for — and means to bypass — glyphs really are GM's calls. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 24, 2015 at 8:31

From Glyph of Warding

If the spell has a target, it targets the intruder.


Saving throws and spell resistance operate as normal.

So, Touch of Idiocy just works. There is no attack roll, saving throw, or other failure chance involved, other than the chance that a clever intruder might bypass or not trigger the trap in the first place.

(Also: note that the enchanter cannot place two glyphs 'on the wagon' as such; each glyph must ward a different, though not necessarily separate, area. For example, he could ward the doorway and the main body of the wagon)


Hmm, I think its just stepping in to the designated area.

If I read the spell description:

Target or Area object touched or up to 5 sq. ft./level

So it would be the moment a character walks in the area they get a flatfooted touch attack but keep in mind though that Rogues and Barbarians are bit less easily caught flatfooted. What the too hit would be like the default 10 (maybe make sure it’s not too OP by checking the Trap section because it behaves as a trap).


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