Glyph Mage (Split Class)

(Earlier in the month, I wrote up the ward mage class based on the Truename rules from the 3e Tome of Magic. In the end I wasn’t really pleased with it, and am making another attempt here. This time I’m using “Glyphs of Cerilon” by Larry DiTillio in Dragon #50 as inspiration, and am calling them Glyph Mages.)

A glyph mage is an arcanist dedicated to the study of symbols – specifically, magic symbols. These men of magic cast no spells but derive their power from the drawing of symbols and invoking of power words.

Their knowledge lies in dusty tomes, arcane symbols, and (especially) glyphs. They believe glyphs to be the very first type of magic, and the basis of all other arcane traditions.

Although the secrets of glyph magic is now obscure and largely forgotten, glyph mages are adept in their use – a lore that they guard jealously.

Glyph Mage Progression

Level XP Spellcasting
Known *
per Day
1 10,000 2nd-lvl Spells 2 1
2 20,000 3rd-lvl Spells 6 2
3 40,000 4th-lvl Spells 12 3

* A glyph mage with high INT may add additional
glyphs as given in the class description.

Game Rule Information

Prerequisites: To learn glyph magic, a character must be literate in at least three languages and be an experienced spellcaster. Both arcane and divine casters are eligible, and must be able to cast 2nd-lvl spells before becoming a glyph mage. To learn more powerful glyphs, the character must meet the spellcasting requirements as given in the table above.

Alignment: Glyph mages can be of any alignment, but tend to be Lawful or Neutral.

Split Class Restrictions: Glyph magic is difficult and exacting, requiring focus and dedication. Glyph mages are restricted from advancing in any other split classes, and characters who already possess levels in a split class are unable to advance as glyph mages.

Special Abilities

Glyph Magic: Glyphs are ancient mystic symbols capable of possessing or directing arcane energies. Similar a magic-user and his spells, a glyph mage will have mastered only a certain number of glyphs (as indicated in the table, above). However, glyph mages of high intelligence may add their INT bonus to the maximum number of glyphs known. A 1st-lvl glyph mage with INT 16, for example, could learn up to 4 glyphs.

All glyphs are harmless until activated by the appropriate power words. Then – and only then – are they filled with magic. The mage is drained each time he activates a glyph. Although he can prepare/create an arsenal of glyphs, he is limited to activating one glyph per day per class level.

Before activating a glyph, it must first be inscribed. Glyphs can be carved or drawn on floors, doors, walls, trunks, books, weapons, armour, ships, and just about anything else including people. They can be obvious or cleverly concealed. A quick glyph may be drawn in paint, ink, blood, chalk, or charcoal – although it will not be very durable and can be activated only once. An engraved or inlaid glyph will take longer to create, but are more difficult to damage may be activated multiple times. At minimum, a glyph requires one turn to inscribe.

Glyph Descriptions

(Game effect conversions for 44 of the Glyphs of Cerilon are provided below; for pictures and full descriptions please refer to Dragon #50. Alternately, you can check out the Dragon Compendium from Paizo for D&D 3e descriptions.)

  • Akme: Fire damage to non-Lawful creatures, 1d6 per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Azedul: Paralysis for 1 round/lvl, save each round.
  • Beel: Electrical damage, 1d6 per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Bora: 1d4 damage per every 2 lvls, plus amnesia. Lose 1d4 memorized/known spells or class skills for 1 hour/lvl. Save for ½ damage and reduces amnesia to 1 round/lvl.
  • Cand: Prevents Chaotic outsiders from approaching within 5 ft of ward. Save to resist.
  • Cino: Drains strength. Target suffers -1d6 STR penalty, or -1 to melee atk and dmg for creatures without STR scores. Save to resist.
  • Dage: Reverse of Akme. Fire damage to non-Chaotic creatures, 1d6 per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Dam: Blast of flame. 1d6 fire damage per every 2 lvls in a 5-ft radius/lvl. Save for ½.
  • Ejo: Balance. Electrical damage to non-Neutral creatures, 1d6 per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Ez: Magicbane. Drains 1 charge per caster level from wands and similar items; uncharged items such as weapons and potions are unable to function for 1 round/lvl.
  • Fola: Causes uncontrollable muscle spasms for 2 rounds/lvl. Victim drops held items, falls prone, and can only move at half speed. Save negates.
  • Ginmore: Order. Electrical damage to non-Lawful creatures, 1d6 per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Glyl: Confusion, as spell, for 1 round per every 2 lvls. Save negates.
  • Han: Blinding flash of light; those within 10 ft are blinded for 1 round per every 2 lvls. Save negates.
  • Inda: Metalbane. Heat Metal, as spell. Save negates.
  • Ik: Baleful Polymorph transforms target into earthworm for 1 round/lvl. Save negates.
  • Jend: Fire damage to Lawful creatures, 1d6 per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Kuan: The witherer. If touch, limb becomes useless. Target moves at half speed if leg effected, or is considered one-armed if hand touches. Save negates.
  • Lenden: The shortener. Reduce Person, as spell. Save negates.
  • Lumat: The freezer. Chill Metal, as spell, but also affects targets not wearing metal. Save negates.
  • Mot: Paperbane. Causes ink on all items of paper to disappear. Each item gets a saving throw.
  • Myb: Drains dexterity. Target suffers -1d6 DEX penalty, or -1 to ranged atk and AC for creatures without DEX scores. Save to resist.
  • Nolon: Madness. Target flees in terror for 1 round/lvl. Save negates.
  • Ors: Life drain. Target suffers -1d6 CON penalty, or -1 hp/HD for creatures without CON scores. Save to resist.
  • Ozha: 1d6 acid per every 2 lvls. Save for ½, plus armour must save vs. corrosion or suffer -1 penalty to AC.
  • Pel: The silence. Target suffers blindness and deafness for 1 round/lvl. Save negates.
  • Pogen: The raiser. Hurled upwards for 10 ft per every 2 lvls, taking falling damage as normal (in both directions). Save negates.
  • Qin: 1d6 fire per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Quolat: Poison. 1d6 poison damage per turn, starting after 1 turn. Duration is 1 turn per every 2 lvls. Save negates.
  • Rimesh: The sanctifier. 1d6 damage per every 2 lvls to undead. Save for ½.
  • Sovin: Disease. Contagion, as spell. Save negates.
  • Syat: The sleeper. Sleep, as spell. Save negates.
  • Tarrat: Drains intellect. Target suffers -1d6 INT penalty. Save to resist.
  • Unkin: The bleeder. Wounds bleed until attended to (1 hp/round) for 2 rounds/lvl. Does not affect creatures with full hp. Save negates.
  • Uvas: The web. Web, as spell, centered upon the glyph.
  • Vana: Reverse of Cand. Prevents Lawful outsiders from approaching within 5 ft of ward. Save to resist.
  • Vig: Electrical damage to Lawful creatures, 1d6 per every 2 lvls. Save for ½.
  • Weirkan: The stoner. Petrification for 1 turn per lvl. Save negates.
  • Wod: The scream. Stuns those within 30 ft for 1d3 rounds. Save reduces duration to 1 round.
  • Xaj: Icy blast. 1d6 cold damage per every 2 lvls in a 5-ft radius/lvl. Save for ½.
  • Mot: Paperbane. Causes ink on all items of paper to disappear. Each item gets an item saving throw.
  • Yagsha: The traveller. Transports target as per Dimension Door to a spot of creator’s choosing. Save negates.
  • Ylmis: Regression. Feeblemind, as spell, for 1 turn/lvl. Save negates.
  • Zannit: Death. The target automatically fails his next saving throw (no save).


About K-Slacker

Gamer and 5th-level magic-user.
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