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World magic
Full nameGlyphing
AvailabilityThroughout Mizahar
Learned fromUsers, books
Key conceptDrawing runes and symbols to manipulate other magic
UsesScrolls, sigils, minor magic items, etc.
RisksBacklash from failure

Glyphing is a discipline of world magic that allows the user to draw mystic runes and symbols, forming sigils and pictures. These runes have no power of their own, but can manipulate magic from another discipline, for example storing, releasing, channeling, deflecting or confining a spell. Scrolls containing a single use of a magical effect are a product of Glyphing. Many wizards of the past also cryptographed their lore with the same runes, though this habit has declined in recent times.

Because it does nothing but affect other magic, it is not advised to take Glyphing as one's first discipline. It is better to learn something else first, and then take Glyphing to interact with it. Among high-level research wizards, however, Glyphing is almost universally practiced. Since it allows to direct on others powers that are normally confined to the self, it broadens the scope of many disciplines immensely.



At one time, before the Valterrian, Glyphing was considered a basic magical skill and virtually every civilized wizard practiced it: it was the arcane equivalent of reading and writing, and most academies would start teaching this discipline as first-year coursework. The massive population drop caused by the Valterrian did not spare the wizards, and led to a sharp decline in the quantity and quality of magic practiced in Mizahar. In today's world, even what used to be the most widespread magic discipline is now an uncommon and highly prized skill.

Glyphing uses the Djed contained in the mystical shapes of runes to modify other types of magic. Many disciplines, especially those of personal magic, tend to be quite narrow in their scope. For example, some may only affect the caster, or only in certain ways. With suitable runic sigils and preparation, it becomes possible to circumvent many of these limits, at least in the controlled environment of a laboratory. Clearly, breaking the limits brings with it the standard risks of magic, but it is a risk many are willing to take.

The runes can accomplish the following:

  • Store magic
  • Release magic upon activation of a trigger
  • Restrict magic into a fixed space
  • Channel magic into an area, target or path
  • Split the effects of magic
  • Combine the effects of magic
  • Stabilize wild magic

The most common product of Glyphing is the magic scroll, generally containing a single magical effect that is triggered, for example, by a magic word. Runes can be carved onto most items to affix magic onto them - these are, however, low-end magical items and are no match for the products of Magecraft, a discipline whose only purpose is to create powerful items. Magecraft items are rare and difficult to make, whereas runic items are relatively more common.

Glyphs are especially common inside research labs, where they aid the wizard's bold experiments.


Glyph is the official name for a rune. Runes drawn by different mages will look very different, but wizards can instinctively know their meaning. Glyphs can be drawn in any way, be it with ink, blood, sand or ashes; carved, painted or sculpted.

Once the power of a glyph has been exhausted, it will break. Scrolls may crumble, paint will disappear, stone might crack. In long-lasting experiments, sigils have to be replaced quite often.

Glyphs are one possible written form of the ancient tongue, and can be pronounced as such.


A sigil is a collection of glyphs that performs a given task. They range from very simple to very complex, but in general will feature one or more of the following building blocks.

  • Focus - A single, large glyph that stores magic. When magic flows into the Focus, it disappears until released. The Focus can be thought of as a mirror: if a fireball is thrown into it, it will be expelled from it with the same speed when released. The Focus can also store a magic procedure; for example, a Morphing wizard would step on the Focus and perform a transformation on himself which would be copied by the Focus and repeated on the first person to activate the Focus. Even physical objects can be stored inside a Focus, provided that they contain magic in them and can pass through the Focus. With great practice and skill, even constructs such as golems and summoned creatures can be stored.
  • Barrier - A barrier is a series of glyphs, usually arranged in a circle, that surround another part of the sigil. They block and restrict the magical effect inside, typically contained in a Focus. Only exceptional users can block a real spell coming towards the wizard.
  • Trigger - Glyphs that specify a condition for another part of the sigil to be activated or deactivated. Commonly, a Trigger will deactivate a Barrier which in turn activates the release of a Focus.
  • Path - A Path is formed by two Barriers that act as boundaries, forming a 'road' for a magical effect to travel on. It is used to channel magic where desired or connect different sigils. Just like Barriers, they can transport the magic stored in a Focus, but require a master user to channel hostile magic.
  • Switch - A Switch is a single glyph, typically painted in a different color. It is used to split a magical effect into multiple parts, or merge multiple effects. The division is either power-wise (splitting big effect into small effects), or function-wise (splitting two effects of the same magic). Typically used with Paths.

Most sigils do not use all of the aforementioned blocks.


Image:Scroll2.png "... then this guy draws a knife on me as if it were the scariest thing in the world. I just look at the poor chap and pull a seven-foot spear of rock out of my scroll..."
- Aurelius Dootsby, tavern tale
Sample scroll.

Scrolls are a textbook application of sigils as described in the previous section. The typical scroll has a Focus in which the effect is stored, surrounded by a Barrier and a Trigger (plus optional instructions in common writing for activating the scroll). It is extremely important that the Focus be aimed correctly before activation. Offensive scrolls must be aimed at the enemy, whereas boosting scrolls must be aimed at oneself.

Scrolls are to be handled with great care, lest they malfunction. Badly assembled scrolls made by amateurs are more of a liability than a support. Also, a vocal trigger usually works better than most in preventing accidental activation, provided that the activation words are uncommon and unpredictable enough.


Novice (1-25)
Simple uses. Any crafted items will generally be too unreliable to be marketed. The Glypher will mostly use the runes to bolster his other magic disciplines, for example painting them on the palms of his hands. He will continuously practice reading and drawing them. Drawing the glyphs takes quite a bit of time.
Competent (26-50)
Moderate uses. Making scrolls for storing one's own magic becomes a viable option, but trying to affect another's magic is still something of a problem. Triggers are simple, along the lines of "when this text is read", or "when someone steps on this symbol". Interacting with very powerful magic is ill-advised.
Expert (51-75)
Complex uses. The wizard is confident enough to create wards and other spell-affecting sigils, for example filling a room with a complex runic setup that tries to absorb magical effects until it is overloaded. Scrolls are more refined and items feature better triggers, like "when this touches an undead" or "when the wearer is knocked unconscious". All operations are just better than before.
Master (76-100)
Very complex uses. Control and flexibility have become very high, and the wizard can try to trap and modify even powerful hostile magic. Items and scrolls are works of art that can combine multiple disciplines beautifully. Triggers are very sophisticated, like "when a blood relative of mine burns this on the 55th day of spring in an odd year while nobody is watching". Runes are drawn at incredible speed, in just seconds.

Roleplaying Tips

First thread

You can learn Glyphing from users or books. Your first Glyphing thread should have the PC learn the very basics, such as:

  • What Glyphing is and is not
  • Glyphs and sigils
  • Building blocks of a sigil (you can skip Paths and Switches at this time)
  • Drawing your first glyphs
  • A simple application; for example, drawing a Focus glyph on the palm of your hand and notice that it helps channel Djed through your hand, e.g. in Reimancy or Projection.

Roleplaying progression

Progression is easy to roleplay, as your PC does not have to learn any new concepts, he or she just gets so much better at using the basic concepts. Just mention slowly getting more confident with the skill.

Drawing the actual runes

They look different for each wizard, so feel free to be creative.

Can I do this?

You can certainly try and see if your moderator will let you get away with it at your current skill level. Remember magic is a dangerous activity in Mizahar and try to take precautions.

Part of a series of articles on Magic
Concepts Magic · Magic list · Djed · Personal magic · Gnosis · World magic · Djedline · Arcanology
Personal magic Auristics · Familiary · Flux · Hypnotism · Leeching · Morphing · Projection · Reimancy · Voiding · Shielding · Vorilescence
Gnosis Gnosis · Gnosis list· Gnosis Marks · Religion
World magic Alchemy · Animation · Glyphing · Magecraft · Malediction · Summoning · Spiritism · Webbing
Magic in Society Magic institutions · Magic factions · Famous wizards
Lost Disciplines Architectrix · Dominion · Pathfinding · Static · Sensing · Florabundance · Linkage
Other Antimagic · Paramagic · Wizard psychology