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Glyph of Warding

 
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:01 am    Post subject: Glyph of Warding Reply with quote

Hello Fellows,

This is another rules question that applies to both 1e and 2e people, as I am not sure how it is ruled in later editions (but you ALL are welcome to offer your interpretations).

Does this 3rd lvl cleric Guardian sphere spell (and its Lesser and Greater variations listed in Bastion of the Faith supplement) work only if the area is physically touched?

Initially, I thought so, but after re-reading all three descriptions, it seems to imply that merely passing over, or under, the glyphed area would also trigger the spell.

This means, if you leap, step, Levitate, or Fly over (or potentially under) the glyphed area, you are affected by the warding spell.

Please offer your interpretations at will! I look forward to your collective replies. I am placing this post on the 2e forum, too.

-Lanthorn of the Many Queries
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I don't recall the specifics of the AD&D or 2nd Ed. spells, but 3.5e makes it very clear. I'll quote a couple of parts below:

"Target or Area: Object touched or up to 5 sq. ft/level."

"This powerful inscription harms those who enter, pass, or open the warded area or object. A glyph of warding can guard a bridge or passage, ward a portal, trap a chest or box, and so on.

"You set the conditions of the ward. Typically, any creature entering the warded area or opening the warded object without speaking a password (which you set when casting the spell) is subject to the matgic it stores...

"Glyphs cannot be affected or bypassed by such means as physical or magical probing, though they can be dispelled. Mislead, polymorph, and non-detection (and similar magical effects) can fool a glyph, though non-magical disquises can't."

Hope that helps. Smile

SirXaris
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't post the same post on multiple forums. Choose the most appropriate forum. Is your question more about this game edition, or that game edition. Seeing as the 1E version is about as blatant a description as there could be(it actually uses the word "touching" with regard to setting off the glyph), yet the 2E version is not, it would seem that your question is about the 2E version of things and so should go in the 2E forum only.

I would keep it as a "touch to activate" effect for 2E, as the AoE for the spell is a square area, not a cubic area, so a creature flying over a glyph inscribed on a floor would be perfectly safe. Yes, people debated that, "Would a mage flying 1 mile above a glyph be affected by it because they had entered its columnal *area*?", which of course illustrated how it must be a flat *area* so as to avoid such ludicrousness. I am fairly certain there is a Sage Advice on glyph of warding too though. Skip Williams was surely a busy man during the 2E era. Laughing
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cebrion, I wasn't sure on this one, but knew you'd modify it as you saw fit, perhaps by linking as you did the last time.

Thank you for your response on this. I didn't cross-reference with the 1e spell description. However, the 2e makes it less clear. However, upon reading the "Lesser" and "Greater" descriptions (see "Bastion of Faith"), as well as the 'normal' variety, there is the description that one must only pass through, or enter, the space. However, I agree that physical touching is necessary for, say, a cubic area. I wonder if the 'passing through' or 'entering' part would only apply to a doorway or arch (or entry, as it mentions) wherein a solid, unbroken Glyph were placed. Otherwise, those descriptions are non-sensical.

Your thoughts?

-Lanthorn
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've always allowed the glyph on archways, and the glyph to be set off by passing through the archway, even if "touching" is not actually occurring, but because "entering" is occurring. If you decide that merely flying over a glyphed floor will set off the glyph, then you get the stupidity of what I mentioned before- something flying 1 mile above the area setting of the glyph(which is lame).

We've treated the spell as a magical plane that covers an area, which can be flat or not. To be more specific, you can cover the floor and one or more walls of a room with a single glyph, if the caster can affect that big of an area due to the caster's level, or apply it to an altar or statue in a glyph "coating", which is still a square area of coverage(i.e. there is no requirement that the glyph must be on a perfectly flat area). To set off a glyph, an area must be passed into (i.e. the glyph must be passed through, not over), and an object must be touched or opened, depending upon the setting of the glyph as set by the caster. It might be perfectly safe to pick up a chest, but attempting to open it without speaking the password, being of the correct alignment, etc. will set it off.

As to areas, floors and walls must be touched, not merely passed over or by, and areas must be entered or passed through, meaning things like an archway, or even just the middle of a room, as the glyph plane is set up wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling in that space, such as to protect the high altar area of a temple(i.e. anything passing into the proscribed area, through the glyph, gets what's coming to them! Laughing). Otherwise a lack of parameters lets this lowly 3rd level spell get out of control, and you have rules lawyers arguing that the spell just blew a dragon flying 1 mile high above a glyph out of the sky because it flew over the harm glyph the cleric had just cast on the ground, or some other thing that it shouldn't be able to do based on not only the spell description(the spell affects a square area which is a two-dimensional space, not a cubic volume which is a 3-dimensional space) but its power level.

I think that covers everything about the application of the spell, at least from my point of view.
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BlueWitch
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cebrion, your interpretation is also mine. Your logic matches my own on this (you should be worried). Happy I agree on all accounts.
Blue-Witch, thanks for your input as well!

-Lanthorn
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlueWitch wrote:
"Nazca Glyph Of Warding"


Now that's a cool idea! Happy

Sir Xaris could commission some to be constructed around the walls of Sanctigaard and Eastboro. They are unnoticable from the ground and, thus, aren't activated by creatures walking across them, but anything spotting them from 30 feet or more in the air triggers them as it passes over. Giants aren't even 30 feet tall, so that should only allow flying creatures (and the Tarresque, perhaps) to trigger them. Of course, anything standing upon them when a flying creature triggers them might not fair too well... Evil Grin

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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think a visual trigger is possible for Glyphs. You may be thinking more along the lines of the mage spell, Explosive Runes. I think the very powerful Symbol spell is also triggered via recognition/reading.

-Lanthorn
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lanthorn wrote:
I don't think a visual trigger is possible for Glyphs. You may be thinking more along the lines of the mage spell, Explosive Runes. I think the very powerful Symbol spell is also triggered via recognition/reading.

-Lanthorn


Ah... Perhaps the spell will require even more thought. I always thought wizards had it easy. Razz

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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More questions on this older thread.

Besides casting a Dispel Magic or Erase on a Glyph of Warding to negate its effect, it is my understanding that if the observer can speak the 'name' or type of the warding rune, and then he/she is able to bypass the glyphing magic unscathed...

True...or False?

-Lanthorn
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BlueWitch
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is my interpretation that the 'name of the glyph' is simply the command or password that allows safe passage. Thus, similar glyphs by different casters or even by the same caster likely have different 'names'.

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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A glyph is a magical symbol that stands for something. The conditions are variable, but each condition will have a specific glyph for it, and that glyph might also be altered by the type of effect that is produced.

Now, characters have to know what a particular glyph stands for, and so then know its name. A glyph that wards against evil may have base name of "mournal", but with suffixes that denote effect, such as "-feur", "-kath", "-zol". The combination gives you what is warded against, and what will happen if the glyph is set off. So, you might have glyphs of "mournal-feur"(vs. evil, fire damage), "mournal-kath" (vs. evil, curse) "mournal-zol" (vs. evil, hold person), etc. You might rule that a detect magic spell (which reveals the glyph's presence and makes it "visible" to the caster), followed by a read magic spell (which will reveal what the glyph's name is), is a means for characters to bypass a glyph without dispelling it. Each creature passing the glyph will need to speak the glyph's name though. Also, bypassing a glyph and leaving it behind one, if it is in an area, is a means of (sort of) trapping oneself, and forgetful players fleeing something better remember where the glyph is, and to say the password again, or they will set it off.

A glyph can have a password condition, but that is not the name of the glyph, and perhaps a password can be a prefix, which will change based on the conditions too. Conditions can be fully set, including the password, such that even if somebody knows the password, if they are not wearing something specific (like a particular holy symbol, vestment, etc.), are of a specific alignment, or are a particular person, the password won't help them and they will be subjected to the glyph's effects. Examples could be "zel-" (same alignment) , "hesh-" (particular holy symbol), "NAME-" (particular person). So "zel-mournal-kath" would be a glyph vs. evil that curses those who set it off, but that allows safe passage to those of the same alignment as the caster of the glyph, while "arianni-mournal-feur" is a glyph vs. evil that will burn those who set it off, but that will allow the priest's wizard friend Arianni to pass the glyph safely (without necessarily letting her even know about it). Or you have glyph with a spoken password, such as "Syrul", but that perhaps has an attachment to it denoting that the name must be spoken out loud, such as "-nah-", which then gives us the glyph name "syrul-nah-mournal-mor", meaning a glyph that is vs. evil that causes death, and the name "Syrul" must be spoken out loud in order to bypass the glyph's effects.

As to the form of the glyph, as it is a symbol, it might have prefixes and suffixes either written directly attached to the edge of the glyph in the case of generic effects/conditions (like on this letter c: ), or might have a person's name written under it to denote their exclusion from the effects.

So, you might rule that two lower level spells (detect magic + read magic) allows one to find and identify a glyph, and therefore bypass it by speaking its name, but that it still takes the usual higher level spell (dispel magic) to remove the glyph for good. An answer to the question, plus bonus material. Happy
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ceb,

That is a great, detailed explanation of glyphs! Thank you for taking the time to thoroughly explain your interpretation how they work. I had the glyph/rune table in mind from the old golden WoG boxed set when I proposed this question.

OK, some more for you to address, as well as anyone else.

1) Does the person need to be literate in order to scribe runes? Or does the casting of the spell autmatically confer Divine inspiration to the cleric who then uses the appropriate magic and components to place the glyph? I can see this going either way, personally. However, if one rules that only literate spell-casters can cast glyphs, this will hinder A LOT of NPCs, as well as humanoid priests with access to this spell, thereby making it effectively a pointless spell to have in their repertoire.

2) What about the use of Spellcraft (proficiency) with respect to determining the effect of the runes/glyph? I would think that once the glyph is revealed (magically), then the person with this proficiency would be able to determine the nature and effect of the glyph if a successful check was made. Subsequently, that mage (or priest) could then potentially bypass the glyph.

thanks again,

Lanthorn
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lanthorn wrote:
1) Does the person need to be literate in order to scribe runes? Or does the casting of the spell automatically confer Divine inspiration to the cleric who then uses the appropriate magic and components to place the glyph? I can see this going either way, personally. However, if one rules that only literate spell-casters can cast glyphs, this will hinder A LOT of NPCs, as well as humanoid priests with access to this spell, thereby making it effectively a pointless spell to have in their repertoire.

I would say no to literacy being required at all. Even a primitive spellcaster will know how to scribe the runes required for their spells, which will be learned as a part of their training, or be divinely imparted to them. Don't use that as an excuse to give them limited literacy though. Non-divine casters obviously know some form of the language of magic, automatically, and so will use that to enhance any runes/sigils they might inscribe, and to write scrolls or some equivalent of a scroll (e.g. an inscribed rune tablet, ogham-carved rod, etc.). You might allow non-divine casters to communicate in a very limited form (and mostly about magical concepts and ideas, magical creatures, magical properties, magical components, magical effects, etc.) through the language of magic that they learn, but I would keep it very simple- especially for primitive spellcasters who are more likely to use runes, sigils, or picto-grams instead of more advanced written language.

Lanthorn wrote:
2) What about the use of Spellcraft (proficiency) with respect to determining the effect of the runes/glyph? I would think that once the glyph is revealed (magically), then the person with this proficiency would be able to determine the nature and effect of the glyph if a successful check was made. Subsequently, that mage (or priest) could then potentially bypass the glyph.


Spellcraft excerpt from the PHB 2E:

"If he (the character with the spellcraft proficiency) observes and overhears someone who is casting a spell, or if he examines the material components used, he can attempt to identify the spell being cast. A proficiency check must be rolled to make a correct identification. Wizard specialists gain a +3 bonus to the check when attempting to identify magic of their own school. Note that since the spellcaster must be observed until the very instant of casting, the spellcraft proficiency does not grant an advantage against combat spells."

I do not see anything unclear there at all. The character with the spellcraft proficiency must literally witness the spell being cast in order to figure out what it is. The properties of a glyph or any other spell that is already in place cannot be identified using spellcraft at all, unless otherwise stated.

One more bit: a password need not be a single word, and could be a pass phrase instead. For instance, saying "The most holy mace and cudgel will not smite me.", and being of the correct alignment type(s), might get one past a glyph leading to a more secure area in a temple of St. Cuthbert.
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lanthorn wrote:
1) Does the person need to be literate in order to scribe runes? Or does the casting of the spell autmatically confer Divine inspiration to the cleric who then uses the appropriate magic and components to place the glyph? I can see this going either way, personally. However, if one rules that only literate spell-casters can cast glyphs, this will hinder A LOT of NPCs, as well as humanoid priests with access to this spell, thereby making it effectively a pointless spell to have in their repertoire.


Even an illiterate spellcaster can learn to trace symbols upon a surface and remember what they look like. Such a caster may have been taught by a literate spellcaster, an emissary of their god, or the knowledge may be all that has survived being passed down from mentor to student through generations. Such a caster would likely have a very limited number and type of runes that they could inscribe, but they could still have a few that would work.

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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I am confused what the real advantage of having Spellcraft proficiency is if it only pertains to imparting knowledge about the casting of spells and not a broader base about understanding magic in general (such as magic item creation, runes and glyphs, etc)... Confused Maybe this question is for another thread! Wink

At any rate, fellas, I see your point. I allow primitive savages some understanding, too, about glyphs. Take humanoids for instance. I recently had a campaign (less than a year ago) in which the party was overrun by a large group of orcs, including several priests (Gruumsh, predominantly, but also one priestess of Luthic, and a few of Beltar). I let them use glyphs protectively, figuring that, although they were illiterate, they would also have some basic 'runic' knowledge, especially the more intelligent priestess.

Ceb, I like your notation about the key phrase. I haven't really used anything like that before, but it is a nice reminder. How would a character identify such a key phrase to be uttered? If Spellcraft wouldn't do so (still not sure about that skill now), would a Read and Detect Magic spell?

-Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BlueWitch wrote:
Cebrion wrote:

One more bit: a password need not be a single word, and could be a pass phrase instead. For instance, saying "The most holy mace and cudgel will not smite me.", and being of the correct alignment type(s), might get one past a glyph leading to a more secure area in a temple of St. Cuthbert.



Is there an official source for this? I don't recall ever reading that. My understanding is that a person must speak the actual name of the glyph.
Please correct me if I'm wrong. I must admit the idea sounds good. Authorized persons crossing the area could lead visitors through the area without them ever knowing, thinking the pass phrase is some innocuous saying or a priestly benediction.
In time, even the authorized people could think it's nothing more than a superstition, but follow it anyway rather than risk the "bad luck".


Yes, there is an official source- the glyph of warding spell description itself:

"The priest must set the conditions of the ward; typically any creature violating the warded area without speaking the name of the glyph is subject to the magic it stores."

The spell description goes on to describe various features the spell can be set for, and things it cannot be set for, but a pass phrase is very much something that can be built into a glyph of warding as condition for bypassing it safely. And the caster of course doesn't have to do what is typical either. The caster can set a variety of conditions if they wish- there is no implied limit to what conditions can be set at all, just examples of what they could be, and very much what they cannot be. There could even be set conditions based on days of the week: on Tuesdays the Tuesday blessing must be spoken before entering the glyph area, but on Wednesdays they must be wearing a daisy in a headband to enter the area safely, yet on Thursdays they must enter the area walking backwards, etc. I would assume that a key phrase, and any and all conditions, must be built into the glyph in some way, such that it can then be detected and deciphered if viewed using the appropriate spells, and therefore be able to be bypassed.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Resurrecting an older thread instead of creating a new one, but this still relates to Glyphs of Warding. I already ruled on the outcomes of the questions that I about to propose (had to make a DM call last night during an epic battle), but wanting a variety of opinions on the matter, just in case it comes back up again in the future:

1) Can glyphs be cast on water?

(I ruled "No", and though my player debated that they could be placed below the surface, I was skeptical since it requires burning incense to inscribe, and 'touch').

2) If a Glyph is triggered, does the effect only harm the creature triggering the effect, or every creature in the area of effect?

(I ruled "only the creature that triggered the effect")

-Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. You may wish to rule that a glyph must be drawn on something solid, and then the area around it can be outlined and so included in the ward. Or you can rule that is not necessary to draw the glyph on a solid surface. If not, the initial glyph would then float in space at the point it was drawn, and an area around it could be further outlined at part of the ward as usual. Depends on the utility you want to give the spell, but I kind of like the floating glyph idea, and that actually seems to be implied in the spell - the glyph need only be traced with incense after all, and that really means drawn in the air with incense smoke, not drawn literally onto an object using incense ash. Taking that into account, glyphs ward an area, so an area of water could be warded. However, you'd need a variant component from that of the standard spell, as incense doesn't burn under water. Wink An aquatic priest of a sea god can cast this spell, but in doing so would likely use some other sort of scented component to outline the glyph area in the water, such as fish oil mixed with sea plant extracts (most of them) or blood (sahuagin Evil Grin). The priest would draw that through the water, or upon/around solid surfaces, to outline the glyph area. The area is still a flat plane though, or collection of flat planes that comprises the total area, not a space with volume. (see post above)

2. The glyph effect doesn't affect the outlined area of the spell. The outlined area of the glyph is the area of the *trigger* for the effect. The effect is only suffered by the individual who activates the trigger. When in doubt, roll odds if you deem multiple creatures to have entered the area nearly simultaneously to see which one is affected. Note that the glyph of warding spell very specifically states that the glyph of warding spell may instead be used to hold another spell instead of one of the usual effects, and when that is the case, setting off the glyph makes it function like the spell it holds as if that spell were cast at that point in space. If the attached spell has arbitrary variables, such as hold person where its efficacy is dependent on the number of targets specifically chosen, such variables must be set when the glyph is cast. Example: A glyph of warding (hold person) is selected to target the nearest four individuals when it is set off, who each must save vs. spells. If only one person is in range, they do not therefore take the whole brunt of the spell (i.e. save at -3), but still save vs. spells with no penalty, as that is what the spell is set for. If the spell the glyph contains has an area of effect, pinpoint the area of effect at the point the glyph was triggered. All in the area suffer the effect of the attached spell, as usual.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input, as always.

Another question:

Can the incense needed as the material component be used by any priest, or is the incense specific to a particular faith?

Example: Can a priest of Pelor use incense for a glyph that was initially possessed by a priest of Heironeous, Rao, Ulaa, Pholtus, etc. (and vice versa)?

I see incense as a type of religious item, after all, and wonder as to the flexibility of its use among clerics. Among the polytheistic pantheons, maybe this is not so much of an issue (maybe among the Seldarine, all elven priests can use each other's incense, for instance).

Just curious, as always.

-Lanthorn
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine there are special incenses particular to each religion, but I see no reason not to allow a priest to use a generic form of incense as a spell component.
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