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Hieroglyph Magic

For countless ages the heat of the deserts and shifting sands of these lands have held many secrets that fascinate, delight, and terrify. Ancient knowledge can be found here by those who know how and where to look, unlocking a new world of power and possibility. But beware—this knowledge is difficult to learn and dangerous to the unschooled! Few of its masters are willing to teach their secrets to anyone outside their own sect. But perhaps as an astute linguist, a talented artist, or even a clever mason, you can tap into the secret script of magic from ancient times and unlock the power of hieroglyphs.

Accessing the magic of hieroglyphs requires the Script Carver and Script Sage feats. If the option to gain feats isn’t used in your campaign, then Script Carver and Script Sage can be gained in place of level-based ability score improvement, if your GM approves. Alternatively, characters might need to accomplish other, story-related tasks determined by the GM to gain the abilities bestowed by the Script Carver and Script Sage feats. Once any obstacles are cleared, all characters who meet the prerequisites can gain these feats.

Feats

Script Carver

Prerequisite(s): Intelligence 12 or higher

You have learned how to expertly scribe two hieroglyphs of your choice, and you gain the benefit associated with each one. In addition, you can invoke one power of each hieroglyph you have learned, provided you meet any other requirements, such as a minimum level. You can select this feat multiple times. Each time you do, you gain the benefit and powers of two additional hieroglyphs of your choice.

Script Sage

Prerequisite(s): Script Carver

Through dedicated study, you have mastered one hieroglyph of your choice.

Choose one hieroglyph that you have already learned through Script Carver. You can invoke one of its mastery powers, provided you meet any other requirements, such as a minimum level. You can select this feat multiple times. Each time you do, you learn the mastery powers of a different hieroglyph from your repertoire.

Invoking Hieroglyph Powers

Invoking one of a hieroglyph’s powers requires an action and provokes opportunity attacks. Generally, you must either draw a physical representation of the glyph (in paint, in blood, in the dirt or snow, and so forth) or trace the shape of an existing carving of the glyph that was created to an exacting standard.

Each hieroglyph confers a benefit on someone who knows how to scribe it. A hieroglyph’s benefit is always in effect for a character who knows that hieroglyph.

In addition, that character can call upon one of the hieroglyph’s powers when so desired. Unless otherwise noted, all hieroglyph powers can be used once, and that expended use is regained when you finish a long rest.

Some powers have a level requirement (given in parentheses); when a character attains that level, this power becomes an additional choice. Mastery powers are a separate category: only a character who has the Script Sage feat for a particular hieroglyph can use its mastery power.

If a power or a mastery power has no level requirement, it becomes available to you as soon as you acquire the necessary feat.

If a hieroglyph power gives you the ability to cast a spell, you can do so without needing any components (aside from materials needed for the drawing of the glyph), and the spell is always cast as if using the lowest-level spell slot possible. It typically has the same duration as a normal casting of the spell, and uses your character level as the caster level.

When a hieroglyph power calls for a saving throw, the DC equals 8 + your ability bonus + your proficiency bonus.

The ability that applies to the DC calculation is the same as the ability used for the saving throw.

Hieroglyph Descriptions

The hieroglyphs are presented below in alphabetical order.

As Does Every God, Every Bird, Every Fish, And Every Creeping Worm

This symbol represents the fertility and abundance of animal life and every being’s place in the chain of life.

Benefit(s): You gain advantage on ability checks or skill checks to identify creatures.

Power: You can use an action to quickly trace this glyph in the air and stare down a beast or a monstrosity. The targeted creature must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is frightened of you for as long as you continue staring at it. While frightened in this way, the creature must move at its full speed away from you on each of its turns until you can’t see it or until it makes a successful saving throw. An affected creature repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a successful save. When a creature’s saving throw is successful (regardless of whether it failed previously), it has disadvantage on attack rolls against you until the end of its next turn.

Mastery Power: If you spend 1 minute tracing this glyph on the body of an animal, you can grant yourself a measure of the animal’s ability. You gain one of the following: a climbing or swimming speed of 30 feet, or a flying or burrowing speed of 20 feet—whichever is most appropriate to the type of animal the bone came from. The effect lasts for as long as you maintain concentration, up to 1 hour.

Dress The Air With The Cloying And The Fair

This symbol represents sweet scents, perfumes, allure, and pleasant feelings. It can also be associated with influencing or changing the mind of another.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Charisma (Persuasion) checks.

Power: If you use an action to trace this glyph on your body in cologne or perfume, you have advantage on Charisma checks for the next hour.

Power (3rd Level): If you use an action to trace this hieroglyph on the ground with dust or ink made from the petals of flowers, every creature within 10 feet of you must make a successful Charisma saving throw or be charmed by you for 1 minute.

Power (5th level): You use an action to contemplate flower petals as they drift in the breeze, enabling you to cast a gust of wind spell.

Mastery Power: When you use an action to anoint yourself with perfume, for the next 10 minutes you have advantage on Charisma checks to influence people within 50 feet of you.

Drink Deep Of The River’s Power

This hieroglyph represents the flow of magic through the land, as well as the physical flow of rivers.

Benefit(s): You gain the ability to cast one cantrip of your choice from the wizard spell list. Your spellcasting ability is Intelligence when you cast this cantrip.

Power (2nd Level): You trace this hieroglyph over a creature’s eyes in a ritual that takes 10 minutes to perform. When the ritual is complete, it produces a detect magic effect that works on the creature and on any items the creature is holding or carrying. The effect lasts for 1 minute while you maintain concentration.

Mastery Power: You trace this hieroglyph in dirt over the course of 1 hour. At the end of the hour, you dispel a magical effect of up to 4th level that is within 120 feet of you. If the effect is higher than 4th level, you dispel it if you make a successful Intelligence (Arcana) check against a DC equal to 10 + the level of the effect.

Flourish In Death As In Life

This symbol represents the transition from the realm of the living to the realm of the dead. It is often engraved on the tombs of fallen heroes.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Constitution saving throws.

Power: When you drop to 0 hit points, you become stabilized immediately and automatically.

Mastery Power: You can see a distance of 60 feet into the Ethereal Plane for 1 hour. You also can determine whether anyone within 60 feet of you is possessed by a spirit; you see such a figure as having a vague, dim outline around it.

Fly As The Falcon, Howl As The Wolf

This symbol represents hunting, tracking, stalking, and bringing prey to the ground.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Wisdom (Survival) checks.

Power (2nd Level): When you use an action to trace this symbol on the body of a willing creature, the creature gains darkvision out to a range of 20 feet, which lasts for 1 minute and works even in magical darkness.

Power (4th level): You trace this hieroglyph on an item that belongs to a specific creature or clearly represents a creature you have encountered, then use an action to consume it. For the next hour, the tracks of that creature glow in your sight. You can follow and track the creature automatically while moving at the speed of a forced march.

Mastery Power: By using an action to trace this glyph on your hand, you invoke the hunter’s gift against a specific creature. The target must be a creature you have previously used one of this hieroglyph’s powers against. The next time you hit the creature with an attack, it must make a successful Constitution saving throw or take an additional 1d10 necrotic damage from the attack.

Gifts Taken From The Silver Coffer

This symbol represents gifts, knowledge, secrets, and things hidden.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Intelligence (Investigation) checks.

Power: By spending 1 minute in concentration while holding a papyrus reed, you can cast the spell speak with inanimate object (see page 107).

Power (4th level): By taking an action to break open an egg, you create an extradimensional space (a “silver coffer”) that is 5 cubic feet in volume and can hold up to 50 pounds of material. This space looks like a simple, empty hole in the ground, but when you reach inside it, you always find whatever you placed inside. The extradimensional space remains visible as a hole in the ground for 24 hours, then disappears, along with its contents. It can be reopened with another use of this hieroglyph power. The silver coffer’s location on the Material Plane depends on your location when you trigger the hieroglyph. This power always opens the same extradimensional space no matter how much time passes or how far you travel between uses, so it’s not a good way to dispose of, for example, unwanted or dangerous magic items. If the person who created the extradimensional space dies, any items in the silver coffer eventually reappear on their plane of origin at a random location, anytime from a day to several centuries after the creator’s death.

Mastery Power (10th level): By taking an action to rub a special brown paste over your eyes that costs 50 gp, you can cast true seeing on yourself.

Give Succor To Thy People

This symbol represents charity, healing, benevolent leadership, and sanctuary given to friends and kin as well as enemies.

Benefit(s): You have advantage on Wisdom (Medicine) checks.

Power: If you spend an hour in meditation while holding a mug of beer or a goblet of wine, your sincere wish to help someone transfers into the brew. When a creature drinks the brew, it gains all the benefits of finishing a short rest. This brew remains potent for 24 hours.

Mastery Power: If you spend an hour in meditation while holding a full waterskin, up to six creatures that drink from the waterskin recover from two levels of exhaustion and don’t need any food or water until after finishing a long rest. The water remains potent for up to 24 hours, or until six creatures have drunk it.

The Gods’ Company Is Like Light

This symbol represents knowledge gained over an extended time through dedication and effort.

Benefit(s): You gain the ability to speak and read one additional language of your choice.

Power: After meditating on this hieroglyph for 10 minutes, you can cast comprehend languages.

Power (2nd Level): If you take an action to trace this symbol on your forehead or that of another creature, the recipient gains advantage on Intelligence checks for 1 minute.

Mastery Power: By inhaling incense and powders over the course of an hour, you call upon your ancestors to reveal a bit of knowledge from the past. This knowledge enables you to gain your ancestors’ assistance with a problem immediately before you. The implementation of this benefit is up to the GM; you might receive a specific clue that helps you to solve the problem, or you might gain proficiency for 1 hour with a skill or a set of tools, or advantage on a single type of skill check for the same length of time.

Grasping Arms Of Balance

This symbol represents the judgment of the dead, ever watchful and weighing the actions of the living in expectation of the moment when they eventually pass on from the world.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Intelligence (Investigation) checks.

Power: You trace this hieroglyph in ash on the body of a willing creature, which requires an action. For the next hour, the creature has advantage on Wisdom ability checks.

Power (3rd Level): If you use an action to trace this hieroglyph in the air with your fingers, you force a creature you can see to make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, you can immediately give the creature one command, either verbally or in writing, that can be completed in the next minute. The creature must try to obey the command to the best of its ability, provided that doing so won’t directly harm it. If the task isn’t completed within 1 minute, the glyph’s power wears off and the creature is freed from the compulsion.

Mastery Power (9th level): You spend 10 minutes decorating a piece of paper with this hieroglyph. If you then take an action to burn the paper, you can cast a geas spell on one target. As with a normal casting of the spell, you and the target must have a language in common for the effect to work.

He Hath Repulsed The Fiends

This symbol represents the prevention of harm, usually through the protection of devoted soldiers or bodyguards.

Benefit(s): When you wear no armor, your Armor Class is equal to 10 + your Wisdom modifier + your Dexterity modifier.

Power (3rd Level): If you take an action to trace this hieroglyph on a creature, you grant that creature resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage (your choice) for 1 minute.

Power (5th level): By taking an action to burn a bit of incense, you can conjure a squad of soldiers. These soldiers can appear different to different creatures; some might see a squad of orcs, others a group of the king’s guards. The soldiers appear standing inside a 10-footsquare space within 10 feet of you, and they can’t leave that space. Within that space, they behave like a swarm; other creatures can enter the space and end their turn there. Whenever one of your enemies enters the soldiers’ space or starts its turn in the space or within 5 feet of it, the soldiers attack that creature. Their attack bonus is equal to your Wisdom modifier + your proficiency modifier, and a successful attack deals 2d6 force damage. The soldiers remain for 1 minute, provided you maintain concentration on them. They are immune to all forms of damage and can’t be dispelled except by breaking your concentration.

Mastery Power (8th level): If you take an action to trace this hieroglyph on the ground and then throw a handful of sand into the air, you can cast banishment.

Hold The Storm In An Urn Of The Wind

This symbol represents the power of storms and wind and the effect these phenomena can have on the world.

Benefit(s): You can resist any effect or attack that would move you, causing you to be moved 5 feet less than the effect’s normal distance.

Power (3rd Level): By drawing this hieroglyph in the air for three consecutive turns (each one requiring an action), you gain the ability to cast wind wall.

Power (5th level): After spending an hour in meditation with burning incense before tracing this hieroglyph in the air, you can cast a modified version of control weather. Unlike the spell, this power affects an area only a quarter-mile in radius, and the change lasts no longer than 20 minutes.

Mastery Power: Immediately after performing a 10-minute ritual with special incense, you can cast a modified version of wind walk. Unlike the spell, this power affects up to five creatures, and the effect lasts for up to 2 hours and requires your concentration.

The Jackal Moves On Tirelessly

This symbol represents travel, persistence, and not giving up in the face of challenge.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws to resist exhaustion.

Power (3rd Level): If you take an action to trace this symbol on the body of a willing creature, you increase that creature’s speed by 15 feet for 1 hour. This power affects all forms of movement the creature can use.

Mastery Power: By drawing this hieroglyph on the ground over the course of 10 minutes, you create a temporary portal to another place within 1 mile that you’re familiar with. You can step through the portal once, after which it disappears. You can bring along a number of other creatures equal to one-fourth your level (round up), provided all of them are your size or smaller and either willing or helpless.

On The Day Of The Destruction Of The Fiends

This symbol represents triumph over your enemies, victory, and celebration of those victories.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Charisma (Intimidation) checks.

Power (3rd Level): To trigger this power, you must use an action to trace the symbol on yourself with a knife or other sharp object (pressing hard enough to leave a mark on the skin but not hard enough to draw blood) and emit a loud battle cry. Each creature you designate within 10 feet of you that hears the battle cry must make a successful Charisma saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute.

Mastery Power: Once a week, you can host a feast for your companions and other allies. Each individual who partakes in the feast gains temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier (minimum of 2) and has advantage on the same number of its next attack rolls. The effect dissipates for each creature after 24 hours if the benefits have not been used by then.

Open The Hidden Springs And Unbolt The Shrine

This symbol represents casting off chains, putting down oppression, and opening pathways.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks.

Power: If you use an action to trace this hieroglyph on a rope, chain, or other implement that’s holding you in place, you gain advantage on Dexterity checks made to free yourself. This benefit doesn’t apply to checks made to escape a grapple, unless you’re being grappled by an inanimate object.

Mastery Power: When you take an action to trace this hieroglyph on the body of a willing creature, you can impart to that creature the effect of a blink spell.

Savor The Divine Company Of The Gods

This symbol represents robust and vigorous health and the favor of the gods.

Benefit(s): Your hit point maximum increases by 1 for each Hit Die you have.

Power: When you take an action to trace this hieroglyph on a creature’s skin with blood, that creature gains a number of temporary hit points equal to your Hit Dice.

Mastery Power: If you spend 1 minute repeatedly tracing this hieroglyph on the body of an afflicted creature, you can cast lesser restoration on that creature.

Shine At The Monument Of The Mighty

This symbol represents physical and mental strength, overcoming weakness, and surpassing limits.

Benefit(s): You count as one size larger for the purpose of determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.

Power: By using an action to trace this hieroglyph on a creature, you double that creature’s Strength bonus for the purpose of determining the damage from its next successful attack.

Power (3rd Level): If you take an action to crush a previously prepared clay semblance of this hieroglyph, you gain advantage on Strength checks for 1 minute. You can also give the clay hieroglyph to another creature, so that creature can gain the benefit from crushing it.

Mastery Power: If you use an action to trace this hieroglyph on a creature, it is freed from the need for sleep and immune to the effects of exhaustion for 24 hours.

Stand Above All

This symbol represents moral rightness, dominance, rulership, and ego.

Benefit(s): You have advantage on Charisma saving throws.

Power (3rd Level): By tracing this hieroglyph on your clothing, you rally your allies and improve their morale. For the next minute, each of your allies gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls, saving throws against fear effects, and skill checks while within 10 feet of you.

Mastery Power: If you use an action to trace this hieroglyph on a willing creature, it gains the ability to overawe the mind of one other creature within 60 feet. The targeted creature must make a successful Charisma saving throw or prostrate itself before the creature that bears the hieroglyph. An awed creature repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself with a success. The effect lasts for 1 minute or until the awed creature is attacked.

Stars And Birds Perceive All

This symbol represents vision, sight, and perceiving from great distances.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Wisdom (Perception) checks.

Power: If you use an action to trace this glyph on a creature, you can cast enhance ability on the target, which gains the benefit of the Owl’s Wisdom effect.

Mastery Power: By tracing this glyph over and over in a 10-minute ritual, you can cast clairvoyance.

Watchful Eyes See What Is Hidden

This symbol represents looking beneath the surface to see the world differently or to question the way things are done.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on Wisdom (Insight) checks.

Power (3rd Level): By spending 5 minutes tracing the hieroglyph on a creature, you imbue that creature with the ability to cast detect evil and good once in the next 24 hours. The hieroglyph can also be created on a small object instead of directly on a creature; in that case, detect evil and good can be cast once by a creature holding the object.

Power (6th level): After spending 10 minutes inking this hieroglyph in the middle of your forehead, you gain the benefits of casting detect thoughts for as long as you concentrate, up to 1 minute.

Mastery Power: By taking an action to draw this hieroglyph, you can cast arcane eye.

With One Heart And Voice, The People Raise Cries Of Joy

This symbol represents unity, community, common purpose and goals, and protecting one another.

Benefit(s): You have advantage on any saving throw that is also being made by at least one of your allies.

Power (3rd Level): By using an action to draw this hieroglyph on a rope that you use to bind your wrist to another creature, you can absorb the damage and other effects from the next attack that hits the other creature. The attack must hit the other creature, but it affects you instead; the other creature is unaffected. The rope can be no more than 30 feet long.

Mastery Power: By invoking this hieroglyph during a 10-minute ritual, you can grant telepathy to up to ten creatures that are within 60 feet of you. The telepathy lasts for 1 hour, and it works only among the affected creatures (including you); it can’t be used to communicate with creatures outside the group.

With the Sight and Talons of the Hawk

This symbol is associated with strength, speed, honor, and heroism.

Benefit(s): You gain a +1 bonus on initiative rolls.

Power (4th level): As an action, you can trace this hieroglyph on a creature to grant it advantage on Strength checks and Constitution checks for as long as you maintain concentration, up to 1 hour.

Power (6th level): By spending 1 round in concentration to summon power from the sky, you can target one creature that has this hieroglyph emblazoned on its forehead. The creature gains the effects of the enlarge spell, and its head takes on the appearance of a hawk for the duration of the effect.

Mastery Power (8th level): When you use an action to trace this symbol in the air, you grant the speed of the air to an ally within 60 feet. The affected ally gains the effect of a haste spell for 1 minute.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Deep Magic for 5th Edition © 2020 Open Design LLC; Authors: Dan Dillon, Chris Harris, and Jeff Lee.