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There is a general discussion if we want spell tags or not over here: Should we be tagging individual spells?, that concluded spell specific tags should be avoided in general.

Wish and Simulacrum are existing spell specific tags for which an exception was made.

This question is specifically about Glyph of Warding. At time of writing, 40 questions are tagged by me as I missed that decision and there are 68 more without the tag mentioning the spell (it is likely not all of them would need the tag if we move forward with it).

Should there be an exception for Glyph of Warding or not?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It did conclude that, but there are always potential outlier cases - you just need to make the case for them. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch We've always had a (bad?) habit of using meta to make specific exceptions to general discussion outcomes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ If this was decided, why is the wish tag and the simulacrum tag still around? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 19:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Those two managed to get the special case handling through... \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Stuff is dealt with as it comes up. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 19:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a heads-up, I wouldn't say because we have those, we should do this. I would try and make the specific case for why this spells needs a tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 19:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ For reference, it looks like the [spells] tag has [tensers-floating-disk], [tiny-hut], and [shape-water] as synonyms of it. The "linked questions" for that general discussion are also worth looking at; there are discussions here for the [simulacrum] tag, for the [shape-water] tag, and for the [antimagic-field] tag. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ The (sort of) spell-specific tags I have found that still exist (aside from this one) are wish, simulacrum, counterspelling, and antimagic-field. (EDIT: And potentially polymorph, though that one may be slightly broader since the term "polymorph" is used to refer to a much broader group of things in D&D besides just the spell.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 20:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin: If you're making a case that it should (or should not) have its own tag, I'd suggest posting that as an answer rather than editing it into the question. That way, people can vote appropriately on your answer (and potentially propose competing ones) without that voting affecting the visibility of the question itself. It makes it easier for the community to compare votes between competing answers as well; editing that argument into the question muddles the meaning of the votes (i.e. it'd be unclear whether upvotes mean "good question" or "I agree that it should have a tag"). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 21:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ The 40 "at time of writing" is because Groody themself added them earlier this same day. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 22:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o That was my phrasing that I added in one of the revisions, don’t read it as Groody saying the tag has been in use for any substantial amount of time. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 1:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like the tendency is sligthly towards no, but it is pretty balanced so far. The tag has not been removed. I'll slowly add a few tags a day as discussed until we have a resolution. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 8:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please do not add any more tags until this is resolved! \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 11:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ You say that exceptions were made for simulacrum and wish, but I don’t think that’s exactly right. I think they just happened and we didn’t really talk about it. “Making an exception” sounds like it was an intentional decision we discussed, but I don’t think that happened. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2022 at 11:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov: For simulacrum in particular, it looks like there was a discussion around the tag in May of last year (which I linked in one of my comments above). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 18:37

2 Answers 2

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I think it's a Trap

A piece of tagging theory which isn't invoked very often, and which is hard to apply directly to things, is that we're (generally) tagging for concepts as opposed specific in-game content pieces. It's just that very often D&D's name for things is the de facto name for the concept. Or that a different game system's name becomes a name for the thing.

Wishes and Simulacra are things onto themselves to a greater extent than which glyph of warding really is (I'll get back to that). And related to spells and our tags, it's just that D&D (and by our extension most of our questions) implement those concepts as spells. D&D implements quite a lot of stuff as spells. I will admit this is close, and worth a full consideration, but I'm landing on not quite.

I'd like to bring you along with the journey I went on. I started out being for the tag, for pretty much the arguments laid out. However, applying the above notion to 5e's symbol spell should also fall under the same tag as it's doing basically the same thing. And that's where the tag name fell apart for me. While no one is gonna bat an eye at a question about limited wish is tagged with , tagging a question about symbol with seems wrong. Much too artificial.

But is there a better name? Well, the short description for the effect would be spell trap, which would make a fine tag bar two things. Firstly, we don't like inventing our own terminology. The second is that we already have that covered. as a combo should cover that perfectly.

And I'm aware that glyph of warding has some uses which aren't strictly as a trap (how much of that is for actual play and how much is theory-crafting I can't say). If the tag is wholly inapplicable, leave it off. Tag the question with what it is about. If it's purely about the spellcasting process, tag it with ; if about creating a permanent effect, . But often I'd think a question about using a trap for something other than its original purpose is still about traps, magical or not.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ For future readers: glyph-of-warding now exists as a synonym of traps \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil Mod
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 20:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I still think that a large part of the questions about glyph is not about its use as a trap, but its use as a storage device for spell power, that can be called upon when using a specified trigger. This applies to using it in summoning, or using it in portable holes or demiplanes (although there it often is with intent to weaponize it). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 6:40
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Glyph is like the other spells that have this exception

Glyph is a build-around spell

Glyph of Warding is in the same class of spells as wish, and simulacrum: these are spells that can create complex, persistent effects. They are build-around-magic, tools that create loopholes in what normally would be possible to do with spells. They are spells people try to break. No single category captures these spells as a tag.

Because of this, they cause a high amounts of rules questions related to a broad spectrum of issues. For glyph of warding, there are questions about what can trigger the glyph, what the glyph can know (for example the nearly unique ability to detect alignment), how and if a glyph can or cannot be moved, what it can be inscribed upon. It does not help that glyph also had errata that used to make it work slightly differently in older printings.

But more than anything there are lots of unusual interactions with the spells stored inside it, which spells can be put into glyph to begin with and how glyph works on their targets, areas, and effects.

Some of the reasons I saw in related discussions for keeping spell tags open were:

Does it do weird?

  • Antimagic field: "antimagic is a large weird subject with lots of weirdness connected to it, so I feel the tag's worthwhile" was the core of the accepted, single answer. Glyph has a lot of weirdness connected to it in affecting other spells with strange effects due to the absence of the caster and known targets, too.

Is it complex enough to have expertise?

  • Simulacrum: "A small handful of spells are just complicated, deeply situational, or both. The 3e Polymorph series of spells and every incarnation of Wish fit this description, and both come up very frequently. I can easily imagine someone following either of those tags, because they do require specific expertise and they do come up all the time." I think this easily can be said for glyph, too.
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