Can multiple castings of Glyph of Warding be used to activate multiple "Smite" spells on the same triggering attack?

Role-playing Games Asked by MikeQ on January 2, 2022

Suppose a character has cast multiple Glyph of Warding spells, each with a different "Smite" spell (such as Searing Smite and Thunderous Smite). Assume the character somehow has access to all these spells and the necessary material resources. Each glyph is set to trigger at the character’s next successful melee weapon attack.

When the glyph is triggered, the stored spell is cast.

Each "Smite" spell requires concentration, and has a target of "self", so the character specifies their self as the target when they create the glyphs. Each "Smite" spell also has an on-hit effect that can occur during the spell’s duration, triggered by a successful melee weapon attack.

For example, the character has one glyph set to activate Searing Smite, and another glyph set to activate Wrathful Smite.

Searing Smite:

The next time you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack during the spell’s duration… the attack deals an extra 1d6 fire damage to the target…

Wrathful Smite:

The next time you hit with a melee weapon attack during this spell’s duration, your attack deals an extra 1d6 psychic damage…

Upon the character’s next successful weapon attack, all the glyphs activate. Since the duration of each "Smite" spell begins on this weapon attack, can the character use this same attack to activate the on-hit effects of each spell? (In the above example, that would mean adding +1d6 fire and +1d6 psychic damage to the weapon’s damage roll.)

Or does only one spell effect occur, because they all require concentration and their durations would overlap?

Or do none of the on-hit effects occur, because the spell’s duration began after the weapon attack?

2 Answers

Stacking the smites works.

  • The smites are concentration spells, but when cast from Glyph of Warding, they maintain concentration "for free" out to the spell's full duration.

  • They are not effects with the same name, so they can coexist.

  • Since the smites have a target of Self, which is a single creature, the Glyph's provision that it "targets the creature that triggered the glyph" will apply. Just make sure that you are unambiguously the one who triggers it.

Triggering on a "successful attack" doesn't work.

In general, nothing can intervene between making an attack roll and applying damage. (There are explicit exceptions, such as the Absorb Elements spell, but this isn't one.) The "Making an Attack" section of Chapter 9 breaks an attack down into three steps, and step 3 is to make the attack roll and resolve damage. They're not even separate steps.

Specifically in this case, the Smite spell language is "The next time you hit with a melee weapon attack..." Instructions in spell descriptions always tell what happens when the spell is cast, so "next time" means the next time after the spell's effect begins.

This means the spell must be in effect before the attack hits. But for the spell to take effect, Glyph's trigger event must happen, so the trigger must be something that happens before the attack hits, and so it can't be "the attack hits".

The good news is that if you trigger the Glyph and then the attack misses, you can keep trying for the full duration of the Smite spells.

Answered by Mark Wells on January 2, 2022

Having multiple smites: It works

Assuming you can have a self-targeted spell in Glyph of Warding, it works.

Glyph of Warding specifically states

If the spell requires concentration, it lasts until the end of its full duration

So, it should work. The Smite spells deal extra damage, which does not exclude any kind of other extra damage source, and have different names, so they also stack.

The Trigger: up to the DM

Each glyph is set to trigger at the character's next successful melee weapon attack.

Okay, so, this might lead to some problem. The trigger is the melee attack hitting, then the spells take effect, which state

The next time you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack during the spell’s duration

So, a possible source of confusion is: will the on-hit damage take effect on the attack that triggered them, or will they only take effect on the next attack after the attack that triggered them? I would say this is up to the DM on how the chain of events resolve.

But you could word the trigger differently, like

The next time you make a melee weapon attack against a creature.

This could lead to wasting the effect on a miss, but then, since you can't lose concentration any more, you possibly will still benefit from it (unless you basically miss every attack in the combat or the combat ends shortly after).

As a DM, I would also allow a trigger like "when it looks like the attack is going to hit", defined in a meta-event like "rolling a 16 or higher", to take place before the actual hit and make the smites unambiguously affect the attack afterwards.

I believe the main point here is: you can have multiple smites taking place at the same time using Glyph of Warding, and you can make the attack that triggers them deal that damage. The only problem is whether you can make them trigger only in a successful hit.

Answered by HellSaint on January 2, 2022

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