The Anchor Glyphs of the Gate

Notes for the Dungeon Master

The following is additional information about the Gate and a series of glyphs that seal the Gate to keep Draxorith from breaking free. There are a number of ways that this information could be given to the players. Use your imagination. Here are some ideas:

bulletIdeally, a mage who has the opportunity to study the glyphs about the Gate (and possibly copy them down for later study) will, given enough time, be able to discover their nature.
bulletThe characters learn this information as part of a divination spell.
bulletThe characters visit an oracle and are given this information in a cryptic verse.
bulletWhich ever character is carrying the Avisarr experiences a dream or vision.

This information can be introduced into the campaign at virtually any point. It's best to inform the players of the anchor glyphs some time in the first half of the campaign (before Skull Quest 3 is completed).

The Gate itself is a simple circular pit in the stone floor of a buried chamber - with a stone lip. As you may recall, the chamber was filled with the writings of the Banishing spell, which is still actively trying to banish the demon lord Draxorith. Around the edge of the pit was a ring of triangular stone blocks that fit together to form the outer rim. Inscribed into this outer rim were various sigils and glyphs.

These glyphs are called the Anchor Glyphs. There are a secondary defense that guard against disruptive influences on the seal of the Gate, for instance, a Dispel Magic or a Disjunction. There are sixty four of these Anchor Glyphs.

Below  is an example of one of the Anchor Glyphs. They are designed to keep the Gate closed and prevent the Gate from being forced open with magic. The Anchor Glyphs are powerful spells in their own right. The actual part of the glyph that is displayed on the edge of the Gate is but the top level in a complex layered labyrinth of geometric puzzles. Each layer more complex than the one above.


The final layer of the puzzle holds the binding spell encoded within it. In order to dispel an Anchor Glyph, it is necessary to decipher the puzzle. Only the tip of this geometric puzzle is actually inscribed in the stone. The rest of the puzzle exists only in a virtual state in the binding spell.

As was mentioned, there are sixty four anchor glyphs total. Every glyph is unique and with a different geometric maze and binding spell. These glyphs and their associated enchantments have been taken from many cultures, many schools of magic. It was thought that variety in the nature of the bindings would help ensure their resistance to a breach. Each glyph has a spell and associated command phrase. Once a glyph has been solved, the clues hidden within the glyph’s layers reveal the name of the command word to the binding spell. When this is known, the Anchor Glyph can be dispelled - it’s binding magic nullified.


The perfect geometric form of the circle is the basis of the spell and design of the Chamber.

The Gate and the Chamber both are divided up into six regions - each section corresponds to one of the six masters who ruled the Conclave and where involved in the casting of the final banishment spell.

The actual enchantments of the Gate are quite complex and will take a considerable amount of time to decipher. We are working on unraveling all of the mysteries of the Gate.

When the Gate was first fashioned, all sixty four Anchor Glyphs were functioning. However, Draxorith rages against the bars of his cage. He strains against the spells that bind him here. As he studies these Anchor Glyphs, he solves their riddles, learns their command phrases and is able to dispel them. These Anchor glyphs are designed such that as long as one remains, the binding spell holds fast. But Draxorith is going through the series of sixty four Anchor Glyphs - one by one.

Whenever the party figures all of this information out, Draxorith will have solved and dispelled a number of the Anchor Glyphs. The exact number is up to you. The demon lord is an intelligent beast and a master of dark magic in his own way. He will eventually be able to defeat all 64 Anchor Glyphs.

When Draxorith has solved and dispelled all sixty four glyphs, the Binding Spells will fail and the seal will collapse. The Gate will open and Draxorith will arise.


The idea here is to give the players a time limit. Give them a ticking clock, something they can keep track of. It adds a great sense of impending doom if they are working against the clock. It works even better if they have some way of checking the current status of the glyphs rather than just an estimate on the amount of time remaining. The exact way this plays out will depend on the group and how inventive they are.


FAQ The Anchor Glyphs Prelude Skull

This page last updated Wednesday, December 24, 2008. Copyright 1990-2009 David M. Roomes.

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