Gnome — Mark of Scribing Gnome Subrace 5E

Hello gnomes! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the third episode of our gnome subrace series. Today we’re going over arguably one of the strongest choices from a mechanical perspective. We’re going to be going over the mark of scribing gnome. If you’re not familiar with the marked sub-races, they’re really good they got a lot going on with them and they put a lot of other options to shame in some of the most brutal ways imaginable.

Basically like clubbing a baby seal, the mark of scribing gnome is no real exception if i were to play a gnome i would pick the mark of scribing not just because of its mechanically better but reading through it. This is actually really close to how i play a lot of my casters anyways. So it wouldn’t really be that much of a stretch.

The marked races are found in the eberron: rising from the last war book. It’s a great book, i recommend getting it. But a lot of times dungeon masters will ban these races outright. Now before we dive into its traits and talk about it further please check out the full gnome article from here. In any case let’s dive right into its description and traits.


The Mark of Scribing deals with communication—both the written and spoken word. A gnome who bears the mark can feel words as though they are living creatures, struggling to make their meaning known. The mark provides a range of gifts. It translates languages, but it also allows its bearer to communicate with others at a distance.


Out of the gate it gets a plus one to charisma which is super great, charisma is one of the most useful stats in dnd 5e and maybe in RPGs in general although it kind of depends on your play style and they also gain access to gifted scribe which i think is cool as heck.

Gifted Scribe: When you make a history check or an ability check using calligrapher’s supplies, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the ability check.

Basically you can write a heck of a lot fancier and this goes a long way towards forging documents, which is one of the coolest ways to get around certain scenarios or better your standing in the world at large. I think its really neat and i find it’s an incredibly underutilized skill in the game. So hopefully this will remind you to use it more often.

If you though that was everything this gnome gave you, i hate to say it but you are sadly mistaken we’re really just getting started. Let’s move on to their other traits.

Other Traits

They’ll also gain access to another cool ability called scribe’s insight: You know the message cantrip. You can also cast comprehend languages once with this trait, and you regain the ability to do so when you finish a short ot long rest. Starting at 3rd level, you can cast the magic mouth spell with this trait, and you regain the ability to cast it when you finish a long rest. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.

These are all some of my favorite spells in 5E. I’m just in a general sense, comprehend languages is one of the most useful spells for the exploration pillar of play. Basically makes it so you can understand every language we have an article on it there is over a weird caveat to it where you understand the literal meaning of the spoken language and there are a lot of languages even in our real world and certainly in a fantasy world where the literal definition doesn’t really translate over to what the person’s trying to communicate.

So it might make for some interesting conversations there. However it is still an incredibly useful spell, you can also read text which is pretty dang cool as well. Once again sticking within that literal translation so it might come across as a little bit weird and foreign when perceived that way but it still is pretty good. Magic mouth is incredible, it’s usually a ritual spell so i tend to abuse it however in this case you can only cast it once and what it does is it allows you to imbue an object with a certain voice phrase and that will activate when a trigger is met.

We also have a really cool article on this as well if you want to chekc it out, it’s one of my favorite spells in 5E in general. The only real downside to it is it does consume a 10 gold worth of honeycomb and jade dust. So you know use it sparingly i suppose however if you’re in a higher level campaign or a wealth dense campaign i highly doubt that’ll be an issue. And it does last until dispelled as well, so you can have multiple different objects with multiple different phrases and things of that nature it works really well with the actor feat by the way.

Extended Spell List

Now let’s take a look at their extended spell list. Man there are some doozies here. Comprehend languages we’ve already talked about illusory script is another one of my favorite spells to just outright abuse. We have another article on that as well. I get into some debates with how useful it actually is, it really does come down to the dungeon master but check out the article have that conversation go from there. It lets you basically make it is what it says it is, it lets you make illusionary text on an item so.

There’s a lot you can do with it. Under second level spells you’ll gain access to animal messenger which is kind of cool from a roleplay perspective and makes sense with the gnome’s affinity with nature. It lets you essentially take a tiny animal and send them out to deliver a message to someone either at a specified location or that falls under a specific description, it’s really cool stuff they can cover insane amounts of distances if they absolutely have to.

It’s really nice they can also replicate the sound of your voice you don’t have to worry about things getting lost in translation, it’s really nice. That being said, it’s pretty useless when it comes to combat so bear that in mind. Silence however is not useless when it comes to combat. We have an article on it as well check it out it’s really a neat spell if used properly, essentially it creates an area where no sound can be created or passed through and because of that it basically makes most spell casters higher level spells completely worthless.

Creatures are also deafened well inside and gain the immunity to thunder damage which is a pretty neat little twist on it that i don’t see a lot of people discussing. Deafened if you’re not super familiar just means they fail any checks that rely on hearing so like perception checks probably would fall under that. So it is up to the dungeon master so have them speak about it.

At third level you’ll gain sending and tongues. Sending lets you send a message basically anywhere even to other planes of existence so it’s like a really beefed up version of the message cantrip if you want to look at it like that and tongues is like a beef up version of comprehend languages. Tongues lets you grant the ability to understand any spoken language to any secret you can touch.

There are some rules and restrictions around it, namely the creature has to be able to hear most creatures can so it’s not usually an issue. Also when the target speaks any creature that knows at least one language can hear the target and understands what it says. The key word when it comes to this spell’s description is understanding whereas comprehend languages lets you understand the literal definition of every word. So there is that difference there, bear that in mind.

Under fourth level spells you’ll gain arcane eye and confusion. Arcane eye lets you create a small floating eye that is invisible and you can control and perceive through it’s a really good spell for exploaration and then confusion is a really good combat spell or just social spell in general i suppose. Basically if creatures within 10 feet of a point you choose fail a wisdom save, they have to make a roll on a d10 table and that kind of affects what they’re gonna get.

There’s a lot of really cool things in that d10 table like moving all their movement speed in a random direction, freezes up for a turn attacks randomly stuff like that. It’s really neat and is considered to be one of the better enchantment spells in the game, so bear that in mind and it is concentration so sometimes people get a little bit upset with that but it’s a really good effect.

And then at fifth level you’ll gain access to dream. Which is basically the inception movie if you want to look at it like that, at least more or less. It’s a really cool spell that i’m really not looking forward to covering in all honesty because it’s long as hell in its description. It can do a lot of cool stuff and there’s a lot of caveats to it. It’s a really good spell that i find is often underused and i would really like to see it more center stage. It’s really sad that it takes up a fifth level spell slot but it could really change the direction of almost every campaign i can think of. So maybe it’s worth it, maybe it’s not.

I want to be really clear about these extended spell lists though, it doesn’t mean you can cast the spell out right. It means if you’re a caster that happens to have access to these spell slots but might not necessarily have these spells on their spell list you can choose them. So just wanted to make that really clear. Now let’s get on to my personal thoughts about the mark of scribing gnome.


Needless to say, i think the mark of the scribing gnome is a really strong choice but that being said, it might not necessarily be the best choice for you. If you’re playing a martial character this is all pretty much useless to you. However if you’re playing something like a warlock or a bard or even a caster in general any full caster. All of this will be super useful to you. The warlock in particular just because of their ability to get back spell slots so easily.

You could really take advantage of this in a lot of social encounters and the fact that charisma is their spellcasting modifier would go a long way as well. Even the paladin could really benefit from this. Once again charisma being their spell casting modifier and i find their spell list lacks a lot of utility spells so this would be a good way of adding on to them.

However is it worth the smite slots. You know that’s kind of up to you and would likely come down to the campaign anyways. So yeah! Just bear that in mind.


That being said, let me know what you think of the mark of scribing gnome down beneath in the comment section. Be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments or concerns you have regarding them. That being said, i hope you all have a great day and as always happy adventuring.

Leave a Comment