For ages, the symbolism of runes have sparked the imagination and inspired us to delve deeper into the lore behind them. Presented here are ways to integrate them into the fantasy worlds we know and love!
A new magic system with rules for carving runes
The runesmith base class which supports the rune system
Pre-plan your runes and go into battle emblazoned with runes!
I got this product early on when I got the rune-fever. I came across other runic products that gave mundane magic to magic-less classes. As a result I've seen lots of rune-base products.
This one does things a little differently. Instead of making each rune be a magical thing that does some power or another it lets you put your spell in a rune. Depending on what kind of conditions and triggers you put on it the Craft DC to make the rune goes up by some amount and you've got yourself a stationary spell that goes off based on the conditions and triggers you set. By far it's the lowest word count rune rules I've ever seen as it works with something that already exists and gives a new way to use it. This eats up the spell slot that was used to make the rune until the rune is cast making for a clever balancing factor while making runes mostly free.
Now although it has a feat that lets anyone carve runes this product comes with it's own class, The Runesmith. The Runesmith has the cleric's spell list and can only cast them using runes. he also gets some buffs to cast those runes along with some packages that gives him new runemaking abilities and additions to it's spell list. Also he has his own generic explosion runes. Running this thing the Runesmith's Runecarving check is rarely an issue as it's just a DC10+spell level+whatever conditions/triggers, but I generally hate check-based casting even when it never comes up. This will likely lock one of your two skill ranks per level into crafting runes depending on how aggressive you are about making complicated runes. Speaking of complications this means that by nature this class has requires not only planning but plenty of tracking.
There is also a minor thing about how some of the scripts are worded, referring to using your levels in another class as your caster level which I think is backwards, I don't know what's going on there but The lines aren't really needed for it as it's obvious what it actually does without clarification.
Those complaints aside it's a neat class and a neat way to cast spells. I'm a bit torn about how much you'd want it. On one hand nobody really clamors to play it in my games and there are more interesting rune mechanics out there with a ton more flavor, but on the other hand I can't think of any rune mechanics that are as reaching without being complicated and adding the runecarving feat to a wizard is the closest you can get to something I would legitimately call a runelord so I you could say that it's necessary for making runes a thing in your world even if you're not using the Runesmith class.
I'd give this product four out of five stars. I wasn't exactly jumping for joy over it but I use it when I need the theme without the baggage.
So right out of the gate I want to note that this is an incredible class for experienced gamers who enjoy planning ahead and preparing for their encounters, but of markedly less use for inexperienced players.
The Runesmith combines a cleric's divine spellcasting with a unique mechanic brings to mind a Wizard's careful spell selection, but pushed to a further degree. Your Cleric spells, instead of being cast as needed, actually take 1 minute / spell level to carve into an appropriate receptacle, that then typically triggers when touched. What is entertaining and probably my favorite mechanic about this class, is the ability to set the conditions that trigger a rune via Craft checks, or to "reverse" runes for an unusual effect. As an example from the .pdf explains "An armor prepared with a protective rune of cure light wounds would normally heal the creature that struck him, but if carved reverse it would heal the runesmith". This makes careful choice and preparation both at the start of the adventuring day and before heading into dangerous areas a must of the class. Their "on the fly" ability still requires a certain amount of preparation and planning. This ability is called Glyph, and ti allows you to create elemental traps with damage progression similar to a rogue's sneak attack (only progressing at even levels instead of odd) in adjacent squares as a standard action. These squares cannot be occupied however, so being able to predict the flow of a battle or utilize careful teamwork to force an enemy into a glyphed square is still essential to the classes success.
They also gain bonus feats that be used for item creation or skill focus feats, making them a valuable contributor both in and out of combat.
I am a huge fan of this class, and I think it definitely does the concept of Rune magic considerable justice. I personally would give this a 5 star rating, but I have to drop it down just a bit in consideration of the fact that class truly is not accessible to inexperienced players.
I have a post here explaining the class a bit more in-depth, but I thought I'd throw up a review too. I didn't come into this class expecting much, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how well it seems to have been done. I've only given it a quick read through, so I haven't playtested or checked the mechanics extremely closely, but from what I gather it's fairly well done, if a bit chaotic in its balance.
In short, it's a class with the cleric spell list (and spells per day) that obliterates the 15 minute work day. It's not possible to blow through all of your powerful spells, as they all take a while to make (1 minute per level of the spell), so planning ahead is very important for this class. Due to this, there are easily situations where you could be worse off than a cleric due to not being able to use the spell the situation needs right now. While it's possible to stockpile runes, they'll continue to count against your prepared limit. This does, however, have the potential to allow you to stack up a ton of runes to go off at once for some massive spell-splosion.
They also receive a glyph feature that lets them place small explosive runes style runes that explode and do untyped damage. You can't create a glyph in a square that a creature is in though, so it's again a bit strong of an ability that requires some foresight and has a potential to be wasted.
My post goes a bit more into the other features, although there are a number of features I haven't touched upon. All-in-all, it seems like a fine class that does have some issues in that some situations they could be very strong, and in others they could be weak. Basing off of what I know, it seems like the 'weak' situation may pop up more often, especially for a player who isn't too good about planning ahead, which takes the edge off of the strong aspects quite a bit.
I'll place it at 3.5 stars, but round down for now because I haven't fully thought through every aspect of it, and it was just a quick read thru.
I havevn't played it yet. But they get the cleric spell list (and spells per day), but need to carve runes to activate their spells. Carving a rune requires a craft check, and it takes an umber of minutes equal to the spell level to make the rune. The DC to craft it seems like a foregone conclusion, given how low the DC is and that it's based off a skill, which are easy to boost. You can raise the DC to do certain effects.*
Seems like they're forced to not work with the 15 minute adventuring day, which I think is a lot of their balancing factors.
They get something like a "changeable domain", or rather, an extra spell slot per day and a "script" that they can focus on each day to change what spells they can fill that slot with.
They also get an "glyph" that's basically a suped up explosive runes. It does untyped damage, up to 10d6 at level 20. Place it on the ground next to you...and you can modify it with a few feats.
* There are a number of ways to make the check not a foregone conclusion it looks like. Lots of fiddly things you can do to specify who triggers the rune, etc. I was just reading the PDF and typing as I read :)
All in all, I wasn't expecting much from this, but I'm actually liking it a lot. Might even make a character with it, now that I've read it. There are some interesting balancing factors going on, and I do like the whole "gotta preplan" aspect of it.
That said, I haven't looked extremely closely at the interactions of the mechanics, so it's possible that it could have some issues.
Spot on mate.
During our playtest games this was one of those classes that was very much a "make or break" class depending on your own preparedness. We had some new players take a stab at it and the results were not overwhelming. However, in the hands of a player who thinks ahead this is a DEVASTATING class, though not overtly broken. It really came down to prepping things.
I'm getting ready to give the Runesmith a test drive in a new campaign, and I had some questions that didn't seem readily apparent from the text:
1. Beyond weapons, armor, and environmental elements (walls, doors, floors, etc.), where does the Runesmith carve their spells? Do they carry around metal or stone plates of the appropriate size for things like Bless, Aid, Cure Light Wounds, etc.?
2. Does casting a spell from a rune provoke attacks of opportunity? Does placing a glyph provoke?
3. Does the Runesmith get Orisons, or just start at 1st level spells? If so, how long would a 0-level spell take to carve?
4. I assume that the Runesmith can carve runes without the Rune Carving feat? It never mentions that they get it for free.
5. The way I read it, the Runesmith gets their allotment of spells through their daily meditation, and can then carve them whenever they want to during the day. Sort of like leaving a spell slot open. Is that correct?
I see "A new magic system with rules for carving runes" does this mean that other classes have access to rune magic? Because if melee classes get access to them it's an insta-buy for me. Well I think I'm going to buy it anyway, I'll just buy it faster.
Bought this recently (two weeks ago) for a Nordic game and when I downloaded it, the pdf is missing the Table; Runesmith Spells per day. Is their a updated pdf I am missing?
Or what class spells per day progression does it match?
Looks like it is the cleric spells per day.
As a related note: we are including a rebuilt Runesmith in alt. path magic 2 and old copies of runesmith will be updated with a new file to reflect the rebuild (for free).