Runethane Base Class


Homebrew


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After many weeks of hanging from an Ash-tree, stabbing myself in the side with pencil, drinking water from Mimir's well by gallons and sacrificing my eyesight by looking into the computer screen I managed to assemble the following class:

It's primary role is a melee combatant that uses runes to augment own equipment and invoke a number of magical effects. Some of the abilities are not finished. In its current incarnation major runes effects stack with magic items. Originally the class was meant to create temporary magic items by placing runes on non-magical items - they would occupy slots normally and bestow typical bonus types (enhancement bonus to ability scores and natural armor, deflection bonus to AC, resistance bonus to saving throws and so on) and scale with the runethane's level.

Runethane

Role: Runethanes study the runes and use them to imbue their weapons and armor.

Alignment: Any, but lawful Runethanes are more common than chaotic ones.

Base Attack Bonus: High
Hit Dice: d10.
Good Saving Throws: Fortitude, Will
I am torn between this or Fortitude being only good save and hoping that Word-wise will grant enough bonus to saves.

Class Skills: The runethane’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Knowledge [all] (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int) and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features:

Weapon And Armor Proficiency: Runethanes are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armors and shields (but not tower shields).

Minor Runes: A runethane can create small runestones imbued with magic by etching, inscribing, drawing or painting a minor rune upon a piece of bone, wood or stone. A desperate runethane can paint a minor rune with a bit of own blood as long as he has access to sharp improvised tool suffering 1 point of nonlethal damage in the process. Creating a minor rune requires one minute of work.

Each day, a runethane can create two minor runes plus one additional at 2nd level and every two levels thereafter. After the runethane rests and regains use of this ability he may choose to maintain any of the existing minor runes, They retain their power and count against the number of minor runes available for that day. Existing minor runes that weren’t maintained lose their power.

Bearer of a runestone gains its benefits as long as he carries it somewhere on his person. Minor runes that require triggering work once and are destroyed immediately after activation.

Spoiler:
Ash (ᚫ, aesc): Bearer of ash rune can trigger it as an immediate action to re-roll failed attack roll, saving throw, ability check or skill check. Re-roll gains a bonus equal to runic power.

Birch (ᛒ, bjarkan/bjarken): Bearer of the birch rune can trigger it as an immediate action to gain fast healing 1 for a number of rounds equal to the runethane’s Intelligence bonus (minimum 1). Runic power adds to fast healing rating.

Day (ᛞ, dagaz): Runestone bearing the day rune glows with constant light with spell level equal to the runethane’s runic power bonus.

Journey (ᚱ, reidh): Bearer of the journey rune gains benefits of constant endure elements and applies runic power bonus to all checks and saves that would be affected by Endurance feat.

Oak (ᚪ, ac): An oak runestone stores a number of temporary hit points equal to the runethane’s Intelligence bonus (minimum +1) plus three times the runic power bonus. Anyone carrying an oak runestone uses its temporary hit points to absorb damage suffered until they are depleted.

Plenty (ᛃ, ar): A bearer does not grow hungry or thirsty while carrying a plenty runestone. Additionally runic power bonus is added to the bearer’s saving throws against disease.

I’d like to add two more minor runes for a total of eight.

Rune Craft: A runethane can select item creation feats (except Brew Potion and Scribe Scroll) and use them treating his class level in place of caster level.

Rune Lore: A runethane becomes familiar with secrets of words and symbols adding half his level (minimum +1) to all Linguistics checks, Use Magic Device checks made to activate spell-completion or spell-trigger items, Perception checks made to find magical traps and Disable Devices checks made to disarm magical traps. A runethane can use Disable Devices to disarm magical traps and effects of spells and spell-like abilities that work like traps, including glyphs, explosive runes, and symbols.

Word-wise (Ex): A 2nd level runethane familiarity with words allows him to add his Intelligence bonus (minimum +1) to saving throws against language-dependent effects, explosive runes, glyphs, sepia snake sigil, symbols and similar effects that take form of writing or are triggered by reading.

Major Runes: A 3rd level runethane learns how to imbue his equipment by drawing major runes upon worn items. Inscribing a major rune requires one hour of drawing, inscribing or painting, while reciting silent incantations and meditation. A desperate runethane can paint a major rune with a bit of own blood as long as he has access to sharp improvised tool suffering 1 point of nonlethal damage in the process. Major runes last until dismissed by the runethane who created them or removed with erase or similar magic. A runethane can have only one major rune active at 3rd level with one additional rune available at the same time at 7th level and every four levels thereafter.

Item inscribed with major rune grants a specific bonus determined by the rune used and the type of item holding it. Only the runethane that inscribed the rune can benefit from its effects. For all other characters the rune is powerless.

Effects of multiple runes of the same type don’t stack.

Spoiler:
Beast Rune (ᚢ, uruz): Represents constitution, hardness and vitality. The beast rune can be unleashed to transform the bearer into beast of his choice. This works like beast shape I spell. At 7th level the transformation can duplicate beast shape II, at 11th beast shape III and at 15th beast shape IV.

Amulet: An amulet inscribed with the beast rune improves the wearer’s natural armor by 1 point.

Belt: A belt inscribed with the beast rune grants the wearer +2 bonus to Constitution.

Boots: Boots inscribed with the beast rune increase the wearer’s base land speed by 10 feet.

Giant Rune (ᚦ, thurs): Represents strength, courage and martial prowess. The giant rune can be unleashed to produce enlarge person effect on a number of allies equal to the runethane’s Intelligence bonus for a number of rounds equal to the runethane’s level. Affected allies must be within 30 feet of the runethane.

Armor or shield: An armor or a shield inscribed with the giant rune improves its armor bonus by 1.

Belt: A belt inscribed with the giant rune grants the wearer +2 bonus to Strength.

Manufactured Melee Weapon: A weapon inscribed with the giant rune improves its enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls by +1 and is treated as magical.

Hail Rune (ᚻ, hagalaz): Elemental rune of cold and ice. The hail rune can be activated to bestow frost weapon quality (or upgrade to icy burst if the weapon already has frost property) on weapon attacks of one ally per point of the runethane’s Intelligence bonus for a number of rounds equal to the runethane’s level. Affected allies must be within 30 feet of the runethane.

Ring: A ring inscribed with the glacier rune grants 5 points of cold resistance plus 5 points per four levels beyond 3rd to a maximum of 20 at 15th level. At 19th level it grants immunity to cold instead.

Manufactured Weapon: A weapon inscribed with the hail rune gains frost weapon property or upgrades to icy burst if it already has frost property.

Man Rune (ᛗ, mannaz): Represents agility, precision and ranged prowess. The man rune can be unleashed to bestow haste on one ally per point of Intelligence bonus within 30 feet of the runethane.

Belt: A belt inscribed with the man rune grants the wearer +2 bonus to Dexterity.

Cloak: A cloak inscribed with the man rune grants +1 bonus to all saving throws.

Manufactured Ranged Weapon: A weapon inscribed with the man rune improves its enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls by +1 and is treated as magical.

Spirit Rune (ᚨ, os): Represents wisdom, piety and healing. The spirit rune can be activated to unleash a 20-ft.-radius burst of positive energy healing living creatures of 3d6 points of damage plus 1d6 points per two runethane levels beyond 5th and damaging undead creatures for the same amount. A successful Will saving throw (DC 10+one-half the runethane’s level+the runethane’s Intelligence modifier) halves the damage.

Headband: A headband inscribed with the spirit rune grants the wearer +2 bonus to Wisdom.

Ring: A ring inscribed with the spirit rune grants +1 bonus to AC.

Manufactured Weapon, Armor or Shield: A weapon, armor or shield inscribed with the spirit rune gains ghost touch property.

Storm Rune (ᛏ, tiwaz): Elemental rune of lightning. The storm rune can be activated to bestow shocking weapon quality (or upgrade to shocking burst if the weapon already has shocking property) on weapon attacks of one ally per point of the runethane’s Intelligence bonus for a number of rounds equal to the runethane’s level. Affected allies must be within 30 feet of the runethane.

Ring: A ring inscribed with the storm rune grants 5 points of electricity resistance plus 5 points per four levels beyond 3rd to a maximum of 20 at 15th level. At 19th level it grants immunity to electricity instead.

Manufactured Weapon: A weapon inscribed with the storm rune gains shocking weapon property or upgrades to shocking burst if it already has shocking property.

Torch Rune (ᚴ, kenaz): Elemental rune of fire. The torch rune can be activated to bestow flaming weapon quality (or upgrade to flaming burst if the weapon already has flaming property) on weapon attacks of one ally per point of the runethane’s Intelligence bonus for a number of rounds equal to the runethane’s level. Affected allies must be within 30 feet of the runethane.

Ring: A ring inscribed with the ember rune grants 5 points of fire resistance plus 5 points per four levels beyond 3rd to a maximum of 20 at 15th level. At 19th level it grants immunity to fire instead.

Manufactured Weapon: A weapon inscribed with the torch rune gains flaming weapon property or upgrades to flaming burst if it already has flaming property.

I’d like to add one more major rune for a total of eight. Hail, storm and torch runes will get one additional associated slot effect, each.

Rune Power: A 4th level runethane improves his minor runes gains +1 bonus to various numeric effects of runestones he crafted. This bonus increases by 1 every four levels thereafter.

Unleash Rune (Sp): A 5th level runethane can invoke power of one of the major runes he has currently inscribed and active. Unleashing rune takes a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity and can be done once per day plus one additional time per four levels beyond the fifth. Unleash rune uses the runethane’s Intelligence bonus to determine saving throw DC and concentration checks.

Runic Secret: At 6th level, a runethane learns one runic secret that expands his use of runes. One additional runic secret is learned at 10th and 14th levels.

Spoiler:
Elemental Runes: The runethane can twist the power of hail, storm or torch rune and unleash it as a blast of elemental energy of corresponding type. It deals 1d6 points of energy damage per class level to everyone within the area. A successful Reflex saving throw halves the damage. Unleashed energy affects everyone within 60-ft.-long line (storm or torch runes), 30-ft.-long cone-shaped burst (hail or torch runes) or 20-ft.-radius spread centered on the runethane (hail or storm runes) and is subject to spell resistance. This ability is equivalent to a spell with level equal to half the runethane’s level.

Runes Of Death: This secret reveals mysteries of death allowing the runethane to corrupt drawn rune into its deathly counterpart. Corrupted beast rune becomes bone rune and can be unleashed to produce undead anatomy instead of beast shape. Corrupted spirit rune becomes shade rune, its unleashing creating a wave of negative energy that harms living creatures and heals undeads. Corrupted day rune becomes night rune producing darkness instead of light.

Runic Bomb: The runethane can take a standard action and spend one of his unleash rune daily uses to detonate one of his minor or major runes. Exploding rune deals 1d6 points of force damage per the runethane’s level to everyone within 20 feet radius. Creatures other than the one bearing the item inscribed with the rune can make a Reflex saving throw to halve the damage (DC 10+half the runethane’s level+the runethane’s Intelligence bonus). Using runic bomb destroys the rune detonated.

Runic Healing: The runethane can take a standard action and spend one of his unleash rune daily uses to provide healing to one creature that bears one of the runethane’s runestones. The recipient is healed 1d6 points of damage per the runethane’s level and the runestone is destroyed.

Runic Sense: The runethane can take a standard action to feel direction and general distance toward one of the runestones he created. He can take 1 round and spend one unleash rune ability to scry upon the runestone as long as he concentrates (to a maximum of 1 round/level). The runestone is destroyed when the runethane finishes his concentration.

Runic Travel: The runethane can take a standard action to teleport to a square adjacent to one of his runestones. This destroys the runestone. A runethane must be at least 14th level to select this secret.

Rune Master: At 20th level, a runethane becomes master of runes... To do, together with 18th level ability.

As some may notice, I have mercilessly butchered runes, mixing Old Futhark, Young Futharc and Anglo-Saxon Futhorc signs, names and meanings. I have also deliberately changed meaning of some (like god becoming spirit and Tiwaz becoming storm) and added allegorical association to certain concepts.


I'm absolutely no good when it comes to evaluating a class for balance and such, but from a flavor stand point I really like what you've come up with.


Thank you. I tried to focus on flavor side more than keeping it really balanced.


Hail Woden have you been reading my posts in n the simlodan thread?

Dont forget thorn rune. It could work as a minor. Also looms awesome man. One thing so fsr though. For the unleash do you think it should be x/xlvl+mod/day. That way you can get more use out of the minors.
Also is that one hour per major rune?


Unleash runes has little to do with minor runes - minor runes don't have unleash rune effect in themselves at all but can be used in conjunction with runic secrets that use up unleash rune ability. I might need to rewrite some parts if it is unclear in anyway.

I deliberately not added any ability modifier to daily uses of unleash rune ability - it is meant to be secondary ability that is used only occasionally duplicating effects of 3rd level spell buffing the runethane and allies. I'd like the runethane to focus on melee or ranged combatant more than his limited spell-like abilities.

As far as I could find "thorn" rune was Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Scandinavian "thurs" (giant), which is already present - as I mentioned in one of the notes I mixed various sets of runes here.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved has a Runethane class that might give you some ideas. It' been a while since I looked at it but it is similar in flavor to what you are going for I think.


I was thinking using rune bomb. Also should their be a difference between blowing up a major and minor like the minor uses a lower dc and dmg?


Darius Darkblade aka Legionare wrote:
I was thinking using rune bomb. Also should their be a difference between blowing up a major and minor like the minor uses a lower dc and dmg?

I don't know if I keep runic bomb or remove it at the moment.

I don't think there is need to downgrading detonating minor and major runes because the limiting factor of this ability is number of unleash rune daily uses, which is rather low anyway - 12th level runethane can have 8 runestones and 3 major runes but he still has can detonate two of them per day, assuming that he is willing to not use other unleash rune. This would be a rather desperate move.


Good point sir.


Alternate Favored Class Bonuses:
Duergar: Add +1/3 daily use of either enlarge person or invisibility racial spell-like ability.

Dwarf: Add +1 to weapon damage rolls against one of: dragons, giants, undeads, creatures with earth subtype or creatures with fire subtype to a maximum of +4 against single (sub)type.

Elf: Add +1 to weapon damage rolls against one of: dragons, fey, undeads, creatures with air subtype or creatures with evil subtype to a maximum of +4 against single (sub)type.

Dark Archive

This reminds me of the artificer from 3.5 Eberron campaign setting and the classes from 3.5 Magic fob Incarnum with soul melds. If you do not have those books, you still might find the write ups somewhere online on a fan site or a message board.


We did a rune caster ala 3.5 for Pathfinder a while back: Runesmith Class.


I deliberately designed this class as something different than Artificer. Magic Of Incarnum had more influence over this class - initially I envisioned it as closer to soulmelds, except the Runethane would imbue existing items instead of shaping them from nothingness, and planned on using a pool of runic energy that would be split between various runes like essentia. As it can be seen I moved away from that design but I still remember it and want to make a base class that has a pool of points that are invested in various effects.


I saw this the same day I started making a Magus Archetype that uses SGG's Runic Feats PDFs called the Runethane. I was thinking of the Arcana Evolved class when I named it. And I was tired of bugging Owen Stephens about making Rune classes for their products. :P


Feel free to share your thoughts and compare to your design xorial.

Spoiler:
Have you changed your avatar?


I was doing it all in Hero Lab, lol.


Now I wonder if major runes aren't a bit underpowered? Maybe instead of multiple weaker effects determined by the slot of item it is inscribed on, each rune should grant an offensive bonus and defensive bonus - this would probably made slot irrelevant, however.


Not if the bonus was based on slot. And they do feel a bit underwhelming to me also I just didnt want to say anything.


I'll see if I can do some reworking here.

I think that I'll remove ability score bonuses, however, focusing on other effects.


Possible major rune redesign:

Instead of placing them on items and being keyed to item slots, they would be drawn upon specific body part (forehead, hands, chest, stomach) - either on naked skin or on worn equipment, I have yet to decide. Their effect would be either determined by one of the three colors used (black, red, white) or by body part.

Unleashing runes will probably have two options for each major rune - one group effect and one personal effect.


Is this still WIP or abandoned?


I return from time to time to it and I will probably finish it one day.

Scarab Sages

DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I'm absolutely no good when it comes to evaluating a class for balance and such, but from a flavor stand point I really like what you've come up with.

I think it's a great start, but actually too generic as of yet. Don't be afraid to use more of your artist's judgement rather than group convention.


Yay! The Chrome finally started showing the runes properly!

Maybe now I will try to revise a few things.


I am undecided on the runethane... Should it be a class that draws runes on items to augment items, or should he draw runes on oneself to improve his own abilities?


Drejk wrote:
I am undecided on the runethane... Should it be a class that draws runes on items to augment items, or should he draw runes on oneself to improve his own abilities?

Why not both? You could make it similar to the choice for a wizard's arcane bond-either an item or a familiar.

Personally, I'd go with the abilities, as I'm not sure how the rune bonuses on items can stack onto magic armor and weapons without making the class overpowered.
Then again, I'm not really that good at making classes, so I'm probably talking out of my tail.


KoolKobold wrote:
Drejk wrote:
I am undecided on the runethane... Should it be a class that draws runes on items to augment items, or should he draw runes on oneself to improve his own abilities?
Why not both? You could make it similar to the choice for a wizard's arcane bond-either an item or a familiar.

I thought about it being two archetypes for a runethane.

Quote:
Personally, I'd go with the abilities, as I'm not sure how the rune bonuses on items can stack onto magic armor and weapons without making the class overpowered.

Balancing of the item improvement was my issue too. It is an interesting and I think underused idea, though.


Drejk wrote:
KoolKobold wrote:
Drejk wrote:
I am undecided on the runethane... Should it be a class that draws runes on items to augment items, or should he draw runes on oneself to improve his own abilities?
Why not both? You could make it similar to the choice for a wizard's arcane bond-either an item or a familiar.
I thought about it being two archetypes for a runethane.

Hey, if that's what you want, then we can see how it'll work.

Quote:
Personally, I'd go with the abilities, as I'm not sure how the rune bonuses on items can stack onto magic armor and weapons without making the class overpowered.
Balancing of the item improvement was my issue too. It is an interesting and I think underused idea, though.

It is interesting, but there needs to be at a point where the rune abilities to weapons and magic weapon bonuses don't stack or overlap-otherwise, I think that can make a game breaker.

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