Fundamental Rune on regular weapon


Rules Discussion


Can you put a Fundamental Rune on a normal weapon? For example, just have a striking longsword, not a +1 striking longsword? The Player’s Handbook always mentions weapons with pluses, as if they are either magic or already have a property rune installed. But what about regular weapons with ONLY Fundamental Runes installed?


Page 580, 3rd paragraph under the heading "Runes"

"The number of property runes a weapon or armor can have is equal to the value of its potency rune."


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

A striking rune is not a property rune, it's a fundamental rune. There are two kinds of fundamental runes: potency runes and either resilient (armor) or striking (weapon) runes.

I don't see anything in the rules that would preclude putting a striking or resilient rune on a weapon or armor, respectively, that doesn't have a potency rune on it. OTOH, the tone of the Rune section of the CRB seems to suggest that the most common route is to start with the +1 potency rune and go from there.

This may be something for errata, a faq, or the devs to address.

Edit: consider also that a striking rune is level 4, while +1 potency is level 2. Why would you wait two extra levels to gain your first enhancement to your weapon? For armor it's worse: +1 potency is level 5, resilient is level 8.


I realized a moment ago that I had misread the thread. That means my earlier post is just about irrelevant, my bad.

As to the question actually asked: the side-bar and accompanying tables on page 582 definitely imply that resilient armor and striking weapons without potency runes don't happen. The treasure tables in the Crafting & Treasure chapter further that implication by having the 2nd-level permanent item table list a +1 weapon potency rune and a +1 weapon, and the 4th-level permanent item table list a striking rune and a +1 striking weapon but not a striking weapon.

However, there is no explicit statement I can find that it's impossible to put fundamental runes on an item "backwards" - so it could just be that the writers assumed players would always go for putting the higher-level runes they find or make onto the items they've already put some runes onto.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ed Reppert wrote:

A striking rune is not a property rune, it's a fundamental rune. There are two kinds of fundamental runes: potency runes and either resilient (armor) or striking (weapon) runes.

I don't see anything in the rules that would preclude putting a striking or resilient rune on a weapon or armor, respectively, that doesn't have a potency rune on it. OTOH, the tone of the Rune section of the CRB seems to suggest that the most common route is to start with the +1 potency rune and go from there.

This may be something for errata, a faq, or the devs to address.

Edit: consider also that a striking rune is level 4, while +1 potency is level 2. Why would you wait two extra levels to gain your first enhancement to your weapon? For armor it's worse: +1 potency is level 5, resilient is level 8.

Hm. On further research I found, on CRB page 580, the following: "A potency rune is what makes a weapon a magic weapon (page 599) or armor magic armor (page 556)." So if it doesn't have a potency rune, it's not magic. But the striking and resiliency runes have the magic trait. Also, the magic weapon entry on page 599 and the magic armor entry on page 556 both list, as the first item in a list, the +1 weapon or +1 armor, followed by +1 striking weapon or +1 resilient armor, and so on. This all seems to indicate that it's not just the most common route, a potency rune is required to be the first rune etched on a mundane weapon or armor.


I don't see anything requiring that you have a potency rune before adding a striking rune. The basic magic weapon item calls out that these are the most common items you can make with just fundamental runes, but it doesn't say that this is how it's always done. You could make a major striking weapon for 31,065 gp, but if you're spending that kind of dough, why wouldn't you shell out the additional 8,935 gp for +3 to hit as well?


In the playtest it was impossible to have the equivalent of a +0 striking weapon because the +N and the 'striking' were tied together. That probably means the previous draft of the CRB was written accordingly. That means that they'd have examples of +N striking only for N > 0. IMHO, when the +N and the striking were decoupled as a result of playtest feedback, there just wasn't enough reason to go back and add the +0 striking case here and there, especially since +1 is cheaper than striking and they only wanted to print the common cases explicitly.

TL;DR +0 striking is legal and its lack of explicit appearance is largely a historical artifact.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Possibly. Possibly not.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I should certainly hope you can have striking runes without potency runes. That’s one of the few things that work in a Bestial Mutagen’s favor, since you can just spend money on striking hand wraps as the mutagen provides you with an item bonus to hit.


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Looks like there's no hard and fast rule, just the opportunity cost of not having a +1 weapon for a few levels. But if you're high enough level to make Striking runes, you make a +0 striking weapon.

Whether this is an efficient use of time and money is another question.

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