Magic in the Realms - Rune Magic

In the snowbound mountains of the North, dwarves and giants have dwelled for uncounted years as rivals and enemies, and their deeds are only rumored in human lands. In the lore of the shield dwarves, runes - carefully inscribed symbols from the secret characters of the dwarven alphabet - can be carved to hold spells of great potency.

Learning The Runes

In order to use rune magic, a character must learn the Inscribe Rune feat. Rune magic is strongly tied to the dwarven and giant deities and is thus the province of divine spellcasters. Some students of rune magic choose to virtually abandon the normal practice of magic in order to concentrate on their chosen medium, becoming runecasters of great power.

Creating Runes

If you know Inscribe Rune, any divine spell you currently have prepared can instead be cast as a rune. A rune is a temporary magical writing similar to a scroll. It can be triggered once before it loses its magical power, but it lasts indefinitely until triggered. A rune written or painted on a surface fades away when expended, erased, or dispelled. A rune carved into a surface remains behind as a bit of nonmagical writing even after its magic is expended.

Inscribing a rune takes 10 minutes plus the casting time of the spell to be included. When you create a rune, you can set the caster level at anywhere from the minimum caster level necessary to cast the spell in question and no higher than your own level. When you create a rune, you make any choices that you would normally make when casting the spell.

You must provide any material components or focuses the spell requires. If casting the spell would reduce your XP total, you pay this cost upon beginning the rune in addition to the XP cost for making the rune itself.

Inscribing a rune requires a Craft check against a DC of 20 + the level of the spell used. The Craft skill you use is anything appropriate to the task of creating a written symbol on a surface (metal-working, calligraphy, gemcutting, stonecarving, woodcarving, and so on). You paint, draw, or engrave the rune onto a surface and make the check. (Dwarves usually engrave their runes in stone or metal in order to take advantage of their racial affinity for these items.)

If the check fails, the rune is imperfect and cannot hold the spell. The act of writing triggers the prepared spell, whether or not the Craft check is successful, making the spell unavailable for casting until you rest and regain spells. That is, the spell is expended from your currently prepared spells, just as if it had been cast.

A single Medium-size or smaller object can hold only one rune. Larger objects can hold one rune per 25 square feet (an area 5 feet square) of surface area. Runes cannot be placed on creatures. The rune has a base price of the spell level x caster level x 100 gp (a 0-level spell counts as 1/2 level). You must spend 1/25 of its base price in XP and use up raw materials costing half this base price. A rune's market value equals its base price.

Triggering Runes

Whoever touches the rune triggers the rune and becomes the target of the spell placed in it. The rune's creator may touch the rune safely without triggering it, or deliberately trigger it if he so desires. (Runemakers often carry healing or restorative runes for just this purpose.) The rune itself must be touched in order to trigger it, so an object with a rune may be handled safely as long as care is taken to avoid contacting the rune. If the spell only affects objects, then an object must trigger the rune.

As with a symbol spell, a rune cannot be placed upon.a weapon with the intent of having the rune triggered when the weapon strikes a foe.

Unlike the spell glyph of warding, the rune spell is not concealed in any way and is obvious to anyone inspecting the object holding the rune. A read magic spell allows the caster to identify the spell held in a rune with a successful Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spell's level).

Disarming Runes

Runes can be disarmed or deactivated in several ways. A successful erase spell deactivates a rune (DC 15 + your caster level). Touching the rune to erase it does not trigger the rune unless the erase spell fails to deactivate the rune.

A dispel magic spell targeted on an untriggered rune can dispel its magic if successful (DC 11 + your caster level). Untriggered runes are not subject to area dispels. Finally, a rogue can use her Disable Device skill to disable runes (DC 25 + the spell's level), like any magic trap.

Magic in the Realms