General Prestige Class : Runesmith

While nearly any member of dwarf society can learn a little bit of arcane magic, becoming a runesmith requires a whole different level of dedication. Runesmiths are respected members of dwarf society, always in high demand before any sort of athletic competition, expedition, or battle. A runesmith has learned to harness the power of runes and can fling fireballs and other staple arcane spells even while encased in full plate armor. As his power increases, he can inscribe runes that even non-spellcasters can use. At the height of his powers, he can use himself as the surface for a powerful, permanent rune.

While becoming a runesmith is difficult, many wizards and sorcerers flock to the class to broaden their understanding of magic - and get the chance to cast spells in armor without an arcane spell failure chance. Most dwarves take a single level in fighter to get the necessary armor proficiencies, but others take the Armor Proficiency (heavy) feat because they're unwilling to give up even one level of spellcasting. While the practice is primarily dwarven in origin, gnomes and goliaths both have enough familiarity with runes - and good enough relations with the dwarves - to find teachers for the art.

While many runesmiths are accomplished artisans and stonecarvers, NPC runesmiths are often found with battleaxes in hand, nor stone chisels. Because they can wear heavy armor - often armor they've made themselves - runesmiths make valuable additions to a unit of dwarf warriors, using their offensive spells like artillery to soften up the enemy before the dwarves advance.

Adaptation: The runesmith class offers a benefit compelling to wizards and sorcerers - the chance to wear heavy armor - but uses the Armor Proficiency (heavy) requirement as a balancing factor. The flavor of the class is strongly dwarven, and the ability to wear heavy armor combines well with the special dwarf movement rules. If you create a non-dwarven version of this class, make the entry Requirements somewhat tougher and develop a strong story to support these rune-carving arcanists.


To qualify to become a Runesmith, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The runesmith's class skills are Appraise, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Knowledge (arcana), and Spellcraft.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are features of the runesmith prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Rutnesmiths gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: At each level, a runesmith gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class level. He does not however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of turning or destroying undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). If he had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a runesmith, he must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

Rune Magic (Ex): A runesmith learns to prepare his arcane spells as runes inscribed on solid objects (usually small tablets of stone, but other objects are possible). He prepares spells as normal, except that instead of readying the spells in his mind, he readies them in the form of runes. Preparing daily spells takes the same amount of time as normal preparation and requires the same amount of rest beforehand. A runesmith can leave spell slots unprepared to scribe runes at a later time, just as a wizard can leave spell slots unprepared and fill them later.

A runesmith who casts a spell prepared in rune form can cast it without any somatic component. However, all spells cast from rune form automatically have a material component (the rune itself). In casting the spell, the rune is erased from the tablet, just as a spell cast normally by a wizard is erased from his mind. A runesmith cannot get around the runic material component by means of an ability or feat such as Eschew Materials, although he can use such feats and abilities to waive any other material components for a spell he prepares in rune form, subject to the limitations of the ability. In all other ways, spells prepared in rune form are treated identically to spells prepared in the normal method. A runesmith can still prepare and cast his spells in the regular fashion if he so desires, subject to the normal arcane spell failure chances for any armor worn.

Stonecraft Expertise (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, a runesmith gains a bonus equal to his class level on Appraise and Craft checks related to objects made of stone.

Share Runes (Ex): At 3rd level and higher, a runesmith can prepare a limited number of rune-form arcane spells such that they can be activated (cast) by any character. The spell's casting time remains the same, and it is just as effective as a spell cast by the runesmith himself. The spell's level is increased by two, much as if a metamagic feat had been applied to it.

For example, a 5th-level wizard/4th-level runesmith could prepare a shared rune of the fly spell. This rune would be treated as a 5th-level spell, would require a standard action to cast, and would function as if he had cast the spell himself for the purpose of duration, caster level, and the like.

A runesmith can prepare a maximum number of shareable runes each day equal to his Constitution modifier (minimum 1). Each time this ability is used to prepare a sharable rune, that rune takes up one of the runesmith's available spell slots for that day. So in the example above, the fly rune prepared by the runesmith would take up one of his 5th-level spell slots.

Permanent Rune (Ex): A 5th-level runesmith knows the secret of inscribing a permanent rune of a single chosen spell into his flesh. To inscribe a permanent rune, a runesmith must permanently sacrifice an arcane spell slot of one level higher than the spell to be inscribed as a permanent rune, and spend 24 hours inscribing the rune. If the spell has a costly material component, he must expend resources equal to 20 times the gp cost of the material component. If it has a costly focus, he must expend resources equal to the cost of the focus. If the spell has an XP cost, he must spend XP as if he had cast the spell normally.

Once he has inscribed a spell as a permanent rune, a runesmith can activate the chosen spell as a spell-like ability (using his arcane caster level as the caster level) twice per day.

RunesmithHit Die: d6
1st+0+2+0+2Rune magic+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
2nd+1+3+0+3Stonecraft expertise+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd+1+3+1+3Share runes+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4th+2+4+1+4-+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th+2+4+1+4Permanent rune+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

Source: Races of Stone

General Prestige Classes