Faerûnian Prestige Class : Runecaster
Though originally developed by the dwarves and giants, the ability to create runes of power has spread far beyond the hills and mountains. Those who choose to master this ability, known as runecasters, can create incredibly potent symbols that last for multiple uses and can be triggered without so much as a touch. An established runecaster's belongings are usually adorned with many runes, which make them not only impressive-looking items, but also true threats to thieves.
Since a majority of those who practice this technique are dwarves and giants, it is not surprising that most runecasters come from the cleric or adept class. Some rangers and paladins have also chosen to become runecasters, particularly since the Thunder Blessing has resulted in many young dwarves leaving home to explore the wilderness. A few rare druids have chosen the path of the runecaster as well, although generally only in places where druids are so scarce that they have to rely on runes to protect a large area. Runecasting clerics and paladins use their abilities to protect their temples and holy items, while ranger runecasters use them to guard trails, protect lairs of threatened animals, and defend natural refuges.
To qualify to become a Runecaster, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Spellcraft 8 ranks, Craft (calligraphy, gemcutting, metalworking, stonecarving, or woodcarving) 8 ranks
- Feats: Inscribe Rune.
- Spellcasting: Ability to cast 3rd-level divine spells.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All the following are Class Features of the runecaster prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Runecasters gain no proficiency with any weapon, armor, or shield.
Spells per Day/Spells Known: When a new runecaster level is gained, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he. had also gained a level in whatever divine spellcasting class granted him access to 3rd-level spells before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of turning or rebuking undead, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. This essentially means that he adds the level of runecaster to the level of whatever other divine spellcasting class granted him access to 3rd-level spells, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly.
If a character had more than one divine spellcasting class that granted access to 3rd-level spells before he became a runecaster, he must decide to which class he adds each level of runecaster for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.
Rune Craft (Ex): At 1st level, the runecaster gains a +1 bonus on Craft checks made to inscribe runes. This bonus increases to +2 at 4th level and to +3 at 7th level.
Improved Runecasting (Su): As a runecaster rises in level, he gains the ability to create runes that function more than once and have different kinds of triggers. These extra features increase the cost of the rune, as shown on the table.
Works When Read or Passed: Any attempt to study, identify, or fathom a rune's meaning counts as "reading" the rune. Passing through any portal that bears a rune counts as "passing" it. To affect a target, a rune must have an unbroken line of effect to it and be within 30 feet of it.
A rune that is triggered when passed can be set for almost any special condition the runecaster specifies. Runes can be set to trigger according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight) or creature type, subtype, or race (such as drow or aberration). They can also trigger based on good, evil, law, or chaos, or a creature's patron deity. They cannot, however, be set to trigger by class, Hit Dice, or level. Runes respond to invisible creatures normally but are not triggered by creatures that travel past them ethereally. When placing a rune with a "pass" trigger, a runecaster can specify a password or phrase that prevents the rune from triggering.
Rune Power (Ex): When the runecaster reaches 2nd level, his runes become more potent. The DC for all attempts to erase, dispel, or disable his runes, and for caster level checks to overcome the spell resistance of their targets, increases by 1. This increase does not apply to the DC of the saving throw (if any) to resist a rune's effect. This increase rises to 2 at 5th level and to 3 at 9th level.
Maximize Rune (Ex): At 6th level, the runecaster can create runes whose effects are maximized, as if by the Maximize Spell feat, without altering the level of the spell used to create the rune. Maximizing a rune adds 5 to the DC of the Craft check required to inscribe it.
Rune Chant (Ex): A 10th-level runecaster may cast any divine spell to which he has access at +1 caster level by tracing a rune in the air as an extra somatic component. For spells with a casting time of 1 action, using this ability increases the casting time to 1 full round. The casting time for all other spells increases by 1 round when rune chant is used. This ability cannot be used on stilled spells, and it does not function with the maximize rune ability.
|Number of Uses or Trigger Method||Base Price||Runecaster Level²|
|One||Spell level x caster level x 50 gp||-|
|Charges³||Spell level¹ x caster level x charges x 50 gp||3rd|
|Charges per day³||Spell level¹ x caster level x charges x 400 gp||8th|
|Permanent (until dispelled)*||Spell level¹ x caster x level x 2,000 gp||8th|
|Works when touched||Base cost||-|
|Works when read or passed||Base cost x 2||3rd|
|¹ A 0-level spell counts as 1/2 level.|
² The minimum runecaster level to inscribe a rune of this type. "-" indicates the default ability granted by the Inscribe Rune feat.
³ If the spell has a component or XP cost, add that cost times the number of charges to the base price of the rune.
* If the spell has a component or XP cost, add 100 times that cost to the base price of the rune.
|Runecaster||Hit Dice: d8|
|CL||BAB||Fort||Ref||Will||Special||Spells per Day|
|1||+0||+2||+0||+2||Rune craft +1||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|2||+1||+3||+0||+3||Rune power +1||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|3||+2||+3||+1||+3||Improved runecasting||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|4||+3||+4||+1||+4||Rune craft +2||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|5||+3||+4||+1||+4||Rune power +2||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|6||+4||+5||+2||+5||Maximize rune||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|7||+5||+5||+2||+5||Rune craft +3||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|8||+6||+6||+2||+6||Improved runecasting||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|9||+6||+6||+3||+6||Rune power +3||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
|10||+7||+7||+3||+7||Rune chant||+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class|
Epic runecasters are particularly common among the dwarves and giants, who originated this form of magic. A runecaster of epic level is likely a legend among his people, and the power of his runes is beyond comparison.
The epic runecaster should pick up Inscribe Epic Rune as soon as possible. Beyond that, any feat that makes his spellcasting more powerful is a good choice, from Enhance Spell to Improved Metamagic to Spell Stowaway. Epic Toughness is a good choice for epic runecasters who want to emulate their dwarf or giant teachers. Players could also work with their DMs to create rune-based epic feats that mimic metamagic feats.
If the epic runecaster's divine spellcasting relies on Wisdom, that's the best choice for his ability score increases. Constitution is a solid second choice, since many runecasters take pride in their physical toughness.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.
Spells: The epic runecaster's divine caster level increases by 1 for every level higher than 10th. His spells per day and spells known do not increase after 10th level.
Rune Craft: The epic runecaster's bonus on Craft checks made to inscribe runes increases by 1 for every three levels higher than 10th (to +4 at 13th level, +5 at 16th level, and +6 at 19th level).
Rune Power: For runes created by the runecaster, the save DC for all attempts to erase, dispel, or disable the rune, and for caster level checks made to overcome the spell resistance of a target, increases by 1 for every three levels higher than 9th (to +4 at 12th level, +5 at 15th level, and +6 at 18th level).
Crafting Epic Runes: An epic runecaster can't create a rune with a spell level above 10th or an effective caster level above 20th without using the Inscribe Epic Rune feat.
Bonus Feats: The epic runecaster gains a bonus feat, selected from the list below, for every three levels higher than 10th. He must meet any prerequisites for a feat in order to select it.
Epic Runecaster Bonus Feat List: Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Bonus Domain, Chosen Weapon Specialization, Divine Spell Penetration, Efficient Item Creation, Enhance Spell, Epic Devotion, Epic Skill Focus (Craft [any]), Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Epic Toughness, Ignore Material Components, Improved Alignment-Based Casting, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Inscribe Epic Rune, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Domain Access, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic.
|Epic Runecaster||Hit Dice: d8|
|12th||Rune power +4|
|13th||Bonus feat, rune craft +4|
|15th||Rune power +5|
|16th||Bonus feat, rune craft +5|
|18th||Rune power +6|
|19th||Bonus feat, rune craft +6|