Rune Keeper (5e Subclass)

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Rune Keeper[edit]

Fighter Archetype

A human with strange markings on his arm draws a sword from seemingly nowhere. A group of wolves emerge from the brush; teeth bared at him. Not wanting to harm the animals, the woman taps a sigil on the pommel of her sword, and it erupts into flame, scaring off the wolf pack.

The militia forms in ranks to prepare for the orcs’ charge. The growling brutes howl their battle cries and surge forward. To their surprise, the human rabble holds its ground and fights with surprising ferocity. Suddenly, all the orcs fall to the ground and are cut down in seconds, despite facing a far inferior foe, never noticing the calm half-elf standing amid the militia and wiping away a bead of sweat from the exertion of knocking each one down in a few seconds.

A young half-elf becomes surrounded, and in a single action, she quickly dashes from one enemy to the next attacking all enemies surrounding her with blinding speed. A human looks on in shock as a lightning bolt darts his way, but in a rush of motion, he is carried out of range and allowed to live another day by his quick-stepping companion. An elf is seen racing across the land, traveling faster on foot than the horses that her companions are riding, on to her next adventure.

A Rune Keeper is a character whose abilities primarily relate to writing in the dead language of pure magic otherwise known as runes. Primary skills shared by all Rune Keepers include the ability to bind oneself to and enhance a weapon, as well as the enhancement of oneself by tattooing runes onto their skin and increased interaction with the environment by imprinting runes on other surfaces. In almost all cases, Rune Keepers can imbue their weapon with elemental energy and. A Rune Keeper draws their power from the use of the Runic Language, an ancient dialect that was used to create magical effects before spells were used. Access to this magic is directly related to how many scholars of the ancient language exist in the world.

When creating a Rune Keeper, ask yourself a few questions: How did you become a Rune Keeper? Did you uncover lost scrolls, find a master to teach you, or did you steal an ancient master's notes and are constantly running to avoid capture for your actions. Perhaps your created a pact with some mischievous diety in order to gain your knowledge? Whatever the case, your body is forever changed. How does this affect you? How does it affect your loved ones, if there are any?

You can make a Rune Keeper quickly by following these suggestions. First, Constitution should be your highest ability score, followed by Strength of Dexterity. Second, choose the Sage background.


Starting at 3rd level, you know Runic, the dead language of magic. You can read and write in this ancient language and use it as a form of sign language as it has no verbal components.

In addition, you gain proficiency with the tattooist's tools and the calligrapher’s supplies.

Armory Rune

Since you have learned how to inscribe runes on your body and weapons to increase your martial capabilities. Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace a weapon rune with a new weapon rune.

Some Body Runes have level pre-requisites, and can only be replaced with another rune of the same level.

At 3rd level, you gain the following benefits:

Weapon Runes. Over the course of a short rest you can perform a ritual that binds one melee weapon of your choice to the rune. Once you are bound to a weapon, you can dismiss it to an extradimesnional space or retrieve it from that space as a bonus action. You can bind to magical weapons this way, but not artifacts. You can have one weapon bound in this way.

This bound weapon is also inscribed with one rune from the Weapon Runes list. You can inscribe additional runes to your at 7th, 10th, and 15th levels.

If you bind yourself with another weapon, the runes disappear on the previous one and reaper on your new weapon.

Body Runes. As a Rune Keeper, you can magically inscribe powerful runes on your skin to various ends. At 3rd level , your body can only handle one rune. This increases as you gain in levels as your body becomes more able to metabolize the magical energy in the runes. Your Rune limit increases, allowing you to inscribe additional runes to your at 7th, 10th, and 15th levels.

In addition, these runes protect your body. Your Unarmored AC is equal to 10 + Your Dexterity Modifier + Your Constitution Modifier.

Rune of Evasion

Beginning at 7th level, you gain a precognitive rune that glows and changes temperature when you are in danger. This allows you to react quickly and dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or an ice storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Rune of Longevity

At 10th level, this rune slows your aging process and increases your overall youthfulness and health. You now age at 1/10 the normal rate for your race. In addition, this rune prevents disease from taking hold in your body. You become immune to disease.

Rune of Courage

At 15th level , this minor Rune keeps your mind centered and serene during a crisis. You cannot be frightened.

Rune of Power

At 18th level, this rune enhances your martial prowess. Whenever you hit a creature with your Rune-bound weapon, the creature takes an additional 1d6 force damage.

Body Runes[edit]

Rune of Understanding

You can read all Languages.

Rune of Mastery

You gain proficiency in two skills of your choice.

Rune of Recovery

As a Bonus Action on your turn, you can regain hit points equal to 1d4 + your Intelligence modifier.

You must finish a short rest or a long rest before the magic in the Rune replenishes itself and allows you to use the ability again.

Rune of Celerity

Your movement speed increases by 10 feet. You can choose to inscribe this rune multiple times.

Rune of Sight

You can see normally in normal and magical darkness up to 120 feet.

Rune of Deception (7th level)

As an action you may alter your appearance to match any humanoid of your size that you have seen before (like in the alter self spell. If you die, you revert to your natural appearance.

Rune of Telepathy (7th Level)

You can communicate Telepathically with any Intelligent creature you can see within 30 feet of you. You don’t need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able to understand at least one language.

Rune of the Sage (7th Level)

You can cast the Identify and Detect Magic spells at will.

Rune of the Shadow (7th level)

When you are in an area of dim light or darkness, you can use your action to become invisible until you move or take an action or a reaction.

Rune of the Warrior (7th level)

Your hit point maximum increases by 7, plus 1 for each new fighter level you gain. In addition, whenever you finish a short rest, you can replace one fighting style you currently have for a new one.

Rune of the Fish (7th level)

You gain a swim speed of 30 feet and and can breath underwater. In addition, while submerged, you can see in dim light or darkness as if it were bright light up to a range of 30 feet.

Rune of Shielding (10th level)

While not wearing armor or shield, your AC increases in +2

Rune of Strength (10th level)

You roll 1d8 for unarmed strikes, instead of the regular damage, and your unarmed strikes are now considered magical. In addition, you can make an unarmed strike once in each turn, as a bonus action, if you have one free hand.

Rune of Wild Magic (10th level)

You can spend one use of your Action Surge to roll a d6, using your Action. Doing so doesn't activate Action Surge, only wastes its use. You cast the spell chosen by the rolled d6:

1. Chaos Bolt, at 5th level

1. Dragon's Breath, at 5th level

1. Fly, at 5th level

1. Confusion, at 5th level

1. Bigby's Hand

1. Scatter

You can't do so again until you finish a long rest.

Rune of the Angel (15th level)

You gain a flying speed of 30 feet.

Rune of the Golem (15th level)

You are resistant to non-magical bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage.

Rune of Expulsion (15th Level)

You infuse this rune with your own life force. As an action. you can force each creature within 15 feet of you to succeed on a Constitution saving throw, or suffer 12d8 force damage and be pushed outside the 15 foot radius. On a success, the creature take only half damage and is not pushed.

Once you use this rune, you suffer 1 level of exhaustion and can't do it again until you finish a long rest.

Rune of the Arcanist (15th Level)

Choose a spell of 2nd-level or lower, that requires an action to cast. You can cast that spell at will, without spending spell slots, and using your Constitution as your spellcasting ability.

If the chosen spell require a material component with a cost in gold, you must offer that material component to cast the spell.

If the spell restore hit points, the target can't benefit from that spell again until it completes a short or a long rest.

Rune of the Runemaster (15th Level)

You can cast any spell of 5th-level or lower, from any spell list, without spending a spell slot. Once you do so, you can't do it again until you finish a long rest.

Rune of the Untouched: This rune enhances your reflexes, opportunity attacks have disadvantage to hit you. In addition, you may take the Dodge Action as a Bonus Action.

Weapon Runes[edit]

Elemental Rune

Whenever you hit a creature with an attack using the inscribed weapon, you can change the damage type with a elemental damage type from the following: acid, fire, cold, thunder, or lightning.

Rune of Deftness

You can use your Dexterity modifier, rather than your Strength, for attacks and damage rolls using this weapon and the weapon gain the light property. In addition, if the weapon has the Heavy property, you ignore that property.

Rune of Heft

Your weapon gains the heavy and the two-handed property, if it doesn't already. In addition, whenever you hit a creature with it, you can use your reaction to take the Shove action. If you win, you can choose any of the normal effects of shove, or alternatively you can choose to disarm that creature from one object it is currently wielding.

Rune of Speed

When you take the Attack action, you can make an additional attack as a bonus action. This rune can only be applied to light weapons.

Rune of Returning

Your weapon gains the thrown property (20/60). When the weapon is thrown, it returns to your hand once the attack is resolved.

Rune of Transformation

As a bonus action, you can transform your bound weapon into any weapon you are proficient with (including ranged weapons). Alternatively, you can transform your bound weapon on a shield.

Rune of Siphoning

Each time you reduce a creature to 0 hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Constitution modifier + your Fighter level.

Optional Feature: Epic Rune[edit]

Replaces the Extra Attack (3) Feature

At 20th level, your mastery of the Runic Language has given you the ability to create one Rune that supersedes all others in magical power. Choose one epic rune below.

Rune of the Dragon

When you fail a saving throw and use your Indomitable feature, you succeed instead.

In addition, you can cast dragon's breath on yourself at will, without spending spell slots.

Rune of the Basilisk

You can cast flesh to stone once, without spending a spell slot or any components. You can't do it again until you complete a long rest.

Rune of the Phoenix

When you are reduced to 0 hit points, you can choose to fall instead to an amount of hit points equal to half your maximum. You can't do it again until you complete a long rest.

Rune of the Behemoth

You become immune to two damage types of of your choice from the following: acid, cold, fire, thunder, radiant, necrotic, lightning, psychic, poison.

Rune of the Demon

At the start of your turn, you can activate this rune without using an action, allowing you to drain the life force of your enemies and use as your own. Any damage you cause with weapon attacks or unarmed strikes until the start of your next turn restore hit points to you equal to the damage caused.

You can't do it again until you complete a long rest.

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