Rune Keeper (5e Class)

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Rune Keeper[edit]

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.

Creating a Rune Keeper[edit]

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?

Quick Build

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.

Class Features

As a Rune Keeper you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Rune Keeper level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 1d8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Rune Keeper level after 1st


Armor: Light Armor
Weapons: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons
Tools: Calligraphy Tools
Saving Throws: Constitution, Strength
Skills: Arcana, and choose one from Insight, Perception, Investigation, or Medicine.


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a dungeoneer's pack or (b) an explorer's pack or a scholar's pack
  • 1 Martial Weapon, or 2 Simple Weapons
  • Calligraphy Set

Table: The Rune Keeper

Level Proficiency
1st +2 Armory Rune, Runic
2nd +2 Weapon Rune (1)
3rd +2 Body Runes (2), Rune of Health
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra Attack,
6th +3 Body Runes (4), Weapon Rune (2)
7th +3 Rune of Evasion
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Weapon Rune (3),
10th +4 Ability Score Increase
11th +4 Body Runes (6), Rune of Power
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Weapon Rune (4), Rune of Courage
14th +5 Rune of Longevity
15th +5 Weapon Rune (5)
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Body Runes (8)
18th +6 Weapon Rune Improvements
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Epic Rune


At level 1 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.

Armory Rune[edit]

Since you have learned the basics of the Runic Language, you can use certain runes to unlock magical effects. At level 1, you start with the Armory Rune tattooed somewhere on your form. The Armory rune offers the following benefits:

  • Your Unarmored AC is equal to 10 + Your Dexterity Modifier + Your Constitution Modifier.
  • Over the course of a short rest you can perform a ritual that binds one weapon of your choice to the rune. Once you are bound to a weapon, you can dismiss it to an extradimesnional space or retreive 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.

Weapon Rune[edit]

At level 2, you can inscribe additional Runes to your Armory Runes so that they appear on the weapon when summoned for various effects. You gain 1 Weapon Rune and can add 1 additional rune at levels 6, 9, 13, and 15.

Body Runes[edit]

As a Rune Keeper, you can magically inscibe powerful runes on your skin to various ends. At level 3, your body can only handle 2 such Runes. 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 by 2 again at levels 6, 11, and 17.

Rune of Health[edit]

At level 3, this small rune prevents disease from taking hold in your body. You become immune to disease.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack[edit]

Starting at Level 5, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.

Rune of Evasion[edit]

Beginning at 7th level, you gain a precognitive rune that glows and/or 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 Power[edit]

At level 11, this rune enhances your martial prowress. Whenever you hit a creature with your Rune-bound weapon, the creature takes an additional 1d6 damage

Rune of Courage[edit]

At level 13, this minor Rune keeps your mind centered and serene during a crisis. You cannot be frightened.

Rune of Longevity[edit]

At level 14, this Rune slows your aging process. You now age at 1/10 the normal rate for your race.

Epic Rune[edit]

At level 20, your mastery of the Runic Language has given you the ability to create one Rune that superceeds all others in magical power. Choose 1 Epic Rune.

Body Runes[edit]

Rune of Understanding: You can read all Languages.

Rune of Mastery: You gain proficency in 3 skills of your choice and Expertise in 2 skills which you are already proficent with.

Rune of Recovery: As a Bonus Action on your turn you can regain Hit Points equal to 1d10 + Your Rune Keeper Level, you must finish a short rest before the magic in the Rune replenishes itself and allows you to use the ability again.

Rune of Celerity: Your Walking Speed increases by 10 feet. You can choose to inscribe this rune twice.

Rune of Sight: You can see normally in mundane and magical darkness up to 60 feet.

Rune of Deception: As an action you may alter your appearance to match any humanoid of your size that you have seen before. If you die, you revert to your natrual appearance. In addition, you gain Expertise in the Deception skill and can take the Dash, or Disengage Actions as a Bonus Action. (Pre: 6th Level)

Rune of Telepathy: You can communicate Telepathically with any Intelligent creature you can see within 30ft 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. (Pre: 6th Level)

Rune of the Shadow: You can turn invisible anytime you are in an area of dim light or darkness. In addition, you can cast silence once per short rest (Pre: 6th Level)

Rune of the Warrior: For every level you gain after inscribing this Rune on yourself, you use a d10 for your Hit Die instead of a d8, In addition, you learn 1 fighting style available to the Fighter (Pre: 6th level).

Rune of the Fish: You gain a Swim Speed of 30 feet, darkvision up to 30 ft and can breath underwater. (Pre: 6th Level).

Rune of Shielding: You gain a +2 to Armor Class (Pre: 11th Level).

Rune of Strength: Your unarmed strike damage is increased by one die (d6 to d8...etc). You can inscibe this rune twice. (Pre:11th Level).

Rune of the Angel: You gain a fly speed of 30ft. and can cast the zone of truth spell once per short rest (Pre: 11th Level).

Rune of the Sage: You can cast the Identify and Detect Magic spells at will. (Pre: 11th Level).

Rune of Wild Magic You learn 2 cantrips and 3 spells from the Sorcerer Spell list and gain 1 spell slot to cast these spells that replenishses after a short rest. You can inscribe this rune on yourself twice. The slot level is equal to your proficency bonus - 1. You can change the spells known as you gain levels in this class. Constitution is your spellcasting modifier for these spells (Pre: 11th Level).

Rune of the Golem: You are resistant to bludeoning, slashing, and piercing damage. (Pre: 17th Level)

Rune of Expulsion: You infuse this rune with your own lifeforce. As an action. you can force each creature within 15 feet of you must succeed on a Constituion saving throw or suffer 16d10 force damage and be pushed outside the 15 foot radius, sucess suffer only half damage and no pushback. Doing this forces you to take 1 level of exhuastion. You cannot do this again until you take a long rest. DC= 8+ CON Mod + Prof. Mod. (Pre: 17th Level)

Rune of the Arcanist: Choose one level 2 or lower spell from any class list. You can cast that spell at will, using Constitution as the spellcasting modifier. (Pre: 17th Level).

Rune of the Runemaster: You can cast the Time Stop spell once per long rest; however, doing so forces you to suffer 1 level of exhausiton as the rune draws necessary power from your life force. (Pre: 17th Level).

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: Choose 1 elemental damage type (Acid, Fire, Cold, Thunder, Radiant, Necrotic, Lightning, Psychic or Posion). Attacks made with a weapon with this rune deal an additional 1d6 damage of the element chosen. At 18th level, the damage increases to 1d8.

Rune of Deftness: Your weapon can now use Dexterity for it's attack and damage rolls. At 18th level you deal additional damage equal to your Constitution Modifier.

Rune of Heft: Your weapon gains the Heavy Property and must be wielded in two hands (versatile weapons only). At 18th level when you take damage from a creature that is within 5 feet of you. you can force a creature you hit with a melee attack to make a Strength Saving throw vs the attack roll or be disarmed of one item it is holding (your choice). The creature gets advantage on the save if the object is being held with both hands.

Rune of Speed: When you take the Attack action, you can make an additional attack as a bonus action. (Pre: 14th Level). At 18th level you gain the Fighter's Action Surge ability while holding your bound weapon.

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. At 18th level the range increases to (40/ 120)

Rune of Transformation: Choose one weapon. As a bonus action you may transform your bound weapon into the chosen weapon. (Ammunition not generated). (Pre: 5th Level). At l8th level, you may choose a second form for the weapon.

Rune of Siphoning: Each time you reduce a creature to zero hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Rune Keeper level. (Pre: 7th level)

Epic Runes[edit]

Rune of the Dragon: You gain 2 legendary actions; Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. You regain spent legendary actions at the start of your turn.

Rune of the Basilisk: When you look directly into a creature's eyes, you can force them to make a CON Save or be turned to stone. DC = 6+CON Mod+Prof.Mod

Rune of the Phoenix: When you would die, instead of dying, you revive with your max Hit Points, 24 hours later.

Rune of the Behemoth: You become immune to 2 types of damage of your choice (Acid, Fire, Cold, Thunder, Radiant, Necrotic, Lightning, Psychic, Posion, Slashing, Bludgeoning, Piercing).

Rune of the Demon: When you touch a creature you can drain it's life force and use it as your own. When you use this gain 10d12+CON Mod. in Hit Points.


Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Rune Keeper class, you must meet these prerequisites: Constituiton 14, You also gain proficiency in Light Armor, Simple Weapons and Martial Weapons.

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