Rune Scribe (5e Subclass)

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Rune Scribe[edit]

Artificer Subclass

A rune scribe masters the secrets of the runes of power – ancient sigils that embody the fundamental magic of creation. Rune magic is exceedingly rare: some of its secrets have been lost, and what lore remains is jealously guarded. Few rune scribes share their lore with others. Indeed, most rune scribes take on new students only if doing so allows them to gain access to a forgotten or missing rune.

Scribe’s Tools

Starting at 3rd level, you gain proficiency in Calligrapher’s supplies, mason’s tools, and woodcarver’s tools.

Rune Scribe Spells

Starting at 3rd level, you always have certain spells prepared after you reach particular levels in this class, as shown in the Artillerist Spells table. These spells count as artificer spells for you, but they don’t count against the number of artificer spells you prepare.

Artificer Level Rune Scribe Spells
3rd Earth Tremor, Frost Fingers
5th Gust of Wind, Aganazzar’s Scorcher
9th Magic Circle, Nondetection
13th Elemental Bane, Polymorph
17th Legend Lore, Skill Empowerment


Rune Magic

At 5th level, you learn the basics of scribing runes, and are able to activate a master rune’s range of simple properties when you are attuned to it. You learn four master runes as Artificer Infusions. They do not count toward the number of infusions known, but they do count toward the maximum number of infused items you can have as shown on the Artificer table. You can only attune to one master rune at a time, and only you can attune to them. Master runes are magical items with the following descriptions:

  • Opal of the Ild Rune - Master rune, rare (requires attunement) This triangular fire opal measures about three inches on each side and is half an inch thick. The ild rune – the rune of fire – shimmers within its core. Grasping this object causes a split second of searing, fiery pain to pass through you. That pain quickly fades, giving way to a warming glow.
    • Ignite (Simple Property). As an action, you scribe the ild rune using ash onto a flammable object. That object immediately bursts into flame. While it burns, the fire extends 1 foot out from the rune you scribed.
    • Fire Tamer (Simple Property). As an action, you touch an open flame and scribe the ild rune within it with a hand motion. This causes the flame to immediately extinguish. For a large blaze, the fire is extinguished in a 10-foot radius around you. You can extend this distance by expending a spell slot when using the ild rune in this manner. The radius extends by 10 feet per level of the expended spell slot.
    • Fire’s Friend (Simple Property). While you are attuned to this rune, you have resistance to cold damage.
  • Orb of the Stein Rune - Master rune, rare (requires attunement) This spherical chunk of granite is about the size of a human fist. The stein rune – the rune of stone – appears on the orb as crystalline veins that play across its surface. When first grasped, the stone feels impossibly heavy, as if even a titan could not lift it. That feeling passes after a moment, allowing you to carry the stone with ease.
    • Indomitable Stand (Simple Property). As an action, you scribe the stein rune onto the ground at your feet. Until you move, you have advantage on all ability checks and saving throws to resist effects that would force you to move. In addition, any creature that moves within 10 feet of you must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or their movement speed is reduced to 0 until the end of their turn.
    • Stone's Secrets (Simple Property). As an action, you scribe this rune onto a stone wall or floor. You learn the location and size of all creatures standing on or touching that surface within 30 feet of you, though only for the moment when the property is used.
    • Stone Soul (Simple Property). While you are attuned to this rune, you cannot be petrified.
  • Pennant of the Vind Rune - Master rune, rare (requires attunement) This five-foot-long blue pennant is crafted from silk and whips about as if buffeted by a strong breeze. The vind rune – the rune of wind – flickers across its surface like a shimmering cloud. Grasping the pennant causes you to feel a powerful gust of wind wash over you, tearing at your clothes and gear. Anyone watching you sees nothing out of the ordinary, and the sensation passes after a moment.
    • Wind Step (Simple Property). As an action, you scribe the vind rune in the air around you and immediately fly up to 20 feet. If you do not land at the end of this flight, you fall.
    • Wind’s Grasp (Simple Property). As a reaction when you fall, you can scribe this rune in the air around you to take no damage from the fall.
    • Comforting Wind (Simple Property). While you are attuned to this rune, you cannot suffocate or drown, and you gain advantage on saving throws against poisonous gases, inhaled poisons, and similar effects.
  • Shard of the Kalt Rune - Master rune, rare (requires attunement) This long, slender shard of ice is roughly the size of a dagger. The kalt rune – the rune of ice – glows within the shard. When first grasped, the shard emits a painful cold that leaves your hand and arm numb. That feeling passes after a moment, allowing the shard to be handled normally.
    • Frigid Touch (Simple Property). As an action, you scribe the kalt rune on the surface of any volume of water. The water freezes in a 10-foot radius around the spot where you scribed the rune. You can extend this distance by expending a spell slot when using the kalt rune in this manner. The radius extends by 10 feet per level of the expended spell slot.
    • Icy Mantle (Simple Property). As an action, you scribe the kalt rune using water onto yourself or another creature. The water instantly freezes into a mantle of protective ice that does not hinder movement or action. The next time the creature takes bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing damage from a weapon attack, that damage is reduced to zero and the icy mantle is destroyed.
    • Frost Friend (Simple Property). While you are attuned to this rune, you have resistance to fire damage.


Runic Discovery

At 9th level, you discover the master runes’ more complex effects. While attuned to the appropriate rune, you gain the following benefits:


  • Opal of the Ild Rune
    • Combustion (Complex Property). As an action, you scribe this rune using ash onto a creature within your reach as you expend a spell slot. The creature must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 12 + the level of the expended spell slot). On a failed save, it takes 2d8 fire damage plus 1d8 fire damage per level of the expended spell slot and takes an additional 1d8 fire damage on the beginning of its next turn. On a successful saving throw, the creature takes half as much damage and does not take any additional damage.
    • Flame Brand (Complex Property). Over the course of a short rest, you inscribe this rune using ash onto a melee or ranged weapon, or onto up to 20 pieces of ammunition. The weapon or ammunition gains a ghostly aura of yellow flame and deals fire damage instead of piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage. In addition, you can expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher while using this property to grant the weapon or ammunition a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls. This bonus increases by 1 for every slot level above 3rd. These effects last for 24 hours or until you use this property again.
    • Flame Stoker (Complex Property). While you are attuned to this rune, your fire attacks are deadlier. Whenever you roll fire damage from an attack or a spell you cast, you can reroll that damage and use the higher result.
  • Orb of the Stein Rune
    • Overwhelming Bolt (Complex Property). As an action, you scribe this rune using dirt or crushed rock onto a creature within your reach as you expend a spell slot. The creature must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 12 + the level of the expended spell slot). On a failure, the creature takes 2d8 bludgeoning damage plus 1d8 bludgeoning damage per level of the expended spell slot and is knocked prone. On a successful saving throw, the creature takes half as much damage and is not knocked prone.
    • Crushing Brand (Complex Property). Over the course of a short rest, you inscribe this rune using dirt or crushed stone onto one weapon that deals bludgeoning damage. The weapon gains a ghostly brown aura, and bludgeoning damage dealt by the weapon ignores resistance and immunity. If you roll the maximum on the weapon’s damage die or dice, the target of your attack is knocked prone if it is a creature. In addition, you can expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher while using this property to grant the weapon or ammunition a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls. This bonus increases by 1 for every slot level above 3rd. These effects last for 24 hours or until you use this property again.
    • Earthen Step (Complex Property). While you are attuned to this rune, you can cast Meld into Stone as a bonus action. You regain this ability after a short or long rest.
  • Pennant of the Vind Rune
    • Shrieking Bolt (Complex Property). As an action, you scribe this rune in the air between you and a creature you can see while you expend a spell slot. The creature must make a Strength saving throw (DC 12 + the spell slot’s level). On a failure, it takes 2d8 bludgeoning damage plus 1d8 bludgeoning damage per level of the expended spell slot, and is pushed in a straight line directly away from you for 10 feet per level of the expended spell slot. On a successful saving throw, the creature takes half as much damage and is not pushed away from you.
    • Howling Brand (Complex Property). Over the course of a short rest, you inscribe this rune in the air above one ranged weapon. The weapon gains a ghostly blue aura and has its normal and maximum range doubled. The weapon’s attacks do not suffer disadvantage due to range. In addition, you can expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher while using this property to grant the weapon or ammunition a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls. This bonus increases by 1 for every slot level above 3rd. These effects last for 24 hours or until you use this property again.
    • Wind Walker (Complex Property). While you are attuned to this rune, you can cast levitate as a bonus action. You regain this ability after a short or long rest.
  • Shard of the Kalt Rune
    • Freezing Bolt (Complex Property). As an action, you scribe this rune using water onto a creature within your reach as you expend a spell slot. The rune freezes in place, and the creature must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 12 + the level of the expended spell slot). On a failure, the creature takes 2d8 cold damage plus 1d8 cold damage per level of the expended spell slot, and its speed is reduced to 0 until the end of your next turn. On a successful saving throw, the creature takes half as much damage and its speed is not affected.
    • Ice Brand (Complex Property). Over the course of a short rest, you inscribe this rune using water onto a melee or ranged weapon, or onto up to 20 pieces of ammunition. The weapon or ammunition gains a ghostly white aura and deals cold damage instead of piercing, slashing, or bludgeoning damage. In addition, you can expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher while using this property to grant the weapon or ammunition a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls. This bonus increases by 1 for every slot level above 3rd. These effects last for 24 hours or until you use this property again.
    • Winter’s Howl (Complex Property). While you are attuned to this rune, you can cast Sleet Storm as an action. You regain this ability after a short or long rest.
Rune Mastery

At 15th level, you attain the ability to master an ever-greater range of runic magic. You can be attuned to any number of master runes at a time, instead of one.



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