Rune Smith (5e Class)

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Rune Smith[edit]

A knight in shining white armor raises his shield and speaks a word, and a glowing rune appears on his shield, blasting away his foes.

A feral orc traces a few lines across the arcane markings on his chest, and his arms swell to become those of a bear before pouncing upon his foes.

A frail old man in blue robes quickly traces a few lines in the dirt and draws forth a torrent of flame to consume the pursuing goblins.

Rune Smiths are masters of the arcane art of Rune Carving, allowing them to make magical effects at any time without preparation. However due to the time required to make the runes themselves Rune Smiths tend towards a more martial path, with runes adorning their armor and weapons, and sometimes, their bodies.

Rune Magic[edit]

Rune magic is an odd sort compared to the other types in Dungeons & Dragons, it has no spell slots, no mana, no level. It can be cast and used at any time, and that makes it powerful. However runes are fickle, and the slightest mistake can cause them to backfire. That is why only those trained in the use of runes are ever able to use them properly, and not just anyone with a bottle of ink and a quill.

Rune Smiths see rune magic as an insight into the world's workings, and there are as many theories as to why simple markings hold such power as there are Rune Smiths in the world.

Versatility of Runes[edit]

Part of the draw of runes over other forms of magic is the versatility. While runes are inherently less powerful than other forms of magic, they can be used at any time without fear of being unable to replicate your feats later in the day. They also provide a way for the Rune Smith to express their exact desires by allowing them to pick and choose what each rune can accomplish. There are two types of runes: superficial and carved. Superficial runes are drawn on surfaces with paints, ink, chalk, or other similar methods of art and writing. They are fast to inscribe but typically don't last long, disappearing after they've completed their goal. Carved runes are more permanent markings, requiring time and care as the Rune Smith scratches lines on or gouges trenches into the desired surface.

Creating a Rune Smith[edit]

A Rune Smith is a follower of an esoteric art not known to many. They are working to rediscover one of the oldest forms of magic. What moves your Rune Smith to experimenting with these arcane markings? Is it for personal power? Is it to further the knowledge of the world? Is it to bring magic to the ungifted?

Quick Build[edit]

You can make a Rune Smith quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Strength if you plan to go into the Runic Knight tradition, Dexterity if you plan to go into the Arcanist or Golemancer traditions, or Constitution if you plan to go into the Fleshcarver tradition. Second, choose the sage background.

Class Features

As a Rune Smith you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Rune Smith level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Rune Smith level after 1st


Armor: Light armor, Medium armor, Shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, Hand crossbow, Heavy crossbow, Maul, War pick, Warhammer
Tools: Choose two from: Calligrapher's supplies, Jeweler's tools, Mason's tools, Painter's supplies
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Choose two from: Arcana, History, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Religion


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

  • (a) Leather armor, a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) Scalemail armor and a war pick or (c) Chainmail armor
  • (a) A martial weapon or (b) Two simple weapons
  • (a) Calligrapher's supplies or (b) Painter's supplies
  • (a) Jeweler's tools or (b) Mason's tools
  • (a) Explorer's Pack or (b) Scholar's Pack

Table: The Rune Smith

Level Proficiency
Features Rune Points Components Known
1st +2 Runic Inscription (Triangle) 1 5
2nd +2 Runic Tradition 2 6
3rd +2 Rune Augments 3 7
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4 8
5th +3 Bonus Effect 5 10
6th +3 Runic Tradition Feature 6 11
7th +3 Runic Inscription (Square) 7 12
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 8 13
9th +4 Bonus Target 9 15
10th +4 Runic Tradition Feature, Runic Recovery 10 16
11th +4 Rune Augments 11 17
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 12 18
13th +5 Runic Inscription (Pentagon) 13 20
14th +5 Runic Tradition Feature 14 21
15th +5 Bonus Trigger 15 22
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 16 23
17th +6 Rune Augments 17 25
18th +6 Runic Inscription (Hexagon) 18 26
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 19 27
20th +6 Runic Tradition Feature, Bonus Effect (2) 20 28

Runic Inscription[edit]

At 1st level, you have unlocked the secrets of rune magic, an ancient magic art thought to have been lost to time. You start off knowing only how to properly inscribe the most basic of runes: those in the shape of a triangle, capable of containing three components. You learn how to inscribe runes in the shape of a square with four components at 7th level, a pentagon with five components at 13th level, and a hexagon with six components at 18th level.

A rune consists of three major components: The trigger, which determines when the rune activates; the target, which determines who or what the rune will affect when it activates; and the effect, which determines what happens when it activates. Each of these consumes one of a rune's component slot, and a rune without at least one of each component will not activate. Additional trigger components combine with each other to produce more complex triggers, additional target components combine with each other to either produce more specific targets or a wider array of targets, and additional effect components combine with each other to produce more powerful or varied effects. All components are detailed at the end of the class description.

Rune Points. Runes are works of art infused with magic, and more powerful runes can be quite taxing to inscribe when done in a pinch. You have a number of rune points equal to your rune smith level, as shown in the Rune Smith table. Certain triggers, targets, components, and class features can increase the number of rune points it costs to inscribe more complex runes. Once you can inscribe a rune, square runes cost a base of 1 rune point to inscribe. Pentagon runes cost 3 points, and hexagon runes cost 6. You regain 1 rune point at the start of each of your turns. Whenever you inscribe a rune, you must expend all required rune points at the moment you begin to inscribe it, and while you are inscribing a rune you do not regain rune points. You can never attempt to inscribe a rune that costs more rune points than you have. If an object is inscribed with a rune that costs 5 or more rune points, the object is considered magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical damage.

Rune Components. The number of different ways you know how to inscribe the various types of rune is represented by the total number of component options you know, as shown in the Rune Smith table. Each trigger you know counts toward this total, each target you know counts toward this total, and each effect you know counts toward this total. Each time you gain a level in this class, you may change one of the components you know with a different one. If you die, all runes you created start consuming uses at a rate of 1 use at dawn each day.

Rune Limit. When you inscribe a rune, you put a small part of yourself into the rune itself, empowering it and making it the deadly work of art it is. The maximum number of runes you can have inscribed at once is equal to your Intelligence modifier plus your proficiency bonus (minimum of 1). If you try to inscribe more runes than your maximum, your oldest rune fades away and disappears instantly. If you try to inscribe a single item with more than three runes, nothing happens. A single item or object may never have more than a single rune. The size of the rune is irrelevant when you are inscribing runes on objects such as rocks, swords, papers, hats, etc. Attempting to grant an object a second rune will cause it to turn to ashes ad be destroyed. Rare or rarer magic items will not turn to ashes, but the previous rune will still fade away and disappear instantly.

Runescribing Ability Intelligence is your inscription ability for your runes, since the power of your runes relies on how accurately you can create them from memory. You use your Intelligence whenever a rune effect refers to your runescribing ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a rune you inscribe and when making an attack roll with one. Even though the given harmful rune effects call for a saving throw, your DM might call for a rune attack roll in certain situations, so both are listed.

Rune save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Rune attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Inscription Materials
Material Uses Inscription Time Rune Point Cost
Dirt/Gravel/Parchment/Sand/etc. 1 1 action 0
Stone 2 1 minute 0
100gp Gem or Gemstone 4 1 minute 1
500gp Gem or Gemstone 7 1 minute 2
5,000gp Gem or Gemstone 11 1 minute 4
25,000gp Gem or Gemstone 16 1 minute 6
Common Metals 8 +6 hours 0
Rare Metals (Silver, gold, etc.) 20 +10 hours 3
Adamantine 50 +24 hours 7
Leather/Wood/etc. 2 3 actions 0

Other materials and substances not on this list are up to your DM to determine the exact statistics for those materials. The specific type of gem used is irrelevant: only the value of the gem matters, and the value given is the minimum value of gem required for an inscribed rune to have those statistics. Conversely, the value of the metal is irrelevant: it's the type of metal that matters, such that gold weapons and armor are more effective at holding runes than iron or steel. Objects with runes inscribed into them do not experience normal wear and tear from regular use, including soft metals that would normally bend or break if used as weapons or armor.

Rune Size[edit]

Also at 1st level, you know how to inscribe different sizes of runes. Because of the time and energy larger runes require to be inscribed, larger runes are not only more powerful but can activate more times. The Rune Size table below details the exact additional cost, inscription time, and effects amplification of larger runes.

The only limit on how large a rune can be is on how many rune points you can spend towards making a larger rune. Runes larger than Gargantuan cannot be more powerful and therefore do not have a larger cost associated with them. Any effects of the rune that have targets treat the edges of the rune as the origin points for the effect, and as the starting points for the ranges or radii of any trigger components.

Rune Sizes
Image Size Rune Point Cost Inscription Time Additional Uses Effects Multiplier
Tiny 0 x1 0 x1
Very Small (5x5 area) 0 x2 1 x1
Small 1 x3 2 x1
Medium 2 x4 2 x2
Slightly Large (10x10 area) 3 x6 3 x2
Large 5 x8 3 x3
Mostly Huge (15x15 area) 7 x10 4 x3
Huge 9 x13 5 x4
Somewhat Gargantuan (20x20 area) 11 x16 7 x4
Gargantuan 14 x20 9 x5

Runic Traditions[edit]

At 2nd level, you specialize your talents into one of the four traditions of the Rune Smith: the Arcanist, the Fleshcarver, the Golemancer, or the Runic Knight, each detailed later in the class description. Your choice grants you features at 2nd level and again at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 20th level.

Rune Augments[edit]

At 3rd level, you discover a new way of improving the runes you inscribe: magical augmentation. By adding extra symbols along each edge of the rune, you increase the potency of the rune itself. Each rune may only have a single augment, but this modification can drastically change the way your rune behaves. Different modifications increase the rune point cost of inscribing a rune by different amounts. You learn 2 augments of your choice from the list below, and you learn one more at 11th level and again at 17th level.

Adaptive Rune (Costs 5 rune points)

This rune has one additional component slot.

Careful Rune (Costs 1 rune point)

Friendly creatures have advantage on their saving throw against this rune's harmful effects, and hostile creatures are unaffected by helpful effects.

Distant Rune (Costs 2 rune points)

This rune has all ranges and radii doubled.

Empowered Rune (Costs 2 rune points)

Each die rolled for the effects of this rune has its result increased by 2.

Personal Rune (Costs 1 rune point)

This rune will not activate until you fulfill its trigger requirement.

Regenerative Rune (Costs 10 rune points)

For each day that this rune isn't used (except passive-trigger runes), it regains one use.

Reinforced Rune (Costs 5 rune points)

This rune has twice as many uses.

Tiny Rune (Costs 4 rune points)

The size of this rune is Tiny (2.5x2.5 feet) but otherwise keeps all size modifiers.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 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.

Bonus Effect[edit]

At 5th level, you learn how to improve the effects of your runes without having to increase their complexity. You may spend an additional rune point when you inscribe a rune to more intricately carve one of the rune's effect components, giving it an additional effect. The additional effect does not have to be the same as the first effect, but must still be an effect component that you know. At 20th level, you may spend another 2 rune points when you use this feature to give the rune a second bonus effect, provided the rune has two component slots filled with effect components.

Bonus Target[edit]

At 9th level, the runes you inscribe can be more easily modified to pick and choose what they affect. You may spend one additional rune point when you inscribe a rune to more carefully design one of its target components, giving it an additional target. The additional target does not have to be the same target as the first target, but must still be a target component that you know.

Runic Recovery[edit]

Starting at 10th level, you recover 1 additional rune point at the start of each of your turns.

Bonus Trigger[edit]

At 15th level, the conditions are which your runes activate are more varied. You may spend 2 additional rune points when you inscribe a rune to combine two trigger component sigils into one, giving it an additional trigger. The additional trigger does not have to be the same trigger as the first trigger, but must still be a trigger component that you know.

Rune Smith Traditions[edit]

The key difference between any two traditions is the ways in which the runes are used. While all rune smiths can draw some symbols in the dirt to create a magical effect, the differences in technique and collected knowledge make the different traditions unique to each other, even to the point of one rune smith not recognizing another rune smith as a true practitioner of rune magic.


More closely connected to the arcane forces that govern the magical laws that runes are bound to follow, arcanists delve deeper into the study of rune lore than any others, seeking knowledge and seeing patterns where others fail to find the logic and order that arcanists strive to exemplify in their runes. Arcanists use their vast knowledge of the general functions of magic to create runes that can function on their own, cast spells, and even change their own components. The only distinction between a rune smith arcanist and a wizard is that the arcanist never learned how to properly cast a spell, and has only just now discovered that they don't need to: the runes will do it for them.

Inscribe Spells[edit]

At 2nd level, you learn how to inscribe the arcane symbols for spells into your runes as effects. Anytime you would learn a new component, you may instead choose a spell from the wizard's spell list to learn. The spell must be of a level for which you would have spell slots for if you had spell slots. For example, an 5th-level arcanist could learn spells of 3rd level or lower. You can also learn cantrips using this feature.

When you inscribe a spell rune, you do not choose any effect components. Instead, the spell consumes a number of the rune's component slots equal to the spell's level (a minimum of 1) and any remaining component slots must be filled with trigger and target components. The spell usually defines its own targets, so keep in mind that the effects of a spell and its target may not be compatible with the desired target components. The spell rune also costs a number of rune points equal to the spell's level. The Bonus Effect feature can contribute component slots towards the maximum level of spell the rune can be inscribed with. Spells in runes you inscribe use your runescribing ability for attack rolls and saving throw DCs.

If the rune is inscribed with a spell that requires concentration, you must maintain concentration on the rune for as long as the rune remains active, as though concentrating on the spell. Any spellcasting ability checks the rune's spells require are made by you using your Intelligence modifier. If a spell has a negative effect on you (such as the wish spell running the chance that you may never be able to cast it again, as described in the spell description), you suffer those effects when you start inscribing the rune. If you would inscribe a spell rune on a type of material or at a size that grants it more than one use, you suffer the negative effects for each use the rune has. If the spell requires you to make a choice when cast, you make the choice when the rune activates.

A spell rune can be inscribed with multiple spells, and even multiple copies of the same spell. The rune must have one trigger component and one target component for each unique spell, and the triggers cannot be the same for different spells within the same rune. If you inscribe multiple copies of the same spell, the spell is instead cast at a higher level as proportionate to the number of copies of that spell the rune is inscribed with. For example, inscribing a rune with three copies of the magic missile spell will cast it as though it were cast using a 3rd level spell slot.

Quick Inscription[edit]

At 6th level, your memorization of runes and their components allows you to more quickly inscribe them without the fear of making a mistake. You may spend an additional rune point per component of the rune you wish to inscribe to inscribe the rune as a bonus action. You may not use this feature to inscribe more than one rune in a turn, and your reaction cannot be used to inscribe a rune if you use this feature.

Empowered Runes[edit]

Beginning at 10th level, the runes you inscribe can more easily accommodate spells as effect components. Each rune you inscribe is considered to have one additional component slot for the purpose of determining the maximum total levels of spells the rune can be inscribed with.

Innovative Inscription[edit]

At 14th level, your ability to memorize new rune components allows you to recall components you may have forgotten, or even temporarily figure out how to create new components. When you inscribe a rune, you may choose any one component from the list of Rune Components (but not any spells from the wizard spell list) to use for that rune. Once you use this feature, you must finish a long rest to do so again.

Exceptional Runes[edit]

Starting at 20th level, you have become so in tune with the powers you use to inscribe your runes you can inscribe new runes with ease. You regain one additional rune point at the start of each of your turns, and each time one of your runes fades away you regain one rune point. In addition, each rune you inscribe is considered to have one additional component slot for the purpose of determining the maximum total levels of spells the rune can be inscribed with.

Flesh Scribe[edit]

Flesh scribes imbue their own or other's very bodies with the power of runes, either through the use of tattoos or by gouging scars into the recipient's body. This simulates the process of carving a rune into rocks or gems, and can be a very painful experience, so most rune smiths shy away from this path and its potentially more sinister practices. This is not to say that all flesh scribes are inclined towards evil: the process of giving empowered tattoos to willing volunteers is just as noble as that of a runic knight creating enchanted armor for their companions, or of a paladin or cleric using their divine powers to protect the innocent and smite the evils of the land.

Body Inscription[edit]

When you choose this tradition at 2nd level, you learn how to impart the arcane powers that control your runes into the very bodies of creatures, whether it's yourself or others who receive the runes. You add Flesh to the list of materials you can inscribe runes into, adding it to the same row as "Leather/Wood/etc". You also add Tattooed Skin/Shell to the row containing "100gp Gem or Gemstone" and Finely Tattooed Skin to the row containing "Common Metals". Runes that you inscribe on creatures cannot be larger than the creature's size, and each creature can only have one rune inscribed on it at a time. You can have up to three runes inscribed on your own body, and the total size of the runes on your body cannot exceed your own size (for example, if your size is Large, you can up to 3 Medium runes, but if your size is Medium or Small, you can instead only have 1 Medium or Small rune, or up to 3 Tiny runes). Whenever you inscribe a rune into the flesh or shell of a creature, the creature takes 1d4 necrotic damage for each rune point spent, and its hit point maximum decreases by that amount until the rune fades. A rune inscribed onto the skin of a creature through the use of tattoos has no such ill effect. You may only inscribe runes onto the skin of or into the flesh or shell of a willing creature or a creature that cannot move. Creatures with the restrained and unconscious conditions are examples of creatures that cannot move, and your DM may rule that other conditions or effects apply. For the purpose of rune effects, a creature's skin counts as armor and a creature's unarmed strikes and other natural physical weapons count as weapons. A 1-ounce bottle of ink has enough ink to inscribe 8 Tiny runes, 2 Small or Medium runes, or half of a Large rune. Creatures cannot have runes larger than Large inscribed on or in them.

Innate Rune[edit]

Starting at 6th level, you have a rune permanently inscribed into your own body. You can choose whether this rune takes the form of tattoos or scars. Either way, you suffer no ill effects from this rune. The rune is a Tiny Triangle rune, and you choose which components from those that you know it uses. You may also choose one of your rune augments for the rune. The rune has 3 uses, does not fade away when it runs out of uses, and regains all expended uses when you finish a long rest. The rune does not count against the total number of runes you can have or against the number of runes you can have on yourself. Each time the maximum shape of your runes increases, the shape of your innate rune increases as well, and any features that allow you to grant extra components to you runes applies to your innate rune. There is no cost in rune points associated with this rune, but the cost in rune points of inscribing an identical rune cannot exceed the maximum number of rune points you have. Each time you gain a level in this class, you may change one of the rune's properties (such as components used, or the augment used) for another one of the same kind.

Forced Carving[edit]

At 10th level, it becomes easier for you to inscribe runes into creatures. It takes 1/3 less time to carve a rune into flesh or shell or to tattoo a rune onto a creature's skin, and an unwilling creature merely has to have a speed of 0 for a rune to inscribed on it. In addition, other creatures can have a second rune inscribed on them, which can only be a Triangle rune.

Lifeforce Runes[edit]

At 14th level, the tattoos and scars that constitute the runes on your own body take power from your very life force. You gain a second innate rune from the Innate Rune feature. This rune does not have a limit on how many rune points can be spent on an identical rune, but you hit point maximum decreases by 2 for every 1 point above rune point maximum the second innate rune goes. In addition, you can spend 3d4 of your hit points to use either of your innate runes after they've expended their last use, and there's no limit to how many times you can spend hit points in this way.

Master of Flesh[edit]

Starting at 20th level, you have superior control over the runes you inscribe, to the point where you can control other creatures using your runes. Any creature that has one of your runes inscribed on it is charmed by you, and as an action during your turn you can cast dominate monster on a creature that has one of your runes inscribed into its flesh or shell, without expending a spell slot or material components. If the creature succeeds on its save, it is no longer charmed by you and is immune to this feature for the next 24 hours, or until you inscribe a new rune on it.

Runic Knight[edit]

Rune Smiths that chose to specialize as runic knights use their knowledge to empower the gear they use to further protect themselves and their allies with protective runes or to more easily strike down their foes with powerful enchantments. More similar to artificers than wizards, runic knights inscribe their runes on weapons, armor, and other objects, for the most part, preferring the more personal use of a long-lasting rune to that of a quickly-drawn rune on the wall, ground, or even a piece of parchment. To a runic knight, the rune is an integral part of their style of combat, imbuing them with fantastical powers and magical abilities for constant use. The only drawback is the time it takes to make their equipment, for as soon as the rune fades, the very gear the runic knight relies upon has turned into a pile of dust, forcing them to remake the very things they require from scratch.

Bonus Proficiencies[edit]

When you choose this tradition at 2nd level, you gain proficiency with smith's tools and heavy armor.

Object Inscription[edit]

Also at 2nd level, the weapons and armor you imbue with your runes more easily retain the runes you inscribe, giving each rune you inscribe on them three additional uses before the rune fades away and disappears.

Personal Runes[edit]

Starting at 6th level, some of the runes you inscribe are closely linked with your very life force, allowing you to inscribe more runes. You may have up to one rune inscribed on a weapon and up to one rune inscribed on a set of armor that don't count towards the number of runes you can have inscribed. Only you may activate these runes, and if you die they instantly fade away and disappear. If the runes are always active (as with the Passive trigger), they remain inactive unless the objects they are inscribed upon are on your person. They still consume uses while inactive in this way.

Elemental Imbuement[edit]

At 10th level, you have learned how to make every rune impart some kind of elemental effect on the object it is inscribed upon. Each time you inscribe a rune on a weapon or set of armor, that rune gains an additional Elemental effect component. You can choose which damage type is used.

Lifeforce Runes[edit]

Beginning at 14th level, the runes you inscribe can be tied into the lifeforce of other creatures. A number of creatures other than yourself up to your Intelligence modifier (a minimum of 1) can choose one rune on a weapon they are carrying or set of armor they are wearing. The chosen rune doesn't consume uses when it activates or at the start of each day so long as the creature is alive.

Imbuement Master[edit]

At 20th level, you have mastered the art of crafted rune-empowered objects. Whenever you inscribe a weapon or set of armor with a rune, you may inscribe an additional Triangle rune at no extra cost. This rune can benefit from your other features, but you must still be able to afford the rune point cost for any additional components you wish to add.

Rune Components[edit]

There are a great many components of various types, purpose, and compatibility. Some components just do not work with others. For example, a rune consisting of the Structure targeting component and the Blindness effect component will effectively do nothing, as structures (in the vast majority of cases) cannot be blinded: they don't have eyes and aren't even alive. If a rune uses multiple copies of the same type of component, the same-type ranges and effects are combined, such as two instances of +5 feet becoming 10 feet total for both components. These modifiers are not combined when seen in different types of rune components, such as between triggers and effects. All effect components are considered to be the same type of component for this purpose.


Multiple copies of the same trigger can be added to a rune. If a rune has two or more different triggers, the trigger is the first selected trigger or the next selected trigger, and so on, whichever trigger happens first. Certain triggers can be combined to create a more specific trigger.

Destruction: This rune activates when the object it is inscribed upon is destroyed.

Passive: This rune is always active, and instead consumes one use at dawn each day. If combined with other triggers, the rune becomes active or inactive when the trigger is met and consumes one use upon activation.

Time: This rune activates every (up to) +1 days (a minimum of 1 round). If combined with other triggers, the rune begins activating or stops activating at the chosen interval when the other trigger is met and activates immediately.

Thrown: This rune activates when, as an action, it is thrown up to +20 feet.

Touch: This rune activates when, as an action, a target touches this rune.

Vicinity: This rune activates the first time a target comes within +10 feet of this rune during a round.

Voice: This rune activates when, as an action, the chosen word is spoken.


All chosen targets are combined to make the rune as specific as possible.

Creature: This rune targets only creatures of a specific type within range. (Such as celestials, humanoids, or undead.)

Each: This rune targets each applicable target within range. (Only compatible with another target component.)

Nearest: This rune targets the closest creature within range.

Self: This rune targets the object or surface it is inscribed on. (Only compatible with self effects.)

Structure: This rune targets the nearest structure.

User: This rune targets the creature that activated it.


All effects are combined upon activation. For your convenience, all effects are sorted into four categories: harmful effects, helpful effects, neutral effects, and self effects. If a target would be put under the same effect from either multiple runes or from multiple uses of the same rune, only the most powerful effect persists (as with spells). An effect radius and an effect range do not combine (i.e. darkness and concuss won't combine for a 20-foot radius effect area), nor do different units of time measurement. If an effect does not provide a whole number, the number is rounded down, requiring at least two copies of the same effect for the rune to do anything.

Harmful Effects[edit]

Runes with these effects can become powerful weapons of destruction.

Acidic Wave: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw, taking +2d6 acid damage on a failed saving throw and another +1d6 at the start of its each of its turns for +1 turns, or half as much and no additional damage on a successful one. The additional damage taken decreases by 1d6 each turn.

Blindness: A target within +5 feet of this rune must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, becoming blinded for +1 turns on a failed saving throw.

Concuss: A target within +5 feet of this rune must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, taking +2d10 thunder damage and becoming deafened for +1 turns on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Drain: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, taking +2d6 necrotic damage and having its maximum hit points reduced by the damage taken for +1 hours on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If this damage reduces a creature's hit point maximum to 0, the creature dies.

Electricity: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw, taking +2d8 lightning damage and it can't use reactions until the start of its next turn on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Fire Leash: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw, taking +2d12 fire damage on a failed saving throw, or half as much on a successful one.

Forceful Impact: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Strength saving throw, taking +2d8 force damage and being pushed +5 feet away from the rune on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Icy Wind: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, taking +2d8 cold damage and having its speed reduced by +5 feet for +1 turns on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Mana Sap: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, having +2 levels of spell slots drained. Drained spell slots are expended without any other effect, and lowest level spell slots are drained first.

Paralysis: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, becoming paralyzed for +0.5 turns on a failed saving throw.

Toxic Cloud: A target within +5 feet of the rune must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, taking +2d10 poison damage and becoming poisoned for +1 turns on a failed saving throw, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Helpful Effects[edit]

Runes with these effects can become powerful medicines and protective symbols.

Cover: A target within +5 feet of this rune gains a +(+3) bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks for the next +1 minutes.

Protection: A target within +5 feet of this rune gains a +(+1) bonus to its AC and saving throws for the next +1 turns.

Recovery: A target within +5 feet of this rune recovers +1d6 hit points. This healing cannot bring a creature above half its hit point maximum.

Swiftness: A target within +5 feet of this rune has its speed increased by +10 feet for the next +1 turns.

Neutral Effects[edit]

These effects are neither helpful nor harmful, nor do they have an effect directly on what they inscribed to.

Darkness: The rune creates a +15-foot radius sphere of magical darkness centered on it for +1 minutes. (Cannot combine with Light effect.)

Flight: A target within +5 feet of the rune is put under the effects of the levitate spell for +1 minutes.

Light: The rune glows with bright light out to a radius of +15 feet, and with dim light for another +15 feet beyond that, for +1 minutes.

Self Effects[edit]

Runes with these effects augment the objects they are on. When not uses with the Passive trigger, these effects last for 1 minute after the rune is activated.

Ability Enhancement: Choose Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. When worn or held by a creature, this object increases the chosen ability score by +(+1).

Durability: This object takes half as much damage, and it cannot rust or be degraded, even by magic.

Elemental: Choose acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder. On armor, the armor provides resistance to the chosen damage type. On weapons, the weapon deals an additional +(0.5)d6 damage of the selected damage type.

Morph: This weapon becomes a different weapon, or this set of armor becomes a different type of armor. If used with the Passive trigger component, this can be done as an action.

Persistent: This rune has 1+(+0.5) times as many uses, rounded up. (Only compatible with the Passive trigger.)

Power: This object becomes a +(+0.5) item.


Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the Rune Smith class, you must meet these prerequisites: Intelligence 13

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the Rune Smith class, you gain the following proficiencies: Light Armor, Throwing Hammer, Warhammer, one tool proficiency from the class list.

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