Runes (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Rune Magic[edit]

Rune magic is using ancient languages in singular or combination forms to establish and use magical energies. Certain languages (such as draconic, high draconic, the elemental languages etc.) possess innate energy that can be tapped into when executed flawlessly by an individual who understands the innate power that is contained within these scripts. Rune magic has a much larger range of covered abilities due to the nature of the magic (it does not come from a deity or study) but requires such a high degree of perfection that exhaustion comes quickly. However since the power comes from the words themselves and the inherent energies of the world, the individual cannot wear anything over their hands while activating the magic.

Rune magic unlike normal magic also has certain prerequisites in order to use. For example some runes require specific languages to be known. No magical effect can be substituted for these requirements; if you do not know the rune language associated with the rune magic you want to learn you are out of luck until you master that language.

Lastly, Rune Magic is not effected by Metamagic Feats, though they may be effected by normal feats.


All runes require knowledge, and as a result you must have at least one modifier point of either wisdom or intelligence per rune. When you select to use intelligence or wisdom, the choice cannot be undone. Your total number of modifier points is how many runes you may learn from each category, and the number of runes you learn in this manner only applies to your base modifier.

Runes can be taken in place of feats or spells, but you must still meet the prerequisite. When taken in place of spells, they can be taken in exchange for the highest available spell slot. You may not lower the level you exchange at later levels when you would normally be allowed to relearn or replace a spell of lesser power.

In order to create a rune, you must expend 1/5 of a piece of chalk, 1/7 of an ink well, or 1/3 of a pen. The rune can be placed anywhere that these objects can normally inscribe on, and you may use other writing utensils to write providing that they are at hand and your DM approves. If a rune is subject to being erased, the individual erasing it must make a sunder check (if done physically) or a caster level check (if done magically) with a DC equal to 10 + your wisdom or intelligence modifier (whichever you chose), plus 1 if its a Minor Rune, plus 3 if its a Lesser Rune, plus 5 if its a Major Rune, and +8 if its a Greater Rune.

If taken in place of a spell, you may use a rune as many times per day as you would for that spell level as appropriate for your level. If taken in place of a feat, you may only use the rune a number of times per day equal to half your effect character level.

The saving throw of any runes, should a creature be allowed one, is equal to 10 + your wisdom or intelligence modifier (whichever you chose) + 1/2 your effective character level.

Each entry describes the base information for the following:

  • Description: The description of the rune's benefits and limitations.
  • Prerequisite: Like a feat, Runes have a prerequisite.
  • Language: The language your character needs to know in order to create and/or a rune.
  • Inscription Time: How long it takes to inscribe a rune properly onto an item.
  • Type: Minor, Lesser, Major, Greater. This applies to how many and what you can learn.

Because of the power within runes, there is a limit to how many runes may be placed on armor, weapons, or similar objects before they risk being destroyed. If you apply more runes then a selected item is permitted, there is a 20% chance that the item will be disintegrated from the overload, per rune applied extra. Runes cannot be applied to magical objects, doing so simply causes the rune to vanish. These rune limits are broken down as follows:

Table: Weapon Rune limits
Type of Weapon
Number of Runes
Ammunition 1
Light 1
One-handed or one head of a double weapon 2
Two-handed or both heads of a double weapon 4
Table: Armor Rune limits
Type of Weapon
Number of Runes
Light 2
Medium 3
Heavy 4
Shield 2
Other Items 1

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