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The Secret of the Runes II
Posted on Wed, October 05, 2011 by MysticWhip
Argon writes "In Secret of the Runes, we found out about the origin of Rune Lore. In this long awaited follow up to the Postfest IV article, we will address the lost Joten magic’s and an alternate Wizard class called the Rune Caster, plus some Rune Feats.

Secret of the Runes II


The magic, or Rune Lore, will be released in a separate article. “May Dumathoin the Keeper of Secrets guide us well.”



Origin of the Runes


Futhark is the alphabet of the Jotun, the Runic alphabet from which language was born. Futhark is the only link we have to the “Sannr” of the cosmos; the only trace our “Ellri-kin” were able to leave us.

“Why is it that our alphabet reveals so much about whom we are and why we are, yet still holds so many secrets?” Bruntunuld thought to himself. “There is more to this then I can read, or merely see. I must meet with Truhtin Malgairtun, he is assembling all the Seithr of our tribe.” Bruntunuld gathered some of his effects and rushed to meet with Truhtin.

Here we speak more of the Runic shapes, than of the origins of the mysteries they represent. The actual mysteries are timeless and were created – or more properly, “came into being” – with the emergence of the Nine Worlds. In fact the Runes are important agents in this process of “creation,” or “shaping” and precede the arising of animate beings into the Worlds. The Runic forms may be spoken of in a somewhat more historical context.

These shapes are ultimately born from the holy signs conceived within the minds of the Seithr and their Runemal – and probably much earlier – as abstract graphic expressions of the innermost content of their ancestral and magical teachings. They are found in great abundance on the most ancient rock carvings of Oerik. Bruntunuld, disgraced Seithr of the Steinkl of Stomm, describes the “primal Joten” sitting atop a mountain receiving conceptual flashes of inspiration, which he then emotionally expresses in markings that come to be those concepts.

In the earliest period, these so-called “pre-Runic signs remained totally ideographic, or hieroglyphic. However, when contact was made with the Joten races, the notion of phonetically representing language by symbols was slowly introduced into the Dwarven territories. Many scholars believe that the Runes were formulated by the first AEsir, in the first and second age of Oerth. All these theories are interesting and hold many truths, but they are is not our main interest. It is important to note that when ancient Flan peoples chose a Rune to represent a sound, in their language, they would usually choose a shape that in some way resembled the corresponding Dwarven, Joten, Oeridian, or Suloise character. This undoubtedly played a large role in the formulation of Galdrar and their association with certain Runic forms, as many of these people were not yet exposed to these cultures.

The internal structure, ordering, naming and symbolic content, of these glyphs are totally unaffected by the Joten races. There is a magical “deep structure” that governs these factors. This “deep structure” was well known by the Priests and Runemal of Dumathoin and they carefully formulated the Runic ideology and transmitted it across tribal boundaries, through preexisting Joten rites. Through this ancient guild of Rune Casters, the Runic system was able to maintain a high level of internal integrity, despite crossing countless tribal lines, until one day it was locked away for several ages.

Mythically, it is through the AEsir, Annam, that the other AEsir and Joten are able to receive Rune wisdom. Annam was the first being to be fully initiated into the Runic mysteries; that is, he first extracted the Rune wisdom directly from its source and formulated it within his being in such a way that it could be communicated to other beings. The initiatory myth is represented by the Poetic Edda, in the song called “Annamal” – “The sayings of Annam.” Stanzas 138 and 139 of this song read:


I know, that I lay

on a bed of bones and flesh

all of the nights nine,

wounded by ashen spears

and given to Annam;

myself to myself

on that field

that no Joten knows,

from where it rises.

They dealt me no bread

nor drinking horn,

I looked down,

I took up the Runes

I took them screaming,

I fell back from there.


This describes an initiatory process of a Shamanistic type, in which the initiate passes through the Nine Worlds each representing a Plane of existence. He temporarily enters a realm of the dead. At that moment the initiate receives the entire body of Rune wisdom and it is etched into his being. In the next instant, the initiate returns to the Primal Plane with the Rune wisdom permanently encoded and ready for use, or communication.


Runic Practices


There are many Runic practices, the three known on Oerth are Joten, Dwarven and those of mankind. Runes are found carved on wood, stone, metal and bone objects.

Wood is most certainly the favored medium for portraying Runes – especially for magical purposes. As evidenced by the Joten words for pieces of wood associated with the Runes, which are numerous. Three Joten examples of this connection would be the words stafr (stave, letter, secret lore), teinn (twig, talismanic word for divination) and hlutr (lot for divination, talismanic object – on which Runes also were carved).

There are also a few stone talismans, but of course the large Rune stones for Cultic, or Funeral ceremony purposes, represent the most numerous Runic inscriptions in stone.

Metal is extremely popular for talismanic purposes. The bracteates (thin metal disks inscribed with Runes and various other designs) represent an important tradition in magical Runic practice. Other, more utilitarian objects made of metal (especially axes and swords) also are inscribed with Runes in order to impart special magical powers to them so that they might perform their functions with more distinction, or protect the user.

Bone objects also are not uncommon and these usually are connected with magical practices as well. The Runes were risted with either knife points, or special pointed instruments dedicated to the Runic art.

Runic practices focus on coding intricate patterns that no uninitiated person can understand fully. The basis of Runic code is somewhat numerical in nature, though the symbolism of the Runic language does not easily define its numerical value.

The following is a new playable class known as the Rune Caster. This class has its own list of magical Runic formulas to draw from. The Joten races refer to Rune Casters as Vitki, Dwarves call them Runemal, and men call them Rune Casters. All three races represent the majority, though some humanoid races have developed talents with Rune Lore as well.


Rune Caster


The Rune Caster – a.k.a. Vitki – is an alternate Wizard class. Instead of glancing over tomes and summoning unseen energies into a magical effect, the Vitki rists objects, or places, with the Sannr – as the Joten races call it. The Sannr – a formula of Runes – can be invoked in different ways and not just by a Rune Caster.

The major difference between traditional Wizards and Rune Casters is the way the magic is carried out. A traditional Wizard will cast his spell and have its effect take place either right away, or at a set time. While a Rune Caster rists the Sannr onto an object and its effects take place whenever the bearer of the Rune invokes it, using the proper ritual to activate the Rune.

Rune Casters also differ from Wizards in that no one can teach you a Rune. You either have the innate wisdom to take in the Rune, or you do not. No schooling, or mentor-ship, can enable you to take in the Rune Lore. Wizards can study magic, find lost tomes, or cast spells and observe their effects, to better understand said magic spells and learn them. In this way a Wizard chooses his/her spells, while the Runes choose the Vitki.


Rune Caster

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d6.

Class Skills: The Rune Caster class Skills (and the key ability for each Skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all Skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Risting (Int), Ride (Wis), Rune Craft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (3 + Int modifier) ×4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 3 + Int modifier.



Table 1: The Rune Caster

Level

BAB

Fort.

Reflex

Will

Special

1

0

+0

+0

+2

Rune Lore

2

+1

+0

+0

+3


3

+1

+1

+1

+3


4

+2

+1

+1

+4


5

+2

+1

+1

+4

Bonus Feat

6

+3

+2

+2

+5


7

+3

+2

+2

+5


8

+4

+2

+2

+6


9

+4

+3

+3

+6


10

+5

+3

+3

+7

Bonus Feat

11

+5

+3

+3

+7


12

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8


13

+6/+1

+4

+4

+9


14

+7/+2

+4

+4

+9


15

+7/+2

+5

+5

+9

Bonus Feat

16

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10


17

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10


18

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11


19

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11


20

+10/+5

+6

+6

+12

Bonus Feat


Table 2: The Rune Caster Active Runes Per Day

Level

0

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

1st

2










2nd

3

1









3rd

4

1

1








4th

4

2

1








5th

4

2

2

1







6th

4

3

2

1







7th

4

3

3

2

1






8th

4

4

3

2

1






9th

4

4

4

3

2

1





10th

4

4

4

3

2

1





11th

4

4

4

4

3

2

1




12th

4

4

4

4

3

2

1




13th

4

4

4

4

4

3

2

1



14th

4

4

4

4

4

3

2

1



15th

4

4

4

4

4

4

3

2

1


16th

4

4

4

4

4

4

3

2

1


17th

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

3

2

1

18th

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

3

2

19th

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

3

20th

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

Class Features: All of the following are class Features of the Rune Caster.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Rune Casters are proficient with any light melee and martial weapons and with light armor and all shields, except tower shields. Rune Casters are not affected by arcane spell failure, as the ritual to rist a Rune is done prior to invoking it.

Spells: A Rune Caster invokes Runes which are drawn from the Rune Lore list. A Rune Caster must choose and prepare his Runes ahead of time (see below).

To learn, or prepare a Rune, the Rune Caster must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the Rune level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a Rune Casters Sannr is 10 + the Rune level + the Rune Casters Wisdom modifier.

Like most spellcasters, a Rune Caster can invoke only a certain number of Runes of each Rune level per day. His base daily Rune allotment is given on Table: The Rune Caster. In addition, he receives bonus spells – per day – if he has a high Wisdom score.

Unlike a bard, or sorcerer, a Rune Caster may know any number of Runes. He must choose and prepare his spells Runes ahead of time by getting a good night’s sleep and spending the Crafting time necessary to rist the Rune. While Crafting, the Rune Caster decides which Runes to prepare for the day.

Bonus Languages: A Rune Caster may substitute Joten, or Dwarven, for one of the bonus languages available to the character because of his race.

Rune Lore: At 1st level, a Rune Caster gains Rune Lore as a bonus Feat.

Bonus Feats:At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, a Rune Caster gains a bonus Feat. At each such opportunity, he can choose an item creation Feat (Forge Ring, Craft Wondrous Items, or Craft Magic Arms and Armor), or a Rune Feat. Runes do not benefit from Meta Magic, or Spell Mastery Feats. The Rune Caster must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus Feat, including caster level minimums.

These bonus Feats are in addition to the Feats that a character of any class gets from advancing levels. Otherwise, the Rune Caster is not limited beyond his class limitations in taking a Feat.


Rune Feats

Rune Lore: All Rune Casters start with this Feat, it is the language of the Runes and the innate understanding of this obscure ability. However, one must possess a Wisdom Score of 10, or more, to even begin to comprehend Rune Lore. Any other class which takes this Feat gains the Rune Craft Skill and might be able to ascertain what affect a Rune might have, much like Spell Craft determines the affect of a spell that has been – or is about to be – cast. This Feat does not grant those of other classes the ability to cast Runes.

Continuous Rist: A Rune Caster with this Feat can forgo the Crafting time for risting a Rune, if he has risted and cast it the day before. Let’s say the Rune Caster risted the “Drizzle” Rune yesterday and cast it as well, the next day he can forgo the risting time, if he chooses to prepare the Drizzle Rune again the next day.

Note: If the Rune Caster risted the Rune yesterday and did not cast it, he would not have to rist it again, unless he wanted to prepare a different Rune, then he can expend it, so that he can prepare another Rune that day. Also if he risted the Rune three days ago and cast it two days ago, but did not rist it again, or use Continuous Rist on the Rune yesterday, he would not be able to do so today.

Rune Staff: While many Rune Casters learn the NiQ Rune, those with this Feat can Craft the staff, or wooden pole, with added benefits. If the Rune Caster wishes to Craft a non magical pole, or stave, he can do so and anyone who has this placed on their property receives a non magical circumstance penalty of -2 on all reaction rolls, even their closest friends and family. If the Rune Caster invokes the NiQ Rune with this Feat, the circumstance penalty stacks with the Runes effect. The non-magical effect lasts until the staff, or pole, is destroyed and then it lingers for a number of days equal to the Caster's rank in his Risting Skill. For the NiQ Rune, check the Rune's description in the Rune Lore section.

Rune Knife: Most Rune Casters carry a knife which is risted with various Runes. Many times this knife is used in mixing inks, or aids, in risting a Rune. A Rune Caster with this Feat can attack with this knife as if it were a magical weapon, as far as overcoming damage reduction; otherwise it behaves as a normal weapon.

Vitki Rister: A Rune Caster can take this Feat once he has 5, or more, ranks in his Risting Skill. All Runes risted by the Rune Caster receive a +1 to their DC for every 5 ranks the Caster has in his Risting Skill. So +1 at 5 ranks, +2 at 10 ranks, +3 at 15 ranks, +4 at 20 ranks, etc.

Rune Binding: A Rune Caster must be at least 5th level to take this Feat. A Rune Caster also needs to have at least 5 ranks in his Risting Skill. The Rune Casters can rist a bracteate symbol onto the surface of the ground. Any creature not native to the Prime Material plane, which happens to step into the circle, is bound inside, if it fails a save DC equal to the Rune Casters level + the Caster's Risting Skill rank. The creature is bound until the symbol is broken, or crossed, by someone native to the Plane of existence. The creature can take no actions if caught inside this binding circle.

Note: the Rune Caster often uses this to trap such creatures until they can be banished to their home plane. If the creature is attacked, the symbol is broken and he is free to act once again.

Vitki Bracteate: A Rune Caster who has attained 7th level may use his bracteate to hold undead and extra-planar creatures at bay; he also needs to have learned the Rune Binding Feat. A Rune Caster with this Feat can turn undead and extra-planar creatures like a Cleric’s turn undead ability.

Note: Undead and extra-planar creatures cannot be destroyed with this ability.

 



Note:

Part three will detail some of the available Rune Lore available to the Rune Caster class.

"
 
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Re: The Secret of the Runes II (Score: 1)
by Mystic-Scholar on Wed, October 05, 2011
(User Info | Send a Message) http://mysticscholar.blogspot.com/
Nicely done, Argon. I look forward to giving the Rune Caster a try in an up coming game.

Well done.



Re: The Secret of the Runes II (Score: 1)
by SirXaris on Wed, October 05, 2011
(User Info | Send a Message) http://https://www.facebook.com/SirXaris?ref=hl
Yes, the Rune Caster does sound rather interesting.

After the Rune Caster has risted his runes for the day, what is the means by which he activates them?  Is it by thought, word, phrase, gesture, or a combination of these?  Is the answer to that question different for different runes?

Is rune magic affected by the arcane spell failure chance of the various types of armors and shields?

It seems like a much more appropriate arcane spellcaster stereotype for a dwarf than any other. 

Well done, Argon! :)

SirXaris



Re: The Secret of the Runes II (Score: 1)
by Argon on Wed, October 05, 2011
(User Info | Send a Message)
Mystic and Sir Xaris,

Thank you for your comments.

To answer you questions Xaris most runes are activated by actions other requires verbal components and some expire after being used. Part 3 will answer your questions soon enough.

Later

Argon




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