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Rune Caster

Dwarves consider the highest form of magic to be the power of runes, which transcends classes. Rune casters are highly respected among the dwarves, but much is demanded of them as well. Rune casters guard their secrets jealously, and rarely if ever share them with outsiders.

Rune casters apply their legendary affinity for crafting to the mysteries of both arcane and divine energies. These intensely focused spellcasters learn how to solidify the energy of a spell into a tangible object, saving it for later release or, in cases of dire necessity, shatter them to produce devastating explosions.

Prerequisite(s): To gain levels as a rune caster, you must meet the following requirements (in addition to the multiclassing prerequisites for any classes you have):

  • Intelligence 15, Wisdom 15, or Charisma 15. Whatever their spellcasting background, rune casters must have a strong aptitude for magic.
  • Constitution 13. Rune casters must be hardy enough to withstand rigorous training.
  • Proficiency in the Arcana or Religion skill. A rune caster must have some understanding of arcane or theological lore to master the runic arts.
  • Proficiency in artisan’s tools. You must be able to work in stone, wood, or some other appropriate material to inscribe your runes.
  • Spellcasting class feature. To become a rune caster, you must have at least some competence in the magical arts.
  • Character level 7th. You must already be a 7th-level character before you can gain rune caster levels.
  • Find a Mentor. In order to gain levels as a rune caster, you must find a mentor willing to teach you this art. Most rune casters are dwarves, and all of them are notoriously stubborn and secretive. You will need to undertake some service or series of tasks to prove your worth and trustworthiness to your prospective mentor.

Class Features

As a rune caster, you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per rune caster level
Hit Points per Level: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per rune caster level

Equipment

The rune caster prestige class provides you a spellbook at no charge, if you don’t already have one.

Table: The Rune Caster
Level Features Cantrips Known Spells Known Spell Slots Per Spell Level Inscribed Runes Max Rune Level
1st 2nd 3rd
1st Rune Magic, Spellcasting 1 2 2 2 1st
2nd Runestore 1 3 3 3 2nd
3rd Rune Adept 2 4 4 2 3 3rd
4th Runeshatter 2 5 4 3 4 4th
5th Rune Master 3 6 4 3 2 4 5th

Rune Magic

At 1st level, you can inscribe a spell you know as a rune or sigil onto an object or surface. If you choose a surface, the rune can cover an area of the surface no larger than 5 feet square. If you choose an object, the object must be no smaller than a cup or flask and no larger than a lute or backpack, and it must be made of a material you can etch upon using your artisan’s tools.

To inscribe the rune, you must cast the spell as a ritual (even if it is not normally a ritual spell). The spell being stored has no immediate effect when cast in this way. Once inscribed with a spell, the rune remains in place, but inert, until the rune is triggered or dispelled.

The rune is nearly invisible and requires a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check against your spell save DC to be found. Once the rune spell is triggered, the rune or sigil remains etched in the surface, but the magical energy within dissipates and cannot be used again. If the spell requires concentration, it lasts until the end of its full duration.

A rune spell is used in one of two ways: as a helpful rune or a trap rune.

Helpful Rune: The inscribed spell must target one or more creatures. Choose a creature other than yourself when you create the rune. That creature can use an action to trigger the rune by touching it or speaking its name aloud. In either case, the creature must be within 10 feet of the rune, whether it is inscribed on an object or a surface. When the rune is triggered, the stored spell is cast, targeting the creature that triggered the rune. If the spell targets multiple creatures, the creature that triggered the rune may decide what other creatures within range are targeted.

Trap Rune: The inscribed spell must target a single creature or an area. When the rune is triggered, the stored spell is cast. If the spell has a target, it targets the creature that triggered the rune. If the spell affects an area, the area is centered on that creature. If the spell summons hostile creatures or creates harmful objects or traps, they appear as close as possible to the rune and attack the creature that triggered it.

You decide what triggers the rune when you cast the spell. For runes inscribed on a surface, the most typical triggers include touching or standing on the rune, removing another object covering the rune, approaching within a certain distance of the rune, or manipulating the surface on which the rune is inscribed. For runes inscribed upon an object, the most common triggers include grasping, opening, or lifting that object, approaching within a certain distance of the object, or seeing or reading the rune.

You can further refine the trigger so the spell activates only under certain circumstances or according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight), creature kind (for example, the ward could be set to affect aberrations etc.), or alignment. You can also set conditions for creatures that don’t trigger the rune, such as those who say a certain password.

Inscribed Runes. The Rune Caster table shows the number of times you can inscribe a spell as a rune. At 1st level, you can use this feature twice. You regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

Maximum Rune Level. The Rune Caster table shows the maximum level of spell slot you may inscribe within a rune.

Spellcasting

As a student of the oldest form of written magic, you have a spellbook containing the spells you know.

Cantrips. At 1st level, you know one cantrip of your choice from the cleric, sorcerer, or wizard spell lists. You learn additional cleric, sorcerer, or wizard cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Rune Caster table.

Spellbook. At 1st level, you have a spellbook containing two 1st-level spells of your choice from the cleric, sorcerer, or wizard spell lists. Your spellbook is the repository of the spells you know, except your cantrips, which are fixed in your mind.

Spell Slots. The Rune Caster table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

For example, if you know the 1st-level spell burning hands and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast burning hands using either slot.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher. The Spells Known column of the Rune Caster table shows when you learn more cleric, sorcerer, or wizard spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level. Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the cleric, sorcerer, or wizard spells you know and replace it with another spell from the cleric, sorcerer, or wizard spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability. Choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. That attribute is always your spellcasting ability for your rune caster spells. You use that attribute whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. You also use it when setting the saving throw DC for a rune caster spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your chosen spellcasting ability modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your chosen spellcasting ability modifier

Ritual Casting. You can cast a rune caster spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don’t need to have the spell prepared.

Multiclassing. You add all of your levels in the rune caster class when determining your total spell slots.

Runestore

At 2nd level, you can “runestore” a spell. You cast the spell as a ritual (even if it is not normally a ritual spell). The spell does not have its usual effect when cast in this way. Instead, the runestored spell appears as a glowing, immaterial rune floating near you, giving off dim light in a 5-foot radius. It may be targeted normally with dispel magic spells and similar effects. The runestored spell lasts until you finish your next long rest or you fall unconscious.

While your runestored spell lasts, you may trigger it as a reaction, at which time it takes effect normally as if you had just cast it. You determine targets and other variable aspects of the spell when you trigger it.

A runestored spell counts as an inscribed rune.

Runic Ward

Starting at 3rd level, while you have at least one runestored spell, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Further, as a reaction when you are hit by an attack, you may sacrifice a runestored spell to take half damage from that attack. The runestored spell dissipates with no other effect when sacrificed in this way.

Runeshatter

At 4th level, you can use an action to cause two of your runestored spells to collide, releasing a blast of arcane energy. Each creature within a 30-foot radius originating from you must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 1d6 force damage for each level of spell slots stored in the colliding runes. On a successful save, the creature takes half damage.

You can bend the magical energies to avoid one or more creatures within range. Choose a number of creatures equal to your chosen spellcasting ability (minimum 1 creature). The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the Runeshatter, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

Rune Master

Starting at 5th level, while you have at least one runestored spell, you have advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Scarred Lands Player’s Guide © 2016 Onyx Path Publishing Authors: Bill Ashbless, Jason Bolte, Chris Cowger, Adam Eichelberger, Alain Giorla, Nathan Knaack, Chris Sims, Eddy Webb