Ruins of Adventure
Grimnir's Crown of Runes
A halo of ephemeral letters, twenty-four in all, appear around Grimnir's head.
A halo of ephemeral letters, twenty-four in all, appear around Grimnir’s head, reminiscent of those used in the writings of the giants, and yet altogether different in some imperceptible way. They can be neither touched nor marred, but can be hidden by a simple act of will from the Wanderer.
These runes appeared on a strange golden wand, kept by Laris in his magical curios shop in Hillsfar. The runes were etched upon and around the surface of the small, spear-shaped rod. While great power emanated from the wand, Laris knew nothing of its powers, save that any being of mortal or non-deific origin handling the wand was instantly struck dead. This alone was enough to make him trade away the item (and the solid glass case in which he kept it, though not without considerable cost and many warnings, to Grimnir.
Grimnir, heedless of the warnings, broke the case and took hold of the wand, while standing in the throne room of the Maalthiir in Hillsfar. A great tree to sprang up instantly from the floor, spreading to the upmost of the eighty-foot ceiling, and impaled Grimnir. Grimnir hung upon the tree, teetering on the precipice that separates the living from the dead, for no less than nine days and nights. At the end of the ninth night, he at last perceived shapes in the depths, and fell from the tree, wholly alive and sporting his new Crown of Runes.
Then I was fertilized and became wise;
I truly grew and thrived.
From a word to a word I was led to a word,
From a work to a work I was led to a work.
Know how to cut them,
know how to read them,
Know how to stain them,
know how to prove them,
Know how to evoke them,
know how to score them,
Know how to send them,
know how to send them.
The Crown of Runes cannot be removed by any means, but can be made to appear or disappear as a bonus action. When the runes are hidden, they exhibit no powers, but the crown still counts as being worn. When visible, Grimnir’s Runes grant a variety of powers:
- Each time the Crown appears, Grimnir may choose any one Druid or Cleric spell of a level he can cast and add it to his list of spells known. This spell remains “known” until such time as he chooses to hide the crown again.
- Anyone looking on Grimnir instantly recognizes him for the divine being he is. Neither disguise, nor magic can hide his nature so long as the crown is visible. Weak-willed beings (those with no more than 1HD and a Wisdom of 10 or less) will automatically obey him as if charmed, as if affected by a Rod of Rulership. Any command that would be contrary to the nature of those commanded will immediately break the effect.
- Grimnir can create any Rune, at will. He can scribe a rune onto a surface in 1/10th the normal amount of time (turns are minutes, minutes are rounds, etc.) and need not make any check to activate the Runes. Runes that are learnable multiple times are always cast at the greatest level of power (i.e. he always uses Blinding Light as if he had learned it thrice). Only one Rune can be in effect at any one time. If a new Rune is scribed, the previous ceases to function.
- So long as the crown is visible, Grimnir gains advantage on all saving throws against spells cast by mortal creatures (he gains no such protection against creatures that are immortal or divine in nature). Likewise, Grimnir is completely immune to the negative effects of Runes cast by other creatures, including deities and immortals.
The first charm I know is unknown to rulers
Or any of human kind;
Help it is named,
for help it can give
In hours of sorrow and anguish.
I know a second that the sons of men
Must learn who wish to be leeches.
I know a third: in the thick of battle,
If my need be great enough,
It will blunt the edges of enemy swords,
Their weapons will make no wounds.
I know a fourth:
it will free me quickly
If foes should bind me fast
With strong chains, a chant that makes
Fetters spring from the feet,
Bonds burst from the hands.
I know a fifth: no flying arrow,
Aimed to bring harm to men,
Flies too fast for my fingers to catch it
And hold it in mid-air.
I know a sixth:
It will save me if a man
Cut runes on a sapling’ s roots
With intent to harm; it turns the spell;
The hater is harmed, not me.
If I see the hall
Ablaze around my bench mates,
Though hot the flames,
They shall feel nothing,
If I choose to chant the spell. [seventh]
I know an eighth:
That all are glad of,
Most useful to men:
If hate fester in the heart of a warrior,
It will soon calm and cure him.
I know a ninth:
When need I have
To shelter my ship on the flood,
The wind it calms, the waves it smoothes
And puts the sea to sleep
I know a tenth:
If troublesome ghosts
Ride the rafters aloft,
I can work it so they wander astray,
Unable to find their forms,
Unable to find their homes.
I know an eleventh:
When I lead to battle old comrades in-arms,
I have only to chant it behind my shield,
And unwounded they go to war,
Unwounded they come from war,
Unscathed wherever they are
I know a twelfth:
If a tree bear
A man hanged in a halter,
I can carve and stain strong runes
That will cause the corpse to speak,
Reply to whatever I ask.
I know a thirteenth
If I throw a cup of water over a warrior,
He shall not fall in the fiercest battle,
Nor sink beneath the sword,
_I know a fourteenth, that few know:
If I tell a troop of warriors
About the high ones, Elves and Gods,
I can name them one by one.
(Few can the nitwit name.) _
I know a fifteenth,
That first Thjodrerir
Sang before Delling’s doors,
Giving power to Gods, prowess to Elves,
Fore-sight to Hroptatyr Odhinn,
I know a sixteenth:
If I see a girl
With whom it would please me to play,
I can turn her thoughts, can touch the heart
Of any white armed woman.
_I know a seventeenth:
If I sing it,
The young girl will be slow to forsake me. _
I know an eighteenth that I never tell
To maiden or wife of man,
A secret I hide from all
Except the love who lies in my arms,
Or else my own sister.