Runes

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The Runes

Accuracy
Shaping Time: 1d4 turns
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Twice
The accuracy rune is inscribed upon the haft of a missile weapon such as an arrow or javelin. The next time that weapon is used, the wielder receives a +2 bonus to his or her attack roll. Note that this effect lasts for one attack only. Accuracy runes inscribed by casters who learned the rune twice bestow +4 bonuses to the wielder’s attack roll.

Annam’s Unblinking Eye
Shaping Time: 3d4 hours
Prerequisites: Transformation
Learnable: Unlimited
This rune is used to duplicate Annam’s ability to look down upon any creature in the multiverse. To achieve this effect, the caster must inscribe the true name of a target creature or object upon the bowl’s base, shape the unblinking eye rune three times around the outside of a large, deep bowl (the listed Shaping Time assumes the caster is shaping all three runes), and fill the bowl with water. The three runes must be perfectly and evenly spaced around the bowl’s circumference or the bowl shatters upon activation, totally spoiling the cast.
Only one activation roll is needed to activate all three runes. Once the runes are properly activated, a reflection of the target individual appears in the water inside the bowl, allowing all present to scry the target and his/its present surroundings as though using a crystal ball. Note that the bowl transmits only visual images — it is impossible to hear any sounds in the target’s vicinity. In total, the vision lasts for a number of minutes equal to the caster’s level multiplied by the number of times the caster has learned the rune. In other words, a 10th-level caster who has learned the rune twice receives a vision that lasts for 20 minutes. If the target of the casting is a living being, he or she feels a disturbing chill for the entire duration of the vision, as does the caster. If the target has a higher Wisdom score than the caster, the caster must save vs. paralysis or succumb to fright and upset the bowl, ending the vision.
Rare among runes, Annam’s Unblinking Eye will not function unless it is inscribed using rare pigments costing no less than 1,000 gp.

Beast
Shaping Time: 2d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
This rune allows the runecaster to understand the speech of a particular animal. When shaped, the rune must name the particular animal it is intended to affect. A type of animal (“any bear”) is not sufficient; an exact identification must be provided (“the bear that lives in the big cave at the mouth of Flossi’s stream”). Once the rune is activated, the caster can converse with that animal as if by normal speech, both man and animal understanding each other. Speaking animals are typically friendly, even helpful; perhaps the novelty of
speaking humans intrigues them. The rune’s power lasts for one conversation. If the ruencaster leaves the animal and returns later, he must shape the rune again.

Berserk
Shaping Time: 1d4 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
This rune is shaped upon the haft or hilt of a weapon. In battle, the wielder of this weapon can call upon the rune’s power to enter into a berserk fury. Assuming the rune was properly shaped, the weapon’s wielder may make an attempt to become berserk at the end of any combat round by making a save vs. paralysis. If the save is successful, the wielder enters into the fury. If it is unsuccessful, he must wait and try again next round.
While in his berserk state, the wielder gains +2 points of Strength, a +2 bonus to his AC, and a +2 bonus to all his saving throws. In return for these benefits, however, he must remain in melee combat for the entire duration of the fury. If he manages to vanquish all of his enemies during this period, he must begin fighting his friends. Once invoked, the berserk state lasts 1d4 rounds. At the end of this time period, the berserker may attempt a save vs. paralysis (without the berserker saving throw bonus) to recover from the fury. If this save is unsuccessful, the berserker remains in the fury but makes an additional recovery attempt at the end of each subsequent round.

Binding
Shaping Time: 1d6 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
This rune is shaped upon a collar, a saddle, or any other object potentially worn by an animal. If the caster can place this object upon an appropriate creature (of animal or semi-intelligence), the beast is affected as though the target of an animal friendship spell. Like that spell, the total Hit Dice of all the creatures the caster befriends with such runes cannot exceed twice his level.
If the runed object is ever removed from the charmed creature, the spell is instantly broken

Blinding light
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Three times
Once activated, this rune turns the first undead creature that views it (as a 6th-level priest). If the rune is learned twice, its effectiveness improves to that of an 8th-level priest. If learned three times, the rune is as effective as a 10th-level priest. Regardless of the number of potential targets who stumble across the rune, it turns only the very first undead to see it.
The blinding light rune gets its name from the brilliant flash that accompanies its effects. The resulting burst of light illuminates everything within 200 feet’ for a single round. All creatures in the area of effect must roll successful saving throws vs. spell or be blinded for 1d3 rounds (2d4 rounds if they were using infravision at the time). Creatures to whom sunlight is harmful or unnatural (such as vampires or drow) suffer permanent blindness if the saving throw is failed, and are blinded for 2d6 rounds if the saving throw is successful. Those within its area of effect lose any infravision capabilities for 1d4+1 rounds.

Catch
Shaping Time: 2d20 minutes
Prerequisites: none
Learnable: Once
This rune must tooled onto the palms of a pair of leather gloves. Once activated, the rune functions for one day. When worm, the wearer can try to catch any weapon thrown at him (spears, knives, axes, etc.) by making a saving throw vs. death. If successful, he catches the weapon and suffers no damage from that attack. If the attempt fails and the attack succeeds, he suffers one extra point of damage. This rune is not effective against projectiles (such as arrows or crossbow bolts) or against large thrown objects (such as a giant’s boulder).

Control Undead
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: Blinding Light
Learnable: Four times
Allows the caster to control undead creatures. Up to 3 Hit Dice of undead can be affected for each time the caster has learned the rune (that is, a caster who has learned the rune three times can affect 9 Hit Dice of undead). In all other respects, the effects of the rune are treated as a charm monster spell.

Coyote
Shaping Time: 1d4 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
The image of the crafty Coyote, inscribed upon a weapon, amulet, or piece of clothing brings bad luck to enemies. The first enemy to strike the bearer of the rune suffers a -1 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, and AC for 24 hours.

Dead
Shaping Time: 2d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
This dark and potent rune allows the runecaster to converse with those departed. When shaping the rune, the runecaster must know the name of the specific individual he seeks. The rune is then carved on a pole and driven into the earth of the grave mound or cast into the sea for those unburied. The mound then opens (or a hall appears in the waters) revealing the dead spirit seated at his high seat. The runecaster can pose up to three questions to the spirit. Although the summoned spirit cannot lie, it typically answers in riddles and cryptic poems. The spirit will invite the character to enter, but anyone foolish enough to do so is lost forever.
The dead-rune has a significant risk in that not all spirits are cooperative or helpless. Each time it is used to summon a new spirit, there is a 10% chance the runecaster has contacted one of the uneasy dead. The summoning frees such spirits from their mounds and they take on physical form. Spirits released in this manner are equal in all respects to Wights.

Death
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Three times
This rune is placed upon the blade of a weapon. If the rune was properly shaped, the weapon automatically inflicts double damage against an enemy of a specified race, breed, organization or nationality (determined by the caster at the moment of shaping—the name of the target group is inscribed upon the weapon next to the rune). This effect lasts only until the weapon has been used to kill a member of the targeted group. Thereafter, the weapon functions normally in all respects. Learning the death rune twice has no additional effects, but a caster who has learned it three times can scribe runes that cause triple damage to their specified targets.

Disease
Shaping Time: 2d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Dream
Learnable: Once
When this rune is shaped, a specific victim must be named and the rune carved on a plank. This is then placed beneath the mattress of the victim. Each morning thereafter, the victim must make a saving throw vs. death. If successful, the rune has no effect. If failed, the victim weakens, losing a point of Constitution per day. This process continues until the victim’s Constitution reaches 0 and the character dies or the victim succeeds at a saving throw. Constitution lost in this fashion cannot be regained until the rune is discovered and destroyed.

Dream
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Binding
Learnable: Once
This complex rune is shaped upon a broad stone and the stone is placed beneath the caster’s pillow. While shaping the rune, the caster frames a single question in his mind and alters the rune accordingly.
The answer to the question presents itself to the caster in the form of a dream 1d6 nights after the alteration. Like most prophetic visions, however, the answer will certainly be couched in strange and mysterious symbols requiring careful interpretation. A caster who misses his activation roll while shaping the dream rune does not know he has failed until he actually attempts to use the rune. Instead of bringing the caster a prophetic dream, an improperly shaped rune causes a Ghast to visit the caster for each of the next six nights.

Exploding Arrow
Shaping Time: 1d4 rounds
Prerequisites: Death
Learnable: Twice
This rune is inscribed upon an arrow. When fired, this arrow inflicts explodes upon impact, inflicting double damage to its target (triple damage if the caster learned the rune more than once).

Fate
Shaping Time: 1d8 rounds
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
The fate rune is scribed upon one side of a coin. The caster can then toss this coin into the air to divine the general fate of a specified individual for the next day. If the coin lands rune side up, fate is with the individual; he or she receives a +1 bonus to all d20 rolls for the next 24 hours. If the coin lands rune side down, however, fate frowns upon the individual; -1 penalty to all d20 rolls. If the coin lands on its side (roll a 1% chance of this occurring before tossing the coin), it indicates that something calamitous will befall the subject during the next day (death, serious injury, loss of fortune, etc.).
Note that the subject must be physically present and must consent to a reading for this rune to have any effect.

Firefly
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Blinding Light
Learnable: Once
This image can be carved upon a staff, wand, or amulet, and provides the equivalent of a clerical continual light spell. The light is permanent so long as the object bearing the rune is not destroyed.
Special: A firefly rune only counts against the runecasters limit on active runes for 24 hours after it is activated. After that time it no longer counts against his limit of one active rune per level.

Fox
Shaping Time: 1d4 hours
Prerequisites: Coyote
Learnable: Once
When inscribed upon an amulet, a cloak, or a pair of gloves, the Fox rune adds +10% to all thief skill rolls for 24 hours.

Hawk
Shaping Time: 1d12 turns
Prerequisites: Accuracy
Learnable: Once
When inscribed on an arrow, quarrel, spear, or other missile weapon, this rune doubles the missile’s range the next time it is used. As with the Accuracy rune, it cannot be inscribed on a bow, crossbow, or the like but only on the missile itself.

Healing
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Twice
This rune is shaped on the side of a cup, goblet, or bottle. Thereafter, the first time the cup is filled, its contents transmute into a potion of healing. When shaping this rune, the caster must make his activation check behind a shield, out of his own view. If the activation roll is a “1,” the contents of the cup do not metamorphose into a potion of healing, but into a deadly Type J poison that is indistinguishable from a potion of healing.
If the caster has learned the healing rune more than once, the contents of the runed cup metamorphose into a potion of extra-healing (or a particularly deadly Type I poison; save at -2). Note that any brew created by the cup must be consumed within one hour or it instantly reverts to normal water.

Help
Shaping Time: 2d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Dream
Learnable: Once
This valuable rune can be fashioned to cure diseases, including most of those caused by magical means (unless otherwise specified). It has no effect on illness caused by disease runes. When shaped the caster must know the name and symptoms of the sufferer. The rune is then carved on a plank and placed under the ailing person’s pillow. Each morning the patient makes a saving throw vs. death. If successful, the disease lessens and one of the symptoms vanishes. (Fevers abate, pox heal, aches depart, etc.) When all symptoms are gone, the person is cured. The rune is then ineffective.

Imprisonment
Shaping Time: 1d12 days
Prerequisites: Triumph
Learnable: Once
This rune is placed upon a door or portal. If successfully activated, a specified creature imprisoned beyond the portal cannot cross it through normal means (though any appropriate wizard spell such as teleport or dimension door can still be used to exit). Once placed, the rune remains active for a number of days equal to the caster’s level.
Every imprisonment rune has an associated freedom word incorporated into its shaping. If this word is pronounced by the trapped creature, the rune’s power instantly fades. Part of the rune’s magic requires the freedom word to be both known to the imprisoned creature and particularly appropriate to the imprisonment. For instance, the freedom word for a character imprisoned for murder might be the name of his victim, the location of the murder, the name of the weapon used to commit the murder, etc.

Iron Can’t Bite
Shaping Time: 2d20 minutes
Prerequisites: Shield
Learnable: Once
This potent rune is much valued by warriors of all types and is frequently used by raiders and berserkers. The rune is shaped for a particular person and carved onto a wooden amulet. The charm must be donned as soon as it is carved. This must be worn around the neck at all times. Thereafter, the wearer suffers one point less damage from all attacks made with weapons. The rune is effective as long as the character wears the amulet or until the character’s hit points are reduced to 0. If the rune is removed for any reason, its power is broken. Certain magical devices may also negate the effectiveness of the rune. A character can only use one of these runes at a time.

Levitation
Shaping Time: 1d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Unlimited
Functions as the second-level wizard spell levitate for three turns for every time the caster has learned the rune.

Love
Shaping Time: 1d8 hours
Prerequisites: Healing
Learnable: Once
Similar to the healing rune, the love rune is inscribed upon a cup or goblet. If properly activated, the first time the cup is filled, its contents will metamorphose into a philter of love.
When shaping this rune, the caster must make his activation check behind a shield, out of his own view. If the activation roll fails, the contents of the cup metamorphose into a brew with the exact opposite effects of a philter of love (that is, the imbiber hates the first creature he or she sees after consuming the draught). Any waters transmuted by the love rune must be consumed within one hour or their power is lost.

Nið
Shaping Time: 2d20 minutes
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
A Nið rune (pronounced roughly nith) is a highly charged and emotional rune to use, since it is a grave insult to the person named in the rune. (Nið implies shaming and disgrace and is associated with traitors, particularly a man who kills his own blood-kin. Such criminals are named niðingr and can be killed on sight by any man.) A nið-rune delivers a powerful curse.
To fashion this rune, the runecaster must name a particular person to be affected and fashion with the runes the wrongs that person has committed against the runecaster to justify the curse. A nið-rune carved without good cause automatically fails (with the consequences given below). The rune is carved on a pole, set in the ground, and topped with an animal’s skull. The pole must be on the property of the person being cursed.
The type of curse delivered depends on the imagination and desires of the runecaster. Typical curses inflict madness, misfortune, bad luck, illness, Poor harvests, harsh winters, bad hunting: or evil weather. The curse can never directly cause the death of the victim. For example, the runecaster cannot will a fatal illness on the victim or cause his ship to sink in mid-ocean. However, he could reduce the victim to feeble weakness (making him easy to kill) or request a terrible storm (that might sink the ship of anyone foolish enough to sail).
If the rune is fashioned successfully, the victim is allowed a saving throw vs. death to resist the effects of the curse. If the save is failed, the curse takes hold. If the save is successful, the curse is negated.
There are several risks involved in using this spell. First, it is difficult to fashion, so the activation roll is made with a -1 penalty. Second for the nið-rune to have effect it must be placed where it can be found. Since the runes clearly identify the runecaster and his intended victim, either the victim or his relatives might discover the pole and then take vengeance on the character. A nið-rune is a grave insult and will not be dismissed lightly, unless the target is a coward. Finally, a poorly fashioned rune will rebound on the runecaster. If the character errs in shaping the rune, the curse (or something similar to it) effects the runecaster.
Like the potential victim, the player character is allowed a saving throw to avoid the effect. The curse remains in effect until either the conditions of the curse are fulfilled, the nið-rune is negated, or the two parties arrive at some kind of reconciliation.

Otter
Shaping Time: 1d12 turns
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
The otter rune is often inscribed upon a small pendant or earring. It gives the bearer the ability to swim like an otter for 24 hours (SW 18), and remain submerged without the need to breathe for as long as five minutes at a time.

Owl
Shaping Time: 1d12 turns
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
When activated, the bearer of an owl rune, which can be inscribed upon a pendant, amulet, brooch, torc, or circlet, can see in total darkness without penalty for 24 hours.

Poison
Shaping Time: 1d4 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
The poison rune can be inscribed upon any liquid-bearing vessel, plate, bowl, or dish. If the rune is properly activated, the instant the inscribed object comes into contact with poison, it bursts, alerting onlookers to the poison’s presence. Ever vigilant for treacherous plots, many of the important leaders among the Jotunbrud make extensive use of this rune.

Quench
Shaping Time: 1d20 rounds
Prerequisites: Shield
Learnable: Once
This rune allows the caster to extinguish any single fire. The rune must be carved on any available piece of wood. The wood is thrown into the fire and consumed to activate the rune. If the rune is shaped successfully, a conflagration up to the size of a single building can be extinguished. Only one fire can be extinguished per rune.

Sanctuary
Shaping Time: 1d8 days
Prerequisites: Triumph
Learnable: Once
The sanctuary rune is the exact opposite of the imprisonment rune. It too is placed upon a door or portal, but instead of preventing an imprisoned creature from leaving through the portal, it prevents all creatures outside the portal from entering. Note that the rune’s power bars entrances by normal means-translocation spells such as teleport, dimension door, etc. are unaffected. After one day per level of the caster has elapsed, the rune automatically fades on its own accord. Unlike the imprisonment rune, sanctuary has no associated word that automatically deactivates it.

Sea
Shaping Time: 1d20 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
Since the rune is most effective if shaped and carved when the ship is built, wise shipwrights seek out the most skillful runecaster they can find. The runecaster shapes the rune and then carves it on the prow, rudder, and oars of the ship. The rune remains in effect until any of these items are broken or lost. A rune shaped during the building of the ship gains a +5% bonus to later seaworthiness checks.
Once the sea-rune is carved (assuming it was successful), the ship has better chances of surviving any storm. In dangerous seas, the vessel handles as if the wind and waves were one category less. (Strong winds are treated as favorable, storms as strong winds, gales as storms, and the northern equivalent of hurricane is a gale.) The ship gains a +lo% bonus to all seaworthiness checks (possibly 15% if the rune was fashioned when the ship was built). Multiple sets of sea-runes on a single ship are not allowed.
If a sea-rune is negated because of a broken or lost oar, the rune can be repaired by any runecaster who knows how to shape a Sea rune. He can examine the runes already on the ship and carve a new one. A check for the work must still be made. The bonus for the initial carving of the rune is lost, however, since the replacement oar was not fashioned when the ship was built. If the prow or rudder is broken, the sea-rune is permanently destroyed. The ship is then considered ill-fated and cannot have another rune placed on it.

Shield
Shaping Time: 1d8 turns
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Three times
When placed upon a shield, this rune improves that shield’s AC benefit by an additional 1. This effect lasts only for the duration of the next battle in which the shield is used. If the caster has learned the shield rune twice, it improves the AC bonus of the shield upon which it is placed by +2 (3 if the caster has learned the rune three times).

Shout
Shaping Time: 1d20 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
This peculiar rune can be used to free others, or sometimes oneself, from bonds and fetters. It can also open locks. To use, the runecaster names the person to be freed or the item to be opened and carves the rune on the bonds themselves. He then shouts to activate the rune. This unties knots, opens locks, breaks fetters, and undoes any other restraints, as per a knock spell.

Speed
Shaping Time: 1d4 turns
Prerequisites: Healing
Learnable: Twice
This rune is placed upon a set of footwear (even a horseshoe will do). If properly activated, it increases the MV of the creature wearing the footwear by 50% for a number of turns equal to the caster’s level. If the caster has learned the rune twice, the MV bonus is 100%.

Strength
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Healing
Learnable: Twice
This rune is shaped upon a helmet or girdle. Thereafter, any character who wears this item receives a +1 bonus to his Strength ability (and all associated bonuses, etc.) for a number of minutes equal to the level of the caster. If the runed object is removed from the character during this time period, the rune’s spell is instantly broken.
A caster who has learned this rune twice can use it to increase a subject’s Strength by 2 points.

Thunder
Shaping Time: 1d3 days
Prerequisites: Strength
Learnable: Three times
The thunder rune is useless until a natural thunder or rainstorm arises. During such a storm, a hammer inscribed with the rune beat on the ground for three rounds summons a powerful lightning bolt from the heavens (as though cast by a 7th-level wizard). This bolt will strike any target the character beating the hammer desires (not necessarily the caster), but it is incapable of striking targets that are indoors, underground, or otherwise inaccessible to the sky. Up to three thunder runes may be placed upon a single hammer (make separate activation rolls for each; each requires the full Shaping Time), allowing the wielder to conjure up to three lightning bolts.
Learning the thunder rune more than once allows the caster to increase the damage inflicted by the lightning bolt it summons. Casters who have learned thunder twice can shape runes capable of summoning lightning bolts equivalent to those cast by a 9th-level wizard. Learning thunder three times enables the caster ’s runes to summon 11th-level bolts.

Transformation
Shaping Time: 1d6 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
This rune is inscribed upon an article of clothing. By wearing this article of clothing, the caster (and only the caster), may polymorph self as per the fourth-level wizard spell. The polymorph effect lasts only for a number of minutes equal to twice the caster’s level.

Triumph
Shaping Time: 1d3 hours
Prerequisites: None
Learnable: Once
Like death, this powerful rune is inscribed upon the blade of a weapon. If the rune is properly activated, the next time that weapon is used in combat, its wielder may add +2 to all his damage rolls and treat the weapon as though it is +2 for the purposes of attacking creatures struck only by enchanted blades. (The wielder does not receive the +2 bonus to his attack rolls.)
Note that the triumph rune’s effects last only for the duration of a single battle.

Weakness
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Healing
Learnable: Once
The weakness rune is the exact opposite of Strength. It too is scribed upon a helmet or girdle. Anyone who is tricked into wearing this item must subtract 2 points from his Strength ability for a number of turns equal to the level of the caster. Note that while the rune’s magic is in effect, the victim is totally unaware of its influence — he or she does not feel weak or different in any way. Should the victim of weakness somehow discover the runed object and remove it, the weakness effect instantly dissipates.

Wisdom
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Healing
Learnable: Once
This rune functions exactly like the Strength rune, only it increases the subject’’s Intelligence and Wisdom scores by 1 point each.

Wyrm
Shaping Time: 1d12 hours
Prerequisites: Healing
Learnable: Once
In the legends of the Jotunbrud, dragons are synonymous with decay and destruction, a belief that undoubtedly dates back to the great war between the giants and dragonkind. By placing the wyrm rune upon an object, the caster targets that object for rot and decay. The rune causes metal to rust, food to rot, and wood to warp. It has no effect upon plant or animal life.
Once the rune is properly activated, it will rust, warp, or decay its target into uselessness in 1d10 days. The only way to nullify this effect is via a remove curse or a dispel magic. Due to certain limitations in its energy patterns, the wyrm rune will not affect any item larger than size S.

Ysgard
Shaping Time: 1d6 weeks
Prerequisites: Annam’s Unblinking Eye
Learnable: Once
Among the most powerful of all known runes, Ysgard allows the caster to temporarily open a portal between Toril and Annam’s palace of Gudheim located on the plane of Ysgard. To open the portal, the caster must scribe the rune upon a closed doorway. After the rune is activated, the next time the doorway is opened it leads directly to Ysgard instead of its normal earthly destination. Once active, this bridge between worlds remains open for a number of minutes equal to the level of the caster.
One particularly nasty problem facing runecasters who hope to visit Ysgard via this method is that there is no guarantee of a return trip. Once the portal closes down, it is impossible to reopen it from the Outer Planes. Of course, a true runecaster of the Jotunbrud would tell you that this is the sort of restriction that daunts only cowards!

Runes

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