Runeblade


Runeblades wield arcane magic, but unlike wizards they do not use spells. They create runes — visual symbols that possess magical might — to enhance their weapon, their armor, and themselves to make them better in the art of martial combat. Runeblades often put nonmagical runes on their weapons, armor, gear, and even on themselves (as tattoos), because the runes carry meaning important to them and make them appear more powerful. As they train to create physical manifestations of magic, runeblades gain an affinity for physical devices of all sorts: traps, locks, wheels, clocks, and so on. Still, their primary focus lies in martial arts and practice with their runic weapons.

Table: The Runeblade (Hit Dice: D10)

Level BAB Saving Throws: Special Runes Known:
Fort Ref Will Lssr Adv Great Power
1st +1 +0 +0 +2 Runes, runic weapon +1 2
2nd +2 +0 +0 +3 Erase rune 3
3rd +3 +1 +1 +3 Sense rune 4
4th +4 +1 +1 +4 Shimmering shield 5
5th +5 +1 +1 +4 Runic weapon +2 6
6th +6/+1 +2 +2 +5 Invested rune 6 1
7th +7/+2 +2 +2 +5 Runic weapon defense 6 2
8th +8/+3 +2 +2 +6 Summon runic weapon 6 3
9th +9/+4 +3 +3 +6 Runic weapon +3 6 4
10th +10/+5 +3 +3 +7 Password 6 5
11th +11/+6/+1 +3 +3 +7 Slice through wardings 6 5 1
12th +12/+7/+2 +4 +4 +8 Familiarity with magic 6 5 2
13th +13/+8/+3 +4 +4 +8 Runic weapon +4 6 5 3
14th +14/+9/+4 +4 +4 +9 Summon runic weapon (free) 6 5 4
15th +15/+10/+5 +5 +5 +9 Inscribe rune 6 5 5
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +10 Spell parry 6 5 5 1
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Runic weapon +5 6 5 5 2
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Slice through spells 6 5 5 3
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 6 5 5 4
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Ultimate rune 6 5 5 5

Bonus Skills: All runeblades automatically receive one free rank per class level in Craft (Runecarving) (Int). This is otherwise treated as a class skill, but does not count against the runeblade’s total number of skill points per level.
Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Endurance (Con), Linguistics (Int), Knowledge (lore) (Int), Knowledge (warfare) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Streetwise (Wis).
< Skill Points per Level: 4 + Intelligence modifier

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Runeblades are proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with medium armor, light armor, and shields (not including exotic shields). At your option, you can choose to give up medium armor and shield proficiencies and instead gain canny defense:

Canny Defense (Ex): When wearing light or no armor and not using a shield, you add 1 point of your Intelligence bonus (if any) per runeblade level as an insight bonus to Armor Class and CMD. If you are caught flat-footed or otherwise denied your Dexterity bonus, you also lose this bonus.

Runes (Sp): Runes resemble arcane symbols. They are usually meaningless to anyone without the Knowledge (lore) skill. Runeblades apply runes by magically drawing a symbol on an object, a surface, or a creature. No rune can be used more than once per hour. There are three kinds of runes: touch-trigger runes, applied runes, and imbued object runes.

  • A touch-trigger rune is placed upon an object, a surface, or even a creature. Basically, a rune can cover a surface as small as 1 inch square and as large as 10 feet square; multiple runes can cover a much larger area. The first creature that touches the object, surface, or creature bearing the rune triggers the effect immediately. Touch-trigger runes last until triggered, dispelled, or erased by a runeblade. If circumstances result in a creature triggering more than one touch-trigger rune at once, only the most powerful one takes effect. The others are triggered but have no effect. You can choose to create a touch-trigger rune as a visible rune or as invisible.
  • Applied runes require you to apply the rune to immediately activate its effects—usually related to the object, surface, or creature the rune is placed upon. Applied runes last only as long as their effects.
  • Imbued object runes require you to apply the rune to an object no larger than yourself. This imbues the item bearing the rune with a magical ability. Imbued object runes last for one day per runeblade level.

Triggering identical runes at the exact same time negates both runes. For example, while two different doors can bear a rune of conjuring, if one door has two runes of conjuring on it, neither rune functions unless they are placed so that there is no way someone could trigger both of them at once. Likewise, a runic weapon cannot have two lesser elemental runes on it.

Each rune is worth 1 point or more; you may have only a certain number of points worth of runes in effect at any given time. That number is called your total rune value. Your total rune value is equal to your runeblade level + your Intelligence modifier (minimum 2). Runes come in varying power levels, each with its own associated value: Lesser runes each have a value of 1, which counts against this total. Advanced runes each have a value of 2, greater runes a value of 3, and runes of power a value of 4.

Anyone looking upon a visible rune can determine what it does by making a Spellcraft check. The check’s Difficulty Class is 15 for lesser runes, 18 for advanced runes, 21 for greater runes, 25 for runes of power, and 30 to identify the ultimate rune and what it does.

Runic Weapon (Su): The runeblade selects a melee weapon that he is proficient with and inscribes it with personal runes to make it his runic weapon. A runeblade can have only one such weapon, and it must be a physical weapon (not the creation of a spell), although it can be enhanced with magic.

Your runic weapon has a +1 enhancement bonus in your hands only. At every four runeblade levels after the 1st, this bonus increases by +1 (to a maximum of +5 at 17th level). The weapon does not have to be masterwork to use it as a runic weapon, but if you ever want to enhance it with weapon special abilities, such as keen or dancing, it must be masterwork. The runic weapon ability provides enough of an enhancement bonus to give the blade special abilities without first giving it at least a +1 enhancement bonus using the normal item creation rules.

The runic weapon gains a small modicum of sentience via the runes. It has a very basic empathic link with you, so you always knows where the weapon is (distance and direction). You can create a new runic weapon, but this results in the destruction of the previous one, if it still exists.

Erase Rune (Sp): Starting at 2nd level, a runeblade can attempt to erase the runes he encounters. He can always erase his own runes without fail. If the rune was created by another runeblade, he can make a caster level check (DC 10 + creator’s level) to erase it. An advanced rune adds +4 to this Difficulty Class, a greater rune adds +6, a rune of power adds +8, and the ultimate rune adds +10. A runeblade must know a rune’s location to erase it. Erasing a rune you created is a standard action; otherwise, it takes a full minute.

Sense Rune (Su): Starting at 3rd level, you can make a check (1d20 + runeblade level + Intelligence modifier) to sense whether an invisible or otherwise hidden rune lies within 10 feet of you. The Difficulty Class for the check is 11 + the creator’s level. It takes a standard action to sense a rune. After a round of sensing, you can sense the direction of the closest unknown rune. If you spend another round sensing, you can determine the rune’s strength (lesser, advanced, etc.). This ability also works with runic spells, such as glyph of warding or symbol spell, in which case you learn the spell level in place of rune strength.

Shimmering Shield (Sp): Starting at 4th level, you can call upon a magical shield to surround you like a shimmering aura. This shield provides a deflection bonus to Armor Class equal to half your class level and does not require you to wield it as a shield (you keeps both hands free). The shimmering shield can be called upon for 1 round per runeblade level; these rounds need not be consecutive, but each use is a standard action.

Invested Rune (Su): Starting at 5th level, you can create a rune that doubles the duration, damage, or healing of a rune you already know. Some runes, such as a rune of communication, gain no benefit from being invested. An invested rune counts double toward your total rune value.

Runic Weapon Defense (Su): Starting at 7th level, your runic weapon — unless you mentally command it not to — strikes at anyone other than you who picks it up or attempts to use it. The weapon strikes once per round until dropped, using your attack bonuses (resolve the attack as if you were wielding the weapon).

Summon Runic Weapon (Sp): Beginning at 8th level, you can summon your runic weapon to your hand as a standard action. The weapon can be up to 10 miles away per class level, although if it is in someone else’s possession or in a locked room, the runeblade must make a caster level check (DC 25) to summon it. Starting at 14th level, this summons becomes a free action, usable once per round.

Password (Su): At 10th level, you develop a special password for your runes. Using the password, a touch-trigger rune can be touched without triggering it. This means, for example, that you could create a rune of affliction on your runic weapon and then pick it up safely, allowing you to strike a foe and also affect the foe with the rune of affliction.

You may choose to have a different password for different runes or allow them all to use the same one. You can give the password(s) to others; however, the only weapon you can mark with password-protected runes is your own runic weapon. Also, the password does not render you or anyone else who knows the password immune to the effects of the rune once triggered (e.g., if you stand within the area of a rune of blasting triggered by someone else, you still suffer damage).

Slice Through Wardings (Su): Once per day per class level, starting at 11th level, you can make a single attack with your runic weapon that ignores all a foe’s magic-based protections (Armor Class bonuses, stoneskin, and so on). You cannot use this ability to ignore spells or effects that take affect when a foe is attacked, like fire shield. You must declare his use of this ability before making the attack.

Familiarity With Magic (Ex): Starting at 12th level, you gain a +2 competence bonus to all saving throws against spells and spell-like and supernatural abilities (including disciplines and magic items). Further, you gain a +2 competence bonus to Armor Class against spells with attack rolls.

Inscribe Rune (Su): Starting at 15th level, you can make one of your own runes permanent. Creating an inscribed rune requires one hundred times the normal amount of time. In addition, it calls for 1,000 gp worth of valuable inks or materials for a lesser rune, 4,000 gp for an advanced rune, 10,000 gp for a greater rune, 22,000 gp for a rune of power, and 50,000 gp for the ultimate rune. The rune can still be erased, but otherwise it never fades. Thus, a touch-trigger rune triggers every time someone touches it (no more than once per round), and an imbued object rune never loses its power. Applied runes cannot be inscribed. Inscribed runes still count toward your total rune value.

Spell Parry (Su): At 16th level, you gain the ability to parry spells (and spell-like effects) with your runic weapon in hand. Only spells targeting you alone can be parried, not area spells or spells targeted elsewhere. To parry, make an attack roll opposed by the spellcaster’s caster level check. If your roll is higher, the spell fails to affect you at all. You can parry only spells he is aware of; spells from invisible casters or those using mental-action-only casting cannot be parried. Parrying a spell counts as an attack of opportunity.

Slice Through Spells (Su): Beginning at 18th level, once per day you can strike a non-instantaneous spell effect or creation (a summoned monster, a wall of fire, an illusion, an area of obscuring mist, and so on) with your runic weapon and dispel it as if you had cast dispel magic (using your runeblade level as the caster level). You cannot dispel effects on a creature (like charm person or alter self), only “stand-alone” effects. Even spells not normally subject to dispel magic can be affected.

Ultimate Rune (Sp): The ultimate rune does not count against your total rune value. It takes ten minutes to create the ultimate rune. This touch-trigger rune, once trigged, can replicate the effects of any spell of 8th level or below, with the same duration, area, range, and so forth. It can also duplicate any spell with the word “rune,” “glyph,” “mark,” or “symbol” in the title. Any given runeblade can have only one ultimate rune in existence at a time. The ultimate rune cannot be invested, but it can be inscribed and given a password.


Runes

The runes listed here represent the most common runes; others might be discovered or created, by DM discretion.

Unless otherwise noted, the saving throw DC against any rune is equal to 10 + the runeblade’s class level + the runeblade’s Intelligence bonus.

Lesser Runes
Affliction Deals 1d6 +1/level energy damage
Ale Detects poison
Armor +4 AC or +1 enhancement to AC
Beast You can speak with specified animal
Conjuring Touch activates summon monster II
Energy, Lesser Weapon deals +1d6 energy damage
Locking As arcane lock spell
Protection You gain +1 luck bonus to AC
Rest Subject heals 2x hp from rest
Sleep Touch; save or sleep or dazed 1d4 rds.
Warding Antipathy-like effect
Advanced Runes
Augmentation +2 enhancement to one attribute
Berserk Weapon wielder rages 1 round/level
Blasting Blast deals 1d6/level (Ref ½) in 10’r.
Change Pelt applies beast shape I to you
Charming You gain +10 Cha vs. affected creature
Communication Telepathic communication 1 mile
Conjuring Touch activates summon monster IV
Enrichment +1 luck to weapon, armor, or shield
Fear Flee 1 rd./lvl, then warding
Hand As instant summons spell
Healing As cure light wounds, but max. +20
Slicing Doubles runic weapon’s threat range
Greater Runes
Confusion Dazes 10’r. for 1d10 rounds
Conjuring, Greater Touch activates summon monster IV
Dominion As domination spell
Durability +10 to object’s hardness
Energy, Greater +1d6 energy damage (weapon) or resist energy 10 (armor)
Ghosts Runic weapon gains ghost touch ability
Iron-Can’t-Bite Stoneskin
Understanding Automatic translation of words to all listeners
Runes of Power
Brilliant Energy Runic weapon gains brilliant energy property
Cheating Death Raise dead when magically healed
Conjuring, True Touch activates summon monster VIII
Dancing Runic weapon gains dancing ability
Devastation As blasting, but 20d6 damage cap
Transformation As polymorph spell
Transport Teleports subject

LESSER RUNES

Each lesser rune created counts as 1 point toward your total rune value. Creating a lesser rune is a full-round action.

Rune of Affliction: This touch-trigger rune blasts the target for 1d6 points of energy damage, +1 point per runeblade level. A Reflex saving throw reduces the damage by half. You choose the energy type (acid, cold, electricty, fire, or sonic) when creating the rune.

Ale-Rune: This imbued object rune is applied to a nonmagical cup, horn, or other drinking vessel. The container immediately shatters (ending the effect) if any poison is introduced to it.

Beast-Rune: This applied rune affects one specific animal chosen by you. You are able to communicate with that animal (as if with a speak with animals spell) for 10 minutes per runeblade level.

Rune of Armor: Anyone affected by this applied rune gains a +4 armor bonus to Armor Class or a +1 enhancement bonus to the AC provided by existing armor. This effect lasts for one hour per runeblade level.

Rune of Conjuring: When touched, this touch trigger rune summons a monster from the summon monster II list, chosen by the runeblade at the time of creation. The monster attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per runeblade level (or until destroyed). If the runeblade triggers the rune, he can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand the character’s language. A runeblade using the invested rune ability can choose the monster from the summon monster III list instead of doubling the effect’s duration.

Lesser Energy Rune: Applied to your runic weapon, this imbued object rune inflicts 1d6 points of additional energy damage (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic; you choose which energy type when creating the rune) on a successful strike. It is usable once per runeblade level during the duration; you decide whether to use it at the beginning of your turn (although the rune is not used until you successfully strike with the weapon).

Rune of Locking: This is an imbued object rune. It seals a door, lid, or other portal like an arcane lock spell.

Rune of Protection: Applied to your armor or clothing, this imbued object rune adds a +1 luck bonus to Armor Class. Like all imbued object runes, it lasts one day per class level.

Rune of Rest: Anyone affected by this applied rune heals at double the rate he or she normally would. This effect lasts for twenty-four hours while the subject rests.

Rune of Sleep: This touch-trigger rune requires one who touches it to succeed at a Will save or fall asleep for 1d4 rounds. The target must have Hit Dice equal to or fewer than the runeblade’s; otherwise she merely becomes dazed for 1d4 rounds. This is an enchantment (compulsion) effect.

Rune of Warding: This touch-trigger rune has two different powers. If placed upon an object, it is a trap that forces the victim to drop the object and not touch it again for one day per class level, unless she succeeds at a Will saving throw. If the rune is placed upon a surface, the victim instead refuses to cross over or come within 10 feet of the surface for one day per class level, unless successful in the saving throw. This is an enchantment (compulsion) effect as well as a fear effect.

ADVANCED RUNES

Each advanced rune you create counts as 2 points toward your total rune value. It is a full-round action to create an advanced rune.

Rune of Augmentation: This applied rune grants a creature a +2 enhancement bonus on an ability score of your choosing. The bonus lasts for ten minutes per runeblade level.

Berserk-Rune: This imbued object rune must be placed on a melee weapon. This rune activates once during the duration of the rune, under specific conditions specified by you (e.g., “When engaged in melee with the Rotting Eye orc tribe.”). The rune causes the wielder of the inscribed weapon to rage (as a 1st level barbarian; +2 to Strength and Constitution) for a number of rounds equal to your runecaster level.

Rune of Blasting: If touched, this touch-trigger rune explodes, inflicting 1d6 points of energy damage per runeblade level (10d6 maximum) to all within 10 feet. A successful Reflex saving throw reduces the damage by half. You choose the energy type when creating the rune.

Change-Rune: This imbued object rune is applied to the skin or pelt of an animal of size Medium or Small. When worn by you in place of a cloak, the item tranforms you into the type of animal whose skin or hide is used, as by a beast shape I spell. This effect can be activated once during the rune’s duration, and lasts for up to 1 minute per runeblade level.

Rune of Charming: Anyone touching this touch-trigger rune must attempt a Will saving throw. If unsuccessful, the target reacts to you for one minute per class level as if your Charisma score had a +10 bonus. If the runeblade is not within sight of the target creature, there is no effect. This is an enchantment (charm) effect.

Rune of Communication: Two or more of these imbued object runes must exist for any of them to function. Anyone holding an object bearing this rune can communicate telepathically with anyone else with one of these runes within 1 mile. The runes must all be created by the same runeblade in order for any of them to function.

Rune of Advanced Conjuring: When touched, this touch-trigger rune summons a monster from the summon monster IV list, chosen by the runeblade at the time of creation. The monster attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per runeblade level (or until destroyed). If the runeblade triggers the rune, he can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand the character’s language. A runeblade using the invested rune ability can choose the monster from the summon monster V list instead of doubling the effect’s duration.

Rune of Enrichment: This imbued object rune grants a +1 luck bonus to your runic weapon or your armor or shield. This luck bonus works like an enhancement bonus, except that it stacks with enhancement bonuses.

Rune of Fear: Anyone touching this touch-trigger rune must succeed at a Will saving throw or drop what she is holding and flee for 1 round per runeblade level. He or she then acts as though affected by a rune of warding for one day per runeblade level. This is an enchantment (compulsion) effect, as well as a mind-affecting fear effect.

Hand Rune: With this imbued object rune, you can summon an object from any distance as a standard action. The object teleports (without error) to the your hands. The object must weigh no more than you can lift over your head.

Rune of Healing: Anyone touching this touch-trigger rune is filled with positive energy that heals 1d8 points of damage + 1 point per runeblade level. Undead that touch the rune suffer damage (Will save for half). A single creature cannot be healed more than once per day by a rune of healing.

Rune of Slicing: This imbued object rune grants your runic weapon the keen (if piercing or slashing) or impact (if bludgeoning) special weapon quality.

GREATER RUNES

Each greater rune counts as 3 points toward your total rune value. It takes one minute to create a greater rune.

Rune of Confusion: This touch-trigger rune affects not only the person touching it but all within 10 feet of that person. Everyone in range must succeed at a Will saving throw or stand dazed for 1d10 rounds, unable to act except to defend themselves.

Rune of Greater Conjuring: When touched, this touch-trigger rune summons a monster from the summon monster VI list, chosen by you at the time of creation. The monster attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per runeblade level (or until destroyed). If you trigger the rune, you can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand your language. A runeblade using the invested rune ability can choose the monster from the summon monster VII list instead of doubling the effect’s duration.

Rune of Dominion: This applied rune is placed upon a living humanoid creature. After it is placed, the creature must succeed at a Will saving throw or he is dominated (as the spell) for one hour per runeblade level. This is an enchantment (compulsion) and mind-affecting effect. This rune is used to best effect on an unconscious, incapacitated, or duped target.

Rune of Durability: This imbued object rune adds 10 to the hardness of the object that bears it. The rune can be made invisible.

Greater Energy Rune: This imbued object rune can be placed on either your runic weapon or your armor. If on a weapon, the weapon inflicts an extra 1d6 points of energy damage each time it strikes. If on armor, the rune gives the armor and its wearer 10 points of energy resistance. In either case, you choose the energy type when you create the rune.

Rune of Ghosts: This imbued object rune grants your runic weapon the ghost touch special weapon quality.

Iron-Can’t-Bite Rune: This applied rune grants the subject DR 10/+5 or adamantine (as a stoneskin spell) for one hour per runeblade level. Total damage reduced is equal 10 hp per runeblade level, to a maximum 150 hp. If applied to yourself, the effect is DR 20/+5 or adamantine (as a greater stoneskin spell).

Rune of Understanding: This imbued object rune allows all those hearing the words of the object’s wielder to understand them as if the words were spoken in their native tongue.

RUNES OF POWER

Each rune of power counts as 4 points toward your total rune value. It takes one minute to create a rune of power.

Rune of Brilliant Energy: This imbued object rune grants your runic weapon the brilliant energy special weapon quality.

Rune of Cheating Death: This applied rune, placed upon any living creature, lasts until triggered. When that creature is affected by something (a spell or attack) that normally would kill it, the rune has a chance of storing the creature’s soul safely. This effect keeps the body in a coma when it would have died, allowing it to come back to life (with no level loss) upon receiving magical healing. A caster level check (1d20 + your runeblade level) against the creature’s resurrection survival DC is needed for this rune to be effective.

Rune of True Conjuring: When touched, this touch-trigger rune summons a monster from the summon monster VIII list, chosen by you at the time of creation. The monster attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per runeblade level (or until destroyed). If you trigge the rune, you can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand your language. A runeblade using the invested rune ability can choose a monster from the summon monster IX list instead of doubling the effect’s duration.

Rune of Dancing: This imbued object rune grants your runic weapon the dancing special weapon quality.

Rune of Devastation: If touched, this touch-trigger rune explodes, inflicting 1d6 points of energy damage per class level (20d6 maximum) to all within 20 feet. A successful Reflex saving throw reduces the damage by half. You choose the energy type when creating the rune.

Rune of Transformation: This applied rune can be placed only upon a willing creature. The subject transforms into a creature specified by you (as by a polymorph spell) and remains in that form for up to 1 round per runeblade level.

Rune of Transport: When this applied rune is completed, the creature or object that bears it vanishes, teleporting instantly and safely to a location known to you (one that you have physically visited yourself) within 10 miles per class level. Unwilling creatures can attempt a Will saving throw to resist the transport.

Runeblade

Aviona Aviona