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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Content>Magic>Magic Systems>Runecrafting>Runecrafters


Runecrafting System Runecrafters Variant: Scribas
Variant: Glyphics Runecrafter Package Deals  
Sample Runecrafter: Maxviel Hrimgerdson
Rather than cast Spells or work some other form of Magic on the spur of the moment, Runecrafters instead inscribe special symbols upon objects or even living creatures that invest the inscribed object or person with Magical capabilities. Runecrafters particularly excel at the crafting of Magic Items, and are often well equipped individuals. They also excel at warding buildings and areas with protective Runes, making them excellent on the defense as well.
This reliance on Magic that is not castable at need makes for a challenging and intriguing type of Magic User.
Runecrafters learn the secrets of Magical Runes that represent potent Magical effects when inscribed on various Media. As their careers progress, Runecrafters typically build up their repertoire of Known Runes, their ability to work with different Media, and a collection of potent Magic Items which can make them fearsome opponents and valuable allies.
A player can expect their Runecrafter to progress slower than some other professions due to the Experience Point costs involved in making Permanent Magic Items, but to compensate their Magic System costs very few Character Points compared to other Magic using professions, allowing them to have excess Experience Points to spend on the crafting of Magic Items.
Means to Power
Each Runecrafter learns how to inscribe specific Runes which are represented by one point Familiarities, which they can then inscribe upon objects of various Media which are represented by Professional Skills such as Carving and Engraving relevant to particular material types.
In theory Runecrafters can apply any Rune they know to any Media they have the appropriate Professional Skill for, but most Runes can only be inscribed upon particular Media.
Runecrafters use these Runes to make both powerful "Permanent" Magic Items and temporary "Ephemeral" effects. It takes much longer to inscribe Runes that result in Permanent Magic Items, while the time to inscribe Runes that result Ephemeral effects is usually measured in hours. Thus a Runecrafter might spend weeks crafting a Magical weapon, or suit of armor, or mystic sigil to be incorporated into a structure that will last for ages, or a few hours inscribing a Rune holding a temporary effect such as a Glyphic Trap instead.
Many Runic effects are intended to operate unattended and make heavy use of self-resetting Triggers and when necessary Detects usable by those Triggers. Due to this Runic effects are especially useful for the crafting of Magical Traps and Wards and many Runecrafters make a very good living specializing in doing just that.
More physical or militant Runecrafters tend to take advantage of the ability to craft customized magical weapons and armor for themselves or to adorn themselves with Runic Tattoos that augment their physical capabilities to render them extremely effective as warriors.
More adventuresome Runecrafters can take advantage of Ephemeral Runes to create any number of useful charged effects that they can employ at need much as some other sorts of Magic users might use a Wand or Ring, resulting in more of a "gadgeteer" style of character.
Rune Familiarities are the most important aspect of Runecrafters. The number and variety of Runes a Runecrafter knows is the sole determiner of how successful they are at their chosen profession.
Second in importance only to Rune Familiarities are Media Skills. The selection of Media Skills and level of competence a particular Runecrafter has will make an enormous difference in their "feel" and capabilities. For instance a Runecrafter adept at PS: Carving will work differently in play than a Runecrafter that is adept at PS: Embroidery and PS: Calligraphy.
A Runecrafter should take care to keep their Media Skills of choice at a level appropriate to their overall competence. For Runecrafters with many Media Skills All Skill and Overall Skill Levels are very efficient.
It is also important to remember that a Runecrafter can use their Media Skills for mundane purposes as well; a Runecrafter skilled at Tattooing can make high quality normal tattoos as well as Magic Runic Tattoos.
There are also some ancillary abilities that are not required but are certainly beneficial to a Runecrafter.
Though not necessary, there are several other Skills that can be beneficial to a Runecrafter, and can be used as Complementary Skills where appropriate.
PS: Create Inks; Real Cost: 2 points
PS: Mason; Real Cost: 2 points
PS: Make Paper; Real Cost: 2 points
PS: Tailor; Real Cost: 2 points
PS: Carpentry
KS: Inks; Real Cost 3 points
KS: Cloth; Real Cost: 3 points
KS: Paper & Parchment; Real Cost: 3 points
KS: Wood Lore; Real Cost: 3 points
KS: Stone Lore; Real Cost: 3 points
KS: Metallurgy; Real Cost: 3 points
It is not a requirement, but many Runecrafters take some version of the Magesight ability described in Fantasy HERO for 5th Edition.
Awakened: Magesight, Discriminatory, Range, Sense;
Real Cost: 17 points
Alternately a Runecrafter might have a more specific ability to detect Symbols, Runes, and Glyphs.
Runesense: Detect Magical Symbols, Runes, Glyphs (no Sense Group), Discriminatory, Increased Arc Of Perception (360 Degrees), Range, Sense (22 Active Points); Sense Affected As Another Sense (Mystic Sense; -1/4);
Real Cost: 18 points
At the GM's discretion Runforgers may take Life Support (Longevity) at up to the x2 year level.
Runecrafting does not have "Specialists" per se, but most Runecrafters have a chosen Media which is either the only one they know or receives quite a bit of focus from them. Also, some Runecrafters prefer to focus on Permanent Runes while others focus on Ephemeral Runes.
The most common "specialty" among Runecrafters are those typically called Runeforgers, who are weapon and/or armor smiths and make Permanent Magic Items from the ground up, starting with raw materials and ending with a finished product bearing a Permanent Rune.
Runeforgers are typically skilled Blacksmiths, Weaponsmiths, or Armorsmiths in addition to their skills as Runecrafters, and they typically concentrate on PS: Engraving to work with their Media of choice, metal.
Another common "specialty" among Runecrafters are those called Illumin who specialize in Tattooing Runes upon themselves to gain numerous powerful Magical Powers.
Illumin usually parade around either mostly unclothed or in clothing they can shed quickly to expose their tattoos so that they may take effect.
Learning New Runes
A Runecrafter may attempt to learn any Rune they encounter if they have an unspent Experience point to pay for it and can make a KS: Runecrafting Skill. It takes one Hour per 10 Active Points in a Rune of dedicated study, at the end of which a Runecrafter must make a KS: Runecrafting Skill Roll with a penalty equal to -1/10 Real Cost in the Rune to successfully learn a Rune.
If the Skill Roll is successful then the Runecrafter character pays for a Familiarity with that Rune and adds it to their character sheet. If the Skill Roll is failed the Runecrafter may not try to learn that Rune again until their KS: Runecrafting Skill is at least +1 better.
EXAMPLE: Gruarg the Runecrafter wants to learn Vorsag's Rune of Entrapping, a 90 AP/20 RC Ephemeral Rune. Gruarg has KS: Runecrafting 15- and 2 Overall Levels for a modified 17-. He must study the Rune for 9 Hours and then make a KS: Runecrafting Roll with a -2 penalty, for a 15- Roll. Succeeding at the Skill Roll allows Gruarg's player to add Rune Familiarity: Vorsag's Rune of Entrapping to Gruarg's character sheet.
Vorsag's Rune of Entrapping: Entangle 4d6, 4 DEF, Trigger (Object Inscribed Is Touched By Other Than Inscriber.; +1/4), Area Of Effect (11" Cone; +1) (90 Active Points); 6 Charges which Never Recover (-2 3/4), No Range (-1/2), Physical Manifestation (-1/4);
Real Cost: 20 points; Average Market Price: 1800 xc; SFX: Mystical Bonds that Resemble Chains of Glowing Runes
Creating New Runes
One of the most gratifying tasks a Runecrafter might accomplish is the creation of a new Rune unique to themselves. Runecrafters generally name their Runes after themselves, and many Runes gain a fame all their own, being used for centuries and affording their creator a kind of immortality.
To create a Rune a Runecrafter must have at least one unspent Experience point to pay for a Familiarity with the Rune if they are successful.
This option is in effect in my campaigns
By default, any Runecrafter can create their own Runes. If for some reason a particular type of Runecrafter cannot make their own Runes, they may take a Physical Limitation Disadvantage indicating this.
Arcane Rune Sterility: Phys Lim: Cannot create new Runes (Infrequently, Greatly Limiting; -10 points)
There are two steps to follow when defining a new Rune:
  1. Determine Intent of Rune
  2. Determine Design of Rune
For starters determine if the Rune will be an Ephemeral or Permanent Rune.
Next design the Ephemeral Rune or Permanent Rune (as a Magic Item) using the Power creation rules in the HERO System 5th Edition Rulebook, conforming to the guidelines set forth in this document.
Once the new Rune design has been defined and agreed upon with the GM, in-game the Runecrafter must conduct Research & Experimentation equal to one Hour per Total Active Points in the Rune. The Runecrafter must have appropriate materials for Research & Experimentation (R&E), which is left to the GM's discretion, but typically consists of enough raw material to practice prototypes of the new Rune on all the Media the Runecrafter is able to inscribe upon. Some of these necessary materials may be quite expensive or not, at the GM's discretion.
During this time, the Runecrafter must make a KS: Runecrafting check after every 10 Hours of Research & Experimentation at a -1 penalty per 10 Real Cost of the Rune. The 10 Hours of a particular segment don't have to be consecutive; a Runecrafter could allocate a few hours per day and make the necessary Skill Roll after 10 Hours has been accumulated for instance.
A Runecrafter can recover from a failed Skill Roll by repeating the 10 Hour segment of time and rolling again, but if the second Skill Roll is failed the Runecrafter's attempt at creation is a bust and they may not try again until their KS: Runecrafting is at least +1 better than it currently is, and also must start the entire process of R&E over.
EXAMPLE: Gruarg decides it is time to make his own Rune. He decides he will design a Rune that represents a Permanent Runic Magic Item, a Rune of Anti-Scrying
Gruarg's Rune of Anti-Scrying: Invisibility to Sight, Mental and Hearing Groups , No Fringe, Usable By Other (+1/4), Multiple Media (Stone or Metal; +1/4), Area Of Effect (13" Cone; +1), Conforming (+1/2) (120 Active Points); Independent (-2), Clairsentience and Mindscan Only (-1 1/2), IIF Immobile Durable (Mantle Stone or Metal Plate; -1 1/4);
Real Cost: 21 points;  Average Market Price: 2520 xc
It will take Gruarg 120 Hours of Research & Experimentation to create this powerful new Rune, which breaks down to twelve 10 hour increments of R&E, requiring a KS: Runecrafting Roll at a -2 penalty after each. If Gruarg makes all twelve KS: Runecrafting Rolls then he has successfully created the new Rune. Gruarg he must pay 1 Experience point for Familiarity with the Rune.
A Runecrafter gains a flat +5 bonus when inscribing any Ephemeral or Permanent Rune that they themselves created.
Further, in the case of Permanent Runes, a Runecrafter does not need to conduct Research & Experimentation to create a Magic Item with a Rune they themselves created; the R&E time spent creating the Rune covers for this.
Because of this bonus it is sometimes worthwhile for a Runecrafter to go thru the process of creating a Rune even if it is to copy a Rune that is already in existance if they have the time and resources available to do so. This is effectively the same as "reverse engineering" a Rune.
EXAMPLE: Gruarg finds a Rune inscribed in an ancient subteranean holdfast. He can either just learn the Rune using the guidelines for Learning a Rune given previously, or spend 10 times as long and attempt to recreate the Rune himself via independent R&E.