Runes are a branch of, mostly, defensive magic. It is when the magi writes a rune on the wall, floor, or ceiling, to do a certain act. A common one is a firetrap rune, where a foe steps on the rune and a sheet of fire spurts up, and hopefully killing them. There are also runes that protect from certain things. For example, a fire protection rune on a wall makes that wall immune to fire. Each rune is composed of three runelets. The first runelet is the outer circle. These specify when the rune activates. The second runelet is the noun. It specifies what exactly is the object that happens. This would be the fire in the firetrap rune, the water in a rune making walls immune to water, and so on. The third runelet is the verb. It says what the second runelet does. It may be 'spurts' in the firetrap, or 'protects against' in the rune protecting the wall from fire. There are many different versions of these runelet, allowing for a certain sentence like rune. Such as, for the firetrap, 'When someone steps on me, I will spurt fire.' This would be done with the 'Activates when foe is above or below it' outer circle, the 'fire' noun, and the 'spurts' verb. You could also use another combination of runes to get the same affect.
However, any class can use it. Wizards, while they are being taught, are assumed to have learned it, though this may not be the case. All other classes, however, need to spend time learning it. And they cannot make new runelets. The person learning it should spend 2-3 months (game time) learning it, maybe more. To do this, the PC will need to first find someone to teach him, then pay them. During the tutelage, the PC will be taught art, basic runelets, and how to craft various runelets together to form a rune.
Unlike other forms of magic, runes will last forever, or until the maker erases it. Simply erasing a small portion of any line will stop the rune from doing as requested.
The Development of Runes:
The Age of the Sword was a time of war. There were dozens of city state. Indeed, at one time, there was a gross of them. And these city-states waged war after war on their neighbors. Some managed to gain lots of land, some lost lots of land, but it always evened out when the next great warlord changed the map. And, needless to say, most city-states needed better weapons than there neighbors. Whether it be agricultural, magical, mechanical, physical, financial, each city-state had there best minds discovering it, and their strongest arms taking other people's discoveries. It was in this chaotic era that the Expiscor, a wizard, made a discovery. He had discovered a new type of magic. Though everyone had always known that words had power, Expiscor was the one to prove it. He discovered (and how he discovered is debated over by today's greatest minds) that there is a world (which is a convenient word for it, because, even though it is a complete lie (like thinking the atom is like a solar system), it puts the mind on the right imaginary track) of words. This world is full of magic, created and sustained by the use of words, any words. And to tap into this world's power, its raw magic, you simply need to use a set of the perfect words. These perfect words (runelets) almost float around this Word World, and a good wizard can float his mind down into the Word World and find the one he needs. Expiscor, after some expirementing, found out how to make runes. And once this technology was used on the battlefield, Expiscor was kidnapped and tortured for the information. And soon Runelore spread throughout the city-states.
The following list is the basic heritage of a person who finishes studying Runelore. There are thousands more, one for each word out there. Each of those others would require research, however. Some are rare, some are common.Â TypicallyÂ the more specific, or the more words in the noun, the rarer and harder it is to make. Therefore, water is simple, but an animal is much harder. These other runes would require eitherÂ diligentÂ research (from a day in game to a month), or making it yourself. Both are hard to do.Â
Here is a list of common outer circle runelets:
1. Activates when foe is above or below- can tell difference between maker, maker's allies, and foes
2. Continuous- effect last forever
3. Activates when pressed- acts like a button
4. Activates when marked object is above or below- a marked object is the first object touched by the rune (if you want the object to be an amulet, simply touch the amulet to the rune)
Here is a list of common noun runelets:
Here is a list of common verb runelets:
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? Responses (9)-9
Good solid start to a magic system. Would be even more awesome if you had a graphic with the different symbols on it to use as reference. But a somewhat normal rune system.
Where does the magic for the runes come from would be good to see. And can anybody draw the runes once they know them? This isn't that complex so not hard to memorize. What keeps others from using it, what needs to be done to complete the rune to make it active...stuff like that.
Excellent start though!
I thought about doing graphics for each runelet, but decided against it. The players would just say that they draw this outer circle runelet with this noun runelet, and that verb. They wouldn't bother with picture, just the names. So I saved some work. If a DM sees this and decides to make some graphics for it for there game, they can.
Though I had originally thought that only wizards can do it (actually, it was more like a 'common knowledge' or assume thing- I never actually thought which class it should to), now I think that anyone could do it. I would say that if you arean't a wizard, you should have to dedicate a certain amount of time (maybe 2-3 months, to practice art, and to memorize the basics), and not do anything in that time frame. A wizard would just start with the knowledge, because it would be assumed that they had taken a class on it at some point.
And where the magic comes from... I'll ponder on that.
Update: added other classes to able to do runes list.
Whats the difference between spurting and shooting?
Depends on what the other runelets are. In some runes, it would be better to shoot something (say a stone) than spurt something. In others, spurting would be better.
Palladium uses a system very similar to this and is Extremely detailed... to much so IMHO. But just to get a better idea on how they implemented it you should look that up for what to do, and what NOT to do.
Update: Added history section, which tells where runes get there power
As it is, it still feels somewhat less comprehensive than it could have been. For example, there is no information on how to tune magnitude of spells or is there no way of doing so? This sub doesn't really say. Can one craft something more complex from using more than 1 rune?
Overall, though, I do like this particular rune system and the way you have written it up, I esp. like the history section.
I think the most useful part of this is the clear separation of responsibility between the runelets -- the 'noun' + 'verb' + 'trigger' idea is rather nifty, and gives me some ideas to use in the future. I don't think this is really a full system as it stands, but it's definitely a great start.
I would also like the graphics, but that's because I'm a sadistic GM, and would actually make my players memorize and draw them if they wanted to cast spells.