Rune Magic

Requirements: Novice,
Arcane Skill: Special (see below) (Smarts)
Starting Power Points: N/A
Starting Powers: 1 (one rune)
Spell List: Special (see below).
Trappings: Cold/Ice, Darkness, Electricity, Fire/Heat, Light, Necromantic
Backlash: Sometimes runecasters, as careful as they are when drawing or inscribing runes, make mistakes. When a runecaster rolls a 1 on the casting die, regardless of the wild die, he experiences backlash and must roll on the Rune Casting Backlash Table.

Rune magic is an ancient form of magic. It predates the fall of the Dread Star by hundreds of years where it was practiced by the slaves and primitive peoples of the Keronian Era. The Keronians, with their advanced magic, found the use of runes to cast barbaric and trivial. Almost every culture of the Dominions has its own version of rune magic (the Imperials and the Tricarnians are the notable exceptions).

This ancient art typically uses carved runes as the focus for weaving magical threads into a cohesive spell. Although each culture varies what a rune is. The Northlanders use traditional runes, while Cairnlanders use the carves bones of their ancestors. Runecasters do need to prepare special runes for each casting, and do so by scratching them onto objects. Runecasters do not learn individual spells, but instead master the secret of individual runes. Each rune learned grants the Runecaster three spells. The names of the runes and the spells that accompany them are detailed below.

Although there are 21 known runes, much spellcraft has been lost over the centuries. Even the most adept Runecasters can now master only a handful of runes proficiently. The letter in parentheses is the Rank required to learn the rune. As long a Runecaster meets the rune’s Rank, the caster ignores individual spell Ranks. In some cases this means he can use individual spells slightly earlier than other arcane professions, but in some instances he must wait a little longer before he can invoke them.

Armor-Rune (S): armor, bladebreaker,^ weapon immunity^
Arrow-Rune (N): aim^, bolt, boost/lower trait (Shooting and Throwing only)
Battle-Rune (N): boost/lower trait (Battle only), gift of battle^, warrior’s gift
Beast-Rune (S): beast friend, summon beast^, viper weapon^
Blessing-Rune (V): arcane resistance^, fortune’s favored^, luck/jinx^
Calming-Rune (S): becalm^, bless/panic^, slumber
Change-Rune (S): ethereal/corporeal^, growth/shrink, shape change
Charm-Rune (S): boost/lower (Persuasion and Streetwise only), charismatic aura^, puppet
Cold Rune (S): burst (cold, or ice trapping only), environmental protection (cold or heat only), sluggish reflexes^
Curse-Rune (S): confusion, disease^, fatigue^
Cut-Rune (N): boost/lower trait (Strength and Fighting only), battle song^, smite
Dispel-Rune (V): dispel, negate arcana^, silence
Earth-Rune (S): bridge^, burrow, quake^
Elemental Rune (V): elemental form^, elemental manipulation, summon elemental^
Fire Rune (S): burst(fire, or heat trapping only), environmental protection(cold or heat only), _
Glow Rune (S): altered senses^, heat mask^, light
Healing-Rune (N): boost/lower trait (Healing and Vigor only), healing, succor
Secret-Rune (S): detect/conceal, insight^, invisibility
Shield-Rune (N): barrier, deflection, warding^
Tongue-Rune (N): grave speak^, speak language, voice on the wind^
Travel-Rune (S): quickness, speed, wilderness step^
Weather-Rune (S): fog cloud^, storm^, whirlwind^

^=New Spell

Skills: Rune magic does not have a single arcane skill. Instead, each rune’s name is a separate skill and must be increased separately. Thus, a Runecaster who takes the armor rune has the Armor-Rune skill. Through this skill he can invoke armor, bladebreaker, or weapon immunity. A hero who learns a rune automatically gains a d4 in the appropriate skill. It is then increased using the regular rules for advancements.

Mechanics: In order to use a rune, it must be carved into an object, forming a magical focus. No focus means no arcane skill roll can be made. Thus, when casting, the hero must have one hand available, a knife or other sharp object, and something on which to carve (flesh is perfectly fine). The hero decides which single power from the rune he wishes to invoke when he makes an appropriate arcane skill roll. Carving the rune requires just a few brief strokes, and is part of the arcane skill roll. Whether successful or failed, the rune fades once the arcane skill roll is made.

Edges: Runecasters can take the New Power Edge only once per Rank (or every 20 XPs after Legendary). This grants them a new rune, its three associated powers, and d4 in the appropriate skill. The initial rune learned when this Edge is taken counts as the hero’s sole rune for his current Rank. If he takes the arcane background during character generation, for example, the Runecaster must wait until Seasoned before he may take a new rune.


Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Williams & Snowy. (2009). Hellfrost Player’s Guide. Triple Ace Games. ISBN 978-0979245558

Rune Magic

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