If anyone ever needed proof that some sort of intelligent force created the world with deliberate purpose, one need look no further than the runechildren. A runechild is a creature granted supernatural powers in order to act in the best interests of the world. No one knows exactly where these powers come from. Some say from the Green, others say the gods. The dragons claim they are the source of the runechildren’s powers.
Someone who looks beyond herself and sacrifices some aspect of herself for others, for the world, or for the general cause of altruism might become a runechild. (The name has nothing to do with age, but instead refers to being a “child” of the world, powered by the inherent magic within all things.)
Like mojh, runechildren are not so much a race as the result of a magical transformation. Unlike mojh, runechildren may come from any race. One can usually spot runechildren by the magical rune on their hand or face. Normally, greatness (in this case) is not thrust upon an unwilling character. Characters who qualify choose to become runechildren. And once the choice is made, nothing save death can revoke the power (although DMs can do so if they feel the character no longer deserves it).
“Runechild,” then, is a template that you can add to any living creature with a minimum Intelligence of 11 and a total of at least 5 HD. Although some people are convinced to the contrary, you are not born a runechild—it is a position you earn. Thus, no character ever begins as a runechild. One adds the template only in lieu of a level: Effectively, a character chooses to take a “level” in runechild. It also means that qualifying to be a runechild is entirely at the discretion of the DM. DMs should determine whether the character truly looks beyond herself and acts for the good of the world more than for her own good. The DM also should determine when the ability to become a runechild is available, based on the power it grants the character versus what she must give up— the price for becoming a runechild is small at low levels and much greater at high levels.
The “level” the character gains to become a runechild is lost. Thus, an 11th-level unfettered who chooses to become a runechild as she gains 12th level becomes an 11th-level unfettered runechild. She does not gain a new feat, she does not gain an ability score bonus, and she does not gain any level-based abilities. She has effectively “spent” the level to get runechild status. The next level she gains can be 12th in unfettered or 1st in another class; players must adjust the experience advancement chart at the beginning of Chapter Three accordingly. The number of experience points needed to gain the next level matches the requirement for progressing from 11th to 12th level.
Runechildren are chosen, almost messiahlike figures. Only some see themselves that way, however. Others view the gift of the rune as a responsibility or even a burden.
Because runechildren can be members of any race, it is difficult to pin down too many defining characteristics. They normally feel obligated to help those in need when they come upon them, championing the oppressed and the downtrodden. They never exploit their powers for their own gain. They do not take advantage of others, nor treat others with cruelty or dispassion, and never inflict pain or death unless required to do so. They preserve rather than destroy. They save life rather than take it.
Passion and duty fuel runechildren’s existence. They feel emotions, from rage to love to regret, more strongly than the unmarked. They are tireless in their pursuit of justice, peace, and altruism. Some enjoy the praise and adulation they get because of their works, while others slip away before anyone can notice them.
A runechild gains a +1 inherent bonus to her highest ability score (if two scores are tied for highest, the player may choose) and a permanent +1 luck bonus to all checks and saves. Runechildren with an Intelligence or Wisdom of 11 or higher possess spell-like abilities, using their character level as the caster level, chosen from the table below. Powers are cumulative, so a 9th-level runechild picks a power from the Level 5–6 list, the Level 7–8 list, and the Level 9–12 list; when she gains 13th level, she selects a new power. Once chosen, powers cannot be changed. Unless otherwise indicated, a runechild can use each ability once per day.
The following abilities are just a possible sampling. Feel free to customize new abilities of the same level equivalent.
Level Choose One of These Abilities
5–6 Darkvision (always active), levitate, or object loresight(usable 3/day)
7–8 Dimensional door, energy bolt (choose energy type on gaining the power), or heal wounds*
9–12 Enchantment resistance**, elemental resistance†, or energy sheath (choose energy type on gaining the power)
13–16 Finger of destruction, incorporeal form, or teleport
17–18 Psychic blast, phase door, or wave of life
19–20 Damage reduction‡, immortality (self), or shapechange
21–23 Spell resistance (10 + character level), perfect health, or multiple uses‡‡
24–25 Fist of the elemental lord, true telekinesis, or multiple uses‡‡
- Heal Wounds: The runechild can heal as a champion of life
- Enchantment Resistance: The runechild makes two saving throws against all enchantments. If either succeeds, the runechild succeeds in the save.
† Elemental Resistance: 20 points of continual resistance. The runechild must choose the element upon gaining the power.
‡ Damage Reduction: 15/+1 (or 10/magic), operates continually.
‡‡ Choose any ability gained at a lower level, usable 3/day.