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All the secrets of the world begin and end as intelligent words— words that can be stored as symbols I create.”

Runethanes are masters of magic, but unlike magisters they do not focus solely on spells. While they do cast spells, they also learn to create runes, which are visual symbols that represent— and thus hold—magical might. Runethanes inscribe runes on their equipment, on themselves and their allies, or in the air. Each one has a different effect. They spend their private time researching new runes and studying their applications.

Runethanes frequently put nonmagical runes on their gear and on themselves (as tattoos) because even without direct magical power, the runes carry meaning important to them. The runes, in their minds, also make them appear more powerful.

As they train to create physical manifestations of magic, runethanes gain an affinity for mechanical devices of all sorts— traps, locks, wheels, clocks, and so on.



Adventurers: Runethanes often travel about, brandishing their usually very visual power to impress others. They always seek new runes and ways to better themselves. They are not afraid of risks, knowing their knowledge and magic can protect them, but they are still cautious and quick to create a protective or warding rune to keep themselves safe. Runethanes like to be prepared.



Background: Unlike with magisters, there are few academies for runethanes. Instead, each student is taught by a single individual. The runethane’s art is very personalized, with each character learning and mastering different runes. Runethanes are typically bookish and extremely intelligent. When recognized as such, a young child might be brought in to work with a tutor to learn runes and their applications. The close bond between the runethane and his tutor often remains throughout their lives— usually, a given runethane only ever tutors one child.



Races: Human runethanes normally come from rural backgrounds. Faen runethanes are usually loresongs and sprytes. Sibeccai and litorian runethanes enjoy covering themselves with tattoos and body art, and are often artists themselves. Giant runethanes are rare, as giants seem more prone to verbal rather than written language. Mojh, with their talents for writing and symbology, are perfectly suited to be runethanes. Verrik runethanes, less showy than those of other races, also exist.



View of Magic: A runethane sees his readied spells as magical symbols that float intangibly around him, visible only to his trained sight. With a thought, he concentrates to see the rune in his mind’s eye, mentally tracing each line. Then, he reaches out to quickly trace the floating rune around him that matches what he sees in his mind. To a runethane, all magic breaks down into symbols (both pictures and words), the way a grammarian might diagram a sentence or a poet might craft a sonnet. The fact that a symbol simultaneously encodes a verbal sound, a visual image, and a mental concept is how runethanes attempt to explain their power to others.



Other Classes: Runethanes prefer the company of magisters, witches, akashics, and greenbonds, as they enjoy long conversations regarding magical theory and lore. They recognize that more physical characters—warmains, unfettered, oathsworn, mage blades, ritual warriors, and totem warriors—have abilities that make up for their own shortcomings, however. And warrior types do appreciate having useful runes placed on their weapons and armor by a generous runethane.



NPCs: The wandering mage with strange tattoos and a mysterious agenda might be a runethane. The young prodigy taught by the old woman in his village who only knew a few simple runes is a runethane. The sinister master of magic seeking the formula for creating an evil artifact is a runethane.



Hit Die: d6



Runethane Archetypes

  • Castle Defender: You work as a defense specialist, building traps and locks, and placing runes to destroy and bedevil intruders. You also use your spells and runes to make yourself a potent defender in your own right—no one wants to fight you on your home ground. You tend toward cockiness in the castle, but when your duties take you elsewhere, you become nervous and edgy.
  • Spellsword: You use your magical spells and runes to enhance your fighting ability. Combat is your real love; while you have a talent with magic, it’s not your preferred focus. You see yourself clad in enruned armor and wielding a rune-covered weapon, your spells all cast beforehand to prepare yourself for battle. It’s the look as much as the power that entices you.
  • Trap Master: You are extremely knowledgeable in the field of traps, locks, and devices of all kinds. You can create your own traps using magical or mundane means, and especially enjoy doing this “in the field”—creating traps and then luring your foes into them, rather than attacking them head-on. With this as your modus operandi, it’s hard not to have a healthy sense of humor.


Skills



Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Intelligence bonus) × 4



Skill Points at Higher Levels: 4 + Intelligence bonus Class Skills: The runethane’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Int), Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (any) (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Disable Device (Int), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Open Lock (Dex), Speak Language (none), Spellcraft (Int), and Spot (Wis).



Class Features Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Runethanes are proficient with all simple weapons but no armor.



Runes (Sp): Runes resemble arcane symbols. They are usually meaningless to anyone without the Knowledge (runes) skill. Runethanes apply a rune by magically drawing a symbol on an object, surface, or creature. It is a full-round action to create a rune, and no rune can be used more than once per hour.

A runethane can have a total value of runes in existence at any given time equal to his level. 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.

There are three kinds of rune: touch-trigger runes, applied runes, and enchanted object runes.

A touch-trigger rune is placed upon an object or a surface, but not a creature. Basically, the 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 or surface bearing the rune triggers the effect immediately. Touch-trigger runes last until triggered, dispelled, or erased by the runethane. 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. A runethane can choose to create a touch-trigger rune as a visible rune or as invisible.

If a character (including the runethane) wishes to trigger a touch-triggered rune intentionally, it requires a standard action to do so.

An applied rune requires the runethane to apply it to activate its effects immediately—usually effects related to the object, surface, or creature it is placed upon. Applied runes last only as long as their effects. They are always visible.

Enchanted object runes require the runethane to apply the rune to an object no larger than himself. These imbue the item bearing the rune with a magical ability. Enchanted object runes last for one day per runethane level. They are visible except where stated otherwise.

Anyone looking upon a visible rune can determine what it does by making a Knowledge (runes) check. The DC 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.

No more than one rune of a specific type can affect an area, person, or object. Thus, a door cannot receive two runes of blasting. If a spell level requirement is ever needed, treat lesser runes as 2nd-level spells, advanced as 4th-level, greater as 6th, runes of power as 8th, and the ultimate rune as 9th level. Use the runethane’s class level as his caster level.

A runethane always knows his current rune total, so even if one of his runes is triggered out of his normal perception, he is aware that his potential rune maximum has increased (but he gains no information beyond that).



Spells: Runethanes have access to simple spells. A runethane may choose to ready any simple spell, provided he can cast spells of that level. He readies spells ahead of time, any of which he can cast according to the maximum number of spell slots available to him for each given level. To ready or cast a spell, a runethane must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 plus the spell’s level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a runethane’s spell is 10 plus the spell’s level, plus the runethane’s Intelligence modifier. Bonus spells for runethanes rely on Intelligence.

Runethanes never gain access to 9th- or 10th-level spells.

Runethane spells always have both somatic and verbal components. Thus, they face spell failure chances when wearing armor.



Runic Template (Ex): Runethanes can add the runic template to spells they cast if they wish.



Lesser Runes: Each time the runethane gains this ability (at 1st through 5th levels), he learns a new lesser rune from the list below. At 1st level, the runethane starts with two runes. Each lesser rune he creates counts as one rune toward his total (which is equal to his level). It is a full-round action to create a lesser rune.

  • Rune of Affliction: This touch-trigger rune blasts the target for 1d6 points + 1 point per runethane level of elemental damage (type chosen by the runethane at creation). A Reflex saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus) reduces the damage by half.
  • Rune of Armor: This is an applied rune. Anyone affected by it gains a +4 armor bonus to Armor Class. This effect lasts for one hour per runethane level.
  • Rune of Conjuring: When touched, this touch-trigger rune summons a monster from the conjure energy creature II list (see Chapter Nine: Spells and Combat Rites), chosen by the runethane. The monster (the actual monster, not an energy construct) attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per runethane level (or until destroyed). If the runethane triggers the rune, he can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand the runethane’s language. Using the invested rune ability (see page 75), the runethane can choose the monster from the conjure energy creature III list instead of doubling the duration. If inscribed using the inscribe rune ability, this rune can be activated once per round, but the runethane can only command one summoned creature at a time. If activated while a previously summoned creature is still present, the new monster always attacks the creature who touched the rune, no matter who it is.
  • Rune of Knowledge: This is an applied rune. The runethane places this rune on an object or creature and learns something about it. This rune works exactly like the object loresight spell. It can be used a number of times per day equal to the runethane’s level.
  • Rune of Rest: This is an applied rune. Anyone affected by it heals at double the rates she normally would. This effect lasts for 24 hours while the subject rests.
  • Rune of Sleep: This touch-trigger rune causes a target that touches it to make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus) or fall asleep for 1d4 rounds. The victim must have equal or fewer Hit Dice than the runethane, otherwise the victim 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 runethane level, unless the victim succeeds at a Will saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus). 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 runethane level, unless successful in the saving throw. This is an enchantment (compulsion) effect as well as a fear effect.


Erase Rune (Sp): Runethanes can attempt to erase runes they encounter. They can always erase their own runes without fail. If the rune was created by another runethane, the character can make a caster power check (DC 10 + creator’s level) to erase it. An advanced rune adds +4 to the Difficulty Class, a greater rune adds +6, a rune of power adds +8, and the ultimate rune adds +10. A runethane must know a rune’s location to erase it. Erasing a rune you created is a standard action; otherwise, it takes a full minute. The runethane must be within 25 feet of a rune to erase it.



Sense Rune (Su): A 3rd-level and higher runethane can use a caster power check (d20 + runethane’s level + his Intelligence modifier) to sense whether an invisible or otherwise hidden rune lies within 10 feet of him. 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, the runethane can tell the direction of the closest unknown rune.



Invested Rune (Su): The 5th-level and higher runethane can create a rune that doubles the duration, damage, or healing of a rune he already knows. Some runes, such as a rune of communication or a rune of knowledge, gain no benefit from being invested. An invested rune counts double toward the runethane’s total number of runes allowable.



Advanced Runes: Each time the runethane gains this ability (at 6th through 10th level), he learns a new advanced rune from the list below. Each advanced rune he creates counts as two runes toward his total (which is equal to his level). It is a fullround action to create an advanced rune.

  • Hand Rune: This is an enchanted object rune. With this rune the character can summon an object from any distance as a standard action. The object teleports to the runethane. The object must weigh no more than the runethane can lift over his head. This is a teleportation effect.
  • Rune of Advanced Conjuring: When touched, this touchtrigger rune summons a monster from the conjure energy creature IV list, chosen by the runethane. The monster (the actual monster, not an energy construct) attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per class level (or until destroyed). If the runethane triggers the rune, he can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand the runethane’s language. Using the invested rune ability, the runethane can choose the monster from the conjure energy creature V list instead of doubling the duration. If inscribed using the inscribe rune ability, this rune can be activated once per round, but the runethane can only command one summoned creature at a time. If activated while a previously summoned creature is still present, the new monster always attacks the creature who touched the rune, no matter who it is.
  • Rune of Augmentation: This applied rune grants a creature a +2 enhancement bonus to an ability score of the runethane’s choosing. The bonus lasts for 10 minutes per runethane level.
  • Rune of Blasting: If touched, this touch-trigger rune explodes with elemental force (the runethane chooses the elemental type when placing the rune), inflicting 1d6 points of damage per runethane level (10d6 maximum) to all within 10 feet. A successful Reflex saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus) reduces the damage by half.
  • Rune of Charming: This is a touch-trigger rune. Anyone touching it must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus). If unsuccessful, the target reacts to the runethane as if his Charisma score had a +10 bonus for one minute per runethane level. If the runethane is not within sight of the creature touching it, there is no effect. This is an enchantment (charm) effect.
  • Rune of Communication: This is an enchanted object rune. Two or more of these runes must exist to function. Anyone holding an object with this rune can telepathically communicate with anyone else who has one of these runes (created by the same runethane) within one mile.
  • Rune of Enrichment: This enchanted object rune grants a +1 luck bonus to a weapon, ammunition for a ranged weapon, harness of armor, or a shield. This luck bonus works like an enhancement bonus except that it stacks with enhancement bonuses.
  • Rune of Fear: This is a touch-trigger rune. Anyone touching it must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus) or drop what he is holding and flee for 1 round per runethane level. He then acts as though affected by a rune of warding for one day per runethane level. This is an enchantment (compulsion) effect as well as a mind-affecting fear effect.
  • Rune of Healing: This is a touch-trigger rune. Anyone touching it is filled with positive energy that heals 1d6 points of damage + 1 point per runethane level. Undead that touch the rune suffer the same amount as damage. A single creature cannot be healed more than once per day by a rune of healing.


Password (Su): The 10th-level runethane and beyond develops a special password for his runes. Now he can touch a touchtrigger rune without triggering it. This means, for example, that a runethane could create a rune of affliction on a mace, pick it up safely, then strike a foe and affect the foe with the rune of affliction as well as the mace attack. The runethane may choose to have a different password for different runes or allow them all to use the same one. He can give the passwords to others.



Greater Runes: Each time the runethane gains this ability (at 11th through 15th level) he learns a new greater rune from the list below. Each greater rune counts as three runes toward his total (which is equal to his level). It takes one minute to create a greater rune.

  • Elemental Rune: This enchanted object rune can be placed on either a weapon or armor. An enruned weapon inflicts an additional 1d6 points of elemental damage (of a type determined by the runethane when the rune is placed) each time it strikes. Enruned armor (and the wearer) gains 10 points of elemental resistance (of a type the runethane determines when placing the rune).
  • Rune of Confusion: This touch-trigger rune affects not only the person touching it but all within 10 feet of that person. Everyone must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus) or stand dazed, unable to act except to defend themselves, for 1d10 rounds.
  • Rune of Dominion: This applied rune is placed upon a living humanoid creature. When finished, the creature must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus) or become dominated (as the spell lesser dominate, but you need not know the target’s truename) for one hour per runethane level. This is an enchantment (compulsion) and mind-affecting effect.
  • Rune of Durability: This enchanted object rune can be made invisible and adds 10 to the hardness of an object.
  • Rune of Greater Conjuring: When touched, this touchtrigger rune summons a monster from the conjure energy creature VI list, chosen by the runethane. The monster (the actual monster, not an energy construct) attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per class level (or until destroyed). If the runethane triggers the rune, he can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand the runethane’s language. Using the invested rune ability, the runethane can choose the monster from the conjure energy creature VII list instead of doubling the duration. If inscribed using the inscribe rune ability, this rune can be activated once per round, but the runethane can only command one summoned creature at a time. If activated while a previously summoned creature is still present, the new monster always attacks the creature who touched the rune, no matter who it is.
  • Rune of Resistance: This is an applied rune. The creature or object it is placed upon gains DR 20/+2 (or 15/magic) for one minute per runethane level.
  • Rune of Spellcasting: This applied rune works only on spellcasting creatures. After receiving the rune, the creature casts spells as a caster two levels higher than normal. The effect lasts for 10 minutes per runethane level.
  • Rune of Understanding: This enchanted object rune allows anyone hearing the words of the object’s wielder to understand them as if they were spoken in their native tongue.


Familiarity With Magic (Ex): The 12th-level and higher runethane gains a +2 competence bonus to all saving throws against spells and spell-like and supernatural abilities (including magic items). Further, he gains a +2 competence bonus to Armor Class against spells with attack rolls.



Inscribe Rune (Su): A 15th-level or higher runethane can create a permanent rune. This requires 100 times the normal amount of time to create the rune. In addition, it calls for 2,000 gp of valuable inks or materials for a lesser rune, 8,000 gp worth for an advanced rune, 20,000 gp for a greater rune, 44,000 gp for a rune of power, and 100,000 gp for the ultimate rune (200,000 gp if it contains an 8th-level spell). 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 enchanted object rune never loses its enchantment. Applied runes cannot be inscribed. Inscribed runes still count toward the runethane’s rune total.



Runes of Power: Each time the runethane gains this ability (at 16th through 19th level), he learns a new rune of power from the list below. Each rune of power counts as four runes toward his total (which is equal to his level). It takes one minute to create a rune of power.

  • 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 an attack) that normally would kill it, the rune triggers and has a chance of storing the creature’s soul. This effect keeps the body in a coma rather than dying, allowing it to “come back to life” (with no level loss) when it receives magical healing. The chance of success equals double the runethane’s level on a roll of percentile dice. This rune cannot be inscribed.
  • Rune of Devastation: If touched, this touch-trigger rune explodes with elemental force (the runethane chooses the elemental type when placing the rune), inflicting 1d6 points of damage per runethane level (20d6 maximum) to all within 20 feet. A successful Reflex saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus) reduces the damage by half.
  • Rune of Slaying: This touch-trigger rune inflicts 100 points of damage + 5 points per runethane level on the creature triggering the rune, unless it makes a successful Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + runethane’s Intelligence bonus). Even those who make the save suffer 5d6 points of damage. These runes cannot be made permanent.
  • Rune of Transformation: This applied rune must be placed upon a willing creature. The creature transforms into a creature found on any conjure energy creature list below VII and remains in that form for 1 round per runethane level.
  • Rune of Transport: When completed, this applied rune causes the creature or object it is created upon to vanish instantly (and safely), teleporting to a location the runethane knows (one he has physically visited himself) within 10 miles per runethane level. Unwilling creatures can make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + half runethane’s level + his Intelligence bonus) to resist the teleport. This is a teleportation effect.
  • Rune of True Conjuring: When touched, this touch-trigger rune summons a monster from the conjure energy creature VIII list, chosen by the runethane. The monster (the actual monster, not an energy construct) attacks the creature that triggered the rune for 1 round per runethane level (or until destroyed). If the runethane triggers the rune, he can command the summoned creature and it automatically obeys, even if it does not understand the runethane’s language. Using the invested rune ability, the runethane can choose a monster from the conjure energy creature IX list instead of doubling the duration. If inscribed using the inscribe rune ability, this rune can be activated once per round, but the runethane can only command one summoned creature at a time. If activated while a previously summoned creature is still present, the new monster always attacks the creature who touched the rune, no matter who it is.


Ultimate Rune: The ultimate rune, available to characters of 20th level and above, does not count against the runethane’s total. It takes 10 minutes to create the ultimate rune. This touch-trigger rune, once trigged, can replicate the effects of any spell of 7th level or below, with the same duration, area, range, and so forth. It can also duplicate any rune. It cannot be invested, but it can be inscribed and given a password.

The 20th-level runethane can have only one ultimate rune in existence at a time.

At 21st level and above, the runethane can have two ultimate runes at one time. At 22nd level and above, the ultimate runes can duplicate the effects of 1st- through 8th-level spells. Starting at 23rd level, the runethane can have three ultimate runes at one time. At 24th level, he can have four, and at 25th level, the runethane can maintain five ultimate runes at once.



Class Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Two lesser runes, erase rune, runic template
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 Lesser rune
3 +1 +1 +1 +3 Lesser rune, sense rune
4 +2 +1 +1 +4 Lesser rune
5 +2 +1 +1 +4 Lesser rune, invested rune
6 +3 +2 +2 +5 Advanced rune
7 +3 +2 +2 +5 Advanced rune
8 +4 +2 +2 +6 Advanced rune
9 +4 +3 +3 +6 Advanced rune
10 +5 +3 +3 +7 Advanced rune, password
11 +5 +3 +3 +7 Greater rune
12 +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Greater rune, familiarity with magic
13 +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Greater rune
14 +7/+2 +4 +4 +9 Greater rune
15 +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Greater rune, inscribe rune
16 +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Rune of power
17 +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Rune of power
18 +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Rune of power
19 +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Rune of power
20 +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Ultimate rune (1st–7th level)
21 +10/+5 +7 +7 +12 Ultimate rune (2 runes)
22 +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +13 Ultimate rune (1st–8th level)
23 +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +13 Ultimate rune (3 runes)
24 +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +14 Ultimate rune (4 runes)
25 +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +14 Ultimate rune (5 runes)




Spell Slots Per Day Class
Level
Spells Readied At One Time
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
2 0 1 2 0
2 1 2 3 1
2 2 3 3 2
3 2 0 4 3 3 0
3 2 1 5 4 3 1
3 2 2 6 4 3 2
3 3 2 0 7 4 4 3 0
4 3 2 1 8 5 4 3 1
4 3 2 2 9 5 4 3 2
4 3 3 2 0 10 5 5 4 3 0
4 4 3 2 1 11 6 5 4 3 1
4 4 3 2 2 12 6 5 4 3 2
4 4 3 3 2 0 13 6 6 5 4 3 0
4 4 4 3 2 1 14 6 6 5 4 3 1
4 4 4 3 2 2 15 6 6 5 4 3 2
4 4 4 3 3 2 0 16 6 6 6 5 4 3 0
4 4 4 4 3 2 1 17 6 6 6 5 4 3 1
4 4 4 4 3 2 2 18 6 6 6 5 4 3 2
4 4 4 4 3 3 2 0 19 6 6 6 6 5 4 3 0
4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 20 6 6 6 6 5 4 3 1
4 4 4 4 4 3 2 2 21 6 6 6 6 5 4 3 2
4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 0 22 6 6 6 6 6 5 4 3 0
4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 1 23 6 6 6 6 6 5 4 3 1
4 4 4 4 4 4 3 2 2 24 * 6 6 6 6 5 4 3 2
4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 2 25 * 6 6 6 6 6 5 4 3

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