A single lightning bolt scythed through the air, crackling before it impacted against the approaching mercenaries. Rylan allowed himself a brief flicker of hope as the sparks danced between the armored column, sending a few of their ranks tumbling backward. Drawing a wand from his robe-sleeve, Rylan pointed the fist-sized garnet and spat a word of challenge, a fireball closely following the arc of electricity still visible in the air.
Yet as the flames engulfing the column cleared, Rylan could only stare in mute horror. Every figure on the line had bared arms, upon which was tattooed an intricate pattern of runes, all of them emitting a soft, blue glow. None of the soldiers carrying the mark appeared to have been phased by the magical onslaught, and the Binders, the mercenaries of the Burning Page, continued their inexorable and steady march towards the mage tower. -- Lost Chronicle of Sharistracterian Exploits
Note: This information is not implemented in the game mechanics of Neverwinter Nights
Note: This information is unavailable to all but the most knowledgeable of scholars and researchers.
Before The Nine came to Avlis, it was populated and ruled by various spirit races. For the most part, these were nature spirits that did little to promote civilization or societal growth, however, there were a couple of exceptions on the planet. One particular spirit race tied to the earth had its own system of magic. This system of magic was, of course, lost during the time of the The Negerai Prime, but a small number of individuals of this ancient race did manage to teach a few Mikonators their craft before going extinct.
In the time of the spirits, runic magic pulled on the Super Magic Vortex, the one that existed before it was split into the present day Vortices, Wind, and River, and Prime Nature. Instead of being dependent on a deity or person to channel and dilute this Magic, this system used specialized stone and metal implements to channel and change Super Magic Vortex energy within them. The implements would be used to draw runes on surfaces or individuals for magical effects. Later, when the split occurred, this form of magic drew on the Prime Nature. When runic magic slowly disappeared from the general population and became supplanted by Vortex magic, the Mikonators and spirit gods saw fit to let it die, especially since neither the forces of good nor evil were using it.
At some point, a powerful demon lord of the Underdark found a reference to this form of Magic which pointed to the lands of Tyedu. The reference talked about a hammer that was used to forge implements used to make the runes. The hammer itself has a rune inscribed on it, which is theorized to mean “Create”.
Several Years years after the Second Fairy War, when the Demon Lord Sharistracterus got wind of this information and began to send forces into Tyedu to find the hammer and bring it back so he could unlock its secrets and begin using runic magic, a group of adventurers moved to intercept him.
The forces of Mikon and the Tyedu Spirit Gods knew about the hammer and kept it a closely guarded secret, and for eons it had been a central implement in the culture of a group of aligned tribes called the Benteak-Kune. Their yearly games kept peace among the tribes by determining through a contest who would wield the hammer and become the leader of the confederated band. However, upon hearing of the danger a local Mikonator prepped the adventurers for conflict with Lord Sharistracterus by teaching them this magical system and once more unleashing it upon the face of Avlis.
Over the next few years, word and know-how of Runic Magic spread and though it is still rare to encounter proficient users of this system, their numbers are growing.
Runic Magic Basic Concepts
The elven, sylvan, Tyeduan, and Jechranian civilizations of Avlis speak languages that are closest to the spirit language of old, and Magya, the language of magic, is thought to be little changed from the original spirit language. However, all of these civilizations have created their own writing systems for their languages. Elven characters are the oldest and are used for writing the language of Magya, yet no one knows the original characters used to write the spirit language. The true characters used to write Magya seem to have been lost to the centuries.
Scholars on the subject believe that the original characters of the spirit language can carry power, and if they are properly inscribed on surfaces or individuals, the words that are spelled out affect the recipient in specific ways.
How it works
To start the vicious cycle, that hammer with the Create rune needs to be used to create a Stylus. The Stylus is a stone implement that is used to literally inscribe the rune onto the skin or object. There is no ink. The special ingredient is Red Obsidian, a rare stone found only in the Underdark. All Styli must be constructed from Red Obsidian.
1) Obtain Red Obsidian
2) Use Hammer of Creation and a chisel to carve out a Stylus from the Red Obsidian
3) Use Stylus to write runes on people or objects
4) Hammer can also be used to create other hammers, and Stylus can be used to inscribe the "Create" rune on another hammer to make more of them.
How do runes work?
Any original rune, i.e. from the original language that predates Elven characters, has power. If that rune is written with a properly made Stylus, it will do something.
The trick is to find these runes and learn how to write them.
For example, if you find the rune for "Fire" and the rune for "Protect", and you inscribe them on someone's arm, the subject will be under a fire protection spell of some sort.
Eventually a rune inscribed on someone or something will wink out. The duration expires. Some runes, however, might be permanent in rare cases or when inscribed by a powerful Saemilist.
When inscribed by itself onto an object, this rune will bring into being a small amount of acid and burn away the surface of what it is inscribed upon, or produce damage to the object or recipient of that type. A living creature will suffer 2d6 acid damage per round for 1 turn. A saving throw vs. Fortitude for half damage is allowed each round. When combined with Protection, this rune imbues resistance to that damage type, at 10 points + 1 point per 2 caster levels. When applied to a weapon, the weapon will do its normal damage plus an additional 1d6 damage of acid per 3 caster levels. Those damaged but such weapons do not receive saving throws against the damage, but resistances do apply.
+1 magical bonus to Reflex save for every 2 caster levels. Example: a 5th level saemilist inscribing this rune on a 1st level fighter will give the recipient a +3 to his Reflex save
Increases the base movement of the recipient by half. When inscribed by a caster level of 10 or higher, the base movement rate of the recipient is doubled.
A weaker and more temporary form of the Wedded Union rune. Requires two recipients. Each recipient picks a special ability or bonus and shares it with the other recipient. Choices can include innate resistances, spell-like abilities, Skills, or Feats. While donating the ability to one another, they are not usable by the original owner. For example, a Rogue donating his Stealth skill to a Fighter in exchange for Greater Cleave cannot use his Stealth skill while under the effect of this rune. Pre-requisites for Feats do not apply if they are chosen for the exchange. For example, a Fighter can donate his Greater Cleave feat to a Sorcerer that does not possess the Cleave feat.
Alignment Runes -
Each polarity (Good, Neutrality, Evil), each orientation (Law, Neutrality, Chaos) has a separate rune to represent it. When inscribed by itself onto an object, these runes will convey that power to the object, or produce damage to the object or recipient of that type. A living target that does not match the polarity or orientation of the rune will take 1d6 damage per round for one turn, after which the rune fades. Successful Fortitude saving throws are allowed each round for half damage. When combined with Protection, these runes imbue resistance to that alignment type, as described under the Protection rune. When applied to a weapon, the weapon will do its normal damage plus an additional 1d6 damage of that element type per 3 caster levels. Those damaged but such weapons do not receive saving throws against the damage, but resistances do apply. Creatures that match the polarity or orientation do not receive any damage. For example, a sword with an Evil rune inscribed on it will not damage evil creatures, but good creatures struck by the weapon will take an additional 1d6 Evil damage per 3 caster levels of the saemilist.
Requires two recipients. Allows each recipient to sense the health (hitpoints) of the other as a free action. If both recipients are within line of sight, one of them may choose to transfer a certain number of hitpoints to the other as a movement action, so long as it does not exceed the maximum number of hitpoints of the receiving member. The giver also may not supply hitpoints in an amount that would take him below zero. The maximum number of hitpoints that may be transferred in one action equals 1 hitdice per caster level.
When inscribed by itself onto an object or recipient, this rune acts exactly like the Elemental rune of Water, except that the liquid is blood. However, when combined next to a Binding rune and shared with another saemilist, its true powers become apparent. Two saemilists that receive Blood Binding become pair bonded permanently. This is a bond deeper than a Wedded Union. Each member of the pair bond receives both the benefits of the Binding and Wedded Union runes. Additionally, the members of the pair bond use the base attack bonus and saving throws of whichever member is higher for each score. The same penalties and benefits apply for stat changes and death of a pair bond members that occur with the Wedded Union rune.
Required in pairs. The saemilist gets one and the target gets the other. This allows the saemilist to see through the recipient's eyes.
Required in pairs. The saemilist gets one and the target gets the other. This allows the saemilist to hear through the recipient's ears.
When used in an NPC, the rune produces a +2 save to morale for every 3 caster levels. PC's receiving this rune gain a +2 moral bonus to attack rolls instead. The attack bonus increases by +1 for every 3 caster levels.
Special purpose rune inscribed on a hammer to make a Hammer of Creation which can be used to fashion a Stylus.
Affects the object or recipient with a Darkness, 15' radius spell.
Grants the recipient Darkvision.
Affects the object or recipient as per a Disintegrate spell, and then disappears instantly.
Recipient gains additional magical bonus of +2 for saves against illusion. Bonus increases by +1 for every 3 caster levels.
Elemental Runes -
Each element (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), each para-element (Magma, Ooze, Smoke, Ice), and each quasi-element (Radiance, Mineral, Radiance, Steam, Ash, Vacuum, Dust, Lightning, Salt) have a separate rune to represent it. When inscribed by itself onto an object, these runes will alternatively bring into being some of that element, or produce damage to the object or recipient of that type. For example, inscribing the rune for Water on a cup will fill the cup with water. Inscribing the rune for Fire on a log or a person will light the object on fire doing 2d6 fire damage per round for one turn. Successful Fortitude saving throuws are allowed each round for half damage. When combined with Protection, these runes imbue resistance to that element type, as described under the Protection rune. When applied to a weapon, the weapon will do its normal damage plus an additional 1d6 damage of that element type per 3 caster levels. Those damaged but such weapons do not receive saving throws against the damage, but resistances do apply.
Energy Runes -
Each energy plane type (Positive, Negative) has a separate rune to represent it. When inscribed by itself, these runes will alternatively bring into being some of that element, or produce damage to the object or recipient of that type.
Removes any current poison effects from recipient, and gives recipient an additional magical bonus of +2 to Fortitude saves vs. poison. The bonus increases by +1 for every 3 caster levels.
+1 magical bonus to Will save for every 2 caster levels. Example: a 5th level saemilist inscribing this rune on a 1st level fighter will give the recipient a +3 to his Will save
Recipient gains +2 to Intelligence. The bonus increases by +2 for every 6 caster levels.
+1 magical bonus to Fortitude save for every 2 caster levels. Example: a 5th level saemilist inscribing this rune on a 1st level fighter will give the recipient a +3 to his Fortitude save
Grace - Recipient gains +2 to Dexterity. The bonus increases by +2 for every 6 caster levels.
Restores 1d8 hp per caster level to the recipient. Fades after 1 turn, but the hitpoints gained from the benefit of the rune remain.
When inscribed by itself, this rune makes the recipient more empathic, resulting in an increase of +1 to his Charisma. However, it is when this rune is inscribed in addition to a Blood Binding rune that its true benefits become apparent. For two saemilists sharing a Blood Binding, this rune heightens and deepens their pair bond. At all times, each member of the pair bond knows the emotions of the other, no matter the distance between them. Additionally, whenever the two are in the same combat alongside one another, each member of the pair bond gains a +4 morale bonus to attack and damage rolls. If one member of the pair bond ever dies, this benefit and the rune disappear. At the time of death, the living member receives the same penalties as the living spouse in a Wedded Union, but the time of unconsciousness and recovery are doubled.
Recipient gains +2 to Wisdom. The bonus increases by +2 for every 6 caster levels.
Affects the item or recipient as a Continual Light spell.
When inscribed by itself, this rune makes the recipient more sensitive to logic and reasoning, resulting in an increase of +1 to his Intelligence. However, it is when this rune is inscribed in addition to a Blood Binding and Heart rune set that its true benefits become apparent. For two saemilists sharing a Blood Binding and Heart rune set, this rune heightens and deepens their pair bond to a mental level. The two members of the pair bond are telepathically linked and may communicate silently over any distance. Additionally, whenever the two are in the same combat alongside one another, each member of the pair bond gains a +4 awareness bonus to armor class. Any penalty that reduces maximum dex bonus also affects this bonus. If one member of the pair bond ever dies, this benefit and the rune disappear. At the time of death, the living member receives the same penalties as the living spouse in a Wedded Union, but the time of unconsciousness and recovery are tripled, and the living member permanently loses 2 points of the shared stat.
Planar Runes -
Each Outer Plane (Celestia, Bytopia, Elysium, Beastlands, Arborea, Ysgard, Limbo, Pandemonium, Abyss, Carceri, Hades, Gehenna, Baator, Acheron, Mechanus, Arcadia), Inner Plane (all elemental, quasi, and para), and Transitive Plane (Shadow, Astral, Ethereal) has its own rune to represent it. The runes for the Inner Planes and the Elemental Runes are the same. All other pocket planes and Prime Material Planes also have their own runes. When used alone, the runes do not affect the recipient or object. However, in conjunction with a Portal rune, they will open up portals to that location. In conjunction with a Protection rune, the recipient is protected from any negative effects of that plane.
Can be inscribed singly in or pairs. When inscribed in pairs, a portal between the two runes will open up and persist for as long as the duration of the rune. Alternatively, this rune can be combined with a Planar rune to create a portal to that plane. The accuracy of the portal opening on the other side depends on caster level. Levels 1 - 5: No accuracy, portal appears randomly on the plane Levels 6 - 10: Caster can specify sub-plane or domain of a deity, but exact location is random Levels 11-15: Caster can specify location within a mile of the desired location Levels 16-20: Caster can specify to within 100 yards of the desired location.
+1 competency bonus to attack roles with ranged weapons. The bonus increases by +1 for every 2 caster levels.
May be used in conjunction with other runes. When used alone, it gives the recipient a +2 deflection bonus to AC. The bonus increases by +1 for every 3 caster levels. When used with Elemental Runes it gives complete immunity to non-magical damage from that element, and the ability to survive and move in environments dominated by that element. For example, a Fire Protection rune pair will grant complete immunity to non-magical fire. A Water Protection rune pair will grant water breathing ability. Earth Protection runes will allow recipients to move through earth as if it was a liquid. Magical forms of the element, such as a fireball spell will still damage the recipient normally. When used in conjunction with other Planar runes, the recipient gains immunity to ill effects from traversing the specified plane. Combining this rune with Alignment runes will act as a Protection from Alignment spell for the recipient.
Recipient gains +2 to Charisma. The bonus increases by +2 for every 6 caster levels.
The recipient gains better access to his own memories. For example, this rune would allow a photographic memory or the recital of texts previously read closely. It can also counteract effects of memory loss from psionics.
While under the effect of this rune, the recipient gains 2d6 hitpoints for each night of complete rest. This replaces any hitpoints gained from regular natural healing or the Heal skill, but can stack normally with magical healing.
When inscribed on a weapon, imbues it with the ability to return to the owner's hand if it is lost or thrown. When inscribed on a recipient, the recipient will always know the location of the saemilist who casted the rune.
Affects the recipient as per a Sanctuary spell.
When inscribed by itself, this rune makes the recipient more intuitive, resulting in an increase of +1 to his Wisdom. However, it is when this rune is inscribed in addition to a Blood Binding, Heart, and Mind rune set that its true benefits become apparent. For two saemilists sharing a Blood Binding, Heart and Mind rune set, this rune heightens and deepens their pair bond to a soul level, uniting their two souls as one. The two members of the pair bond are able to see and hear through one another's eyes, and feel through one another's skin. Additionally, whenever the two are in the same combat alongside one another, each member of the pair bond gains a +4 awareness bonus to initiative rolls. Any penalty that reduces initiative bonus also affects this bonus. If one member of the pair bond ever dies, this benefit and the rune disappear from both members of the pair. At the time of death, the living member also dies. No saving throw is allowed, but both members of the pair may be resurrected normally. Upon resurrection, all pair bonding runes are erased.
Recipient gains +1 to Stealth skill (Move Silently). The bonus increases by +1 for every 3 caster levels.
Recipient gains +2 to Constitution. The bonus increases by +2 for every 6 caster levels.
Recipient gains +2 to Strength. The bonus increases by +2 for every 6 caster levels.
Required in pairs. The first rune is inscribed on the recipient. The second rune of the same type is inscribed on an object belonging to the recipient. Whomever possesses that object has knowledge of where the recipient is and can find the way to the recipient.
Acts as a Comprehend Languages spell.
Wedded Pair -
Requires two recipients. Each pair-bonded recipient always knows the location of the other, over any distance and over planar boundaries. Each member of the pair draws strength, agility, health, intelligence, wisdom, and grace from the other: The couple may choose two stats and share the largest stat bonus of each stat. For example a husband and wife team choose Strength and Intelligence. The husband's Strength is 16 and the wife's is 10. The wife replaces her +0 Strength bonus with the husband's +3. Meanwhile, the wife's Intelligence is 14 and the husband's is 8. The husband replaces his -1 Intelligence bonus with the wife's +2. All derived spell bonuses and other bonuses are recalculated from there. Duration is permanent. If one spouse receives negative levels or effects that cause a decrease in the shared stat, the other spouse also receives the penalty for the new value of the stat. The spouse also receives benefits from the shared stat if it is augmented by a spell or effect. Upon the death of one spouse, the other spouse's shared stat will drop to zero and the remaining live spouse will go immediately unconscious due to the stat loss. Stat points will return to the living spouse at a rate of one per hour until the original value of the stat is regained. Unconsciousness remains until the stat value returns to a value of 3 or higher.
Duration for all runes is 1 day for every 4 caster levels, unless otherwise stated or unless the rune begins to damage the recipient. If the rune causes damage to the recipient, it fades after 1 turn (10 rounds). All runes have a default range of zero, and an area of effect of Caster, or Target unless otherwise specified.