View Full Version : D&D 3.x Class Help with a new PrC, the Runelord [PEACH]

2014-04-01, 12:20 AM
Greetings! I'm trying to create a prestige class that captures the flavor of Rune Magic presented in Wahammer FRPG (2nd ed) and serves as an "advanced" Runesmith (Races of Stone) by marrying the archmage (DMG) and the runecaster (FRPG). Feedback regarding the balance of the class and the new mechanics would be greatly appreciated. The Engrave Rune feat is simply a reworked arcane version of Inscribe Rune, using the Rune Magic rules from FRCS.

Hit Die: d6

Race: Dwarf

Skills: Concentration 10 ranks, Craft (calligraphy, gemcutting, metalworking, stoneworking, or woodcarving) 15 ranks, Knowledge (Arcana) 15 ranks, Spellcraft 15 ranks.

Feats: Armor Proficiency (heavy), Craft Rune Circle, Engrave Rune, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus in two schools of magic.

Spells: Ability to cast 7th-level arcane spells, knowledge of 5th-level or higher spells from at least five schools

Class Skills
The Runelord’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

The Runelord

Spells per Day

Runecraft, Craft Runestaff
+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class (asc)

Journeyman's Rune Arcana
+1 level of existing asc

Rune Power
+1 level of existing asc

Master's Rune Arcana
+1 level of existing asc

Runic Artifice
+1 level of existing asc

Class Features
All of the following are features of the runelord prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Runelords gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: At each level, a runelord gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class level. He does not however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of turning or destroying undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). If he had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a runelord, he must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

Runecraft: Beginning at 1st level, the runelord gains a bonus equal to his class level on
Craft checks made to engrave runes.

Craft Runestaff: The runelord can create runestaffs (Magic Item Compendium, pg. 224, http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ps/20070216a) as if he had the Craft Staff item creation feat. If the runelord possesses Craft Staff, reduce the raw materials and xp cost for crafting a runestaff by 25%.

Journeyman’s Rune Arcana: At 2nd level and higher, a runelord gains the ability to create runes that function more than once and have different kinds of triggers. These extra features increase the cost of the rune, as shown on the table below.
Works When Read or Passed: Any attempt to study, identify, or fathom a rune’s meaning counts as “reading” the rune. Passing through any portal that bears a rune counts as “passing” it. To affect a target, a rune must have an unbroken line of effect to it and be within 30 feet of it. A rune that is triggered when passed can be set for almost any special condition the runelord specifies. Runes can be set to trigger according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight) or creature type, subtype, or race (such as drow or aberration). They can also trigger based on good, evil, law, or chaos, or a creature’s patron deity. They cannot, however, be set to trigger by class, Hit Dice, or level. Runes respond to invisible creatures normally but are not triggered by creatures that travel past them ethereally. When placing a rune with a “pass” trigger, a runelord can specify a password or phrase that prevents the rune from triggering.
Works when a Command Word Spoken: Command word activation means that a character speaks the word and the rune activates. No other special knowledge is needed. A command word can be a real word, but when this is the case, the holder of the item runs the risk of activating the item accidentally by speaking the word in normal conversation. More often, the command word is some seemingly nonsensical word, or a word or phrase from an ancient language no longer in common use. Activating a command word magic item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity. To activate a rune with a command word, a speaker must have an unbroken line of effect to the rune and be within 30 feet of it.

Number of Uses/Trigger
Runelord Base Price

Spell level* x caster level x 50 gp

Spell level* x caster level x charges x 50 gp

Charges per day +
Spell level* x caster level x charges x 400 gp

Permanent (until dispelled) ++
Spell level* x caster level x 2,000 gp

Works when touched
Base cost

Works when read or passed
Base cost x2

Works when a command word spoken
Base cost x2

*A 0 -level spell counts as 1/2 level.
+ If the spell has a component or XP cost, add that cost times the number of charges to the base price of the rune.
++ If the spell has a component or XP cost, add 100 times that cost to the base price of the rune

Rune Power: When the runelord reaches 3rd level, his runes become more potent. The DC for all attempts to erase, dispel, or disable his runes, and for caster level checks to overcome the spell resistance of their targets, increases by 2. This increase does not apply to the DC of the saving throw (if any) to resist a rune’s effect.

Master’s Rune Arcana: At 4th level, the runelord can create runes whose effects are altered, as if under the effects of a metamagic feat, without changing the level of the spell used to create the rune. The types of altered runes are: Energy, Enlarge, Extend, Sculpt, Target, and Widen. An altered rune adds to the DC of the Craft check required to inscribe it, as shown on the table.

Spell Alteration
Craft DC increase

Energy Rune

Enlarge Rune

Extend Rune

Widen Rune

Sculpt Rune

Target Rune

Energy Rune: The runelord can alter an arcane spell when engraved so that it utilizes a different element from the one it normally uses. This ability can only alter a spell with the acid, cold, fire, electricity, or sonic descriptor. The caster decides the new energy type when he begins engraving.

Enlarge Rune: The runelord can create runes whose effects are enlarged, as if by the Enlarge Spell feat

Extend Rune: The runelord can create runes whose effects are extended, as if by the Extend Spell feat

Sculpt Rune: The runelord can create runes whose effects are sculpted, as if by the Sculpt Spell feat The caster decides the new area when he begins engraving.

Widen Rune: The runelord can create runes whose effects are widened, as if by the Widen Spell feat

Target Rune: The runelord can create runes whose target is someone other than the person who triggered it The new target is selected at the time of triggering, by the person who triggered the rune. The target must be within the range of the spell contained in the rune and the rune must have an unbroken line of effect to the target.

Runic Artifice: By the time he reaches 5th level, a runelord has achieved an unquestioned mastery of runes. He learns to trap magical powers inside runes and create enchanted items. This ability allows a runelord to create magic items as described in the Dungeon Master’s Guide as if he possessed the following item creation feats: Craft Magical Arms and Armor, Craft Rod, Craft Wondrous Item, Forge Ring, and Craft Construct. The runelord is considered to have these feats for the purpose of meeting item creation prerequisites. He must still meet all other prerequisites (spells and caster level) and pay all creation costs (raw materials and xp). If the runelord possesses the appropriate item creation feat for an item he is crafting with Runic Artifice, reduce the Spellcraft DC for Empowering and Binding checks (see below) by 1/2 and reduce the raw material and xp costs for crafting the item by 25%.
Despite the similarities to traditional item creation, the process of crafting these “rune items” is more involved and volatile than normal crafting methods. Runic Artifice requires 3 steps:
1) Engraving: At the start of the process, the runelord must engrave runes on the item to be enchanted. This must be done with extreme care, as the tiniest imperfections can create a fatal flaw. Engraving takes 1 day, at the end of which an appropriate Craft check is made (see table, below). If the result equals or exceed the Craft DC the runes are successfully engraved. If the result is less than the Craft DC the runes are flawed and the time spent is wasted; if the check fails by more than 5, then 25% of the raw materials are wasted.
2) Empowering: Once the runes are successfully engraved, they must be empowered. This is the lengthiest part of the creation process. The runelord uses runic chants and other ritualized methods to instill the runes with magic. Empowering takes at least one day for each 1,000 gp in the base price of the item. At the end of each day the runelord must make an appropriate Spellcraft check (see table, below). If the result equals or exceeds the DC, the runes are partially empowered. If the check fails, the magic dissipates and the day’s work is wasted. In addition to not counting toward the item’s empowerment, repeated failures are dangerous to an item and its runes. Two consecutive failures cause the runelord to incur a -5 penalty on his next Spellcraft check for empowering. A third consecutive failure ruins 50% of the raw materials and causes the runelord to begin the creation process from the beginning. The item is considered empowered once the runelord as made a successful check for each 1,000 gp in the base price of the item.
3) Binding: Once the rune is empowered, the runelord needs to perform a few more rituals to bind the magic into the runes. This final step takes 1 day, at the end of which the runelord pays the xp cost for item creation and must make a Binding Spellcraft check (see table, below). If the check succeeds, the binding is complete, the runes are activated and the item is considered magical. If the result fails by 10 or less, the runelord may try the binding ritual the following day, but the xp is lost. If the check fails by more than 10, the xp is wasted and the item is consumed by the magic in the runes, ruining 100% of the raw materials.

Emulated Feat
Engraving Craft DC
Empowering Spellcraft DC
Binding Spellcraft DC

Craft Wondrous Item
20 + Spell Level*
10 + Caster Level
20 + Spell Level*

Craft Magical Arms and Armor
20 + Spell Level*
10 + Caster Level
20 + Spell Level*

Craft Rod
25 + Spell Level*
15 + Caster Level
25 + Spell Level*

Forge Ring
30 + Spell Level*
20 + Caster Level
30 + Spell Level*

Craft Construct
35 + Spell Level*
25 + Caster Level
35 + Spell Level*

*If an item requires more than one spell, use the level of the highest spell required.

New feat:
Engrave Rune [Item Creation]
You can create magic runes that hold spells until triggered.
Prerequisites: Int 13, Craft Rune Circle, arcane spellcaster level 7th.
Benefit: You can cast any arcane spell you have access to as a rune. You must know or have prepared the spell to be scribed and must provide any material components or focuses the spell requires. If casting the spell would reduce your XP total, you pay that cost upon beginning the rune in addition to the XP cost for making the rune itself. Likewise, material components are consumed when you begin writing the rune, but focuses are not. See Rune Magic below for details on runes and rune magic.
A single object of Medium size or smaller can hold only one rune, a larger object can hold one rune per 25 square feet of surface area. Runes cannot be placed on creatures, although they can be drawn on equipment a creature carries. The rune has a price equal to its spell level x caster level x 50 gp. (A 0- level spell counts as 1/2 level.) You must spend 1/25 of the price in XP and use up raw materials costing one-half the price to engrave the rune