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    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Gitp PrC Contest XXVIII: My Life in Runes

    Inspired by the Single Spell Specialists thread, and of course by Vaarsuvius.

    The Runemaster

    {no picture at present}

    I prepared Explosive Runes this morning.

    To most wizards (and the occasional sorcerer), Explosive Runes is a useful spell for keeping information safe. In the opinion of some, however, it is a powerful trap spell that you can never use enough. Some of these coincide with those that believe that good things should always be improved upon, and they do so to the exclusion of all else; these are Runemasters

    BECOMING A RUNEMASTER
    Runemasters are simply arcane casters who have chosen to focus on the spell Explosive Runes. Occasionally one will learn from another, but most of the time a Runemaster's abilities are the result of independent research.

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

    Skills: Spellcraft 8 ranks, Knowledge: Arcana 8 ranks
    Feats: Spell Focus (abjuration)
    Spells: Able to cast Explosive Runes

    Class Skills

    The Runemaster's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
    Skills Points at Each Level: 2 + int

    Hit Dice: d4

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spells per Day

    1st|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Rune Affinity|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    2nd|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Metamagic Runes (Heighten Spell)|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    3rd|
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Detect Runes|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    4th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Metamagic Runes (Empower Spell), Tricky Runes|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    5th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Tempting Runes|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    6th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Free Metamagic (Widen Spell), Suppress Runes|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    7th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Stubborn Runes|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    8th|
    +4
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Free Metamagic (Maximize Spell)|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    9th|
    +4
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Disguise Runes|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)

    10th|
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Rune Mastery|+1 level of existing class (Explosive Runes only)[/table]

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Runemasters gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

    Spells per day: A runemaster adds his class level to his caster level to determine his spells per day, but any additional spell slots can only be used to cast the Explosive Runes spell. He likewise adds his caster level for the purposes of his Explosive Runes spell. If he has more than one class in which he is able to cast Explosive Runes, he must choose one class for this ability to apply to.

    Rune Affinity (Ex): A runemaster's Explosive Runes produce particularly powerful blasts. The runemaster addshis class level to the damage done by his runes.

    Metamagic Runes (Su): As a runemaster grows in skill, he can apply free metamagic to his Explosive Runes. He may use any combination of allowed metamagic, so long as the spell level needed to cast such a spell normally does not exceed the highest level he is capable of casting. The runemaster does not need to know the metamagic feat to apply free metamagic in this manner.
    At 2nd level, the Runemaster gains the ability to apply Heighten Spell to his runes.
    At 4th level, the Runemaster gains the ability to apply Empower Spell to his runes.
    At 6th level, the Runemaster gains the ability to apply Widen Spell to his runes. This doubles the area of effect of the explosion, even though this is not normally considered the spell's area and would not be normally eligible for such metamagic.
    At 8th level, the Runemaster gains the ability to apply Maximize Spell to his runes.

    Detect Runes: At 3rd level, the Runemaster is skilled enough with Explosive Runes that he can detect any Explosive Runes on any object within line of sight, without need for a skill check. This does not apply if the runes were created by a Runemaster with a class level at least 4 levels higher.

    Tricky Runes: At 4th level, the Runemaster's runes become more difficult to detect or thwart, even by a skilled rogue. He may add his class level to the Search and Disable Device DCs for his runes.

    Tempting Runes: At 5th level, the Runemaster can imbue his Explosive Runes with a magical attraction. If he chooses to do so, any creature entering within close range of the runes must make a Will save (with the same DC as the normal save) or be affected by a Suggestion spell suggesting that he read the trapped writing. Illiterate individuals, and those otherwise unable to read the writing, are immune to this effect.
    If the Runemaster has Enchantment as a banned school, he may not use this ability.

    Suppress Runes: At 6th level, a Runemaster may cast Explosive Runes on a text already affected by Explosive Runes (his or others) as a suppression; so long as the suppression runes remain, the normal runes will not activate even when they normally would. A Runemaster cannot suppress runes created by a Runemaster of at least 4 levels higher.

    Stubborn Runes: At 7th level, a Runemaster's Explosive Runes are extremely difficult to remove. He adds his class level to the DC to dispel his runes, and twice his class level to the DC to remove them with Erase.

    Disguise Runes: At 9th level, the Runemaster gains a feared ability: You can be hit with his Explosive Runes and not even know it. When Explosive Runes cast by a 9th level or higher Runemaster activate, a powerful illusion (glamer) effect makes the explosion appear to not have happened, with the object read having crumbled to dust or some other means of destruction. 2d10 rounds later, an illusion (figment) effect causes some other apparent source for the damage (possibly an illusory trap.) In the duration, an enchantment effect prevents the victims from being aware that they were damaged at all.
    If the illusion would be too difficult to achieve (such as a party member becoming unresponsive from the damage), this effect does not activate.
    This ability does not apply if the Runemaster has Illusion or Enchantment as a banned school.

    Rune Mastery: At 10th level, the Runemaster achieves the pinnacle of his skill, and gains the ability to cast Explosive Runes more than once on the same object. Each casting of the spell is subject to Dispel and Erase spells separately, is subject to separate Search and Disable Device checks, requires a separate save, and must be suppressed (see Suppress Runes, above) separately. Triggering one rune, however, triggers them all. Placing too many runes on the same object is dangerous, though: When placing a rune on an object that already has runes on it, the caster must make a caster level check against a DC equal to 5 plus the number of castings of Explosive Runes already on the object, or all runes (including the one he is casting now) are triggered and explode.

    PLAYING A RUNEMASTER

    The runemaster, unlike most classes, is built around what is essentially a trap. This necessarily affects his strategy, and as a result most enemies killed by a runemaster aren't even in line of sight of the runemaster at the time.

    Combat: A runemaster will almost never engage enemies directly. Instead, he will try to lure them (possibly making use of the Bluff skill and/or low-level spells) past previously prepared Explosive Runes, and let the runes kill the enemies for him. High-level runemasters will often place several runed objects near each other, each with as many runes (usually maximized and/or heightened, but sometimes widened if there are a large number of low-level enemies) as can be safely placed on a single object, relying on Disguise Runes to ensure that if the first rune doesn't kill anyone the enemies will keep reading until one does.

    Advancement: Runemasters will generally come from the ranks of domain abjurers or sorcerers, and will of course focus on abilities that strengthen their runes.

    Resources: A runemaster will likely have several pre-prepared runed items on them at any given time, ready for placing in conspicuous places. A runemaster's focus on a frequently marketable spell also often gives him a decent network of contacts, though nothing like that attained by a skilled rogue.

    RUNEMASTERS IN THE WORLD

    Ok, guys, they've got a runemaster on the payroll, so if you value your life don't read anything you see.

    Outside of their somewhat unorthodox combat tactics, runemasters tend to be a lot like wizards.

    Daily Life: A runemaster's daily life will be a lot like a wizard's. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions: The runemaster will usually not bother to find new spells, already knowing the one that he'll use almost all the time. Runemasters also will often find demand for their spellcasting services more easily than most wizards. Some rare runemasters take a magical crafting feat or two and go into business (either alone or with a partner or two); one burglarizes such an individual's store at one's own peril.

    Notables: Rebi Treak is a notorious human runemaster who provides protection for numerous villians' lairs throughout the region (for a hefty fee, of course). When invading such a protected lair, adventuring groups will often hire Therisel Lintilo, an elven runemaster who makes use of Detect Runes and Suppress Runes (as well as numerous pearls of power) to foil such traps. Tegrik Sertin was a duergar runemaster who destroyed entire villages with explosive runes before he made the mistake of trying to operate in barbarian territory.

    Organizations: Runemasters tend to be a varied bunch, and have no organization associated with the class. Many runemasters, however, find employment with thieves' guilds or similar organizations, who can appreciate the value of a well-laid trap or three..

    NPC Reaction

    NPC reactions to runemasters will tend to fall into one of three categories: Sneaky NPCs (such as rogues and rangers) will tend to be impressed and admiring, more straightforward NPCs (particularly paladins and barbarians) will tend to be contemptuous, and enemy NPCs will tend to be angry and exasperated (if they survive.)

    RUNEMASTERS IN THE GAME

    Runemasters can be anywhere from useless to devastating, depending on the enemy's discipline, knowledge, and of course literacy and depending on whether the party is willing to follow the "run and trap" tactics that runemasters need to rely on. In the rare case that the party is on the defensive, runemasters are an extremely powerful asset.

    Adaptation: As essentially a superspecialized arcane caster, Runemasters fit into almost any setting easily.

    Encounters: Neutral NPC runemasters will generally be encountered as tradesmen. Enemy NPC runemasters tend to make excellent bosses and high-level henchmen, and can turn an otherwise innocuous dungeon crawl into a deathtrap. Once caught, however, they are not at all difficult to defeat (unless they manage to escape.)
    Last edited by Yitzi; 2011-07-07 at 07:09 AM.