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    Default Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Runecaster
    Created for Crossroads: The New World

    The runecaster is a unique sort of spellcaster, one whose power is drawn from mastery over runes. The runecaster creates glyphs by combining mysterious runes of power into devastating, highly variable magical effects. Runecasting is an ancient form of magic, long-forgotten in Europe, the practice alive and well among the Vinlandrs, with scattered practitioners all through Tuniitaq.

    Hit Die: d8

    Class Skills: Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (Arcana, History, Religion), Linguistics, Perception, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device.

    Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Runes Charged
    1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Literacy, Runecasting, Simple Glyphs 8
    2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 10
    3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 12
    4th +3 +4 +1 +4 14
    5th +3 +4 +1 +4 16
    6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Advanced Glyph 18
    7th +5 +5 +2 +5 20
    8th +6 +6 +2 +6 22
    9th +6 +6 +3 +6 24
    10th +7 +7 +3 +7 26
    11th +8 +7 +3 +7 Complex Glyphs 28
    12th +9 +8 +4 +8 30
    13th +9 +8 +4 +8 32
    14th +10 +9 +4 +9 34
    15th +11 +9 +5 +9 36
    16th +12 +10 +5 +10 Master‘s glyph 38
    17th +12 +10 +5 +10 40
    18th +13 +11 +6 +11 42
    19th +14 +11 +6 +11 44
    20th +15 +12 +6 +12 46

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A runecaster is proficient with all simple weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).

    Literacy: A runecaster’s training requires them to be able to read and write the Norsq script. If runecaster is taken at first level, you gain literacy in norsq script automatically. If a character chooses to enter the runecaster class later, they must be literate in the norsq alphabet.

    Runecasting: Runecasting is an art of using magic through combining runes to create powerful magical effects. A rune is a symbol of power that is tied inherently to a concept and can be charged with magic to create effects tied to that concept. A single rune has no power itself, only when combined with other runes in a glyph does the magic take shape. At first level, a runecaster is able to create two-rune glyphs. As they grow in level, the complexity of the glyphs grows as well. (A runecaster begins play knowing (X) runes?)

    A runecaster must scribe a glyph and then charge it with a bit of magic before it can be cast. A glyph is a shape that has an inherent ability to be charged, and can be created positively or negatively. A positive glyph is drawn on a surface by adding something, such as ink, paint, powder, or similar. Some runecasters may even tattoo a strategic glyph or two onto their body. A negative glyph is scratched, carved, imprinted, or gouged into any surface that will hold the shape of the runes, such as a rock, a weapon, a bit of ivory, or even the ground. Scribing a glyph into a surface takes one minute per rune and requires the appropriate tools. For example, you couldn’t scribe a glyph into a steel weapon without access to a forge. Runes can be as large as the caster desires, but they have a minimum area of one three-inch-diameter circle per rune.

    Once the glyph is scribed, it takes a move action to charge it, and a standard action to cast it. Charging a glyph does not provoke an attack of opportunity, but casting it does. Casting a rune requires concentration, just as casting a spell does. You must be touching the object the rune is scribed into and you must be within 5 feet of the glyph in order to charge or cast the glyph. Once the rune is cast, the charge dissipates, but the physical glyph remains, and can be charged again as a move action. If the rune itself is disturbed, such as the surface it’s on being damaged, it immediately loses any charge it may have and cannot be re-charged until it is repaired, requiring one minute and the appropriate tools (provided it’s possible for it to be repaired). If a runecaster casts a rune while its effects are still active from an earlier casting, the earlier effect immediately ends.

    There is no limit to how many runes a runecaster may scribe, or how many they can charge in a day. However, a runecaster can only keep a certain number of runes charged at a time, indicated on the table above. The number refers to runes specifically, not glyphs. For example, charging a simple glyph takes up two runes, and charging an advanced glyph takes up three, and so on.

    A glyph is not arcane or divine in nature, but it is a magical effect. A glyph's effects are suppressed inside an anti-magic field, and a runecaster cannot cast or charge a glyph while inside one. If a glyph requires a saving throw, the DC is 10 + 1/2 the runecaster's level + the runecaster's intelligence modifier.

    (Some glyphs have the potential to augment an item they are scribed to. When a suitable glyph is scribed into a suitable item, the glyph provides a special passive bonus while the glyph remains charged. If a glyph can be used to augment an item, it is indicated in the glyph‘s description under ‘augment‘, and the exact benefit of the augment and the items it can augment will be described at the end of the description.
    Some glyphs can be empowered by adding empowering runes to them. If a glyph can be empowered, it is indicated in the description, and the applicable runes and their effects will be described in the empower section. Empowering runes act like any normal rune, meaning that a two-rune glyph with an empower rune is a three-rune glyph, and cannot be made until you can scribe advanced glyphs.)

    Simple Glyph
    At first level, a runecaster is capable of creating simple glyphs, composed of no more than two runes.

    Advanced Glyph
    At 6th level, the runecaster's art advances, and they are capable of creating three-rune glyphs.

    Complex Glyph
    At 11th level, the runecaster's art advances further, and they gain the ability to craft four-rune glyphs.

    Master's Glyph
    At 16th level, the runecaster becomes a master of their art, able to create devastating five-rune glyphs.
    Last edited by Admiral Squish; 2014-05-24 at 01:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Runes
    Hast- Protection, toughness, defense
    Mellu- Creation, summoning, projecting
    Varak- Destruction, death, damage
    Sseras- Change, transformation, enhancement
    Dorna- Manipulation, control, command
    Tahs- Movement, transportation

    Kelk- A creature, person, or monster.
    Rokkur- An area, often a burst, aura, sphere, or square.
    Qalit- A perception, audible or visual.
    Wotan- An object, item, or structure.
    Zara- Energy or some sort, usually elemental
    Gaern- Life or death, positive or negative energy.

    Empowering:
    Plati- A rune that expands or widens an effect, targeting more.
    Nizul- A rune that increases the overall power of a glyph.
    Lirit- A rune that makes the effects of a glyph last longer.


    Glyphs

    Simple Glyphs
    Spoiler: Runic Armor
    Show
    Runic Armor
    Category: Simple
    Runes: Hast, Kelk
    Range: Touch
    Target: Creature Touched
    Duration 10 mins/level
    Save: Will negates (Harmless)
    Augment: Yes
    Empower: Yes

    Effects
    The runecaster can create one of three effects when casting this glyph, at their option.
    The runecaster can create a transparent suit of armor over the target, granting a +4 armor bonus to AC. This bonus does not stack with any normal armor, and is treated as light armor for penetration. This bonus applies against incorporeal touch attacks

    The runecaster can create a floating disk of transparent force near the target, which blocks incoming attacks, granting them a +4 shield bonus to AC. This bonus does not stack with any normal shield, and is treated as a light shield for penetration. This bonus applies against incorporeal touch attacks.

    The runecaster can form a shimmering aura around the target, granting a +2 deflection bonus to AC.

    Augment
    If this glyph is scribed onto a shield, as long as it remains charged it increases the shield bonus to AC granted by the shield by 1.
    If this glyph is scribed onto armor, as long as it remains charged it increases the armor bonus to AC granted by the armor by 1.

    Empower
    Each time the Nizul rune is added to this glyph, it increases the armor or shield bonus granted by the effect by +2, and the deflection bonus by +1.
    If the Plati rune is applied to this glyph, it can affect 1 creature per level, but they must all be touching at the time of casting.
    If the Lirit rune is applied to this glyph, its effects last for 1 hour per level.


    Spoiler: Protective Sphere
    Show
    Protective Sphere
    Category: Simple
    Runes: Hast, Rokkur
    Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
    Target: 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point is space
    Duration: 1 hour/level
    Save: None
    Augment: No
    Empower: Yes

    Effects
    The runecaster can create one of three effects when casting this glyph, at their option.

    The runecaster can create an alarming sphere, an invisible sphere that instantly alerts the runecaster if any tiny or larger creature enters the area. This alert takes the form of a small mental ping, sufficient to wake the runecaster from sleep, but not enough to disrupt concentration.

    The runecaster can create a concealing sphere, an opaque sphere that completely conceals its contents. The concealing sphere provides total concealment to those inside it, against any creature outside it. Those inside the sphere can see out, and see each other, normally. It provides no physical barrier, and it can be entered or exited freely.

    The runecaster can create a sheltering sphere, a transparent barrier that repels environmental effects. Inside the sphere, regardless of the weather or temperature outside it, it is always warm, relatively dry, with clean, fresh air. The runecaster determines the exact temperature, but it’s always between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The sphere offers no concealment and no physical barrier, and can be entered or exited freely. This sphere will protect against the most intense natural effects, but it does not protect against magical or supernatural effects.

    Empower
    If the Plati rune is applied to this glyph, the sphere’s radius is doubled, to 40 feet.
    If the Lirit rune is applied to this glyph, its duration is increased to 24 hours.


    Spoiler: Guarded Senses
    Show
    Guarded Senses
    Category: Simple
    Runes: Hast, Qualit
    Range: Personal
    Target: You
    Duration 10 min./level
    Save: -
    Augment: No
    Empower: Yes

    Effects
    The runecaster can create one of two effects when casting this glyph, at their option.

    The runecaster’s vision can pierce darkness, allowing them to see out to 60 feet in any kind of darkness, even magical darkness.

    The runecaster’s vision can pierce invisibility, allowing them to see invisible creatures or objects within 60 feet as though they were partially transparent, or ghostly. This does not reveal the source of their invisibility, or allow the caster to see through illusions or solid object, and it does not reveal creatures that are simply hiding or normally difficult to see.

    Empower
    If the Nizul rune is applied to this glyph twice, the runecaster can truly protect their perceptions from deception. They can see normally in any kind of darkness, see invisible creatures or objects normally, see through any kind of illusion or magical concealment, see objects or creatures that are concealed or displaced, such as with a blur or displacement spell, and see the true form of changed, polymorphed, or transmuted things. This vision has no effect on mundane methods of concealment, deception, or stealth.
    If the Plati rune is applied to this glyph, the range of the visual effects increases to 120 feet.
    If the Lirit rune is applied to this glyph, its duration is increased to 1 hour/level.


    Spoiler: Unbreakable
    Show
    Unbreakable
    Category: Simple
    Runes: Hast, Wotan
    Range: Touch
    Target: One object or structure touched (up to one 5 ft. cube/level)
    Duration 1 minute/level
    Save: -
    Augment: Yes
    Empower: Yes

    Effects
    The runecaster can fortify an object with runic power, the Hast rune appearing prominently on it‘s surface. The object touched is temporarily indestructible, effectively gaining infinite hardness, health, and saves for the duration of the effect. Any magical effects that would damage, destroy, or alter the object have no effect, though it can be moved or operated normally while this gylph is in effect. This effect does not remove any damage the item has taken, or remove the broken or destroyed conditions from it.

    Augment
    If this glyph is scribed on an item, as long as it remains charged, the item’s hardness is increased by 5 and it gains 5 additional HP/inch of thickness. These extra HP are lost first.

    Empower
    If the Plati rune is applied to this glyph, it can affect up to one item per level or one 10-ft. cube of material per level.
    If the Lirit rune is applied to this glyph, its duration is increased to 10 min./level.


    Spoiler: Energy Shield
    Show
    Energy Shield
    Category: Simple
    Runes: Hast, Zara
    Range: Touch
    Target: Creature Touched
    Duration 1 min./level
    Save: Will negates (harmless)
    Augment: Yes
    Empower: Yes

    Effects
    The runecaster surrounds the target with a shimmering, transparent bubble of pure elemental energy that damages anyone who gets too close. The runecaster selects acid, cold, electricity, or fire when casting this glyph. Any creature that makes a non-reach melee attack or combat maneuver against the protected creature takes 1d6 points of damage from the selected element, plus an additional 1d6 damage for every four runecaster levels the runecaster possesses.

    Augment
    If this glyph is scribed on a shield, as long as it remains charged, any creature that attacks the wielder with a non-reach melee attack takes 1 point of acid, cold, electricity, or fire damage, selected by the runecaster when first scribed in this way.

    Empower
    If the Plati rune is applied to this glyph, it can affect up to one creature per level, but all targets must be touching when the spell is cast.
    Each time the Nizul rune is applied to this glyph, the damage die size is increased by one, from 1d6 to 1d8 to 1d10 to 1d12.
    If the Lirit rune is applied to this glyph, its duration increases to 10 min./level.
    Last edited by Admiral Squish; 2014-08-12 at 05:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    So, I've scrapped and restarted this idea so many times, it's a bit silly. Anyways, I think I finally have something workable, but I figured that I should probably post what I have thus far to the playground to make sure I'm not forgetting anything obvious.

    Some points of concern:

    I can't seem to think of a lot of class abilities for this one. I'm not sure why, but it's not really clicking anything.

    I'm not certain about the parts of the runecasting ability that are contained by parentheses. I like them, but I'm not sure about them.

    I'm somewhat torn about the glyph template. If I decide to make a runes known mechanic, I'm thinking perhaps I should add something that lets you determine what glyph requires what runes at a glance.

    Finally, I'm trying to decide if the rune list I have thus far is comprehensive enough to cover everything.
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    .
    Seems like a solid baseline for a wide variety of effects.
    I took a shot at this angle in the past, but it seems your solution is both simpler and more comprehensive.


    It may be intentional, but . . .
    - I see nothing that addresses divination.
    - In the "Empowering" section, you didn't address range increase.
    - I also see nothing that ties a runecaster's level to the power of runic effects.


    Also, in order to make average BAB count, the class needs abilities that somehow amplify raw martial prowess (clerics have buffs, druids have wildshape, warlocks use ranged touch attacks). Otherwise, it just goes to waste.

    Also, what about on-the-fly scribing of runes in midair?


    As far as your sample runes go - they're all abjurations.
    I'm sure you have a strong sense of what runes should be able to do, but this is just not enough for others to gain the feel & touch of where you're aiming at.
    And to solve your inspiration problems - take some regular spells and see how you make them come to life via runes.


    Finally, I'm not sure 5 runes will suffice.
    Consider increasing at each level divisible by 4, culminating at 7-rune combos (just a thought).
    .

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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Thanks so much for your commentary!

    The original attempt was to make a system where each rune would have a set effect that would interact with other runes in a defined way for different glyphs, making the player actually mix and match their own spells, but that turned out to be nearly impossible. So I ended up settling for a standard sort of 'spell list' arrangement.

    Divination's not going to have a strong representation, though there will be some divination-like effects, probably though various combinations involving Qalit.
    Hadn't thought of range increase, honestly.
    There are some things that scale with level, such as the energy shield, and most durations scale too. I could work on including the runecaster's level more into the glyphs.

    Martial prowess, huh? Well, some of the augment abilities will be applicable to weapons and armor... and I just realized I forgot proficiencies.
    But yes, I will definitely think about adding martial abilities to the class.

    You know, I did originally have an ability that let them do that, but then I upped the time it takes to scribe a glyph to 1 min/rune. Maybe using the light, though, you can do it faster since they don't have to worry about materials and such.

    As for the runes I have currently, I was just going down the list when I realized I should have my foundations checked. All the current glyphs are based in Hast, the rune of protection and toughness. There will certainly be more variety as I get deeper into the lists.

    I am definitely looking to spells for inspiration, but I don't want the glyphs to just be spells of a different name, either.

    I think 5 runes is probably all I'm gonna be able to handle. As the number of runes increases, the number of possible combinations scales exponentially. I mean, some combinations aren't going to work, but there's a LOT of possibilities to be had at the higher end.
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Does it take a move action to activate a glyph, or a move action to activate each rune in a glyph? Similarly with the standard action for casting.

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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    How about a counterspell option? If you see a rune that you want to break, but it is done in a way that makes it hard/nigh impossible to break, what about doing the inverse of a rune (if a rune is positive, than gouge the same rune on the surface of the rune). This completely destroys the rune, and it cannot be repaired. As for Divination, maybe make Sight, Hear, Touch, and Smell runes which can be used to boost senses to improve skill checks, which can be used with a rune for Truth, Knowledge, Past, Future, etc. to allow a rune caster to divine out certain things. The use of senses is to also make things complicated since if you have a sight option with your divination, you cannot hear, feel, etc. what is there, and may miss things.

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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Action
    It's a move action to charge the glyph, and a standard action to cast it. The only part of the process that takes longer per rune involved is the scribing itself. I had considered making it take longer to charge a rune, but I figured making it essentially a full-round action to cast an un-charged glyph was probably enough.

    Counter-rune
    I think actually scribing the rune in reverse would take too long to be considered in most cases. I could see making a glyph to counter glyphs, a spell that will break a targeted glyph before it can be cast.

    Divination
    I'm not going to be adding that many runes. The Qalit rune covers all kind of perceptions.
    Though... maybe I could split the runes up into sub-runes. Like, you write the rune a little differently and it takes on a slightly different character. So, you could write Qalit to refer to the senses, or to an illusion, or to a divination, or you could writ Hast to refer to barrier defense, to active defense, or to a more elusive defense, like concealment, or a miss chance...

    Runelight
    Here's a rough draft of the rune written-in-air thing
    Sometimes, a runecaster needs a specific rune they don't have scribed or prepared. A runecaster learns the runelight to give them an option in this situation. The runecaster can harness the energy they use to charge a rune to create a point of light on the tip of a finger or other digit. They can trace this light through the air, creating floating lines of light behind it. These lines have no physical presence, and cannot be broken or disrupted. The runecaster can scribe a glyph with this ability by spending a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity for each rune involved. The runecaster must concentrate on the runelight while scribing in this way, and cannot move. A glyph scribed like this is charged as part of the scribing, and can be cast immediately once it's completed. A glyph scribed like this will only remain in place for one minute after completion before it fades away.
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    I'm glad to see that you finally posted this! Sorry I haven't read it until now.

    Time for questions!
    • Does the Nizul rune always increase the damage dice size by one when it's applied to a glyph? If so, that might be worth mentioning in the glyph's description. Is there a limit on how many times Nizul can be applied to a glyph, other than the number of runes you can keep charged at one time? What happens if they increase damage dice size beyond "d12"?
    • I notice that all of your example glyphs are "simple", and all of them use Hast/Protection. Were you planning on adding more complex glyphs later? I'd like to see some of your ideas for other, non-protective spells as well.
    • Will there be a mechanic for players to make up their own spells by combining runes, or will it just be up to the DM to decide what each combination does? Because if it is, that'll make it MUCH harder to play this class, DMs will be much less likely to allow players to use them if it means more work for the DM. If you want people to play this class, I suggest coming up with a handful of glyphs that use each rune at least once. The less game-design the player has to do in order to play this class, the better.
    • There are a lot of "dead levels" in the class' progression. Maybe they could be filled with extra stuff related to literacy or languages? Or bonuses to Spellcraft? I don't know, I'm just throwing out ideas here. They could probably use those bonuses to martial prowess that nonsi suggested; as it stands, the average Runecaster is gonna get his butt kicked if a bugbear breaks through the front lines and takes a swing at him. If these guys are Viking-inspired, they'd practically have to know a little bit about combat.
    • "Runelight" sounds perfect just as you've written it. I say it's ready for inclusion in the class write-up. Would this be a class feature that they gain at a certain level? It's so universally useful, I think that practically all Runecasters would learn to use it as soon as they possibly could.
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Time for answers!
    • No, it does not. If you'll look to the first glyph, you'll see it increases the AC bonus granted. It's a generic empower, not that one effect. As to the number of times it can be applied, there is no limit, beyond the number of runes they can include in a glyph. Nizul is a rune, itself, you can't just attach it to a simple glyph without being able to make three-rune glyphs. since you can only make five-rune glyphs, making it larger than d12 is impossible.
    • As I mentioned above, I was just going down the list of glyphs when I realized I should check my foundation before going further. I am planning to add more complex glyphs as I get further into the list.
    • I wanted to have a mechanic around combining runes, but it's just much too complex to work like that. Right now the plan is just a spell list with spells based off the combinations of these various runes.
    • I am planning to add some more abilities to the class. Other than literacy in the norsq alphabet, the class itself wouldn't encourage a character to know more languages or writing systems. I don't think they're as boned as you indicate if somebody attacks them. They've got d8 HP, medium bab, and proficiency with medium armor and martial weapons. They're pretty competent as far as melee goes. And, of course, there's all the spells. And the augmented items.
    • I'm thinking of putting it at 1st or 2nd. Probably 1st, but that might make the level a bit overloaded.
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    I just noticed that this class still says "A runecaster begins play knowing (X) runes". We should probably finalize that before playtesting begins. Exactly how many runes to they begin play knowing, and how often/by how much does that increase?
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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Oh, god, this class is NOWHERE near playtesting ready. It would need, at the very least, a full suite of two-rune glyphs, probably the whole spell list fleshed out.
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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Lirit- A rune that makes the effects of a rule last longer.
    I don't expect that this was deliberate?

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
     
    SuperDave's Avatar

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    Default Re: Runecaster [Crossroads][Rough Draft]

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Oh, god, this class is NOWHERE near playtesting ready. It would need, at the very least, a full suite of two-rune glyphs, probably the whole spell list fleshed out.
    Well, we start playtesting the Crossroads setting and building characters tonight, and we've only got so many classes, so I'm gonna show the players what we've got so far, and if one of them really wants to play a runecaster, I'll letcha know.
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    Crossroads: The New World - Tribes, colonists, trade confederacies, and empires both new and old collide in an alt-history North America, circa 1750 A.D. (On the road to publication!)

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