Magic? Real Dwarves don't use magic. Nasty complicated stuff it is, full of surprises. We use Runes instead, just like our fathers and their fathers and their father's fathers before them.
First of all, some background: In the campaign I'm writing the Dwarves (like in a lot of campaigns) don't use magic. It's not that they can't, it's just that they don't trust it. They could be really good at magic if they wanted to, but they don't. They have Runes instead. Thus, the Runeforger.
As the title suggests, this thread is so I can get help making sure this class is balanced. Add some abilities, substitute others, whatever it takes to make it work while keeping the flavour. Thanks in advance!
Table 1.1: The Runeforger
|Level || BAB || Fort || Ref || Will || Special|
| 1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Runeforging, Battlesmith|
| 2nd||+1||+3||+0||+3||Empowering Rune 2/day|
| 3rd||+2||+3||+1||+3||Superheat, Heat Resistance|
| 5th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Runepower Increase 1|
| 6th||+4||+5||+2||+5||Improved Runeforging|
| 7th||+5||+5||+2||+5||Runic Talismans|
| 8th||+6||+6||+2||+6||Runepower Increase 2|
| 9th||+6||+6||+3||+6||Aura of the Forge|
The Runeforger is a dwarf craftsman of exceptional skill. He binds the power of runes into weapons and armour, creates runic wards, and forges runes to use in battle. He is mostly defensive in nature, enhancing his allies and demoralizing his enemies. Runeforgers work tirelessly in the Dwarven workshops, creating and maintaining equipment for the Dwarf armies. Runeforgers are highly protective of their secrets though, guarding the knowledge of how to use runes from curious eyes.
Most Runeforgers were fighters or clerics before they learned how to bind runes, though any class could gain the ability.
NPC Runeforgers are found in Dwarven cities. They are almost always busy with some project or another, as their skills are highly valued by both Humans and Dwarves. They never say no to another project though, so long as the asker is able to pay.
To qualify to become a Runeforger, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Craft (Armoursmithing) 5, Craft (Weaponsmithing) 5
The character must have in their possession the knowledge of how to create and bind at least one rune.
The Runeforger’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Profession (Wis), and Spot (Wis)
Skill Points at Each Level
4 + Int modifier
The following are class features of the Runeforger.
Weapon and Armour Proficiency
The Runeforger gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, as well as with all forms of armour.
Runeforgers, as their name suggests, gain the ability to forge runes at level one. This allows them to use runes in battle, as well as to bind them to weapons and armour.
Runeforgers are used to working in the middle of battles, moving around their forge constantly in order to avoid attack. Runeforgers never provoke attacks of opportunity when forging a rune.
At 2nd level a Runeforger gains the ability to bolster his allies by striking a rune carved into his anvil. All friendly characters within 30ft of the Runeforger when he uses this ability gain a +2 bonus to all attack rolls and saving throws. This bonus lasts for 1 round per level of the Runeforger.
At 3rd level a Runeforger gains the ability to channel heat through his hammer. He can therefore forge runes, weapons and armour without the aid of a heat source. In game terms, he no longer takes a penalty for attempting craft checks for metal items using improvised tools.
After being near open flames for so long, a Runeforger develops a resistance to heat and heat based attacks. They get a +3 bonus on Fortitude saves to resist the effects of heat and fire resistance 1.
At 4th level a Runeforger gains the ability to bind runes into a physical form of their own. These runes are activated when broken instead of being activated immediately as they are forged. Any given Runeforger can prepare no more than 5 bound runes at any given time. Bound runes have no sale value. If a Runeforger attempts to bind a 6th rune, the oldest unused bound rune he has made crumbles to dust.
At 5th level the Runeforger’s Empowering Rune abilty increases to provide a +4 bonus instead of +2. Alternatively the Runeforger can gain the Wasting Rune ability. Wasting Rune is usable 2/day and bestows a -2 penalty on all attack rolls, damage rolls and saving throws made by any enemy within 30ft of the Runeforger at the time of its use. These penalties last for 1 round per level of the Runeforger.
At 6th level the Runeforger adds a +3 bonus to his craft rolls made to forge runes.
At 7th level the Runeforger gains the ability to bind weapon or armour runes onto small talismans. Only one of each type (weapon or armour) of talisman may be worn by the Runeforger at any time. While worn these talismans add the power of their own rune to any weapon or armour the Runeforger wears or wields.
Runepower Increase 2
At 8th level the Runeforger may increase the bonus or penalty bestowed by Empowering Rune or Wasting Rune by a further + or – 2. Note that this makes it possible to have Empowering Rune give +6 if Wasting Rune is not taken.
Aura of the Forge
At 9th level the Runeforger gains an aura of intense heat that radiates out 10ft from his position. This Aura saps the strength of those nearby. Anyone who comes within range of the aura must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + Number of Runeforger levels the Runeforger has + Runeforger’s Con modifier) or become Fatigued. If it passes it cannot be affected by the same Runeforger’s aura for 24 hours. The Aura can be suppressed or resumed as a free action.
At level 10 the Runeforger gains the ability to create a Master Rune. A Master Rune combines the abilities of any three weapon OR armour runes into a single rune, effectively allowing the application of three runes on one item. However, an item with a Master Rune cannot be enchanted, or the strain of holding that much power destroys the item. Similar runes used in the creation of a Master Rune do not stack.
The Dwarves, distrustful of magic, have long used Runes on their weapons and armour instead. What started as superstition gained a power of its own, and Runes are now a potent addition to any item. Crafted by the Runeforgers, Runes can be added to any weapon or suit of armour that doesn’t already have one attached to it. Once a Rune is added, it can never be removed. A number of different runes exist, all with a separate effect. Rune effects stack with any effects granted by enchantments, though runeforged items are naturally resistant to magical effects, and as such any further enchantments cost an extra 25%.
Table 1.1: Weapon Enhancements
|Rune || Effect || Market Price|
|Rune of Accuracy||+1 to hit|| |
| Rune of Accuracy, Greater||+2 to hit|| |
| Rune of Striking||+1 to hit and damage|| |
| Rune of Striking, Greater||+2 to hit and damage|| |
| Rune of the Forge||Adds 2d6 flame damage|| |
| Rune of the Storm||Adds 2d6 electricity damage|| |
| Rune of Guarding||Weapon gives +2 shield bonus to AC|| |
| Rune of Reduction||Reduces Armour bonus of target by half|| |
| Rune of Battle||+4 hit and damage, Bane effect on target|| |
As previously stated, no item may have more than one rune on it. In order to be eligible to receive a rune an item must be of masterwork quality. The cost of the masterwork quality has been included in the cost of the Rune.
Table 1.2: Armour Enhancements
|Rune || Effect || Market Price|
| Rune of Defense||+1 to AC|| |
| Rune of Defense, Greater||+3 to AC|| |
| Rune of Shielding||+2 shield bonus to AC, deflects magic|| |
| Rune of Sturdiness||+5 to hardness, +2 to AC|| |
|Rune of Shifting||30% displacement miss chance|| |
|Rune of Resistance||+2 to all saving throws|| |
|Rune of Return||Reflects d6 of damage taken to attacker|| |
|Rune of Revenge||Reflects 25% of damage taken to attacker|| |
|Rune of the Bastion|| +4 con, +2 str, -4 dex, when unmoving|| |
Help assigning Market Values to all the Runes would be appreciated as well. Note that these Runes are only the ones added to weapons and armour, and that more are in the works, to be used like spells.