Rune Casters

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retrev
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Rune Casters

Post Mon May 27, 2013 8:37 pm

Here's a supplement I put together for use with a homebrew setting I'm working on. Rune Casters create rune stones and totems (which work kind of like scrolls which anybody can use) through rituals. They have access to spells from the magic user, cleric, and druid spell lists. This is a first draft and has not been playtested in it's current form. Let me know what you think.
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Joe the Rat
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Re: Rune Casters

Post Mon May 27, 2013 9:46 pm

This is an interesting one. I like the flavor of it, and I like how you've got an eye towards different cultures that would fit this model.

A couple of clarifications:
What do the spells per day represent? The number of rune castings they can perform in a day?

What weapons are they allowed?

Am I reading that right that with high intelligence, they can create multiple copies of a rune from a single ritual - and single "casting" of the spell? Or is that the number of additional rune castings they can prepare in a given ritual (with 16 intelligence, a 3rd level Rune Caster can prepare all of his runes in a single ritual)

How many prepared runes should a runecaster start with? beyond the mass needed for the runes (go with tenths of pounds - the gear listings already use that), are there guidelines for additional costs? I'm asking this because the only limiter for the number of runes a 'caster can have is the amount of time it takes to prepare them.

For non-"targeting" runes, I'm guessing the caster simply has to hold them.

Can the runes be mechanically launched rather than thrown? A sling stone (.1 lb or 1.6 oz) can have a 1st level rune imbued, and an arrow could have any level of rune mark along its shaft (assuming the specific flavor supports wood-carved runes like that).

And a couple of thoughts:
If you have Rune Casters alongside standard Magic-Users in a campaign, balance may be a concern. RCs can have multiple days worth of runes ready before starting an adventure, whereas the MU is going to require a LOT of out-of-pocket to create the scrolls needed to come anywhere near that arsenal. Plus, they get armor! One selling point on this is that the spell lists are very much in the utility spells, but you are coming out with all of the Cure spells. Other than turning undead, this guy could replace the cleric!

Adding another requisite would be a reasonable approach. I'm thinking either Wisdom (befitting the "in tune with the forces around them"/druid-like flavor) or Constitution (for the hours-long rituals needed to cast).

There ought to be some sort of benefit for the Rune Caster using his runes rather than someone else. My initial thought is "He doesn't have to throw them." His attunement with magic, and the runic receptacles allows him to channel the power directly. A fighter using a Magic Missle Rune or Ice Storm Rune has to throw it (the former then flying unerringly to its target), While the Rune Caster simply has to activate it. It's a minor flavor element, but it lets the rune caster hand out tokens to the other characters, while he keeps his heavy oak staff permanently etched with a dozen runes (and recently topped off via ritual) for his own use.
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Metroknight
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Re: Rune Casters

Post Mon May 27, 2013 10:35 pm

If you want to limit the RC on his rune casting and such then use a flavor of the sorcerer. The RC sinks his power points into the runes themselves. He would only have so much power to spare but given a few days he could technically have a bunch of runes to use then unless you point a time limit on them. Just tossing out another view, thats all.
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retrev
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Re: Rune Casters

Post Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:23 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I've made a few changes and clarifications and attached rev 2.
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SmootRK
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Re: Rune Casters

Post Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:02 pm

So am I seeing this correctly, the Rune Caster 'runes' and 'totems' things are effectively an alternative sort of "scroll" mechanism?

If so, I would think a better way to preserve balance in multiple facets of the game (costs, time requirements, etc.) would be to utilize the standard Scroll/potion creation rules... only descriptively tweaked a bit so that the spell is contained within the rune-stone, totem, carving, etc. One could still add in a special tweak or two, such as reduction of the chance of failure by having multiple individuals conducting the rituals or perhaps increasing the potency (caster level) of the resulting item.
(and I just realized the scroll info in the core rules does not specifically address the caster level of the spell, at least in the scroll magic item description... I am going to post this small errata in the other thread... most editions state that the caster level of the 'scroll' is the minimum level necessary to cast the spell).

This would make the ability more congruent with the existing rules, scale better or at least more consistently with the existing rules, and otherwise fit more closely.

That all said, I like the more shamanistic/druid/nature angle on the otherwise magic-user... not unlike how I like LL's Witch. In fact, perhaps the witch might utilize this mechanism for her 'charms' and 'potions' mechanic... same stuff, only re-skinned for different receptacles of the spells.

But back to the Rune Caster itself. I think some limits of quantities that can be produced, or at the very least some mechanism of expiring. When the character gets to the level equivalent to when MUs can craft scrolls, then they can produce 'permanent' ones, at least until used.
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shadowmane
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Re: Rune Casters

Post Sun Jun 09, 2013 7:38 am

Smoot, I really like your idea for Runes, there. If the Rune is what is making the magic, then the rule on magic should come from there, instead of from the caster. I don't like the idea of a time limit on the runes, though it makes sense. At lower levels the guy just can't make the rune's magic permanent, but at higher levels, it remains charged until used. Or, combine it with wand rules as well to give it a charge. You can use it x times before it has to be magically recharged.

This would be why a warrior could call a command word and activate a rune on, say, his battle axe. Of course, I'm a big fan of Runic Magic, as opposed to Vancian or Mana based magic.
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SmootRK
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Re: Rune Casters

Post Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:31 pm

shadowmane wrote:Smoot, I really like your idea for Runes, there. If the Rune is what is making the magic, then the rule on magic should come from there, instead of from the caster. I don't like the idea of a time limit on the runes, though it makes sense. At lower levels the guy just can't make the rune's magic permanent, but at higher levels, it remains charged until used. Or, combine it with wand rules as well to give it a charge. You can use it x times before it has to be magically recharged.

This would be why a warrior could call a command word and activate a rune on, say, his battle axe. Of course, I'm a big fan of Runic Magic, as opposed to Vancian or Mana based magic.
Yeah, the runes themselves really just strike me as an alternate to scrolls/potions. They have a definite advantage over the standard scrolls/potions... durability. Standard potions/scrolls cannot be produced until 7th level for standard MU/CL, so I would have the same stipulation for these guys. However, I can see potential ways around it via the idea of Rituals where multiple Rune Casters work in conjunction. Perhaps even standard MU or Cleric (druids too) might stand in as well but to lesser effect in helping. I think to make the Rune Casters more vital, only they can utilize the runes at full effect... but if other use them, they are at lower caster level or other sorts of limited effect. This would keep the Rune Caster from becoming just a "dole out person" for spells.. for instance, only Protection Scrolls can be utilized by all, and potions are generally limited to effects that can 'affect a person' rather than stuff like fireballs... basically there should be some limiting factors in place for them for others' use of them.

I think the multiple uses thing is just like (and it is mentioned in the core rules) multiple spells (or multiple times of a single spell) contained on one physical scroll.
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SmootRK
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Re: Rune Casters

Post Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:41 am

I am still hoping to see more about these guys. Any new ideas here?
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