Master of the Runes

Prestige Classes of the Mysteries of Magic of Mystara Étira

The master of the Runes
“The inscriptions are clear. Your head is the one thats confusing.”

Cryptomancers are specialists of nature and its profound identity. Their philosophy, called Cryptomancy, is based on the assumption that all things in life have a true-name; knowing a thing’s true-name allows one to control that thing. The basic magical language to manipulate runes and how to research them is taught at the First Circle. In her career, a rune-master seeks to discover runes designating animals, insects, plants, energy, magic, and finally, the High Master of Runes may discover the true name of intelligent beings.
The abilities of the rune-masters are not as awesome as those of the other crafts. Their true strength lies in the variety and free choice over which rune they use. Unlike spells, runes do not need to be memorized every morning. Each rune must be researched separately as spells would, and then be inscribed in the rune-master’s Book of Runes. If a PC attempts to use a rune without opening her book, an extra-intelligence check is necessary.
Using runes is dangerous and affects the balance of nature. Overusing them may cause natural catastrophes. The DM should note each runic use. On an attempt roll of 1, a rune-master causes the following to occur:

  • If the rune-master did not previously use any rune that day: A hurricane or a violent storm hits the area on a 24 mile radius. It lasts 1d12 hours during which no travel is possible.
  • If the rune-master already used one rune that day: A minor earthquake shakes the area around the rune-master, within a 12 mile radius (beware of avalanches, falling trees and rocks).
  • If he already used two runes earlier that day: A violent earthquake shakes a 36 mile radius around the rune-master, causing great structural damage.
  • If he used three or more runes earlier that day: The storm and earthquake occur, all magic and runic use are totally inoperative for 6d4 hours, and the rune last is permanently altered (all rune masters must relearn it, causing great anger among their circles).

Hit Dice: d4

To qualify to become a cryptomancer a character must fulfill the following criteria.
Skill Name : Knowledge(Arcana):8 ranks, Profession (Scribe) (Int): 4 Ranks., Spellcraft: 6 Ranks.
Feat: Scribe Scroll.
Spells: N/A
Special: Specialization the Abjuration School.

Class Skills
The cryptomancer’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Alchemy(Int), Concentration(con), Craft (Runes), Knowledge(Arcana) (Int), Scry(Int), Spellcraft(Int). Proffesion (Scribe) (Int), Craft (Sculping) (Int).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int Modifier.

Class Features
All the following are class features of the cryptomancer prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Cryptomancer gains no special weapons or armor’s proficiency.
Spells per Day: The Cryptomancer gains extra spells per level as her previous class.

First Circle
Runes of Matter: The rune-master may research and discover runes identifying any specific non-living material (gold, steel, lead, granite, sand, crystal, water, class, leather, silk, wool, tar, etc.). The cost of researching any of these runes is equivalent to researching a common first level spells. The maximum number of these runes a cryptomancer can have is equal to his total level of spellcaster including the levels on this class.
Once a rune is known, the rune-master may control the matter it refers to. As a standard action the cryptomancer calls the power of his rune by uttering ritual words and crafting the desired rune (DC: 11) on the material. The control consists of reshaping the affected matter within a one-foot diameter sphere per total level of the spellcaster. This could be used to open passageways through stones, mend broken items, calm an area of water, or whatever the rune-master attempts to do. The reshaping lasts 1d4 rounds, after which the change remains permanent or revert to its original shape, at the cryptomancer’s choice. This is a supernatural ability.

Second Circle
Runes of Life: A disciple can research runes identifying specific types of non-intelligent or animal intelligence; life forms such as: fox, whale, eagle, zombie, gray ooze, spider, worm, iron statue, rust monster, oak, pine, archer bush, and so forth. The cost and time to research each rune equals a third level spell for research purposes. The maximum number of these runes a cryptomancer can have is equal to half his total level of spellcaster including the levels on this class.
As a standard action the rune-master can affect a number of HD of creatures equal or inferior to her total level of spellcaster, or a foot diameter sphere per level of experience when HD are inappropriate. He must craft the rune on the dirt (DC: 12) and the creatures will arrive in 1-6 combat turns or more depending on the environment.
These runes give the cryptomancer a telepathic link with the life form, allowing her to communicate thoughts or sensations, or know what it knows. The rune effect otherwise is similar to a charm spell. The victim will follow orders to the best of its intelligence and abilities (an oak cannot be ordered to move, a monkey cannot read a scroll, etc.). The communication is limited by the creature’s intellect. The effect lasts one combat turn per total level of the spellcaster and has a maximum distance of 100 feet. This is a supernatural ability.

Third Circle
Runes of Power: The rune-master gains the ability to research runes designating energy forms such as: sound, fire, cold, electricity, cold, acid, sound, wind, light, gravity and darkness. Each rune is equivalent to a fifth level spell for purposes of research and costs. The maximum number of these runes a cryptomancer can have is equal to his cryptomancer prestigue class level.
These runes allow the rune-master to alter a specific source of energy. In no case can a rune-master alter energies to cause more than 20dx of damage and no less than 0dx, and he is limited to 1d6 per level of spellcaster; he can reduce damage in the same way. Example: A rune-master attempts to cross a wall of fire; he may use a rune of fire to extinguish the fire (if the wall is weaker than the rune-master’s ability) or reduce damage if the wall is more powerful. As a general rule, if a rune affects an area, the area is a one-foot diameter sphere per level of spellcaster. The duration of the rune effect is no longer than a round per level of the rune-master, or until the source of energy has been affected up to her maximum ability, whichever occurs first. This is a supernatural ability.

Fourth Circle
Runes of Magic: The rune-master gains the ability to research runes identifying magical effects (any spell effect appropriate to her level). Each rune is equivalent to a seventh level spell for purposes of research and costs. The spell must be known to the cryptomancer in order to find its rune. The maximum number of these runes a cryptomancer can have is equal to his level on this class.
The rune-master can write a magical rune on an item. By uttering arcane phrases, he specifies in which condition the effect goes off. Example: The rune-master inscribes a rune of fire ball on a door so it goes off when the door is opened. The effect will appropriate to the level at which he would have cast the spell. When the rune is created, in becomes invisible, but it can be detected with a detect magic. Dispel magic removes a rune with the normal chances of success. Only one rune can be inscribed on any single item (except for magic circles— see bellow), but is permanent until removed or triggered.

Magical Circle: The rune-master can use this ability to create magical circles protecting her from a specific magical effect or a type of creature. The rune-master needs the rune for the appropriate creature. He may discover the rune for a type of intelligent creature (elemental, demon, elf, human, etc) but only to protect himself or restrain the specified creature within the circle. This is not the equivalent to a Rune of Life. The rune-master can otherwise inscribe magical runes on the circle so that a spell effect goes off when someone steps into or out of a circle (teleports from one circle to another, polymorph others, etc). Five magical runes placed on the same circle will make it permanent until physically destroyed.
Golem Animation: Five runes of magic will animate a golem (1HD per level). The disciple must spend 5,000 pp in components per special power of the golem (and per failed roll) to built her golem. A 1 permanently destroys all components.
This is a supernatural ability.

Fifth Circle
True-name (Fifth Circle): The specific runic name of one single intelligent being can be found. The effect is exactly the same as a Rune of Life. Each true-name is equivalent to a new ninth level spell for purposes of research and costs (If the research cannot be attempted at the current level this does not prevent the High Master from using true-names acquired from another source).
In addition, this allows the High Master to scan the victim’s memorized spells and attempt to understand them (intelligence check). She must memorize her victim’s spells, causing her own to be “erased” from he memory. He can cast this new spells normally, forgetting them in the process, or go to her tower and write them down in her Spell Book, to retain their use permanently.
This is a supernatural ability.

Prestige Class created by the Master of the Game for Games & Ideas in 2005.05.03 in honor of the Old D&D and our 19 years of campaign.
Revised on 2018.08.08.

Master of the Runes

D&D 3.0: Tales from Mystara Galero