Runes are a collection of small enchantments — or evocations of the power of the world, or bits of spirit knowledge, or however you choose to apply them in your game — that anyone can pick up and learn.
There are no “spell slots” or the equivalent involved, just the knowledge of the rune and the time to prepare it. Once made, a rune may be kept almost indefinitely; however, they certainly aren’t immune to being lost, damaged or erased, or deliberately destroyed. Activating a rune — which requires contact — expends the power of it, but the physical rune may often remain and can be “topped up”.
The number of runes an individual may have prepared depends entirely on their available materials and time. The number of runes which may be used in a day, however, are limited by one’s fortitude and will (i.e. the higher of a character’s applicable attributes — Body and Psyche for Wandering Jewel Moons, Constitution and Wisdom for OSE/The Black Hack/etc — divided by 3).
Some sample runes:
01. Gleam: Limns supernatural things or manifestations in a soft, brief glow
02. Soothe: Calms the nerves, removes fear and lifts fogginess of the mind or heart
03. Mend: Restores a repairable object; think torn clothing
04. Sustain: Nourishes as a good meal and drink does
05. Ignite: Kindles a flame, or grants fire’s warmth
06. Freeze: Induces cold, potentially enough to cause frost
07. Illuminate: Creates light of the power and duration of a candle
08. Communicate: Understand an unknown language until encounter with it ends
09. Hold: Seal a portal or container closed
10. Inspire: Uplifting surge ensures next task will succeed
11. Abjure: Repel specified malignant forces for a dawn-dusk cycle (or reverse)
12. Heal: Banish disease or infection, last injury knits twice as fast
You can give them more interesting names, of course, even simple ones, maybe something like
Each rune requires at least two of several possible elements in order to be successfully created; perhaps a specific colour of pigment, a particular addition to that pigment, or a burin or knife or stylus or brush made at least partially from a specific substance. Some may also have a “preferred” material to be placed upon.
It’s not a terrible idea to also design some omni-applicable elements — perhaps suitably unusual or rare — to give out as goals, or simply as a flavour to add.
An example set of associations, using the runes above:
01. seashell; silver; dew; ivory tool
02. applewood; rose; wine; willow tool
03. leather; tawny; dust; oak tool
04. maplewood; green; blood; willow tool
05. jet; orange; ash; iron tool
06. glass; azure; salts; iron tool
07. horn; yellow; wax; oak tool
08. paper; violet; sugar; ivory tool
09. foil; black; resin; iron tool
10. copper; gold; gall; willow tool
11. parchment; red; incense; ivory tool
12. linen; green; marigold; oak tool
* omni-applicable — black rosewood or tree ivory; ultramarine; musk; moonsilver or sungold tool
Published by taichara