Saturday, 15 April 2017

Wulfwald RPG Magic Systems: 3 Dweorgas Rune Magic - Part 1 Rune Lore

Rune Lore

Unlike mortal men, who use runes for petty divination, or to record their unworthy deeds, a Dweorgas Wyrdwebba contemplates the true meaning of each rune and uses this understanding to weave fate, to literally change reality. It is the meaning, the interpretation, and understanding of the runes from which they draw their power not the mere symbols.

However, this understanding is ephemeral and often uncertain. The Wyrdwebba may fail to bring his understanding and power to bear on fate.  
Men believe their god Woden gifted the runes to them, but the Dweorgas know that men stole the knowledge of the runes from them. Not that they mind, after all they stole them from the Dragons. The twenty-four runes are divided into the three Aetts, or families.

A Wyrdwebba knows all the runes, but begins with mastery of only one Aett. Once he has used a Rune he cannot use it again until he has used all the other Runes he has mastered.

For example a 1st level Wyrdwebba with mastery of one Aett, of eight runes, who uses the Rune Ur must use the other seven runes in the first Aett, before he can use the rune Ur again. A 3rd level Wyrdwebba who uses the Rune Ur must wait until he has used all 23 of his other runes, before he can use the Rune Ur again.

Rune Casting

Each rune has a sphere of influence. For example the rune Feoh literally means Cattle, but refers to wealth in general and could be used to influence anything connected to monetary matters. Some runes can be reversed or if they cannot be reversed can be used in opposition. For example Feoh the cattle/wealth rune would normally be used to gain wealth, or influence transactions in favour of someone, but reversed it could be used to ruinous effect against an enemy.
Wyrdwebba's start with mastery of one Aett, of eight runes, which they may choose from any of the three Aetts available. They gain mastery of the others as they progress gaining a new Aett each level. Their level also dictates the maximum number of runes they may use in combination, and is also a bonus to their Rune Casting Roll.

The Rune Casting Roll

To use a rune the player must make a Rune Casting Roll. At its most basic a Rune Casting Roll is simply rolling under the character's Wisdom score on 1d20 with bonuses for the caster's level, and penalties for the level of difficulty of the affect they wish to achieve. Other situational bonuses and penalties may be applied at the Referee's discretion, but basically the Rune Casting Roll can be expressed simply as . . .

Rune Casting Roll =  Roll under Wis+lvl with 1d20+Diff lvl.

If the player makes the Rune Casting Roll his magic works as described if he fails nothing happens, fate is after all fickle. Either way, the rune still counts as used, and cannot be used again until the Wyrdwebba has used his other runes.

At its most basic rune magic can be used for a flat bonus of +1,+2, or +3. Things such as Saving Throws, or To Hit Rolls, and Damage being the most obvious examples for a bonus, but their greatest use is improvisational magic of a more open nature.

It is up to the player to decide how he wants to use each rune and to what effect. It is up to the Referee to decide if the player's desired use is possible and if so to set the Difficulty Level. There are three levels of difficulty .  . .

Difficulty Level 1

The Wyrdwebba use his power to achieve goals that could just as easily be explained by natural phenomena or coincidence. For example: causing a bow string to snap, causing it to rain on a cloudy overcast day, or making someone lose their footing on rocky ground.

Difficulty Level 2

The Wyrdwebba uses his power in an obviously supernatural way such as causing a bow to burst into flames, sudden rain on a cloudless sunny day, or causing the ground to open beneath someone and swallow them.

Difficulty Level 3

The Wyrdwebba use his power in a way that is not only obviously supernatural, but powerful and reality warping as well. For example: causing a bow to come to life and throttle its wielder, making thunder, lightning and a torrential downpour of rain in the king's mead hall, or causing the earth to rise up in the form a great beast and devour a warband.

There are three ways to use runes all require successful Rune Casting Rolls . . .


This is the primary usage. The Wyrdwebba selects a rune and contemplates upon its meaning before using the insight gained to change reality and weave fate.
Before performing a casting the character must contemplate the rune for an hour before the actual casting. Less than an hour's contemplation, or even no contemplation may be taken, but at a penalty. For more than one Turn, but less than an hour it is a +1 penalty. For less than a Turn or one or more Combat Rounds +2, for no contemplation at all +3.

As Wyrdwebba's increase in level they may use more than one rune at once in combination, but incur a penalty of +1 per additional rune and each rune used requires a separate successful Rune Casting Roll.

Runic Warding & Binding

The caster places, carves, or inscribes the rune somewhere or on something and dictates the circumstances that will activate it in the future
For example: the rune Thorn is inscribed on a bridge as a Wolfpack crosses it into enemy territory so that later when they make their escape, back across the bridge, a wall of impassable thorns springs up after them to impede their pursuers.

Preparation for runic warding must be made in advance and cannot be done quickly as it takes at least four hours of game time. A normal Rune Casting Roll is made, but only when the ward is actually activated.
A rune may also be bound to an item, weapon, or person for a single use. For example: binding the death rune to a spear so that when it next hits it kills the enemy instantly. As per Warding the Rune Casting Roll is made when the bound rune is actually activated.

Runic Inscription

A rune may be permanently inscribed, carved, or attached to something, someplace, or even someone for a permanent affect. However, the use of that rune is then lost to the caster. This is done with a normal Rune Casting Roll and requires the Wyrdwebba spend a day contemplating the rune and another day performing the ritual of inscription. Note, that if the Rune Casting Roll fails the rune is lost.

Runes permanently inscribed or lost through a failed Rune Casting Roll can only be regained for the Wyrdwebba if the item is dedicated to the gods and destroyed by means of either earth, fire, water, or air.

For example, a Wyrdwebba inscribed his finger with the rune Elk a rune of protection to gain a permanent +1 to his AC, but his lord demands he use his powers to protect him. To regain the  rune our Wyrdwebba must cut off his finger and either bury it, cremate it, place it in a sacred pool as an offering , or tie it in the branches of a tree for excarnation.

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