[Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:40 am

Just had an rough idea about norse runes in 5e. I would require a feat to gain access to rune magic, prerequisite spellcasting ability (of any kind). Then, casting rune magic would need spell slots to take effect, the effects are according to the rune magic guidelines, but not limited by anything else. So, using the Sowelu rune might enable a Wizard to use a healing spell of the appropriate level. The effects may vary if the effect is a regular spell for the caster - a cleric using a sowelu rune with a healing spell might maximize the effect (of one die per spell level used). Beware of a rune wizard using the Kaunna rune to empower his fireball!

The feat should probably include a sacrifical mark of some sort, which is probably best left as being pure fluff, no game effect.

This is just the bare bones of this idea, opening up a subsystem needing much DM adjudication and probably also opening up a can of worms...

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:25 am

stebehil wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:40 am
Just had an rough idea about norse runes in 5e. I would require a feat to gain access to rune magic, prerequisite spellcasting ability (of any kind). Then, casting rune magic would need spell slots to take effect, the effects are according to the rune magic guidelines, but not limited by anything else. So, using the Sowelu rune might enable a Wizard to use a healing spell of the appropriate level. The effects may vary if the effect is a regular spell for the caster - a cleric using a sowelu rune with a healing spell might maximize the effect (of one die per spell level used). Beware of a rune wizard using the Kaunna rune to empower his fireball!

The feat should probably include a sacrifical mark of some sort, which is probably best left as being pure fluff, no game effect.

This is just the bare bones of this idea, opening up a subsystem needing much DM adjudication and probably also opening up a can of worms...
Interesting. I could see that being fairly balanced. So you would give this to Wizards then? In Gaz7 it is reserved for Clerics...

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:36 am

I think that rune magic does not discriminate against wizards, or any other spellcasters, for that matter. :-)
It would be a significant deviation from the "norm", but then, given the universal nature of runes, I would think that this might be an interesting option to give to other spellcasters as well. It could well be that the Immortals keep watch of those who use the runes, and punish those that abuse them. If somebody shows enough strength of will to endure the sacrifice, she might be qualified enough for the Immortals to learn the secrets of the runes.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Thu Jul 04, 2019 10:24 pm

I started trying to translate the rune magic into the 5e ruleset:

GAZ 7 Rune Magic for 5e

Rune magic is an added system to the Known World setting, its access restricted to clerics of the northern pantheons originally.

It is implied that the runes are a sort of gift of the Immortals to the mortals. They are only usable by those who commit a serious sacrifice (a ritual „death“) to gain the true knowledge of runes (usage as simple writing is relatively common).

Additionally, there are four cleric spells associated with rune magic:
intrepret runes: basically, a spell to get some hints by the DM
bless rune activates runes inscribed into an item
Know Rune is the spell needed to learn a single rune, at the cost of one point CON.
Inscribe Rune basically creates a magic item, with activation needed (via Bless rune)

The whole rune system is very close to the RuneQuest magic system, as pointed out earlier. It is not suitable for the very positive attitude that permeates the 5e ruleset. Sacrificing CON for access to magic?

I would try to integrate it into 5e this way:

Feat: Rune Magic
Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell.
You have learned the secrets of the runes, as taught by the Immortals venerated in the Northern Reaches and beyond. To accomplish this, you have to enter a death-like trance for nine days and nights, at the end of this trance, you lose a point of constitution until you finish a long rest. (Note, if wanting a stronger restriction, you might have the PC lose one point for every day in the trance. This is no magic for the weak). After recovering, the newly acquired rune magic can be used. The Rune caster can now use the full set of 24 runes given in the original GAZ (the Futhark). To use a rune spell, she needs an item inscribed with the rune in question. A rune spell uses up a spell slot of the casters choice, with higher-level slots generating more powerful effects.

(I would intentionally broaden the scope of rune magic. The D&D approach to magic is characterized by arbitrary distinctions between casters, which is not fitting to my image of nordic magic, open to anyone with the endurance needed. YMMV, of course. A prerequisite might be “must be a cleric of the northern pantheon”, even though this would deviate from the usual feat format.)

The “interpret runes” and “inscribe runes” spell could be kept as they are. Bless runes and learn rune are no longer needed.

A few ideas to translate the runes into increasing magical effects:

FEHU: The caster can find treasure or shield property from being found, or can signify ownership. Finding would increase in range with spell level from a few score feet to miles. With special and magical items, higher levels would increase accuracy, and might play a role in working against hiding precautions taken. Ownership might include hiding the item, or placing protective magic effects on it, from misdirection to curses, and perhaps the ability to call it from afar.

URUR:
controlling wild beasts increases with level, regarding numbers of beasts and degree of control.
The Strength could increase with level, from moderate increases and short duration to big increases and longer durations. Constitution could be added as well as an option.
Attracting the attackers might be getting a stronger compulsion, up to the attackers ignoring dangers, and might give the caster resistance or later immunity to weapon attacks, perhaps even granting him attacks of his own.

THURS
Influence a growing number of giants, and increasing the influence, from favorable reactions to charm effects.
Hypnotizing a number of giants, and controlling them stronger.
Turning the caster (and perhaps a number of allies) into giants, increasing the giant possible with spell level.


This are only rough outlines. Depending on what you want to do with it, one could either codify rune magic into yet another number of spells, or leave it to the individual players and DMs to use this as a free-form magic system, limited by the runes themselves and the ingenuity of the group.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:07 pm

I like this stebehil! :)

After your first post, I began toying with something similar. I was thinking about modelling the actual runes after Cleric Domains so that access to a Rune gives you a selection of spells? Perhaps even spells you don't have to prepare (but still expend slots)?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:20 pm

Havard, would you limit a runecaster to a single rune per ritual, as per the GAZ 7 spell? Then how would the runecasters get their runes? A feat each? Or use the "know rune" ritual spell from the GAZ? I guess you need to limit the access - having 24 runes with a spell of each level always prepared would be too powerful. Two runes prepared per day?
I´m actually toying with the idea of leaving the effects of the runes vague, creating only guidelines. But this would deviate from the usual D&D approach to magic.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:21 am

stebehil wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:20 pm
Havard, would you limit a runecaster to a single rune per ritual, as per the GAZ 7 spell? Then how would the runecasters get their runes? A feat each? Or use the "know rune" ritual spell from the GAZ? I guess you need to limit the access - having 24 runes with a spell of each level always prepared would be too powerful. Two runes prepared per day?
I´m actually toying with the idea of leaving the effects of the runes vague, creating only guidelines. But this would deviate from the usual D&D approach to magic.
I guess I was thinking 1 feat per rune. This would make it difficult to gain rules, but that's also true in the original version. Sacrificing constitution is a heavy price.

I like your idea of more open to interpretation type effects too. Just throwing out ideas😊

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:26 am

It comes to either keeping the original spirit of the GAZ rune magic intact or making it more fitting to the mood of the 5e rules.
Keeping the original intact might be:

- restricting it to norse clerics
- requiring a feat per rune (or using the original spell? Maybe requiring the use of a feat to learn the rune-specific spells?)
- making a real sacrifice of a permanent CON point.
- and perhaps using the rune like a cleric domain, translating the rune powers into spells that are always prepared.
With the "Bless Rune" spell, it is actually the requirement of using a spell "slot" to power the runes.

Could a CON sacrifice be undone by healing magic? Would that negate the learned rune?

A more lenient approach might be

requiring a feat to learn rune magic, with a temporary CON damage (or requiring a con save at the end of the period to see if the damage is permanent), with access limited to either the cleric class or opening it up to all casters.
opening up the usage of all 24 runes as soon as the feat is learned
limiting the number of runes available each day (maybe two is ok, or something level-dependant, like level divided by four)
defining either rune spells, as per the “domain” idea, or just using guidelines and leaving the actual effects to the player and DM
and perhaps adding the interpret runes and inscribe runes spell to the spell-casters repertoire.

My take would be:

requiring one feat to learn all the runes, with a con save to see if a point con is permanently lost. (just an idea: clerics/divine casters don´t lose it permanently if associated with the norse pantheon, but all others do)
limiting usage to one rune “domain” per four levels per day
using guidelines for spells
interpret runes and inscribe runes as additional spells, with perhaps some failure chance for non-divine casters.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:34 pm

Looks good although I think spending a feat and sacrificing Con permanently is fairly brutal. I could see spending one Feat for Rune Mastery and then spending one downtime activity period to learn each new rune might be a more lenient approach if downtime rules are used. Or possibly have runes require attunement?

Another alternative if this is exclusively for Clerics could be to treat Runes as a Domain?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:48 pm

Downtime activity to learn more runes sounds good. Rune-inscribed items surely should require attunement, to portray them as special.

Yeah, losing one point of an attribute might sound fitting for the brutal world of the runes, but surely does not fit the 5e rules very good.

Cleric domain - hmm. Wouldn´t that limit the usage of the runes pretty much? Unless you give as an always prepared spell the "bless runes", with the level used indicating the power of the rune activated, and learning the runes is again downtime. Learning a new rune could be each "special ability", but this only would make any sense if there is no other way to learn them. But building a Rune Domain seems tricky to me.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:55 pm

Yeah treating runes as a cleric domain would probably mean a massive rewrite of the whole thing. Maybe not worth it.

One other alternative to Con loss could be a save rolled whenever a Rune is activated. Failure could result in the caster gaining a level of exhaustion. This might be more in line with 5e logic?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:46 pm

Exhaustion might be a good idea here. A rune caster could then, in theory, kill himself with overusing the runes. This might be very fitting indeed. (What happens to a rune caster killing himself that way? Does the life energy form a new rune?)

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:54 pm

stebehil wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:46 pm
Exhaustion might be a good idea here. A rune caster could then, in theory, kill himself with overusing the runes. This might be very fitting indeed. (What happens to a rune caster killing himself that way? Does the life energy form a new rune?)
Hmm, I like it!
I like how physical sacrifice is part of Rune Mastery. Just like how Odin gave his eye and hanged himself upside down in Yggdrasil in order to gain wisdom.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:01 am

Perhaps Rune Casting automatically gives a level of exhaustion with each casting, rather than a spell slot. And only the last level requires a saving throw to see if the caster survives.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:36 pm

stebehil wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:01 am
Perhaps Rune Casting automatically gives a level of exhaustion with each casting, rather than a spell slot. And only the last level requires a saving throw to see if the caster survives.
I agree. I would only require spell slots if Runes provide spell effects.

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