Runemaster Character Class (2e)
Among the dwarves of Khordal, there is a small group that is held in high esteem. The Khun-kharad, or Runemasters, are keepers of all lore and knowledge that is sacred to the dwarven race. They are the defenders of secrets, and the last line of defense against demons and elemental creatures that slumber within the earth's core. Unless on a specific quest for knowledge or an artifact, the Runemasters typically do not venture forth from Khordal. Most Runemasters would prefer to stay home in the mine and curl up with a good rock.
A Runemaster learns the Power Runes of the dwarven written language. As they grow in skill and understanding, their ability to craft more powerful runes grows, as well.
Runemaster: Subclass of cleric, using cleric charts for level, attack rolls and saving throws.
God: Although the Runemasters pay homage to the dwarven god Kharox, they worship another god as well who they refer to as the Keeper of Secrets. The name of this god is, well, a secret that is never divulged to anyone other than fellow Runemasters. Archivist's note - most scholars agree that this Nameless God is likely Jusarin, god of knowledge.
Hit Dice: d8
Weapon of Choice: Sling, all Runemasters gain +1 to hit with a sling and +1 additional attack per round.
Runemasters start constructing a special suit of scale mail for themselves at 3rd level and will not complete it until they reach 9th (approximately 10 years). This suit has a rune engraved on every scale and will only fit upon the maker himself. The suit has an AC of 0. Once a Runemaster reaches level 12, he inscribes an additional Rune in this suit, which adds the power of free action. Only Runemasters wear these suits of scale mail, and the number of people "blessed" with them as a gift number less than 10, and only 1 non-dwarf.
Spells: Same as the cleric chart. They cannot cast from the Animal, Plant, Sun, Weather and Necromancy spheres. Runemasters cast Glyph of Warding and Symbol at 3 levels higher.
Nonweapon Proficiencies: All Runemasters have the following NWP without expending points. Blacksmithing, Armoury, and Dwarven Lore.
Runes: All Runes done by a Runemaster can be carved or drawn with special ink, depending on the surface. The ink wears off in time, usually two to three days or less if exposed to rain. The Runemasters make the ink within the mines of Khordal; it is never sold to others.
The time it takes to draw a Rune is a decision made by the DM and should be weighted by how often the Rune has been drawn by the RM and what level he has reached. A 20th level Runemaster can probably draw a Rune of Power in his sleep. Average time for a well-practiced RM to draw with ink should be no less than one minute, while carving a Rune should have a minimum time of 30 minutes. Making a Rune is NOT a combat action, and never should be. If a Rune is carved, the spell effects will fade, as per the Rune's description, however the Rune itself will remain, decorative but non-functional.
A Runemaster can re-energize an existing Rune in one segment, if it was carved by themselves, or 6 segments if carved by another Runemaster. Ink drawn Runes can not be re-energized.
1st level: Power - This first Rune allows the RM to inscribe a sling stone or bullet with a rune and adds +1 to hit and damage. A RM may inscribe up to their level in sling stones per day, and the effect permanent until used. The stones will not retain the bonus for anyone other than the Runemaster. The average RM carries at least 10 of these on him at all times.
2nd level: Truth - A Rune that, once carved, will glow red to the RM's eyes if someone speaks a falsehood to him. The rune must be carved on something touching the person being examined. Often carved on floors or tables, this rune is empowered for 1 round per level of caster.
3rd level: Protection - This is the Rune that the RM uses in building the scale mail armour. It has no intrinsic value beyond the making of armour.
4th level: Warding - This Rune can be placed upon a shield or a solid breastplate, and it gives +1 bonus to the armor class of the item. The Rune is effective for 1 hour per level of caster.
5th level: Strength - This Rune adds +2 to hit and damage to any weapon it is inscribed. The RM can put this on his sling stones same as the Rune of Power, with the effect being permanent until used. It can also be placed the weapon of others as well but will only last 1 round per level of the caster.
8th level: Healing - This Rune is always done in ink- for obvious reasons. This Rune will stop wounds from bleeding and accelerate natural healing by twice the rate. The Rune retains potency for one day per level of caster.
9th level: Combine - The most important Rune that can be learned, this allows the RM to combine the effects of different runes. With the Combine Rune, the RM can complete his suit of armour. He can also combine other Runes to potentially make magic weapons and armour. A Combine Rune must be used for every two Rune the RM wishes to combine. To combine two different runes, the RM must have at least one-foot square of surface area, for every individual Rune drawn and the Runes must be craved.
10th level: Holding - When a Runemaster wishes to place a prayer or spell within a Rune, this is the Rune they use. It will hold any spell cast by the Runemaster for up to one day per spell caster. If the Rune is touched, it will release its spell as if it was cast at that location. Flamestrike within a Holding Rune is a particularly favourite dwarven trap.
12th level: Freedom - This Rune gives the effects of Free Action upon the person inscribed or the item. This Rune can also be used on rocks or stones that won't budge, or locks that will not open. It is a potentially dangerous Rune, because if used incorrectly it can free the very demons that Runemasters strive to contain.
14th level: Master Craftsman - At this level, the RM has reached the level of Master Craftsman, and can now forge magical weapons and armour for other people. Becoming a Master Craftsman is a major event in the RM's life and usually is followed by days of celebration.
15th level: Containment - The Rune that binds is one of the most sacred of the RM lore. This Rune is a permanent Rune that can only be carved. It seals a doorway or area so that nothing can pass the Rune ever again. Only the Rune of Freedom cast by a RM of at least four higher levels can break the Rune of Containment. Dispel Magic cast by other classes will not effect a Rune of Containment. Archivist's note - in the case of an extremely powerful caster, this is rumored to not be the case, but the rumor is unconfirmed.
17th level: Fusion - This Rune is a very small rune, only requiring about 1 square inch of space, and is always done in ink. The Fusion Rune allows the RM to carve a Rune on one surface and then attach that Rune to another. Handy in the case of a need to use a fast Containment Rune and the demon won't stand around and wait for you. Fusion only works on similar materials such as stone on stone, or wood on wood.
18th level: Abjure - This powerful symbol acts similar to the Abjure spell; however, it reacts upon contact with a demon. The Rune must be at least 3 feet square, so cannot be placed on a weapon- usually this is set in the floor and the demon is lured to step upon it. The Rune is empowered permanently until released and must be carved into the stone.
19th level: Permanency - With this small Rune, the RM can make any other Rune retain its power permanently. This is used often with magical items and traps that are meant to keep creatures out after the Dwarves are gone. Runemasters sometimes use this Rune along with a Holding Rune to make tattoos that hold protection spells.
20th level: Banishment - The most powerful of Runes, the Banishment Rune acts as the Abjure spell but will effect any off-plane creature, and does not require the knowledge of a true name. This Rune is quite large, needing 5 feet square of engraving space.
Thanks to Alacrity for this contribution!