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Rune Knight (Magus Archetype)

Unsatisfied with the common use of arcane magic, a few magi looked to a form of spell far older than the rest. These rune knights are in a constant ebb and flow, rapidly building runic power before unleashing its power through both spell and sword.

Rune Magic

A rune knight’s arcane power comes through his understanding of scripts, an esoteric form of magic that involves the creation and empowering of mystic symbols called ‘runes’. A rune knight is an intermediate scribe (see Scribe Types, which determines the number of runic scripts the rune knight can learn and prepare each day, as well as how many scripts he can use. Refer to Table: Scripts Known (Intermediate) to determine how many scripts he learns (and what level), as appropriate for his level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a rune knight’s script is 10 + the script’s level + the rune knight’s Intelligence modifier.

The rune knight uses the magus script list.

Unlike a typical spellcaster that has spell slots each day, a rune knight can cast each script he prepares a number of times each day based on the level of the script, as shown in Table: Castings per Script (Intermediate). In addition, he receives bonus scripts per day if he has a high Intelligence score. These extra castings can be applied to any script he has prepared of the appropriate level.

A rune knight must choose and prepare his scripts ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and scribing his runes. While scribing, the rune knight decides which scripts to prepare. Once a script is written, it remains prepared until the rune knight chooses to replace it.

A rune knight does not gain his normal spell abilities and cannot activate spell trigger or spell completion items from the magus spell list unless he uses Use Magic Device to do so.

This ability replaces the magus’s spell class feature.


All rune knights learn a number of fundamentals, scripts that are so simple that they require little effort to cast. A rune knight begins play knowing any two fundamentals of his choice. He continues to learn more fundamentals as she advances, as shown on Table: Scripts Known (Intermediate) under ‘Fundamentals Known’ (see Chapter VI). Unlike other runic scripts, a fundamental can be cast an unlimited number of times per day. While fundamentals can be overloaded like any other runic scripts, the magic is too weak to generate much energy: casting a fundamental does not grant the rune knight any runic charges.

This ability replaces cantrips.

Rune Strike (Su)

At 2nd level, the rune knight can channel the power of his runic charges through his weapon, rather than overloading them into a script. As a standard attack action, the rune knight can make a melee attack at his full attack bonuses. The rune knight can instead do this as part of a full-attack action; if he does, he gains an extra attack at his full attack bonuses to deliver the rune strike, but all attacks he makes during that action take a -2 penalty. For each runic charge the rune knight uses, the attack deals an additional 2d6 damage. The type of damage is based on the design of the charges used:

  • Alteration: bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing
  • Creation: acid
  • Destruction: negative energy
  • Invocation: cold, electricity, or fire
  • Manipulation: force
  • Revelation: sonic

If a charge design has more than one damage type, the rune knight chooses which one a given charge deals and can choose different options for each charge (for example, if the rune knight uses two invocation charges, he can choose to deal 2d6 fire damage and 2d6 cold damage). This attack uses the weapon’s critical range (20, 19-20, or 18-20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the rune strike damage only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

Using rune strike consumes all runic charges the rune knight currently has. If the attack misses, the effect is not lost and can be delivered by a later weapon attack, so long as it is made within 1 minute (after which the effect dissipates).

This ability replaces spellstrike.

Arcane Recharge (Su)

At 4th level, the rune knight can convert his arcane power into runic charge. As a swift action, the rune knight can gain any number of runic charges of his choice by spending an equal number of points from his arcane pool. This cannot put him above his normal maximum number of runic charges he can have based on his level.

This ability replaces spell recall.

Hidden Knowledge (Su)

At 7th level, when a rune knight regains his scripts for the day, he can decide to expend 1 or more points from his arcane pool, up to half his Intelligence bonus. For each point he expends, he can temporarily exchange one script he knows with a different script of the same level or lower from the magus script list, letting him prepare the newly-gained scripts as normal. The next time he regains his scripts, the rune knight returns to his original list of known scripts.

This ability replaces knowledge pool.

Improved Arcane Recharge (Su)

At 11th level, the rune knight’s arcane recharge becomes more efficient. For every point he spends from his arcane pool, he gains two runic charges of his choice, rather than one. Any charges gained in excess of his maximum are lost.

This ability replaces improved spell recall..

Engraved Critical (Su)

At 19th level, once per round when the rune knight scores a critical hit with a melee weapon, he gains his choice of either 1 point in his arcane pool or 1 runic charge of his choice.

This ability replaces greater spell access.

Magus Arcana: The following magus arcana complement the rune knight archetype: accurate strike, arcane accuracy, concentrate, and spell shield.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Paths of Magic, © 2021, Ascension Games, LLC; Author Christopher Moore

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