Unsatisfied with the common use of arcane magic, a few magi looked to a form of spell far older than the rest. Often referred to as rune knights, these magical warriors are in a constant ebb and flow, rapidly building runic power before unleashing its power through both spell and sword.
A rune knight’s power comes through his understanding of scripts, an esoteric form of magic that involves the creation and destruction of mystic symbols called “runes”.
A rune knight learns one runic script of his choice at each rune knight level, as shown on Table: Rune Knight Scripts under “Scripts Known”. At first, a rune knight can only learn 1st-level scripts. As he grows in skill, he can master scripts of much greater power, as shown on Table: Rune Knight Scripts under “Max Script Level”. To learn or cast a runic script, the rune knight must have a Intelligence score of at least 10 + the script’s 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. Unlike a typical spellcaster that has spell slots each day,
Unlike a typical spellcaster that has spell slots each day, a rune knight can cast each script he knows a number of times each day based on the level of the script, as shown in Table: Castings per Script per Day. For example, a 5th-level rune knight could cast each 1st-level script he knows twice each day, and each 2nd-level script once each day. In addition, he receives bonus scripts per day if he has a high Intelligence score (see rune magic). These extra castings can be applied to any script he knows of the appropriate level.
A rune knight does not need to prepare his scripts in advance. He can cast any of the scripts he knows at any time, assuming he has not used up his total castings of that script for the day.
This ability replaces the magus’s spell class feature. 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.
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 he advances, as shown in Table: Rune Knight Scripts under “Fundamentals Known”. 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.
Runic Combat (Ex)
At 1st level, a rune knight learns to cast scripts and wield his weapons at the same time. As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his melee weapon(s) at a -2 penalty and can also cast any script from the rune knight script list (see below) with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If he is attacking with more than one weapon, the penalty for runic combat and for two-weapon fighting stack. If he casts this script defensively, he can decide to take an additional penalty on his attack rolls, up to his Intelligence bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on his concentration check. If the check fails, the script is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty. A rune knight can choose to cast the script first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the script between weapon attacks.
This ability counts as and replaces spell combat.
Rune Strike (Su)
At 2nd level, the rune knight learns to channel the power of his runic charges through his weapon, rather than overloading them into a spell. As a standard attack action, the rune knight can make a melee attack at his full attack bonuses. The rune knight can also 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 learns how to 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 rune knight script list, losing the daily castings of the old script and gaining daily castings of the new one. The next time he regains his scripts, the rune knight returns to his original list of known scripts.
This ability replaces knowledge pool.
Improved Runic Combat (Ex)
At 8th level, the rune knight’s runic combat improves. This ability functions as and replaces improved spell combat, except its benefit applies to runic combat.
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.
Greater Runic Combat (Ex)
At 14th level, the rune knight’s runic combat is even more potent. This ability functions as and replaces greater spell combat, except its benefit applies to runic combat.
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.
True Magus (Su)
This ability applies to runic combat, rather than spell combat.
The following lists the runic scripts available to the rune knight (see the Script List for a full list of runic scripts):
|Level||Fundamentals Known||Scripts Known||Max Script Level|
|1st||2||1 ||1 |
|2nd||2 ||2 ||1 |
|3rd||3 ||3 ||1 |
|4th||3 ||4 ||2 |
|5th||3 ||5 ||2 |
|6th||4 ||6 ||2 |
|7th||4 ||7 ||3 |
|8th||4 ||8 ||3 |
|9th||5 ||9 ||3 |
|10th||5 ||10 ||4 |
|11th||5 ||11 ||4 |
|12th||6||12 ||4 |
|16th||6||16 ||6 |
|4th||1 ||1 ||—||—||—||—|
|5th||2 ||1 ||—||—||—||—|
|6th||2 ||1 ||—||—||—||—|
|7th||2 ||1 ||1 ||—||—||—|
|8th||2 ||2||1 ||—||—||—|
|9th||2 ||2 ||1 ||—||—||—|
|10th||2 ||2 ||1 ||1 ||—||—|
|11th||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 ||—||—|
|12th||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 ||—||—|
|13th||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 ||1 ||—|
|14th||3 ||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 ||—|
|15th||3 ||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 ||—|
|16th||3 ||2 ||2 ||2||1 ||1 |
|17th||3 ||3 ||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 |
|18th||3 ||3 ||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 |
|19th||3 ||3 ||2 ||2 ||2 ||1 |
|20th||3 ||3 ||3 ||2 ||2 ||1 |
Path of Iron, © 2015, Ascension Games, LLC; Author Christopher Moore