Chronicles of Neverael
Runemastery is one of the two so-called “arcane sciences” – the other being the discipline of Alkhemy. Runemastery taps into the latent power of symbols as a means of expressing fragments of universal truths. Symbols come to embody the principles with which they are invested by the collective beliefs of the society which creates them. Through etching these symbols, using various media, and then empowering them with raw essence, a runemaster can express the truths inherent to that symbol. The more primal a symbol is, the more powerful it’s effects.
The value of symbols lies somewhere in the collective subconscious of a people or race – certain archetypes and concepts seem ingrained in the very foundation of the mind. These are believed to be fragments of the universal truths of reality – pieces of experiences which resonate with a sapient being on a fundamental level. Symbols are designed to express a portion of the meaning inherent in these things. Runemasters tap symbols to create magickal effects. The closer a symbol is to the universal truth it stems from, the more powerful that symbol’s effects.
Runemasters require a lot of preparation to work their more impressive effects – a lot of time and access to rare materials and other media. Runemasters are, however, capable of creating virtually any sort of magickal effect one can imagine if they have the time to research and prepare – all they need do is empower a symbol or symbol formula with enough essence.
There are two types of symbols: Temporary Runes and Permanent Runes. Within these two types there are three grades of runes: Petty, Normal, and Master.
Temporary Runes are just what they say – they’re runes which are activated once and then burn themselves out. They create an effect one time and one time only. Temporary runes can be etched on most surfaces and with most types of materials without a whole lot of trouble.
Permanent Runes are runes which can be activated over and over again or even imbue an item with a permanent, passive effect. They require much more expensive materials for etching and a lot of time and effort. They also require the runemaster to spend a point of Anima or Animus to etch.
The three grades of runes basically describe how complex the rune is and how hard it is to learn and execute properly.
Petty runes are very simple – so simple even a novice with no formal instruction can execute many of them without trouble and without access to any sorts of special materials.
Normal runes aren’t simple but they’re not that complex either. Many require special media for etching and imbuing but a lot can be etched with whatever is on hand. Normal runes are the highest grade rune which can be strung together in a rune formula.
Master runes are complex and powerful – so much so that the study of a single master rune can consume a runemaster’s entire life. Even the greatest runemasters never know more than three or four master runes. Developing a new master rune is the work of a lifetime. Master runes can’t be used in rune formulas with one another – only one master rune can be used in a given formula. Master runes always require exotic etching materials and a significant investment of power to etch.