New Runic Magic System

Some of you may have been wondering why there hasn’t been a Runic Arrays post in quite some time. While we have been hard at work on Z-LAND, the real answer is that we have been reworking the runic magic system into a new, more streamlined system.

It won’t replace the original runic magic system found in The Runed Age, but it will allow you to use the magic system more often in game as it is quicker and more efficient to use. And, hopefully, more understandable.

With all that said, here is a preview of what is to come:

The new runic magic system is a slot-based, modular system where you will work from a template to swap runes in and out of their designated positions to create your runic effects. There are five types of slots, and each type of slot has its own selection of runes that can be used. Each runic array must have all five slots (and only one of each), and a rune in all five slots, in order to work. This means that as soon as you understand what all five slots do, you can quickly and easily add and remove runes to create new runic arrays.

The Size slot works much the same as the Size Modification runes before and they just say how big the magical effect will be.

The Shape slot, as its name implies, says what shape the magical effect will be in. Eg: a ball, a cone, a column, a disk, a wall, etc.

The Action slot is where you say exactly what you want to do. Do you want to create, contain, transmute, push, pull, etc. This is what the magical effect will actually be doing.

The Target and Trigger slots share the same pool of runes, because they state what is being done and when it is being done. Or in other words, Do the Action to the Target if the Trigger is present. For example: Create (action) Water (target) if Fire (trigger) is present, or Float (action) Human (target) if Human (trigger) is present.

And that’s it. That is all there is to know about creating the new runic arrays. All those pages and pages of rules from before condensed into five easy rules to remember. This will make it easier to use the runic magic system in your games since that’s all you need to know to make them. And with just these five rules you can make something like this:

This creates a small ball of fire if air is present.

But that’s not all.

Since all the new runic arrays will follow the same format and same template, it is even easier to display them. Rather than putting them in a circle, you can lay them out like this:

And that’s exactly what we will be doing in the future. These runic lines will always follow the same order (Size, Shape, Action, Target, Trigger) so it will be easy to follow along with what we post, and in your games, rather than having someone physically draw out all their arrays, you can simply draw them in a runic line like this to save time and get back into the action. So, in our future posts and in your games, your runic lines can look like this:

So just like the array above, this runic line says Small, Ball, Create, Fire, Air, which means: In a Small Ball Create Fire if there is Air.

And that’s all there is to know about our new magic system, barring the devils in the details. We’re in the midst of typing all this up and you will be able to get the full pdf of the new rules, the new rune list, and all our previous runic arrays on DriveThruRPG before long.

3 thoughts on “New Runic Magic System”

  1. This is fantastic. The logic is still in place, and I am figuring that this shall be expanded to make use of the “spoken” runes as well. However, I am hopeful that we are not going to lose all of the logical syntactic markers as I am hoping to use those to produce some of the iconic spells that are part of the genre.

    That said, while I love the small ball of fire, have you given consideration to how such a ball might be made to explode? And how the creator might project it at a target down the hall?

    1. Because we are streamlining the system, some of the syntax of the original system will be lost. However, that doesn’t mean that the effects of the original runic arrays can’t be duplicated with the new one. Part of the streamlining process was a decision to make the new runic arrays more dependent on objects and technology to get the job done. That’s why we limited it to those five slots and no more. You can’t have more than one of a slot either.

      This forces you to use the runic array with a piece of technology or to use multiple runic arrays together to create the effect. We didn’t want the runic arrays to become the be all and end all of the effects, so you will have to work smarter rather than harder with the new system. And that is how you will have to work with the fireball in the example above. If you want it to explode or project it somewhere, it will require either technological assistance or a secondary array.

      1. That is how I thought the system would be used & I like where this is going. For a long time, I’ve been working on developing a setting in which magic was the technology. Now, this looks like what I am looking for.

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