Runecaster (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Runecaster/Runepriest
Characteristics
Role Leader
Power source Divine
Alignment Any
Publication history
Editions 2nd, 4th
Source books Giantcraft, Vikings, Player's Handbook 3 (4th edition version)
First appearance Vikings
Mythological origins Rune magic

The runecaster or runepriest is a playable character class in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The runecaster appeared in multiple forms in second edition and third edition and as the runepriest in fourth edition, with rune magic also appearing in other editions of the game. The runecaster has been implemented as a warrior or fighter class, an arcane or wizard class, and a divine or priest class as well as a set of options for including rune magic without need of a specialized class. While rune magic is found in all editions of Dungeons & Dragons, at least as spells, specialized runecasters have not appeared as classes or class-like options in every edition.

Publication history[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

Rune magic was an option for clerics in The Northern Reaches (GAZ7). A set of spells allows clerics to master and utilize the 24 runes of Odin.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Two distinct, but mechanically similar runecaster classes appeared in the Vikings Campaign Sourcebook historical sourcebook and the forgotten realms Giantcraft sourcebook. In lieu of ordinary spellcasting, runecasters could scribe runes. One major difference between them is the Vikings runecaster was a member of the warrior group of classes, while the Giantcraft runecaster was a member of the wizard group.

The rune mechanic was also used by a priest kit in the Elves of Evermeet for the Forgotten Realms.

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition (2000-2008)[edit]

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting introduced the runecaster as a divine prestige class. Races of Stone introduced an arcane dwarf prestige class, the runesmith.

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The runepriest in 4th edition is a leader class, whose powers all depend on their attunement to certain runes.

A version of the runepriest adapted for oriental games and the Kara-Tur setting was released in Dragon Magazine 404.