This post is a companion post to this post.
|by Zezhou Chen|
Rune-Smithing is one of those pseudo-magical arts that is looked down upon by Wizards despite it's many, many uses. People are all for practicality, but nothing gets in the way of snobbery.
What are Runes?
Runes are symbols that, while not magical in and of themselves, when mana is channeled through them, produce magical effects. This makes them highly useful for a wide variety of purposes, from defense to weapon development to medicine and countless other purposes.
How does it work?
First, decide what runes you want to inscribe onto an object. Runes form a crude alphabet of sorts, so in theory you can do anything with them, but in practice the more complicated an effect, the more likely a Runesmith will get a weakened effect or it will simply not work at all. So general theory is to limit the number of Runes as much as possible to maximize the effect the Runesmith desires.
Then, inscribe the runes onto whatever object you are working with. Runes can take almost any form- they can be pounded into metal or chiseled out of stone, embroidered into cloth, carved out of wax or even written on paper.
Finally, charge the runed item with energy. For small items, the mana of the user is often enough. For larger items, it is much more common to use a Mana Crystal or Mana stone. Mana crystals are small stones that are charged with mana and used by Runesmiths to power their creation. In traditional Rune-Smithing, Mana Crystals are almost always real crystals or gemstones. White quartz and diamonds are the most prized, but many other types of crystals and all gemstones will work too.
In more recent times, some Rune-Smiths have started working with specially prepared glass spheres or cubes which they claim work as well (almost) as well as natural gemstones. Some Rune-Smiths have also found success with 'Mana Stones' made of platinum, gold, silver or other exotic materials. Usually these are designed like jewelry and often take the form of bracelets, bracers, necklaces or torcs. Since they almost always take circular shapes, these are sometimes called 'Mana Circlets' or 'Vita Circuits'.
Wow, that sounds amazing? Why doesn't everyone use Runed items?
Well for one, Runesmiths rarely share their knowledge. Just like the Wizards they envy and the other Sages they scorn, Runesmiths rarely share their secrets. Learning the language of Runes is a product of years of hard labor and is very rarely given away for anything but money and power.
Secondly, Rune-Smithing is very powerful and those with power want to keep it, so most Rune-Smiths serve either powerful organizations, ruling families or the State. Their knowledge is restricted and those caught illegally teaching it can and will be punished for their indiscretions.
Thirdly, Mana Crystals tend to be...reactive. A sharp impact, a sudden burst of magical energy ("I cast Fireball!") or excessive background magic can prematurely trigger either runes or Mana Crystals, causing wild and unpredictable effects. Sometimes this is as minor as some destroyed clothes and a close shave, while in other cases, it ends in the kind of hideous injuries that make industrial accidents look tame.
|by Jillian Venters|