This week I’m trying something new. Below you will find the design notes for the Runecarver, a supplement for D&D 5th Edition that I will be releasing NEXT Friday.
I’m hoping that something here catches your interest.
The Runecarver is intended to sit alongside the Cleric and the Bard as a support-style class. Through simulated spellcasting, a Runecarver can grant a wide variety of effects to weapons and objects. While capable of holding their own in a fight, their primary objective is to activate a variety of buffs and debuffs through their unique magical abilities.
The Runecarver is designed to be a front-line support, so uses the same hit die as similar classes.
The saving throws are designed to emphasise the Runecarver’s willpower and ability to channel magic.
The starting skills are a reflection of the Runecarver’s intellect and dexterity.
There is nothing special about the starting equipment.
A potential Runecarver must meet a basic Intelligence threshold.
This is a thematic class feature, intended to emphasise the structured manner of the Runecarver’s magic.
The strict rules here regarding the manner in which Carvings and Runes are created is to prevent a) the willy-nilly creation of pseudo-magical objects and b) to emphasise the concentration and dedication it takes to create a Runed object.
Rather than opt for a spell-slot like approach, I wanted the Runecarver to be thematically different from typical spell-casters and so gave them an expendable resource instead.
Practice makes perfect and all that. The idea here is that the Runecarver’s dedication pays off sometimes and allows them to have a reliable way of aiding their companions.
Basic archetype levelling as can be found in every class.
A class should never be starved for its key resource, especially one that revolves around buffing party members. This is intended to avoid this.
Ability Score Improvement
Basic ability score improvement as can be found in any class.
I wanted to tie the Runecarver’s Rune Mastery feat into a feeling of advancement within the Runecarver’s art, whilst also giving a general feeling of progression and flexibility to the class.
Again, this was intended to give a feeling of progression whilst improving the flexibility of the class.
This feature is designed to reflect the mastery of the character by improving their ability to inscribe and activate their Runes.
By the time a Runecarver reaches 3rd level, they have discovered an affinity for runes of a certain type. Each inscription allows the Runecarver access to Carvings and Runes that they know without counting towards the ‘Carvings Known’ and ‘Runes Known’ limits. In order to use a Rune, you must still reach the level requirement.
Inscriptions of Lore
Runecarvers who prefer a more scholarly and utilitarian approach to their craft frequently develop new methods of creating runes. Their pursuit of knowledge and efficiency allows them to improve upon the runes they already know and teach the basics of their craft to others.
Carving of Lore: Foresight
Runes of Lore: Quick-thinking and Teleport
The Scholar’s Eye
This feature is designed to emphasise the importance these Runecarver’s place on streamlining the power of their Runes.
The Scholar’s Skill
Building upon the previous feature, this represents the Runecarver becoming more efficient at their skill and being able to make subtle improvements and changes.
Sharing the Knowledge
The student becomes the teacher. The goal with this feature was to free up an action in combat for the Runecarver to do other things whilst also allowing an ally to bear some of the brunt of the resource cost.
The Teacher’s Pride
This is intended as a refinement of the previous feature.
Inscriptions of War
Runecarvers who delight in the chaos and maelstrom of battle frequently become adept at inscribing their runes whilst in the middle of a fight. For these Runecarvers, there is no higher testament of skill than being able to give their allies an advantage whilst avoiding the attacks of their foes.
Carving of War: Strength
Runes of War: Wounding and Arcing
This is for the Runecarver who likes to be in the thick of things, the one who wants to be activating Runes more often and still be able to do things on their turn in combat.
Building upon the idea of the Inscriptions of War as being more combat focused, this feature emphasises the brutal nature of magic in combat and demonstrates that even simple things like bright flashes can distract an opponent.
A further development of the previous feature that encompasses Utility and Defence Runes as well as Offense Runes.
This represents the double-edged sword of magic (a theme in my contributions to the DM’s Guild). The extra damage is significant, but can harm allies as well.