“Perhaps we were simply unsatisfied with the bodies we had been born into. Maybe we were the first to step forward with a will to change ourselves and others with the mere stroke of a pen.” - Anonymous Runewright Master
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Runes
- 3 Core Runes and Techniques
- 4 Lucis Runes and Techniques:
- 5 Umbral Runes and Techniques
- 6 Revelations
- 7 Suggested Mutations & Witchmarks:
- 8 Initiation:
- 9 Overstepping
- 10 Well Usage
- 11 Progression
Since their inception, the mortals of Idalos have longed to perfect their bodies, increasing their strength, agility and senses. It was mages who first discovered that the body can be augmented by way of ether, specifically by painting etheric Runes upon their skin in order to give them a burst of speed or keener vision. The Runes themselves are the heart of Hone, they are how the mage directs their intent through their Spark and into their body and the bodies of others. Hone is part craft and part magic, relying upon self expression just as much as technique if the mage wishes to be successful in their practice of the magic.
Hone Mages are known as Runewrights. This is because they perform their magic by employing a Runic alphabet that is buried in their Spark’s ancient memory. The Runes of Hone are well defined in their general structure, although much like a calligrapher, each Runewright develops their own style over time.
Runes are drawn with ether, normally by fingers or hands, although weapons, wands, pens or other objects can be used to aid the Runewright in focusing their ether. Runes are not simply drawn into thin air, they must be placed onto something. Most Runes are inscribed on the skin of the Runewright themselves, especially if the mage wishes to augment one of their own physical traits. Runes will adhere to the skin below even if painted on clothing. The Rune will follow the mage’s intention and bond with the desired target so long as it is very near by. This means that the Runewright can write their Runes upon their clothing safe in the knowledge that the Rune will seek out their skin beneath the fabric or armor.
Runes appear in a unique hue that is specific to the mage. They will “bond” with the object or body they are painted onto and temporarily become a part of it. How long Runes last depends on the skill of the mage, but they are usually temporary unless a well is employed.
The skin of living creatures naturally bonds with Runes. In the case of a living medium, the Rune will vanish once it’s ether is exhausted. In the case of certain special Runes that are later discussed, non-living mediums or objects can sometimes retain a subtle impression of the exhausted Rune. This is because living things simply shed off the image of the Rune due to their own inner life force which provides a natural resistance to any after-image or impression that a Rune might leave behind. This is similar to how footprints can be left in snow but not on living flesh. Experienced hunters will sometimes use these leftover impressions to track a Runewright.
Modulating the Amount of Ether in a Rune
Runes can be created to only offer a slight effect or a substantial one depending on the amount of ether invested in the Rune. As Runewrights increase in strength they can more skillfully invest ether in their Runes in order to make them more impactful and efficient.
There are a few different ways to learn new Runes as one progresses in Hone. The simplest is to learn them with the aid of a mentor. Mentors often have within their possession a book known as a grimoire where they write down Runes they have learned along with creative ways to use them. It is typical for a student to take up writing their own runic grimoire once they have taken up learning their first Runes. Grimoires are normally just common books or scrolls that are always kept with the mage. Many mentors will gift their student with a book or scroll for this use upon initiation.
(You may include a blank Grimoire within your Starting Package for no additional charge if you are starting with a Mage Mentor NPC. Essentially you may assume that you were gifted a Grimoire any time you are initiated into Hone. )
Another way to learn Runes is by discovering them via writings and carvings found throughout the world of Idalos. Ancient Runewrights are known to have created several places known as runic grottos or runic archives across Idalos that contain carvings of their Runes that can be reignited by the ether of another Runewright. This allows the mage to learn the nature of the Rune and internalize it within their Spark so they may employ it themselves later. Finding a ‘grotto’ or ‘archive’ is a difficult feat as they are rare and well hidden across the landscape in caves and rifts that are protected from the elements. When reignited, these ancient Runes become filled with the ether of the mage and the Runewright can then reach out to the Rune with their Spark in order to learn its meaning. Once the meaning an nature of the Rune is understood it can be used by the Runewright in the future.
There is also another method of learning new Runes that relies upon intensive meditation and drawing a primal understanding of of the new Rune from the mage’s budding Spark. Every Hone Spark carries within them an ancient memory of the Runes contained within the discipline and this memory can be accessed given enough time and focus. This process almost always takes several hours or even full trials or more in order for any information to be gleaned. It is believed to be the most difficult method of learning new Runes as it can often fail since the mage is seeking knowledge with very little guidance.
(One’s meditation level must match or exceed the level of expertise required to learn the Rune if you are to attempt learning them in this fashion.)
The Body and Hone
The mortal body is only capable of handling so much etheric corruption brought on by Hone Runes. Each Rune in Hone is granted a certain amount of ether by the mage, that ether can harm a mortal body if more than six Runes (Core or Lucis) at a time are placed on a living creature. As this is the case, only a maximum of six Runes can be placed on a body at any one time.
Body parts and limbs can have various definitions depending on the race or species of the creature bearing the Rune. Individually, an arm, leg, torso or head is typically considered a single body part. In the case of Mer and Ithecal, their tails would also be considered a single body part capable of bearing a Rune..
Each body part can handle a single fully powered Rune or a Chained Rune. Chained Runes contain the same amount of strength in total as a standard Rune but are essentially fused Runes that have been woven together to form a multi-functional Rune. Novice Runewrights are incapable of creating Chained Runes due to the dexterity and finesse required, but the ability does begin to reveal itself as they progress into Competence. It is commonly more desirable to utilize Chained Runes since it allows you to imbue a part of the body with multiple effects. Although, keep in mind that creating Chained Runes will always take more time and concentration on the part of the Runewright.
(See below for a more detailed explanation of Chaining Runes)
More on Chaining Runes
Depending on your expertise, it is possible to chain up to three Runes together. Attempting to chain more than three Runes together will end in the chain shattering before it can be placed. Nearly all Runes can be Chained. There are only certain exceptions to this rule and they nearly all involve combining Runes with special techniques that make Chaining impossible. You cannot use the same Rune more than once in a chain, and chaining will reduce the overall power of the Runes in the chain to equal the same power of a single normal Rune. Two Chained Runes will reduce each individual Rune’s strength by half, three Chained Runes will reduce each individual Rune’s strength to a third of its original power. While there is a substantial power reduction, the benefit of chaining Runes is the adding of variety and adaptability to the Rune bearer or Runic Trap (Described Below). Each body part or Runic Trap can only tolerate the power of a single Rune at full power, but with chaining you may incorporate the effects of two to three Runes since a Chained Rune will bear the power of a single fully powered Rune.
In practice, Chained Runes are simply Runes that are written together with lines connecting them. Many Runewrights will lace the multiple Runes into a tightly written circle as to save space and to obscure the Rune if needed for stealth.
The Runic Dialects
There are two Runic variants and one root alphabet that encompasses all of the available Runes in Hone. The root alphabet is composed of the Core Runes, these are always available to the budding Runewright as they grow and develop their power.
At Competent the mage will notice that their Spark begins changing and shifting, and becoming capable of learning one of the two available Runic Dialects. These alphabets are similar in form to the Core Runes, but they are slightly different in form and function.
It was once believed by ancient scholars that the two Runic Dialects were derived from two unique sources. The first dialect, known as the Lucis Dialect is thought to have been born from the language of the Originals. The second Dialect, known as the Umbral Dialect is believed to have originated from the written language of the Outsider that allegedly forced the Originals from Emea. Only a very rare few have heard theses stories, so the majority of Runewrights can only accept that their Sparks have a clear preference for one dialect over another when they reach Competency.
As a rule, each Hone Spark is more familiar with a specific Runic dialect. It is unknown why one Spark is more familiar with a dialect versus another, but it is a factor that is wholly decided by the Spark itself.
When a Runewright reaches Competency in their magic their Spark will begin to shift, taking a clear and undeniable preference toward using a specific dialect as the mage progresses in strength. This period in the mage's development can be full of signs that something is being revealed from within their Spark. Budding Lucis Runewrights might notice that their Core Runes begin to sparkle and sputter with hints of radiance similar to that seen in Lucis Runes. Soon to be Umbral Runewrights might notice the opposite as their Runes begin to visibly darken and become laced with shadows. This experience is unique to every mage but the Spark begins showing clear signs of change that is also translated into the mutations of the Runewright.
While the Core Runes are always available as you progress; from Competency onward your Spark will specialize in a specific dialect, allowing you to access new Runes specific to your Spark’s dialect.
(Once you choose a dialect you will require Prophet Support Forum permission to swap dialects. If you do so, you will lose all access to any dialect based techniques you had learned previously.)
The Two Paths of a Runewright
There are two types of Hone Sparks, those that are proficient in the runic alphabet of the Originals (Lucis Runewrights), and those that understand the alphabet of the Outsider(Umbral Runewrights). Runewrights are more often that not unaware of why their Sparks have different dialects. It is a rare thing for the Hone mage to learn the secret of their Spark and why they are led down either the Lucis or Umbral path. Literature on the topic is quite scarce so many Runewrights simply accept that there are two different alphabets, and for some reason or another they are gifted with the ability to understand and write in only one of those dialects.
“The Lucis Dialect”: This is the Runic dialect that highlights Runes which are often spectacular in their radiant beauty, especially when approaching mastery. Lucis Runes are centered on drawing the best intentions of the mage through the Spark and into effects that augment traits, rather than diminishing them. A Lucis Runewright is focused on increasing abilities (especially in others) along with healing fallen comrades. Lucis Runewrights are unique in their ability to place their Runes on other living beings in order to give them new enhanced abilities for a time. With a simple brushstroke of the fingers a Lucis Runewright can grant an ally strength and speed far beyond the capabilities of their own body. Lucis Runes can be applied to animals as well.
“The Umbral Dialect”: This Runic dialect is focused primarily on diminishing the attributes and traits of others, typically through the application of Runic Traps. These traps are often placed on inanimate objects or on mundane surfaces like the floor or a piece of furniture. Umbral Runes lack the bright and shining luminescence of Lucis Dialect Runes and often take the appearance of dark inky shadows , allowing them to be placed stealthily.
A Note on Undead and Runes: Undead are considered nonliving in this context and Core/Lucis Runes will not work if placed on them. However Umbral Runic Traps(see below) can indeed be placed on Undead, allowing them the possibility to trigger when a assailant comes nearby.
All Runewrights eventually have the ability to imbue their Runes with a Trigger. Most Runes activate instantly once placed if so desired, however many Hone mages wish to prepare their Runes in advance before Triggering them to be used. Once tied to a Trigger a Rune goes into a dormant state where it no longer burns any of its stored ether.
There are a few different ways to trigger a Rune or Runic Trap, they are as follows.
Types of Triggers
Touch Trigger: (Novice) This sort of Trigger is the easiest to learn and is the most commonly used among all Runewrights. The Rune is cast and imbued with ether and placed in a dormant state. The mage wills the Rune to only awaken when it is touched or pressure is placed upon it. Many Umbral Runewrights utilize this sort of Trigger to set off Runic Traps at a distance by relying upon their target to step upon the Rune itself. Lucis Runewrights will sometimes place a Touch Trigger on a Rune of Regeneration in order to to ready the healing Rune before it is needed.
Sound Trigger/Spoken Trigger:(Competent) This Trigger is less commonly used but it does allow for more subtle means of activating Runes.
Umbral Runewrights will sometimes use Sound Triggers for time to time in concert with their Runic Traps. When a particular sound is detected within close proximity of the Trap, it will activate either preemptively or on a delay depending on the intention of the mage. This can be useful for leaving Runic Traps in strategic areas, allowing them to activate when a sound is detected nearby. These sort of Triggers must be created in the presence of the sound (or a very similar sound) that will be used to Trigger them. For example, one could create a Sound Trigger by having a dog bark nearby when creating the Runic Trap. Once the Trigger is set, the next time that sound is heard the Trap will activate.
Lucis Runewrights more commonly utilize Spoken Triggers which are tied to a specific word or short phrase that activates the Rune that the Trigger has been attached to. This is achieved by focusing on the Rune as you are creating it, and speaking the Trigger word or phrase just as it is formed and placed in it’s dormant untriggered state. During activation the trigger word must be spoken within normal hearing range of the Rune.
Mental Trigger: (Expert) Once reaching Expert in their discipline, Runewrights can begin attempting to tie mental Triggers to their Runes or Traps. This takes a great deal of focus. At Expert the mage needs to be within line of sight of the Rune they have set to Trigger in this fashion. Then at Mastery the Runewright can mentally Trigger their Runes at a distance of roughly a hundred yards, even if the Rune is out of sight.
Core Runes and Techniques
Core techniques are available to both Dialects, the Core Runes are also available initially from Novice onward to all Hone mages.
Resistance:(Novice) Runewright Passive Ability - When initiated into Hone, all Runewrights gain a unique physical resistance that allows them to enhance their bodies without causing dangerous amounts of undue harm to themselves. A normal person might shatter a limb if they they are granted the power of a Strength Rune, but a Runewright’s body has become resistant to most damage that they might bring upon themselves. This does not mean that Runewrights are immune to the Runes of others. They are only resistant to their own abilities and Runic enhancements. Be aware that sloppy application of Runes can still cause harm to the mage’s body, but most of the time that harm is negated simply by this passive effect.
Dismissal:(Novice) It is possible for a Runewright to reclaim ether from either an unused Rune if it has been tied to a trigger that has yet to be activated or if it is a particularly long lasting Rune. Instant use Runes that are not tied to a trigger immediately begin using their ether from the moment they are created. Once the ether begins to be used,the initial amount can never be fully reclaimed. Dismissal is done by being in close proximity to the Rune and drawing in the ether that resides within. This is similar to the process of Flaying, although it comes with no ill effects since the Runewright is only reclaiming their own unused ether.
Rune of Strength:(Novice) The Rune of Strength has the ability to increase the power of a body’s muscles for a certain amount of time. This effect is limited to the body part that the Rune is interacting with. It is considered wise to ensure that your body is in balance when enhancing your strength, otherwise an inexperienced mage who places a Strength Rune on a single leg might find themselves walking strangely or catapulting themselves forward without intending to.
Rune of Touch:(Novice) While it is often a forgotten sense, the ability to feel your way through the world with the barest touch and sensation is not to be taken lightly. A hand bearing the Rune of Touch can pick up the most delicate undulations in sand to detect the faintest of tracks. Adversely, there have been cases of some Runewrights placing this Rune on individuals before torturing them in order to increase the pain that is experienced.
Diffuse:(Competent) When a Runewright suddenly finds themselves trapped within the heat of battle they may not have the time to place a plethora of Runes upon their bodies in order to plan for every eventuality. Diffuse allows a Runewright to choose an already written and dormant/un-triggered Rune on a body part and spread its effects to the entire body. This is of course unable to be accomplished with a sensory Rune. These effects are always substantially weakened since they are now impacting the body as a whole, but it does allow for some flexibility if a situation does not go as planned. In order to use Diffuse the mage must be in physical contact with the Rune. Lucis and Umbral Runes can be used with this technique.
Rune of Endurance:(Competent) Sometimes it is not a lack of strength that decides victory in combat, but rather which combatant can outlast the other. The Rune of Endurance allows a Runewright to decrease fatigue within their body in order to keep functioning at optimal levels. This effect is normally temporary as it can only provide a burst of relief to muscles and organs. This rune can be used to alleviate the presence of fatigue in a limb after physical exertion or it can be used preemptively to prevent it for a certain amount of time.
Rune of Savoring:(Competent) This Rune is named for its ability to enhance both taste and smell. Many Runewrights will use this Rune to enjoy a delectable meal or to detect poison in a beverage. Keep in mind that this will not let you identify the exact poison or ingredient without the appropriate experience, however this Rune will aid in detecting if something suspicious is present in the food or beverage. While some Runewrights shun this Rune for it’s perceived weakness, it has a plethora of uses.
Rune of Sight:(Expert) This Rune grants the Runewright the ability to enhance their vision. This effect varies in strength depending on the competency of the mage. The effect will increase the individual’s ability to view subjects or landscapes at a distance, up close and enhance light sensitivity if in a dark setting.
Rune of Sound:(Expert) The Rune of Sound is useful for a variety of things. It is used to enhance the sense of hearing, allowing the bearer of the Rune to detect distant conversations or hunt down stealthy prey. Runewrights must use this Rune with care as it can also work to their detriment. Loud sounds can suddenly become jarring and capable of distracting or stunning the individual.
Rune of Speed:(Master) The Rune of Speed has the ability to enhance the reaction time of muscles. This allows a Runewright to move their body much faster than normal. This can range from increasing running speed to accelerating your ability to strike quickly in combat. The Rune of Speed is specific to muscle reaction time and does not increase your ability to perceive what is happening around you at a faster rate. It is advised that this Rune is used with care in order to keep your body from outpacing your ability to perceive your actions.
Lucis Runes and Techniques:
These Techniques and Runes are unique to Lucis Runewrights. Umbral mages will be unable to execute these skills due to the innate nature of their Sparks.
Empowerment (Competent - Passive) : This technique is unique to Lucis Runewrights. It allows them to place Core and Lucis Runes on other living beings in order to enhance or heal allies. Animals can also be enhanced with the aid of Runes as well. This is a passive ability that comes naturally to all Lucis Runewrights.
Rune of Regeneration (Competent): This Rune is likely one of the most commonly used of the Lucis Dialect. The Rune of Regeneration acts upon the body’s natural ability to heal itself. This Rune accelerates the healing process, allowing wounds to be healed in only a fraction of the time that would normally be required. Depending on the severity of the wound, multiple Runes may need to be applied in succession in order to fully heal the damage. Because the body is healing itself with the power of the Rune, scarring can be common. Runewrights are only capable of healing flesh wounds and are unable to remove toxins or purge infections. Depending on your expertise healing can take from one break at Competent to only a few trills at Mastery.
Rune of Resistance (Competent): Another commonly utilized Lucis Runes is the Rune of Resistance. While all Runewrights naturally possesses Resistance against bodily harm caused by their Runes, the targets of their magic do not have this protection. This Rune allows the mage to temporarily grant Resistance to others so that the Runes placed upon their allies will cause less bodily harm to them due to their enhanced strength. It is an accepted practice amongst Lucis Runewrights to always place a Rune of Resistance on others before proceeding with the application of other Runes. The Rune of Resistance is unique in that it only needs to be applied to the torso in order to provide Rune resistance to the entire body. Lucis Runewrights may apply this Rune to themselves if they wish for additional protection from their own Runes.
Overload (Expert) :This technique is one of the few offensive skills afforded to Lucis Runewrights. Overload allows the mage to place an overpowered Core Rune on a living thing in order to impede that individual. An Overloaded Rune cannot be Chained and is so potent that it will normally damage the body or temporarily impede a sense. Examples of this would include placing an Overloaded Rune of Strength on the leg of an enemy, causing them to shatter their tibia with a single misstep. One could also Overload a Rune of Sight in such a way that the target is stricken with extreme nearsightedness or temporarily blinded due to an increased sensitivity to light. This ability uses a substantial amount of ether, so repeated and frequent use is not advised. It is possible to pair Overload with a Rune of Resistance in order to prevent some of the damage to the body if the Runewright wishes to use this dangerous technique on themselves, however this is only partially effective and they will incur some damage upon themselves regardless. Such methods are only used in last ditch efforts when it is worth taking such a terrible risk.
Overloaded Runes will appear almost blinding in appearance, shining with a bright and highly visible radiance. It takes only a trill to overload a Rune. Creating an overloaded Rune on the fly is dependent on how quickly the mage can currently cast their Runes.
Rune of Ethersight (Expert): This Rune, when placed on the body tunes the Rune bearer in to the visual spectrum of Ether. While there is always a certain amount of ambient Ether within the world, most Ether lightly emanates from mortals and can be especially visible when used by mages. This allows the bearer of the Rune to easily identity ether usage by mages, serving as a means of locating a mage even when they are trying to obscure themselves. This Rune can also aid in the detection of the divine Ether produced by a Mark or Immortal. This type of ether is far less visible if the Marked individual is freshly Marked, however Exalted and Immortal Champions can appear wreathed in light, especially near the area that their Mark is located. Divine Ether tends to be visible in a different hue than the Ether that is associated with mages and Fractures.
Another application of the Rune of Ethersight is the ability to track down nearby Fractures. Ether will readily flow from Fractures and light up the Rune bearers vision with a clear signs of the Fracture’s presence. Grand Fractures can even be visible from miles away due to the plume of ether emanating from them.
Rune of Focus (Expert): Many Runewrights have encountered the problem of their mind having difficulty keeping up with the Runic enhancements that they place upon their bodies and the bodies of others. The Rune of Focus alleviates this problem by refining perception. This Rune can be placed anywhere on the body and subtly increase the Runewright’s ability to process information quickly. It enhances mental reaction time and even mental acuity in order to quickly read a book or study a target. It also aids in physical coordination when utilizing Runes such as those of Strength and Speed. It should be noted that this effect is subtle, and will not grant something like a sudden burst of intelligence. Rather it will improve reaction time and give a boost in the ability to quickly absorb information.
The Lucis Bond (Master): This skill is coveted amongst Lucis Runewrights. The Lucis Bond is a powerful form of Empowerment that has been transformed into an ability that can be called upon in times of need. This is achieved by applying up to four Runes on an individual. (These can be Core or Lucis Runes) Those Runes can then be ‘copied’ to a maximum of ten other individuals or living creatures that the Runewright has chosen within roughly a twenty foot radius. (Revealed Lucis Runewrights can utilize six runes and copy them to a maximum of twenty individuals) The Lucis Bond is more easily transferred if the recipients of the four chosen Runes are touching each other, forming an unbroken chain of camaraderie. (Casting time is cut in half if all targets of the Lucis Bond are touching)
This ability is said to be a beautiful sight, forming bands of light glittering with Runes that race between the targets of the Bond. This ability can be cast within one bit (Or thirty trills if all recipients are touching) Be aware that the Lucis Bond requires a vast amount of ether and can easily exhaust a mage to the point that they will heavily overstep. The amount of ether used is dependent on the number of living things that are imbued with the Lucis Bond along with how many Runes are initially placed to be copied.
The Lucis Bond allows a Runewright to essentially create a small but powerful band of warriors in a very short amount of time.
Rune of Prediction (Master): Similar to the Rune of Focus, the Rune of Prediction applies mostly to mental acuity. While ether intensive and brief in it’s effect, the Rune of Prediction is capable of granting the mage the ability to predict an opponent’s moves or the actions of objects in motion. This ability lasts for thirty trills and it is not always correct. This Rune is unique in that it burns up it’s ether quickly and cannot last as long as other Runes.
When in use the Rune will overlay the mage’s vision with faint reflections of possible futures , whether it’s an incoming fist or the possibility of an avalanche.
It can only be used once a trial, otherwise the Runewright risks damage to their mind. Extreme migraines and fuzzy vision are always the result of using this ability more than once. Using this ability three times will render the mage unconscious or unable to stand and operate their body, four uses in a single trial will certainly mean death.
Rune of Rebound (Master): Ancient combat minded Lucis Runewrights are said to have discovered this Rune when observing Da’Riya unarmed combatants. The mages became enthralled with the fighter’s ability to flow through combat and use an opponent’s energy against them. This Rune perfects this idea and is capable of functioning almost like armor when placed on certain body parts. When the body part bearing the Rune of Rebound is struck, the force of the blow will be turned back upon the source, negating the majority of the damage. A Rune of Rebound will only function once and will only turn away a single physical blow, but it will turn away any physical attack, no matter how powerful. As this is a Rune that utilizes an opponent’s energy, the ether cost is very low.
Renewal: (Revealed): This potent ability is treasured across the world. It is whispered of in dusty alleyways by crippled children and soldiers who are so scored with scars that they can barely stand. Whereas the Umbral Runewright brings harm, the Lucis Runewright shares boons and heals others. They turn weakness to strength, wiping away the failings of one’s body like it is nothing more than a troublesome cobweb.
Renewal is a powerful ability that allows the Lucis Runewright to channel pure ether into a body in order to heal the most serious of fleshwounds along with any malady that has infringed upon the sight, hearing, taste, touch, strength or speed of an individual. Renewal is balance given etheric form. It is capable of returning a body to peak condition even if that body lies on the brink of death. Lost limbs cannot be regrown or reattached as the life force flowing to that limb has been severed. It would take a Grafter to achieve the reattachment of a limb.
Renewal is capable of being combined with the Lucis Bond in order to pass on this effect to others within the range of this ability. The more individuals Renewal heals, the higher the etheric cost. It is highly possible for the Revealed mage to heavily overstep while using this technique, so it should not be used lightly. Renewal is also capable of reversing the effects of an Umbral Mage’s Constancy ability, however doing so takes more time and can require more ether in order to fully heal the damage.
Umbral Runes and Techniques
Runic Traps(Competent - Passive) : While the Umbral Runewright is able to inscribe their unique Umbral Runes upon the bodies of others they are unable to cast the far more beneficial Core Runes on others like a Lucis Runewright can. Instead they more commonly employ Runic Traps to more easily and stealthy inflict the effects their Umbral Runes upon others.
These unique Traps are the bread and butter of the Umbral Runewright. Runic Traps are cast upon inanimate objects or surfaces that can bear the Umbral Rune or Chained Rune. Runic Traps can only be used in concert with Umbral Runes. Umbral Runes can also be directly applied to a target if the Runewright has the time and stealth to apply it but Runic Traps allow for an easier application. These traps are roughly three feet in width, allowing them to impact on average one to four individuals. The strength of the Umbral Runes woven into a Runic Trap is slightly dulled in strength since the Rune itself is not being written onto living flesh and the effect is only being transferred.
Runic Traps are capable of carrying one Umbral Rune or a Chained Rune with multiple Umbral effects. These Traps cannot be physically stacked on top of each other as this would muddle the image of the Runes and render them inert. Each Trap must occupy its own space and cannot touch the edge of another Trap.
NOTE: All Runic Traps must be tied to some sort of trigger.
Rune of Weakness (Competent): The Rune of Weakness will drain strength from an individual, rendering parts of their body feeble and incapable of functioning properly. Applying this Rune to the legs for instance can instantly force the target to the ground and render them unable to stand for a time.
Rune of Numbing (Competent): Many might not attribute the lack of physical feeling to be dangerous, however this Umbral Rune has the ability to stop a combatant squarely in their tracks. A lack of physical sensation will instantly begin to impact an individual's sense of balance along with their physical awareness. Those afflicted with this Rune might find themselves stumbling, or fully collapsing to the ground as they find it difficult to control their own body. Limbs become difficult to control ensuring the possibility of the victim injuring themselves due to a loss of coordination. The Rune of Numbing has also been used by assassins in the past to numb a target before stabbing them and leaving them to unknowingly bleed out. There are a variety of applications for this Rune, making it a valuable tool in the master’s arsenal.
Grasping Frailty: (Expert) Normally when a target activates a Runic Trap, the Umbral Rune will impact the nearest applicable body part. For example a Runic Trap bearing a Rune of Weakness will likely draw the strength out of the foot that first walks across the hidden Trap. (Runes that impact the Senses will only impede that sense since the Rune itself is keyed into the location of where that sense originates from)
Grasping Frailty is an ether intensive technique that applies the effect of the Runes written or chained into a trap to every body part of those that trigger the trap. It works similar to a contagion, spreading all of the Umbral Runes effects across every body part in an instant. If multiple targets trigger a Runic Trap cast with Grasping Frailty, each individual caught in the Trap will be affected by the spread of Umbral Runes. Using Grasping Frailty does tend to reduce the duration of Umbral Runes by no more than half, but they do retain their strength.
Rune of Fatigue (Expert): This Rune is often chained together with the Rune of Weakness as it will make the target body or body part become heavily exhausted and unable to easily recuperate from damage. While the Rune of Weakness draws out your strength, the rune of Fatigue saps away your energy along with the ability to endure pain. This is excellent for slowing down opponents and making them much easier to defeat.
Rune of Night - (Expert): A favorite of Umbral Runewrights, the Rune of Night will instantly blind any target afflicted by its power. The intensity of the blinding is dependent on the amount of ether invested in the Rune. There are cases of Umbral Runewrights who have used very weak Runes of Night to cause subtle blurriness of vision in their targets in order to simply fool their targets into misidentifying the Runewright without realizing that they have been affected by a Rune.
Dilation (Master): At mastery the Runewright becomes capable of tripling the size of their Runic Traps. Using Dilation only slightly increases the etheric cost of the Runic Trap making it preferable to simply placing several normal sized Traps. A fully dilated Trap is on average thirty feet in diameter. However a Revealed Runewright can push Dilation to fifty feet in diameter. This number of targets impacted is highly dependent on how well triggers are employed to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Rune of Silence (Master): Silence is a terrifying concept to mortals. It is the thing we sometimes fear the most, to be cut off from communication and from the world itself. This Rune can be deadly in combat as it will bring about full and total deafness for as long as the effect can be maintained. As a component in a Runic Trap the Rune of Silence excels at putting your target at a substantial disadvantage.
Rune of Slow (Master): As the opposite of the Core Rune of Speed, the Rune of Slow causes physical reaction time to drop to a crawl. This can leave limbs unable to function properly and blatantly cripple targets until the Rune wears off. This Rune is invaluable for escaping pursuers or slowing down a group of targets so they are forced to stumble into more Runic Traps.
Constancy: Once Revealed the Umbral Runewright gains the terrifying ability to render their Umbral Runes as permanent effects on the target. The raw power required by this ability essentially sears the Umbral Rune into the body, manifesting as etheric corruption , leaving a permanent and nearly irreversible effect.
Constancy can be used alongside Dilation and Grasping Frailty for a boosted effect when woven into a Runic Trap. However, it is an incredibly draining ability even for a Revealed Runewright. The more individuals this ability impacts, the more ether is required. This ability should not be used lightly.
With a single touch or activated Runic Trap, the revealed Umbral Runewright can leave an individual permanently handicapped for the rest of their lives. There are few individuals that can reverse such damage. There are indeed a rare number of highly skilled healers that can aid the victim in recovering from the damage. Although this always takes a great deal of time and energy. Immortal or spiritual aid has been known to grant reprieve from this terrible affliction, but it is always the Revealed Lucis Runewright that knows best how to cure the effects of Constancy.
The Paragon: When the Spark of a Lucis Runewright reveals it transforms the mage into an entity known as the Paragon. These mages are rarities but those that have existed are lauded in legends as saviors and healers of the people.
They appear as men and women whose skin is filled with a telltale inner light. Alien runes laced with a subtle luminescence drift across their bodies in an endless dance. The Paragon finds it difficult to hide themselves within towns and settlements due to their radiant nature. The eyes of the Paragon become a solid bright hue, often gold or silver and their pupils and irises vanish entirely.
Paragons find it difficult to engage in violence due to the nature of their Spark, they are instead drawn to others that they can empower with their abilities. Combat is hardly out of the question, but Paragons would rather use their power to enhance others. The Spark of this mage craves being around other mortals in the desire to inscribe power upon their bodies. Because of this, Paragons fight a constant battle of being shunned due to their constant need to use their magic on others, but celebrated for their potent abilities during times when they are most needed.
The mind of the Paragon retains the majority of the individual they were from before their transformation but they will consistently develop a need to strengthen those around them. In a way they are meddlers of the highest order, leaping into situations where their abilities can be of great need. There is also an almost foolish abandonment of fear that has historically led to the downfall of many Paragons before.
The Maledict: This Revelation is an entity to be feared. Capable of cursing others with permanent maladies such as blindness and deafness, the Maledict is considered a hateful creature that is the stuff of nightmares.
With porcelain white skin along with hair bleached of all color, this mage is not difficult to spot. Their bodies are always wildly marked with jagged Umbral Runes that have been twisted almost beyond recognition.
Unlike normal Umbral Runes, those marking the Maledict’s body shine brightly like streaks of lightning, declaring for all the world to see that their Spark has awoken. These jagged Runes sometimes will consume the extremities such as fingers, hands and feet. The limb will remain perfectly operational, but the flesh will have been replaced with the fiery Runes.
The mind of a Maledict has shifted from that which was once mortal. While some Umbral Runewright’s manage to retain a sense of empathy as they grow in power, it is here that the apathy of their Umbral Spark begins to inch into their minds. Emotions become dulled making it an easy thing to curse a child with a crippled leg, or deafen a musician with a passing touch. The Spark removes nearly all empathy, any left behind is only hard won by the mage if their will is strong. Even then only so much can be saved of who the Runewright once was. Memories are retained by the Runewright but at times they can feel distant, as if they are the memories of another person.
As with the Spark of any Hone mage, they are driven toward other mortals so that they may inflict their power upon them. Maledicts seek out others to hunt and prey upon, is it unusual for a solitary life to suit them.
Suggested Mutations & Witchmarks:
Witchmark : “Rune of Naming”: Upon initiation the newborn Runewright is anointed with a unique Rune upon their foreheads or chest that has been instilled with their name and identity. The initiating mage and student are able to touch each other’s Naming Rune in order to metaphysically ‘feel’ each other’s identities coursing through them.
This Rune is often a unique hue that is specific to the color of the Runes cast by the Runewright.
It is unsurprising that many of the mutations of the Lucis Spark include radiant runic markings that dot the body of the Runewright. Lucis Runes are often florid and brightly glowing, the Spark will desire to pass on these markings to the body of the mage for all to see.
Many mutations are centered on driving the Lucis Runewright to help others, sometimes to the point that it is a ceaseless drive. Mutations can force them to aid those in need or to protect the weak.
The Spark of the Umbral Runewright will constantly draw the body of the mage toward its final manifestation; the Maledict. Mutations often include a growing paleness of the hair along with the skin of the Runewright.
When it comes to the mind the Hone Spark will constantly seek to tear away at the Runewright’s sense of morality and empathy. Mutations are quite often mental as much as physical in this regard.
Umbral Runewright mutations will seek to drive them toward people with the need to inflict their Umbral Runes upon them. Many such Runewrights find themselves being employed as mercenaries and assassins since this work suits the drive of their Sparks so well.
The initiation of a Hone mage can be an exhausting process for the initiator and a deadly one for the initiate. It requires a great deal of ether, sometimes so much that it forces the initiating mage into overstepping. There is a rule that is known to almost every Runewright of Hone; that the mortal body can only tolerate the power of six Runes at a time before the raw etheric power will begin to scorch the body and soul to the point of death.
The Runewright performing the Initiation must place six Runes on the body of their student. These Runes can be Core Runes or Umbral/Lucis Runes. It is actually believed by many Hone mages that imbuing a hopeful mage with a few Lucis or Umbral Runes will incline the child Spark toward that particular Runic Dialect if the initiate survives.
A Note on Umbral Runewright Initiation:
When using Umbral Runes to initiate a potential mage, the process is slightly different than that of a Lucis Runewright. Lucis and Core Runes can only be placed on others by a Lucis Runewright so Umbral mages are forced to use their own Umbral Runes on their students. Instead of placing six Runes that overpower the body like Lucis initiators, Umbral mages will place dozens of Umbral Runes upon their initiates to force their bodies into a state of entropy. This initiation is painful in a far different way than those performed by Lucis Runewrights. The body is quickly sapped of nearly all strength, sensation, and perception of the world around it. This state of entropy stands a high chance of killing the initiate due to the harrowing forces placed on them. It is only just as their body begins to fail that the initiator anoints their initiate with the Rune of Naming. If they wait too long to place the Rune of Naming then the student will either die or go on to become a creature known as a Felwright. (Detailed below.)
Once six Runes have been placed the initiator must place a special Rune upon the forehead or chest of their initiate. The form of the Rune matters little as it will transform during the final moments of initiation if the student survives. This special marking will become the Rune of Naming that becomes the defining Witchmark of a Hone Mage. During this moment there is a connection forged between master and student that will allow the initiator to comprehend and understand their initiate’s identity. This information is this distilled by the teacher into a new and unique seventh Rune that anoints the initiate as a true Runewright. However it is the placing of this sacred seventh rune that the initiates body becomes overcharged with raw etheric power combined with the other six Runes.
The initiate must endure this flood of power and allow their body to accept the Rune of Naming. Most will die at this stage, but if the individual survives they can become one of two things. The first of course is that they can become a Runewright themselves as the Naming Rune and their newborn Hone Spark takes root within them. A rare few before something else, something that is no longer mortal but not a true mage.
This second rare group becomes a Felwright, a creature whose skin has been blackened by the remnants of the Runes placed upon them during initiation. Upon their head or chest always rests a fractured Rune of Naming that is split in two. This shattering of the Naming Rune is less symbolic than one might think. In the Rune being fractured, the identity of the initiate has been totally obliterated.
They retain no memories of their former selves and are virtually incapable of forming ties or relationships with other mortals. Felwrights are almost incapable of speech, they are lucky to form more than two or three words together at a time.
Their bodies are commonly twisted and charred by the power of the initiation, however they do bear within them a remnant of the Spark that their master attempted to impart to them. This allows the Felwright to cast Fractured Runes. These Runes always appear in a dim flickering light and no matter how well written, they will always appear to be hewn in two or three pieces when they manifest.
Fractured Runes are curious things, they wildly fluctuate in power and their effect is quite often the reverse of the Rune’s original function. (Felwrights can attempt to go down either a Lucis or Umbral path depending on the nature of their malformed Spark. Be warned that it is highly difficult for these creatures to retain the knowledge of Runes they learn due to their poor memory.)
Felwrights are driven into a mindless rush to reclaim the memories and identity lost to them. Wandering the world aimlessly, they will sometimes stumble into settlements only to be slain by fearful mortals who are startled by their horrific appearance. It is highly improbable for a Felwright to reclaim who they once were although it is not an impossibility if they are granted the aid of an Immortal, Spirit or powerful artifact.
Physical Effects: Light to severe nose bleeds are common with overstepping in Hone. As with most magic, mages can also experience dizziness, weakness along with a numbing of the extremities.
Burn Out: If a Runewright employs a Sense Rune for too long or in a repetitive nature during the span of a trial they can find that the sense in question can become dulled or totally lost for a time. This can last breaks or even trials at a time.
Collateral Damage: Even with the protection of Resistance, Hone mages are capable of injuring themselves through overstepping or overusing a Rune on a single body part. Muscles can be torn, ligaments shredded and bones shattered if the balance of the body is not kept in mind.
Physical Effects: If there is moderate overstepping then blood can begin to drip from the mouth, eyes and ears, especially if Sense Runes are being employed in copious amounts. Severe and highly painful muscle spasms can also affect the body and leave the mage helpless from anywhere from a few bits to several breaks.
Rewire: Similar to Burn Out, this overstepping consequence will cause senses to become swapped and muddled. These effects are similar to synesthesia and are commonly highly disorienting to the mage. For example, the Runewright could begin to see sound or taste colors. Normally this effect is jarring but it lasts no longer than a maximum of three trials.
Physical Effects: At heavy overstepping bones can be shattered, muscle shredded and ligaments torn in especially painful ways. Damage to the internal organs is also possible due to an excess amount of strain being placed upon the body. If the body has become far too damaged then death is highly possible.
Fragmented Runes: Each Rune holds a small amount of ether that is used when the Rune is activated. At high levels of overstepping this flow of ether becomes highly irregular and will cause Runes to Fragment even if written correctly. Similar to the Fractured Runes of a Felwright, Fragmented Runes will start giving a very weak or virtually no effect since the flow of ether within them has become so twisted and fragmented.
Searing Scriptures: In extreme cases Runes become corrosive, their inner ether warping to become deadly for the Runewright. Runes that are cast will not adhered to the surface they have been placed upon and will instead turn upon the mage themselves, attaching to the Runewright’s skin before beginning to corrode flesh and bone. Death is almost always the result of this severe overstepping consequence unless a highly skilled healer is nearby.
The damage wrought by this can leave smoking gouges in muscle tissue, burned out eyes and lips that have been seared shut by this terrifying bout with heavy overstepping.
There are a myriad of ways in which Wells can be employed with Hone. While Lucis Runewrights can typically only adhere Runes to themselves or other living flesh, they can place Runes within Wells or objects that are attached to the Well due to the Emean nature of Ether. This allows them the ability to craft weapons, armors or jewelry that is capable of holding a Rune of Chained Rune that can be used by instilling a Trigger upon the Well or object.
This opens many doors that would permit a Runewright to forge armor that grants its wearer increased attributes such as speed or strength. It also means that an Umbral Runewright could inscribe wells and attached objects with their own Umbral Runes. This allows for Wells to be weaponized and turned into objects that can place a pre-inscribed Runic Trap. Further, one could use a Well to craft inconspicuous jewelry that could blind or deafen the person it touches.
With so many options, the only limits are the mage’s imagination.
The Novice Runewright is just taking their first steps into the world of Hone. Fully understanding the nature of Runes is nearly beyond their grasp so learning and comprehending new Runes can be difficult for them. Their time is best spent studying the body and how individual body parts work in concert with each other. Teachers often spend a great deal of time lecturing their students on the inner balance of a living body and how Runes must be placed in a way that keeps that balance in mind. It is advised that the budding mage takes up a form of combat training or study in medicine to aid them in this understanding.
Casting Runes for a Novice is a process that takes a great deal of focus and time. Time is spent learning to write the initial Core Runes before attempting to infuse them with ether and bonding them with living flesh. Rune casting will take at least three bits in order to create a viable Rune. Novice Runes are capable of doubling the strength of a sense or physical ability when created correctly. Runes can last for a total duration of ten bits.
At Novice the mage has access to the Core Runes of Strength and Touch. They are also capable of creating Touch based triggers along with employing Dismissal to reclaim ether that has been invested in their Runes.
Competency represents a time of great importance in the growth of the Runewright. It is here that their Spark begins to drift toward a particular Runic Dialect, allowing them to specialize in either Umbral or Lucis Runes. There is no avoiding this process as it is the nature of the Hone Spark to begin this transition.
Now that the mage has begun to gain a functional understanding of the body they are capable of more easily creating Runes. Runes can now be written within only a single bit. It is still not advisable to try and write Runes while in combat, it is more feasible to prepare them prior to a confrontation and intertwining them with a trigger. Chaining Runes also becomes possible with a total of two Runes.
The Competent Runewright also gains access to several new abilities and techniques that will prepare them for attaining greater levels of power. The Core Runes of Endurance and Savoring become available to learn. For Lucis Runewrights, they gain access to the Rune of Regeneration along with the Rune of Resistance. Umbral Runewrights can now learn the Runes of Weakness and Fatigue.
Competent Hone Mages are capable of tripling the power of physical attributes and senses. Umbral Runes can reduce the power of such attributes by the same amount if fully powered. Runes can last for a total duration of roughly one break. Diffuse is also now available.
It is at expertise that the Runewright truly begins to get a real taste of their power. They are capable of increasing or decreasing physical and sensory attributes by six times over. These mages are capable of terrifying physical feats that would be deemed as superhuman to the untrained eye. Their Runes can also be maintained for a maximum of six breaks. Chained Runes can now also contain a total of three Runes.
Mental triggers are now capable of being understood and learned by the mage. Additionally, the Core Runes of Sight and Sound are now capable of being learned. For Lucis Runewrights they gain the startling ability to use Overload, which overcharges a Core Rune, granting an offensive ability which employs Core Runes as weapons. They also gain access to the Lucis Runes of Ethersight and Focus. The Rune of Ethersight allows for the Lucis mage to physically be able to see ether and ether usage within the visual spectrum. The Rune of Focus improves reaction time, making it much easier to employ Runes such as that of Speed and Strength without overwhelming the mind.
Umbral Runewrights gain access to a powerful ability known as Grasping Frailty which can be woven into Runic Traps similar to a Trigger. These mages also become capable of learning the Rune of Night and the Rune of Fatigue.
The Runewright’s mastery of writing Runes has now allows them to begin casting them with only a few strokes of the finger or writing instrument. They are beginning to understand that crafting Runes is less about physical writing and more about understanding the nature of the Runes on a mental and philosophical level.
Upon attaining mastery the Runewright has attained a full and total understanding of the discipline. Runes come to the mage easily and can be applied with a single gesture. Their minds are so familiar with the form and shape of their Runes that they simply flow into being from a single touch. Further, Runes can be cast within a trill or two and they can grant ten times the enhancement or detriment to physical and sensory attributes depending on their Dialect.
They can magnify their vision to sight insects crawling within a distant clump of brush and even run at speeds that can cause their image to blur at a distance. Umbral Runes are debilitating, resulting in total blindness, deafness, and weakness of the muscles that can instantly cripple a perfectly healthy adult. Their Runes can last a maximum of a three trials at full power due to their ability to cleverly utilize ether.
The final Core Rune of Speed is finally available to the mage along with several new Lucis and Umbral Runes and techniques. The Lucis Runewright gains access to the fantastic ability known as The Lucis Bond. These mages also gain the ability to utilize the Lucis Runes of Prediction and Rebound.
The Runic Traps of the Umbral Runeright is granted the capability to utilize Dilation which can increase the size of the Trap to a maximum of thirty feet wide. The Umbral Runes of Silence and Slow are also added to their selection of available Runes.
When the Hone Spark awakens for that final time it transforms the mage based on their Runic Dialect. Lucis Runewrights become Paragons and Umbral Runewrights become Maledicts. These entities are incredibly powerful and gain a very meaningful boost in their abilities once Revealed.
Revealed Runewrights can now enhance their physical and sensory attributes by fifteen times. Their Runes can last a maximum of five trials and these creatures are capable of casting Runes with only their mere thoughts so long as they are within roughly fifteen feet of their target. Paragons tends to rely on gestures to cast since they often retain more of their original minds and behaviors compared to the terrifying Maledict.
Both Revealed mages gain a new unique ability. Paragons unlock the ability to utilize Renewal which restores balance to the body. This ability is capable of healing grievous fleshwounds and damage done to a body that has infringed upon any of their physical or sensory attributes. This technique can also be combined with the Lucis Bond in order to impact more people.
Maledicts are granted the ability to render their Umbral Runes a permanent affliction upon their target. Constancy is a technique that is spoken of in the darkest corners of the world. Capable of such travestes such as permanently blinding a child with the barest touch or crippling a soldier with a mere thought.