A Fighter Archetype for Dark Earth
many symbols of might and power,
by the great Singer painted, by the high Powers fashioned,
graved by the Utterer of gods.
For gods graved Odin, for elves graved Daïn,
Dvalin the Dallier for dwarfs,
All-wise for Jötuns, and I, of myself,
graved some for the sons of men.
Dost know how to write, dost know how to read,
dost know how to paint, dost know how to prove,
dost know how to ask, dost know how to offer,
dost know how to send, dost know how to spend?
—Poetic Edda (Hávamál), Codex Regius, ~9th-13th c.
Odin, the Allfather, hung himself from Yggdrasil the World Tree for nine whole days and nights, stabbed with a spear, sacrificed himself to himself, peered into the depths and brought back the secrets of the Runes, and to those he favors and who seek that knowledge from him, some he blesses with the knowledge of how to use them. These runecasters blend the knowledge of their mighty Norse warrior forebears with the mystic wisdom of the God of Runes, calling forth mystic power to aid them in times of travel and strife. As the Eldritch Knight brings a blend of arcane magic to the fighter, the Runecaster blends divine wisdom with the Norse warrior’s martial prowess. All Runecasters have Odin as their patron deity.
When you reach 3rd level, you augment your martial prowess with the ability to etch runes. See below for the general rules of runecasting and the Runecaster Runes section for a list of runes.
Runes: You learn three runes from the list of runecaster runes, and gain more runes as you advance The Runecaster table shows how many runes of each type you may empower per day. You may not learn a rune of a higher type than you can cast.
Runes and Spells
Runes function in a similar way to the Glyph of Warding spell.
When you create a rune, you expend a runecaster slot of the appropriate level and inscribe or etch it upon a surface, a creature or an object, then empower it with magic. As such, all runes require a material component which may not be replaced with a spell component pouch. Runes which duplicate spells with an expensive material component require inks and materials with an equivalent cost to create. Some runes must be inscribed on specific things indicated in their descriptions. All runes are “cast” when they are empowered. It takes ten minutes to carve and empower each rune unless the rune specifies otherwise. As such, spells, powers, feats, and abilities that rely on casting a spell or the “cast a spell” action (such as Counterspell, Spell Sniper, Warcaster, etcetera), only function during that ten minute period. The rune has no immediate effect when created, and you do not recover your runecaster slot until the rune is activated.
You decide what activates the rune’s effects when you carve the rune. Each rune requires a different amount of time to activate (with no specific type such as “use an object” or “cast a spell”), specified by the rune being used. You can further refine the activation trigger so the rune activates only under certain circumstances or according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight), creature kind (for example, the rune could be set to affect aberrations or drow), or alignment, depending on the rune. Some runes can only be triggered by the runecaster, and this is indicated in their description, while some may be given to others who can activate them. In such cases, that person is considered the caster for the purposes of the rune’s effects and concentration checks; however, spell saves and DCs are based on the runecaster’s statistics.
In all other ways, runes function as spells--they may be dispelled, they cannot be cast in anti-magic fields, magic resistance applies to saving throws against their effects, and other spellcasting rules apply.
Wisdom is the ability used for effects generated by runes. You use your Wisdom whenever a rune refers to your runecasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a rune you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Rune save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier.
Rune attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier.
At 3rd level, you become proficient in Persuasion and Performance. The type of performance involved is storytelling, and you use your Wisdom modifier for skill checks using these skills. You also gain proficiency with runecarver’s tools.
3rd: Runic Weapon
You have consecrated your weapon to Odin, the All-father, imbuing it with the following two special properties.
Gallows Mark – As a bonus action, you may curse your enemies as foes of the All-father and channel his power into your weapon. Strikes by the weapon deal an additional 1d6 magical bludgeoning damage as phantom ropes lash and bind the target. A creature hit by the weapon one or more times in a round must make a saving throw at your Runecasting DC or be staggered and suffer disadvantage on their next attack. This power lasts for one minute, after it ends, you cannot do it again until you complete a short or long rest.
Wrath of Odin – As an action, you may make a ranged spell attack with the weapon, targeting an enemy within 90 ft. of you that you can see. If you hit, phantom ravens assault the target with blinding strikes inflicting 2d6 magical slashing damage (3d6 at 11th, 4d6 at 17th) and the target is staggered, suffering disadvantage on their next attack.
7th: Herjafodr, Father of Hosts
At 7th level, you gain the ability to call upon Odin’s animal companions for assistance in the form of their spiritual avatars. Once per long rest, you may call upon either Hugin and Munin or Freki and Geri.
Hugin and Munin: Two invisible spirit ravens appear on your shoulders, becoming visible only at your command, and remain there until your next long rest. While at least one of them is with you, you have advantage on any Arcana or Nature checks you must make as they assist you with whispers of Odin’s knowledge. You may send a raven to carry a message as the Sending spell, but if you do so, it disappears once it returns with your reply (if there is any).
Freki and Geri: Two invisible spirit wolves appear to either side of you, becoming visible only at your command, and travel with you until your next long rest. While at least one of them is at your side, you have advantage on any Perception or Survival checks you must make as they assist you in your travels. As a reaction on your turn, you may make one of the wolves materialize for a round in combat adjacent to an enemy within 60 feet of you. When it does, you receive advantage on attacks made against a single opponent for that round, and the first time you hit that opponent in that round, they must make a Strength saving throw against a DC of 8+your proficiency bonus+your strength modifier or be knocked prone. At the end of the round,, the wolf disappears.
Starting at 10th level, Odin grants you the ability to summon a valkyrie to your side to aid you in your battles. Once per short rest, as a bonus action, you let out a cry to Odin and a winged valkyrie spirit arrives from Valhalla to fight with you for one minute or until the end of a battle. The intangible valkyrie spirit hovers above you, providing you with a +1 bonus to your armor class and advantage on Constitution saving throws that you make to maintain your concentration on a spell when you take damage. Should you or an ally fall to zero hit points during the battle, the Valkyrie ceases providing you these benefits and fly to their side, providing them with advantage on their death saving throws. If you or a dying ally succeeds at a death saving throw made while being aided in this manner, they become conscious with 1 hit point (as if they had succeeded by rolling a 20) and the Valkyrie will return to your side, resuming the benefits you normally receive from this ability.
15th: Hoȃrr, One-Eyed
You prove your devotion to the Allfather by taking out your eye and replacing it with an eye made of glass, a rune etched where the false pupil would be. In a lengthy and painful ritual of sacrifice, you empower this eye with runic energy.
* Grants Devil’s Sight (as warlock) out to 120’.
* You can read all languages.
* Once per long rest, as an action, you gain Truesight out to 90’. This lasts for ten minutes.
* You have advantage on both rolls to detect as well as saving throws against the spells Illusory Script, Glyph of Warding, Magic Circle, Symbol, Forbiddance, and any other spells or traps that rely on runes, writing, glyphs or other magical symbols.
You have unraveled the mysteries of one of Odin’s most mysterious runes, and it has granted you a measure of the powers of the Æsir, the Elves, and Odin himself. You carve a rune somewhere on your own body. Once per day, you can empower that rune as a bonus action. For a minute after you activate that rune, you gain:
* Power of the Æsir: Your movement speed is doubled, and you gain a +2 to weapon damage.
* Triumph to the Elves: You become fairer than the sun to look at; enemies suffer disadvantage on melee attacks against you.
* Understanding of Odin: You gain immunity to charm and fear effects.