Saturday, 11 December 2010


Runes and Their Meanings

Each rune has its own sphere of influence that forms the basis of the magic that can be created with it. This relates to its literal name and the more esoteric connections to that rune.
For example, the first rune, of the first Aett (family) is Feoh, Cattle. This rune can obviously be used for any type of magic that relates directly to cattle, perhaps stopping the cattle of an enemy clan from stampeding while you steal them for instance. But Cattle also represent wealth in all its forms and the rune Feoh can be used in magic relating to wealth.
Each rune is read and used in the way depicted, but many can be used in reverse (upside down) some however can't because they are the same when reversed. They may however be used in opposition or in the opposite of their normal meaning.
Most times using a rune in reverse or opposition is simply a case of reversing its normal usage. For example, the rune Ur (Strength) can be reversed to cause weakness. However, many reversed runes, or runes in opposition, are not exactly the opposite of their normal meaning, but have subtle or even wildly different meanings when used this way.
The keywords listed for each rune gives you a few examples of what the rune relates to, and also what it relates to when reversed or used in opposition. These keywords are not exhaustive, neither are they limits of usage. They are in fact just the beginning, the most obvious spheres of influence, or relationships, and ways to use each rune.
First Aett 
f F – Feoh, Cattle
Relates to: Wealth, cattle, chattel, herds, property, winning land, possessions, luck, abundance, energy, protecting wealth.
Reversed: Greed, cowardice, stupidity, poverty, avarice, enmity over money.

u U –Ur Aurochs, Strength
Relates to: Strength, tenacity, potential, power, imposing your will on the world.
Reversed: weakness, brutality, cruel domination.

T TH – Thorn, Sharp
Relates to: Thorns, evil, gateways, giants, destruction, sharp attack, difficult powers to control once unleashed.
Reversed: Danger, defencelessness, betrayal, lies.

o O – Os, Mouth
Relates to: Speech, magic, power, prophecy, gods, sounds, signals, revealing messages, insight, communication, divine oracle.
Reversed: Vanity, misunderstanding, manipulation, delusion.

r R-Rad, Road
Relates to: Travel, rewards, riding, spiritual journey, change, soul,
Reversed: Delay, crisis, setbacks.

c C – Ken, Torch
Relates to: Light, beacon, leadership, protection against burning, guiding light.
Reversed: Darkness, disease, breaking of fellowships, false hope.

g G – Gyfu, Gift
Relates to: Offering, sacrifice, generosity, food, balance.
In Opposition: Greed, dependence, over-sacrifice, crooked, bribes.

wW W –Wynn, Joy
Relates to: Glory, air, associated with wands, foresight, wisdom, making magic, temporary happiness.
Reversed: Delirium, possession, berserker fury.

Second Aett 
h H – Hagl, Hail
Relates to: Adverse weather, snow, sleet, hail, disruption, uncontrolled forces, trial.
In opposition: Stagnation, loss of power, a calm worse than the storm, inactivity.

n N – Nyd, Need
Relates to: Hardship, want, lack, famine.
Reversed: Surviving or overcoming need.

i I – IS, Ice
Relates to: Ice, cold, extreme cold.
In opposition: Plots, deceit, blindness, pride.

j J – Ger, Spear
Relates to: Victory in battle, breaking through, careful planning, plenty (as in harvest)
In Opposition: Sudden setbacks, reversals, bad timing.

I Eo – Eoh, Yew
Relates to: Death, the underworld, the dead.
Reversed: Confusion, weakness, destruction.

p P – Peorth, Hearth
Relates to: Hospitality, laughter, entertainment, the braking or making of bonds (physical and metaphysical), also refers to the home and female mysteries.
Reversed: Addiction, stagnation, loneliness, malaise.
x X – Eolh, Elk
Relates to: Protection, wards against spells and evil, guardian.
Reversed: Taboo, warning.

s S – Sigel, Sun
Relates to: The sun, warmth, good fortune, sunlight, sky, victory.
In opposition: False council, wrath of gods.

Third Aett 
t T –Tir, Tiw (god of war)
Relates to: Warrior, courage, glory, order, law, honour, leadership, swords.
Reversed: blocked communication or energy, mental paralysis.

b B – Beorc, Birch
Relates to: Fertility, healing, magic, love, earth, growth.
Reversed: Family problems, infertility.

e E – Eh, Horse
Relates to: Horses, pride, adventure, increased speed, raw power
Reversed: Reckless, haste, restlessness, confinement.

m M – Monn, Man
Relates to: Humanity, friendship, the self, people, the body
Reversed: Cunning, craftiness, slyness.

l L – Lagu, Water
Relates to: The sea, lakes, rivers, dreams, fantasies.
Reversed: Madness, obsession.

N NG – Ing, Ing (Son of Woden)
Relates to: Kings, peace, plenty.
In opposition: Movement without change, labour, work.

d D –Deag, Day
Relates to: Reason, understanding, dispersing evil spirits, awakening.
In opposition: Completion, coming full circle, night, darkness, evil.

E OE – Ethel, Homeland
Relates to: Freedom, security, prosperity, stability, law, inherited property, spiritual heritage.
Reversed: Clannishness, lack of custom, prejudice.


  1. Can humans use runic magic or only dweorgas?

  2. As written it's just the Dweorgas. The Runes are tied to the dwarfs through some of the settings fluff.

    However, that's just how I do it. If you were running a human only campaign, or one particular player wanted to play a human wyrdwebba in the standard setting it'd be easy to do. Just take the physical elements from the human MU (HD, THB, ST, etc.) and the Runecasting specific stuff from the dwarf MU (Number of Runes, WIS bonus, etc.)

  3. Nice job on the very quick, useful & clean descriptions for each Rune. What about the Jotun/Ettins/Thurses? Do they get separate/different runes, or just different interpretations?

  4. Hullo, Netherworks. There are only six Eotenas left in Redwald, and only one of them uses magic (shape shifting mainly).Although some of the others have magic weapons, etc.

    I blogged about the Redwald giants awhile back . . .

    You could give the giants rune magic easily enough, though it might give your players a very tough challenge. The giants are already quite tough by the settings standards, which has a slightly lower power scale than whitebox S&W/OD&D, and rune magic is potentially one of the most powerful magics in the setting.