Runes and Spells (likely spoilers!)


[Since I can’t edit the posts here after someone has replied, I’ll most likely make this a post on the Steam community, so I can update it with findings, but for now, here’s what I have]


First, the runes.

These runes seem to have been selected from Unicode Runic, not matching any particular rune set we know of, whether Ultima, Elder Futhark, Younger Futhark (short or long twig), Anglo-Saxon, or Medieval.

I’ve listed these as the unicode character (ᛇ), the ASCII character that I use in my notes (Z) and which I suggest we use for discussion of spells, the name of the rune (Ehwaz) and if it’s called something else a slash and then the Unicode name (/Iwaz), then the meaning you get when you mouseover the rune in your rune bag (“World Tree”), then the meanings listed from the runebag (Earth, metal), then any description I’ve found on any wands or magic items in the game (“Targets Earth and Metal”).

Clockwise from the X cancel button at the top, they are:

Targeting runes (probably)
ᛏ T Tiwaz “The Hero” - law, leadership, purpose, guiding spirit, mind. “Targets Spirits”
ᛃ > Jera/Jeran “Harvest” - Wood, plantlife, fruitfulness. “Targets Plants and plant matter”
ᛇ Z Ehwaz/Iwaz “World Tree” - Earth, metal “Targets Earth and Metal”
ᚲ C Kenaz/Kauna “Torch” - Fiery power. Torch. “Targets Fire”
ᛚ l Laguz/Laukaz, “Sea” - Water.
ᚺ H Hagalaz/Haglaz, “Hail” - Weather/Air
ᛗ pq Mannaz “Mankind” - Fellow-beings, friends & enemies, the social order, self, people.
ᚠ F Fehu “Cattle” - Beasts “Targets Beasts”

Effect runes (probably)
ᚾ t Nauthiz/Naudiz “Need” - Restrictions, delays, bindings. Control.
ᚱ R Raido “Journey” - Discovery, seeking truth. Sense. “Demands Creation”
ᚦ D Thurisaz “Giant” - Destruction, ruin, naked violence. Weaken. “Demands destruction”
ᛖ M Ehwaz “Horse” - Movement, transportation, unbinding
ᚢ/Λ A Uruz “Ox” - Toughness, health, potency, more. “Demands Strengthening”
ᛉ Y Algiz “Elk” - Strength, Defense, Protect
ᛒ B Berkanan “Birch” - Growth, fertility, beginnings. Create. “Demands Creation”

I may have ᛇ S, ᛚ l, ᚺ H and ᚠ F in the wrong places, or may have misspelled them, as I have not found these runes yet, and have filled in their details as best I can.

I have found runes in the following locations:

[li]with the initial runebag in the trainer level (follow wall around to the left after entering the portal)[/li]
[li]for sale at the trader (buy them as soon as you see them, keep as much cash as possible),[/li]
[li]in chests,[/li]
[li]in loot drops from enemies,[/li]
[li]in destroyable items (I think).[/li]

However, I still haven’t found all runes. Perhaps they unlock with skills? I haven’t unlocked all skills yet either, despite completing the game.


The magic system

This seems pretty intelligible: that is, you can make predictions about what it’ll do if you put certain runes together, and it’ll do what you predicted.

Summoning spells

[li]ᛒ? aka ᛉᛒ? is level 1 and summons a thing[/li]
[li]ᛒᚱ? aka ᛉᛒᚱ? is level 1 and fires a missile that spawns the thing on impact (sometimes summons it by you, though)[/li]
[li]ᛒᛉ? is level 2 and creates a rune trap to summon the thing when walked into, showing the “ᛒ?” runes in a spinning ring.[/li]
[li]ᛒᚢ? aka ᛉᛒᚢ? is level 3, creating a tougher version of the thing.[/li]
[li]ᛒᚱᚢ? is level 3, firing a missile to spawn the tougher version of the thing.[/li]
[li]ᛒᛉᚢ? aka ᛒᚢᛉ? is level 4, a rune trap for the tougher version of the thing, though the trap still only shows the runes “ᛒ?”.[/li]
[li]ᚢᛒ? aka ᛉᚢᛒ? is level 5.[/li]
[li]ᛒᛒ? is level 5.[/li]
[li]ᚢᛒᛉ? aka ᚢᛉᛒ? is level 6.[/li]

(Afraid I can’t cast level 5 or 6 spells yet, not enough mana)

This works for the following targeting runes in place of the ‘?’ above (and likely also the other four targeting runes I’m missing):
ᛒᛏ - “Spiritcaller” - Friendly headless skeleton. With ᚢ, has a head.
ᛒᛃ - Wooden ball. With ᚢ, is a crate.
ᛒᚲ - “Flaming Orb” - Draggable floating ball of fire that won’t hurt you. Unsure effect of ᚢ.
ᛒᛗ - Friendly outcast, who teleports away. Unsure effect of ᚢ.

It does not work for the following effect rune spells:
ᛒᛒ - lvl 1 (Create creation: Creates random weapon/item)
ᛒᛉ - lvl 1 “Summon Shield” (Create defense: Floating semitransparent shield that you can position to block blows)
ᛒᚱ - lvl 2 (Create sense: summons a glowing wall? Walking into the wall makes it disappear.)


A medley of other spells

I haven’t done any significant analysis on these to see if there are any other patterns, and I imagine it’s not an exhaustive list of even the two-rune spells I could make.

The format here, as with the four above, is: the runes (ᛒᚲᛖ), along with any alternate orderings or castings I know of (ᛖᛒᚲ,ᛖᚲᛒ,ᚲᛖᛒ), a dash, the spell’s level, the spell’s official name in quotes if I know it (“Cloud Walk”), then in braces an approximate translation of the runes (Create fire transport) and what it seems to do (Creates cloud platforms at highest point of jump, so can jump upwards indefinitely).

The named ones

ᚢᚠ = 1 “Hidemender”
ᚢᛇ = 1 “Earthpatch”
ᚢᛗ = 1 “Heal person” (Heal mankind: Heals you slightly)
ᛖᛃ = 1 “Move Wood” (Cast once to pull wooden objects towards you; twice to repel them away)
ᚾᛏ = 1 “Root Spirit”
ᛖᛖᛖ = 2 “Teleport” (Move move move: Teleports you to a targeted patch of ground, pretty much anywhere you could hit with an arrow)
ᛖᚱ = 2 “Remote Sight” (Move sense: Flying camera view. Usually just gives the message “Something has obscured your magic eye. Press ‘jump’ to return to your body”)
ᛖᚾ = 3 “Gravitate” (Move bindings: wand says “Levitates and assembles objects into useful shapes that can be placed”.)
ᚾᛖ = 3 “Prolong”
ᛒᚲᛖ = 4 “Cloud Walk” (Create fire transport: Creates cloud platforms at highest point of jump, so can jump upwards indefinitely)
ᛖᚦᛗ = ? “Flutter” (Feather-fall, effectively)

The unidentified ones

ᚦᛒ - 1 (Harm creation? Targetable)
ᚢᛏ - 1 ?
ᛃᚢ - 1 (Reinforce wood? Targetable)
ᚲᚢ - 1 (Makes a fire cast much more light: maybe burns hotter too)
ᛖᛗ - 1 ?
ᛖᛏ - 1 (Move Hero, not targeted, makes view distort in then back out.)
ᛖᚲ - 1 ?
ᚦᛏ - 1 “Bewilderment”
ᛃᚦ - 1 (Damages a plant/wooden thing slightly)
ᛗᚦ - 1 (Harm self? Does not seem to hurt you)
ᚲᚦ - 1 (Create Harm? Targetable)
ᚾᛗ - 1 (Slow self?)
ᚾᚲ - 1 ?
ᚾᛃ - 1 (Bind wood: Holds a crate or wooden object in space)
ᚢᚦᛒ - 2 (Missile?)
ᛒᚦᛒ - 4 (Create damage creation: Looks like the black electric attack that Animuses cast at you. Targetable.)
ᚦᛒᛃ - 5 (Harm creation wood? Targetable)
ᛗᛒᛒ - 5 (Summon a friendly Saurian?)
ᛖᛒᚲ,ᛖᚲᛒ,ᚲᛖᛒ - 5 (same runes as cloudwalk, different level)
ᛒᛉᛖ - ?

#2 should now be essentially complete. We might be missing one letter, Wynn (ᚹ = W), and perhaps some compounds. Possibly Q and X but I suspect they will just be done using K or KW, and KS, rather than trying to come up with runes to fill those gaps.

As with the other pages I’ve written up, I’ve become more impressed as I’ve researched. Someone’s really put in the work in creating this runic alphabet and making it “correct”. Anyone who knows about real-life runes will have no problems reading these, and anyone who learns these runes will end up knowing more about real runes and their meanings.

I really love the Ultimas to bits, but their runic always annoyed the crap outta me, almost as much as their efforts to use “ye Olde Englishe speake”, it was just runes randomly selected because they looked cool, which did nothing but teach people (including me!) bad runic habits.

Well done, whoever was Runemaster for this game.


Also, there are only 13 runes in the game. There are 17 slots in the rune wheel, so you’re gonna have gaps. If this was driving you mad because you’re a completionist… you can stop worrying.

The runes that exist are now listed at the above link, but in short are:

  • ᛒ Rune
  • ᛖ Rune
  • ᚺ Rune
  • ᛃ Rune
  • ᚲ Rune
  • ᛗ Rune
  • ᚾ Rune
  • ᚱ Rune
  • ᛏ Rune
  • ᚦ Rune
  • ᚢ Rune
  • ᛇ Rune
  • ᛉ Rune


Ditto on the Futhark. I’ve spent almost fourteen years studying the world’s spiritual systems. It’s nice to see parallels in our games.


Thanks, though I took a lot of inspiration for it from the rune magic system in GURPS Magic (which, as far as I can track down, was added by Steffan O’Sullivan and Brett Slocum). Not all of the specific interpretations of what runes mean are the same, and I had to do a lot of codifying to adapt their improv role-playing approach to a computer-parsable language. But the core idea of putting together little wishes out of the traditional rune-casting interpretations of the futhark was something I learned from there.


Ah, yes. Of course. It only makes sense that it was you…