What is a Rune?
A Rune is a 2D representation of Magic. This means that it can be inscribed on any planar surface that can carry a distinguishable image of the rune. Runic magic is the most readily accessible and versatile sort of magic in the realm, enabling complicated magitech like encrypted locks, weapon enchantments, binding legal contracts that can physically hurt the ensigned if broken, etc.
Constructing a Rune
Runes are a pasiographic language with only 9 basic symbols. These are of course based on the 9 Domains of Magic in LORAC, and each is represented in the components that make a rune. There are 3 Draws and 6 Joinders (2 Celestial, 4 Elemental) that can make up a rune, each representing a domain of magic, pictured below.
Together, these make up every possible rune. All together, they make a potent and unique rune, the Rune of the World, that stores pure magical energy, enhancing the power of other runes.
There are only a few simple rules for constructing a rune. First, there can be no 'floating' joinders not connected to a main draw, or another joinder. Second, runes follow a grid; runes that are meant to function in combination must align to the same grid, or else simply fail to execute, or may function separately.
The importance of the grid is due to the emergence of 'subrunes.' When two or more runes are placed adjacent to one another on the same grid, additional runes can be constructed. These subrunes are extremely important to the holistic function of multirune inscriptions. The difference between proper kypellation and an explosion of molten metal can as simple as the adjacency between runes and what subrunes emerge.
Runes generally follow the direction of the main draws and are built up from there. However, there is no chirality to runes (except in rare cases involving Sea magic). This can be demonstrated by merely imaginging a mirrored rune, or another way to view it is left and right-handed RSL.
An advanced technique that relies on the parity of runes is the manipulation of perception on a rune; when seen from one perspective, it produces one magical effect, and from a different (usually inverted) perspective, the rune produces a different effect. This has been utilized in combat for offensive and defensive effects that can differently manifest. This includes the fabrication of cognitohazardous runes, which by their very understanding cause a magical effect on the viewer, usually harm.
Powering a Rune
Runes can be powered in two ways: Actively and Passively. How a rune is powered correlates directly to the scale, scope, and duration of the magical effect of the rune. Passive rune activiation occurs through the ambient mana emanated by the Veil. The main limitation of passive rune activation is the strength of the Veil itself, which is sometimes too weak to perform any noticable function whatsoever. There are areas where the Veil is stronger and weaker, and as a result the effects of runes may be stronger or weaker depending on geographic location, however the variation is usually small.
Actively power a rune requires a user to emanate an amount of their Soul into the rune, most commonly executed as an enchantment. Best practices for rune activation vary amongstrunecrafters, but a common method is with a 'magical ballast.' The holistic rune is crafted such that its power threshold is above that of the Veil's capacity (approximately 3½ Pnemes) or its energy is diverted away from the main rune's circuitry, and a Rune of the World is utilized by the user to execute the rune's function at the user's demand.
Active and Passive methods of power runes can be used in conjunction to great effect. The prime example of this is the The Mechanical Capital, where the most talented runecrafters have spent generations developing the vast network of automated public transportation, manufacturing, and logistics. However, it should be noted that multiple dimensions of magic have been used in the capital to make it function.
Examples of Runic Magic
Runic Sign Language (RSL)
In RSL, each finger is associated with an Elemental Joinder, and the thumb's position determines the Celestial joinder. A limitation to these runic gestures is that there isn't a way to lack Celestial magic. This is not generally an issue for most simple gestures.
The Main Draws are assumed in the creation of the gesture as follows: The Spirit Draw is in the act of making the sign, and the Shadow Draw by ceasing it. The Smoke draw is in the act of transitioning from one sign to another or movement of the hand as direction.
Powering a Gesture
As a form of 1.5D magic, RSL generally relies on the mage as a power source, by the Soul generated from within a Pnumanine's bones, or from a 2.5D amplification of ambient magic via a stance or haka. RSL is a step above in difficulty due to limitations for translating runes to signs, but makes for incredibly potent battlemages and court wizards. More often, common folk will get certain runes inscribed onto objects, or even scarified onto their bodies, for regular use or easy access.