Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Runeweaving

Yolgrin carefully etched runes into the blade of the stiletto he had forged. This steel interfused with reddish tainted bands had proven to be an excellent working material. The stiletto was only a prototype, but an important one.   Ever since he was at odds with his brother and in the process had lost access to his certificate of apprenticeship, no-one had wanted to hire him as a runesmith. He had been forced to live like a peasant and work as an ordinary smith, making nails and horseshoes. But he could do so much more.   Then—like a miracle—this steel had fallen into his hands. This was his chance to prove himself worthy again. His chance to show he was not a mere smith, but a legend maker!
 

Disambiguation

A runeweaver is anyone who professionally manufactures objects which permanently exhibit magical powers. The "weaving" in the name does not refer to weaving actual cloth, but to the manipulation of the arcane fabric required to perform magic. As such, a runeweaver can manufacture any kind of object, not only ones made of cloth. Most practitioners, therefore, prefer a more specific term for their work, such as "Runesmith" or "Runetailor".   The other aspect that deserves more attention here is the word "permanent": As anyone with theoretical knowledge of the arcane knows, any magical endeavour uses some amount of arcane energy which it then converts into whatever its effect is. Many master smiths or mages will sell objects which have been imbued with magical powers by loading arcane energy into the object. Even though that reserve might last a lifetime for the better examples of such items, it will eventually run out and the object needs to be recharged. Thus, such objects are not permanently magical and their creators are not runeweavers per se. A permanent item has a source of arcane energy embedded within itself and never runs out of energy.   Though similar in nature, the act of creating arcane foci does not fall into the category of runeweaveing because an arcane focus does only provide arcane energy for his bearer to use and not a specific power.

Career

Qualifications

Most of the prestige of runeweavers stems from the fact, that their profession requires such a high level of competence in such a broad area of skills.
  • Firstly, any runeweaver must be an excellent craftsman in their underlying craft. For example, a runesmith also needs all the skills a smith has.
  • Secondly, a runeweaver needs advanced knowledge of the arcane as well as practical knowledge of magic. He must be able to tell the magical aptitude of all materials he uses and how they affect the end product. Besides, he must, of course, be able to actually imbue the magic into his workpiece.
  • Thirdly, any runeweaver needs knowledge specific to his profession, such as the different kinds of arcane sources and how to handle them properly.
  • Lastly, most runeweavers require a sense of beauty and art, because the high prices of their products typically draw customers who value the extravagant.

Career Progression

A typical runeweaver starts out by learning his craft, for example, smithing. Most of them are masters of their craft, few are only journeymen, but these either excel at magic or were only denied the master title for political reasons.
Afterwards, he begins his magical apprenticeship and continues until he has at least the rank of a journeyman. Only after all of that is completed will a master runeweaver even consider someone as an apprentice. After the successful apprenticeship, the master will provide a certificate to his apprentice which formally states that he is able to work as a runeweaver.   This long learning period has two major consequences: For one, not many people complete it, making it a rare profession and increasing its prestige. Also, disproportionally many elves and dwarfs have this profession because they have a longer lifespan.

Payment & Reimbursement

Most runeweavers work on a commission basis, crafting a magical object specifically tailored to the needs and wishes of their customer. Fewer see themselves as artists and create whatever comes to mind, hoping to find a buyer later on.   Either way, prices are high. A master runeweavers will charge no fewer than 5 Goldtalers. An upper bound to the prices does not exist, any object can be made in an even more extravagant way. However, new customers might not always be available. Thus, the riches must be saved for worse times. Besides, runeweavers are hardly ever able to work alone. The arcane forces manipulated are simply too powerful for a single person to handle.

Other Benefits

Runeweavers typically work for the rich and mighty and thereby get to experience their lifestyle. They have connections to powerful people who just might do them a favour or another in hope of a future discount.

Perception

Social Status

Runeweaving is the most prestigious profession of all of Terenus. They are the creators of the magical artefacts future legends will tell about. They walk amongst lords and kings. Their works may turn the tide on wars or catastrophes and thus are likely to alter the course of history. The best of the best might even be referred t as legend makers.   Many dream of being a runeweaver, but only few see themselves as capable of becoming one. Even fewer actually are.

Demographics

Runeweavers are a very specific subgroup of magic-users. Seeing that only one in 2000 people is even able to use magic, the amount of runeweavers in the population is minuscule. There are a hundred normal magic-users for every runeweaver.
 

Within the runeweavers, there is a clear tendency towards dwarfs and elves. Their longer lifespan makes it easier to develop the necessary skills and train apprentices. Besides, elves often display a natural aptitude for magic and dwarfs are expert smiths and will take every chance to further the quality of their products.

Race Percentage
Dwarf 55%
Elf 35%
Human 9%
Orc 1%

Operations

Dangers & Hazards

Normal magic is already dangerous. Manipulating the arcane fabric to cast a simple spell already causes backlashes which can easily kill an unprepared amateur. The arcane power handled while runeweaving is incomparably higher and requires specially prepared rituals carried out in a most precise manner.   Additionally, handling sources of arcane power comes with its own set of dangers. Inherently magical materials such as Melite may spontaneously cause such backlashes by only touching them. A different method of obtaining a source is sealing a demon inside the object and harnessing its power. If such a creature escapes, not only the life of the runeweaver (or the object's user) is in danger. A potent example is the Darksteel Arbalest, which started leaking demonic influence decades after is creation, spreading corruption throughout the Hundred Years War. Should such an accident happen in the lifetime of a runeweaver, he would surely be held accountable. This is also the reason why no one would hire a runeweaver who cannot provide a certificate of apprenticeship.   A completely different kind of hazard comes into play in times of war. Specific knowledge of the enemy's magic weapons and the access to new such devices can be a crucial advantage. Therefore, runeweavers may be the target of military operations in wars they have no side in, other than having manufactured an object that ended up in the hands of one of the combatants. For this reason, many runeweavers work in remote and well-secured places or have secret hideouts.

Alternative Names
legend maker (used for the best of the best)
Type
Artisan
Demand
Luxury
Legality
Legal, but partly regulated
Famous in the Field

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
6 Jul, 2018 22:07

Wow! Given the amount of time it takes to become a master runeweaver and the inherent dangers, you must really want this profession in order to pursue it. Is there ever a time when someone is forced to undergo the training to become a runeweaver?

6 Jul, 2018 22:18

There are some families who are renowned for quality runesweaving for centuries. Such an example would be the Nakoval family (the family of Yolgrin, the character from the vignette). These families take pride in being runeweavers and won't allow their children to make a different career choice. Yolgrin has a brother who is currently on the run, because he does not want to, but we'll have to wait and see how his story plays out.

6 Jul, 2018 22:31

This is a really cool profession! Makes sense that long-lived people would be more common with how long it takes to become one. What sort of items can you make? As in, what sort of magical powers might a sword exhibit? Could you be a... a runechef, for example, and make magical food?

6 Jul, 2018 22:49

I've deliberately set no limit to what magic can do in my world. The limit is the imagination of the runeweaver or mage. It's just that some things are harder and thus more dangerous.   That said, embedding an arcane source directly into food is probably not the best of ideas... in the better case, it cannot be digested causing terrible stomach ache - in the worse case it can be digested, releasing the energy within and causing all kinds of diasters. But, it is possible (and I'm getting the feeling that "make it eat an arcane source" has been a popular method to kill dragons). Besides, there could definitely be a magical cooking pot which makes the food taste better and cleans itself.

6 Jul, 2018 23:41

That sounds cool! And maybe a fun way to assassinate someone via food.

6 Jul, 2018 22:57

Reading how difficult this profession is makes me want to achieve it! Are there any existing legendary items crafted with Runeweaving, or are there any famous (or infamous) Runeweaving masters? Great job on touching on the different aspects of this difficult practice!

6 Jul, 2018 23:07

Thanks for your feedback!   I haven't yet written an article about a runeweaving master but I most likely will once I find the time to work some more on the city of Bogholm. In terms of legendary items, I've already mentioned the Darksteel Arbalest which once belonged to king Kandur who united the dwarven clans of Heleg'Fotar. There is at least one other legendary item around, but I can't talk about it here because that would be spoilers for my players.

@ yeslittlehummingbird-deleted
Anna Elizabeth Boyett
9 Jul, 2018 07:30

Congrats on your feature in the Week 1 Roundup for Summercamp!

9 Jul, 2018 21:23

Thank you so much! I must say, I didn't expect this :)

@ yeslittlehummingbird-deleted
Anna Elizabeth Boyett
9 Jul, 2018 21:34

You absolutely deserve it ^_^