Quite simply (and similarly to my other questions about previous versions of this feat 1 and 2) I want to know if this feat is balanced and if not then what should be done to improve it? Since the last iteration I have changed the wording as per David Coffron's answer, increased the time and monetary cost as well as added in the action requirement to activate the rune as per Ruse's answer and increased the costs as per linksassin's answer

Rune Caster

Prerequisites: ability to cast at least one spell of 1st level or higher

When you take this feat you can imbue your spells of 1st level or higher into a rune by casting the spell as a rune, this means that you must have the object you want to put the rune on within reach for the entire duration of the casting as well as any tools required to make the rune.

When casting a rune you add the time listed in the cost time table to the casting time and the cost listed in the cost time table to the components of the spell in accordance with the stored spell.

\begin{array}{|l|l|l|} \hline \text{Spell level} & \text{Time (hrs)} & \text{Cost (GP)}\\ \hline 1 & 1 & 50 \\ \hline 2 & 2 & 100\\ \hline 3 & 4 & 500\\ \hline 4 & 6 & 1,000\\ \hline 5 & 8 & 5,000\\ \hline 6 & 12 & 10,000\\ \hline 7 & 16 & 50,000\\ \hline 8 & 18 & 100,000\\ \hline 9 & 24 & 500,000\\ \hline \end{array}

When making a rune you choose a trigger which is touch and/or command word and can be specified to only a group of people/creatures or a body part. When defining creatures that can activate the rune you may be as specific or general as you want. The DM interprets the designated creatures as your character would have interpreted them when you made the rune.

When you store a spell in a rune some of the ranges are altered, a range of touch becomes a range of self, a range and target keeps the same range and the person who activates the rune designates the target and range with an aoe sets the origin to the center of the rune, lastly a range of self stays the same.

When a rune is activated the spell is released acting as if it had just been cast without requiring any components or concentration. The rune then disappears leaving no trace of its presence. To activate a rune you must complete the trigger, this means speaking any command words and physically touching the rune each if applicable, this requires the activator to use the object interaction action while within reach for touch runes and while within 60 ft for command words. If both triggers are used then they must both be fulfilled within the same turn.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ With so many quick successive revisions, maybe this is better brought to a chat or a forum... \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Oct 23, 2018 at 9:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would making a rune expend a spell slot? \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Oct 23, 2018 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega it is assumed that it is being cast as normal appart from the changes and nowhere does it say it doesn't require a spell slot. \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Oct 23, 2018 at 9:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o though I wouldn't mind putting it in a chat forum, that wouldn't make going through the process of asking the questions obsolete. not everyone has access to or looks at the chat rooms and a chat room doesn't encourage complete answers as much. Quick successive revisions isnt a bad thing it just means that there was something really wrong which lots of people could see. a new question is required for every revision and those revisions happening quickly shouldnt be a problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Oct 23, 2018 at 9:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rpgstar no worries. There's a meta post you can read through if you like that has some info - most notably arrays and links to other, more in-depth explanations - about that sort of thing if you wish to learn and use as a reference later. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2018 at 10:40

3 Answers 3


There are a few issues here.

This feat allows you to produce scroll-equivalents that anyone can use, without failure chance, without concentration, as an object interaction action (or twice per turn, if they're also willing to use their normal action). This has... a number of implications.

  • If your caster has access to cure light wounds, then they can set their allies up with 1d8+statmod heals that can be triggered almost for free every turn of battle.
  • By turning the "object interaction" action into a "cast damaging spell" interaction, you significantly increase potential burst damage output.
  • If your caster has a familiar, that familiar can be loaded up with a series of runes, and use their own actions to fire off damaging (or otherwise useful) spells, thus increasing damage output further.
  • Spells that are explicitly Self-targeted spells, and are thus generally limited to use only by those who have developed the appropriate level of casting ability, can now be applied to all party members. In particular, there are low-level spells that have permanent effects once cast (Find Familiar, Find Steed) that are normally only available to casters.
  • Certain spells are limited to one caster type and are somewhat akin to class features (Hunter's Mark/Hex, Find Steed). Making them readily available to other classes could be somewhat unbalancing. This is limited somewhat by requiring that the party contain a member of the class who takes this feat, but it's still a concern.

Additionally, there are some points of confusion.

  • "without requiring concentration" might mean "casts as if concentration was dropped immediately" or "casts as if concentration was sustained indefinitely". If the former, certain spells become useless, but that's okay. If the latter, then many spells become much more powerful or abusable. Just the ability to maintain multiple concentration effects at once is a major upgrade, on top of the fact that that concentration can no longer be disrupted.
  • There are certain spells that have distant targets but that specifically reference effects on the caster. It's not clear by this who the caster would be counted as.

The real issue, though, is the obvious limiting factor of time and cash. It makes the feat very campaign-dependent. In a campaign where downtime and cash are readily available, the feat quickly becomes overpowered by letting every member of the party leverage object interaction actions to cast essentially unlimited numbers of free first-level spells. In a campaign where downtime and/or free cash are starkly limited, the feat could be near-useless. Feats are not in general downtime-dependent, and there's a reason for that.


This seems balanced enough for play-testing

With the revisions you have made this is still a powerful feat, but not so powerful to be game-breaking unless the player goes out of their way to make it so. It is likely that once you have this feat you would not use scrolls any more, but that's fine since feats should be a benefit.

From a pure rules perspective I believe we have given you as much advice as is practical at this stage. Now it's up to you or maybe some other adventurous users on this site. Take this version of the feat and playtest it. Remember to test at multiple levels to ensure it isn't overpowered at low them and also doesn't break with higher level spells available.

Good luck! I'll look forward to when you report back with your results.


Mostly Balanced, but beware low level stacking

Action economy is maintained in 5th edition through three main mechanisms: having one Action/Bonus Action/Reaction per turn, Concentration, and a restriction to cantrips if you cast a use a Bonus Action spell. This Feat side-steps all three of these mechanics. But it does so in a similar way to an existing spell and magic item: Glyph of Warding, and Ring of Spell Storing.

For many spells, particularly higher level ones, this Feat will be strictly more expensive than Glyph of Warding, costing more money and time to prepare for any spell of 3rd level or higher. It has several advantages over Glyph of Warding (it can be moved, and can target more than one creature with an effect without using an AOE, and it can target creatures other than those who activated it), but anything costing a Feat should a notable upgrade to regular mechanics. As far as a Ring of Spell Storing goes, the major advantage this mechanic has is that the cast spells do not require concentration and do not take actions/bonus actions/reactions to cast.

For most spells 3rd level or higher, I'd consider this Feat quite balanced. Especially when you consider that many feats give the ability to make attacks on Bonus Actions, giving a notable boost in damage output at lower levels. But I do have a couple of concerns.

1. Can this rune be dispelled/detected?

Glyph of warding is a spell, and as such can be undone by Dispel Magic before it is activated, and . It also can be detected visually (though this is difficult in most cases). It's unclear from your description whether your runes could be dispelled or even detected mundanely. It's also unclear, based on your written description, whether or not the rune would be noticable via Detect Magic, since the rune is not described as magical (you say you "cast the spell as a rune," but it's not clear if the rune itself is the result of a spell). Some clarifying language on detecting/dispelling the rune would be helpful.

2. Beware of lower level spells stacking for higher level players

There are some lower level spells which remain relevant throughout the game. Hex, Bless, and Hunter's Mark are examples of such spells.

For the cost of 50 gold (the cost of a Draft Horse), a muticlassed Vengeance Paladin/Warlock could have both Hex and Hunter's Mark active at the same time, for a notable increase in single target damage, especially at higher levels when they have multiple attacks. It also enables a character to boost an entire party with their buffs without multiclassing (for example, a single warlock could give their entire party Hex for an hour at the cost of 100 gold).

This could be particularly problematic if it introduces spell/class combinations which were intended to be difficult to combine. As an example, there are very few Monk/Warlocks, because a need for a high Dexterity, Wisdom, and Charisma is prohibitive. And even if that multiclassed character were created, Monks are prone to taking damage in combat and might lose concentration on a Hex spell. But this Feat would permit a Warlock to give a Monk the ability to cast Hex, gaining an extra 1d6 damage on all of their attacks against a single target (often 4 per turn) which cannot be undone via Concentration, and does not even take a bonus action to activate.

Feats are usually very powerful: a character with a Feat allowing them to do something is usually objectively better at that thing than a character without the Feat. So these warnings do not necessarily mean your Feat is inappropriate. But most Feats give a significant boost in offense to only one player at a time, and/or have a ceiling on the amount of a boost they could deliver. This Feat has no ceiling on the number of spells you could stack at any given time, and it could give boosts to every player in the party at once which are usually class-defining boosts relegated to one character. You'd have to playtest to see if any of these issues become game breaking, but I've been thinking about this Feat for half an hour and thought up several powerful applications.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There are a few big differences between this and Glyph of Warding. In particular, Glyph of Warding is only harmful spells, and they always target whoever triggered the spell. As glyphs of warding are either immobile or written into things that can be opened, it is difficult to get your opponents to consistently trigger them in battle. Rune Caster as written allows nonharmful spells an allows whoever triggered the spell to act as caster, which both solves the triggering issue entirely and opens up a lot of other options. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Oct 29, 2018 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden An Errata has clarified that the spell need not be harmful. On the rest of the terms I agree: but again, a Feat should be better than an established feature in most ways (or why not just get that feature instead?) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29, 2018 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. Useful information. "tiny boxes fully of glyphed heal spells" become potentially interesting as a way of bringing resources along to the dungeon. Glyphs still can't be used for targeted attacks, though, they can't be used for abusing Self spells (or other spells where the identity of the caster matters), and getting spells that aren't Wizard/Bard/Cleric spells is nontrivial. One of the issues I have with this feat is that I'm not sure it's possible to make it both non-gamebreaking and worth taking as a feat, without careful DM management of available resources (like time/money). \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Oct 29, 2018 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden You can't move a glyphed box from the place you cast the glyph. See the same errata : "If the surface or object is moved more than 10 feet from where you cast this spell, the glyph is broken, and the spell ends without being triggered” \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29, 2018 at 20:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden I think that all the things you're bringing up are legitimate: most of them are also issues with the ring of spell storing, which is also a potentially problematic element in a campaign (and one I'd be unlikely to hand out as a DM). But that is an existing game mechanic (as is Glyph of Warding), so I mostly compared this feat to them. It sounds like other than that though, we agree on this Feat as problematic (e.g. stacking self spells). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29, 2018 at 20:45

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