Is there an existing class or subclass for rune casting in Pathfinder 2e?

I would like to have a character that is a sorcerer gaining his abilities from an unknown source. One of the abilities he has discovered is the ability to use his hands to put runes of power into objects.

In his story he uses these runes to give objects bonuses like putting a rune of calm on a cradle he made for a baby or similar boosts that everyday people would find beneficial to have.

In the campaign I would like to still have him take time out of the day to put runes on to objects for people (cause he didn't stop being an artisan) but in addition to that he might pick up a sword and put a rune of power on it or put a rune of accuracy on his arrows.

The only thing I have found similar to what I would like to do is a rune casting class for D&D 3.5e faerun/forgotten realms. This is more of a full class than a subclass like I would like to use, but I am curious if there is anything out there that already exists for Pathfinder 2e that is similar to what I am looking for?

  • 1
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    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


There are no class options that presently do what you describe. There are a couple of archetypes worth mentioning, but I think the best option is to work with your GM to reflavor an existing set of class features.

Crystal Keeper Archetype

Although no class options readily meet your needs, perhaps the Crystal Keeper archetype from the Age of Ashes adventures will help. They have a series of feats which provide rune-related abilities that seem to match the mechanics and flavor you are looking for, but they don't really start until level 6.

Prior to level 6, you can continue on in your class and select thematically appropriate options.

Honorable Mention: Runescarred Archetype

The Runescarred archetype (from Lost Omens World Guide) absolutely does not do what you describe. I think it deserves a mention for being an example of an archetype that is explicitly focused on runes. Runescarred gives you magical runes on your body which allow you to cast spells.

Why let that stop you?

Why let the existing rules hold you back? It seems like you could easily take an existing class and change the description of their abilities to create a great rune-based class.

For example (and purely as illustration), consider the Alchemist. Alchemists typically use their daily preperations to prepare reagents and alchemical items; you could easily reflavor that to be time spent preparing runes. The majority of alchemical items can be reflavored to be temporary runes of some kind (though you may need to restrict your choices to thematically appropriate ones). They also emphasize the Crafting skill, which will be necessary to actually work with runes.

Of course, you would need to work with your GM to keep this up - many of their feats are explicit about working with alchemy, and it may not always be clear how calling them "runes" would work. None of this should be construed to alter how the Pathfinder 2e runes for equipment work.

The same approach could be used for a sorceror, wizard, cleric, bard, and probably a large array of other classes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would add Talisman Dabler to this list of archetypes. 2e.aonprd.com/Archetypes.aspx?ID=79 Not specifically runes, but they do give items magical properties per day. If one-shot bonuses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Isaac
    Commented Oct 6, 2020 at 13:42

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