I've never seen anything in published material do so, which makes me think I'm wrong, but can I have a weapon that is simply a striking weapon? No +1 potency rune? Could I even go so far as to have a major striking Greataxe that lacks any other runes? (The answer presumably would apply to resilient armor runes as well, though I'd be interested if there's a divergence).

Inspired by this question - I almost instinctively corrected the questioner that a "+1 striking weapon is 100gp", but then realized that maybe they don't even need the +1 potency rune and therefore could get by with just the striking rune.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Funny, I almost instinctively said "No you can't", went to find the rules that said you couldn't...and didn't find that! :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Alan
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can

From rune rules we get the distinction between fundamental runes and property runes

Runes must be physically engraved on items through a special process to convey their effects. They take two forms: fundamental runes and property runes. Fundamental runes offer the most basic and essential benefits: a weapon potency rune adds a bonus to a weapon's attack rolls, and the striking rune adds extra weapon damage dice. An armor potency rune increases the armor's item bonus to AC, and the resilient rune grants a bonus to the wearer's saving throws. Property runes, by contrast, grant more varied effects—typically powers that are constant while the armor is worn or that take effect each time the weapon is used, such as a rune that grants energy resistance or one that adds fire damage to a weapon's attacks.

Here we get that the limitation to # of runes is limited to property runes, not fundamental runes

The number of property runes a weapon or armor can have is equal to the value of its potency rune. A +1 weapon can have one property rune, but it could hold another if the +1 weapon potency rune were upgraded to a +2 weapon potency rune. Since the striking and resilient runes are fundamental runes, they don't count against this limit.

Finally, we get the magic word "typically" here, which is definitely not "always"

An item with runes is typically referred to by the value of its potency rune, followed by any other fundamental runes, then the names of any property runes, and ends with the name of the base item. For example, you might have a +1 longsword or +2 greater resilient fire-resistant chain mail.

Looking at the fundamental runes rules we get that magical word "typically" again:

An item can have only one fundamental rune of each type, though etching a stronger rune can upgrade an existing rune to the more powerful version (as described in each rune’s entry). As you level up, you typically alternate between increasing an item’s potency rune and its striking or resilient rune when you can afford to.

While the cost for upgrade cost shows only examples starting at +1, it once more expressly calls out typically, and even gives an example (though not the "no potency" example) of one where you might skip up the striking path:

This also indicates the typical progression for an adventurer to follow when upgrading their armor and weapons. The tables here don’t include progressions that aren’t as likely to come up, like turning a +1 weapon directly into a +1 greater striking weapon.

Nowhere else do the rules runes list any limitations on fundamental runes. So you can have all the striking you want without any potency, though you wouldn't be able to add property runes until you had potency runes to allow for it.

To address the additional question, not only would the exact same logic apply to resilient runes, it would be far more likely to find broad applicability there. Not every character cares so much about armor class, whereas everyone cares about saving throws, so much so that previous editions came up with ways of letting you stack +resistance to saving throws on top of other items without penalty.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .