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Rune Carved

Source Ultimate Magic pg. 115
Type Complex; Cost See below
Requirements Craft Construct, variable (see below)
CR Increase None


This subcategory of complex modification allows a construct’s creator to carve a runic spell trigger into her creation. Choose one of the following runes. The cost of the rune and any prerequisites are detailed in the rune’s description. Once per day, the first time the rune is triggered, its effect occurs. As an immediate action, the creator can attempt to delay the effect until the next time it is triggered. Doing so requires that the construct be within line of sight of the creator (or for the creator to be using scrying or greater scrying through the crafter’s eyes construct modification) and that the caster make a Spellcraft check equal to 10 + the caster level of the rune’s effect.

A construct can have more than one rune-carved modification, and even multiple runes of the same type. If it has multiple applications of the same rune, the first one goes off when it is first triggered, the second one goes off when the trigger happens next, and so on. Multiple runes of different types go off when first triggered, even if the different runes share similar triggers.

It is rumored that there are many more runes than these, but the following are some of the best known and most common runes used by construct crafters.

Rune of Agony

Aura Moderate necromancy; CL 9th

Trigger and Effect

This modification is triggered the first time the modified construct takes damage. Creatures within a 20-foot-radius spread must succeed on a DC 17 Fortitude save or suffer from wracking pains that impose a –4 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks for 1 minute. On a successful saving throw, the creature takes the penalties imposed by the rune for 1 round.


Requirements symbol of pain; Cost 18,000 gp

Rune of Imprisonment

Aura Strong conjuration; CL 18th

Trigger and Effect

This rune is triggered the first time the construct is hit with a touch or ranged touch attack spell. The caster of the triggering spells must succeed at a DC 22 Will save or be captured, both body and soul, within a gem embedded in the modified construct’s body. The gem holds the caster until either the gem or the construct is destroyed. A gem can only hold one creature at a time; once it captures a creature, the rune does not trigger again until the gem is replaced.

While a creature is trapped within the gem, the gem is vulnerable to critical hits; if an attacker confirms a critical hit, the construct takes damage and the gem is destroyed, releasing the entrapped creature into a space adjacent to the construct. The broken gem must then be replaced before the rune of imprisonment can function again.


Requirements trap the soul, gem worth 20,000 gp to serve as the rune’s focus; Cost 57,600 gp

Rune of Lightning

Aura faint evocation; CL 5th

Trigger and Effect

This rune is triggered when the modified construct is hit by a melee attack. The rune releases a 5-foot-radius burst of electricity dealing 3d8 points of electrical damage to all creatures within the burst. A successful DC 12 Reflex saving throw halves the damage.


Requirements shocking grasp; Cost 2,000 gp

Rune of Shielding

Aura faint abjuration; CL 3rd

Trigger and Effect

This rune is triggered the first time the modified construct is attacked with a melee attack, ranged attack, or magic missile. The construct gains a +4 shield bonus to its Armor Class for 3 minutes. This is a force effect and applies against incorporeal touch attacks.


Requirements shield; Cost 1,200 gp

Rune of Terror

Aura moderate necromancy; CL 7th

Trigger and Effect

This rune is triggered the first time a creature moves adjacent to the modified construct. The rune creates 20-foot-radius spread of necromantic energy. Creatures in the area must succeed on a DC 20 Will saving throw or become panicked for 1d4 rounds. If the Will save succeeds, the creature is shaken for 1 round.


Requirements fear; Cost 11,200 gp