Runic Inscription Technology / Science in The Sea of Starlight | World Anvil

Runic Inscription

Runic Inscription is common form of Enchanting. A person practicioning runic inscription is referred to as a Runescribe. This arcane art is one of the oldest forms of enchanting and can be traced back to some of the oldest magical artifacts found across the planes of existence.

Engraved Magic

Runic inscription in its most basic form is using a sharp object or needle to engrave symbols into objects to enchant them. Runic inscription may activate innate magical properties of a material but the symbols can also create an enchantment by their configuration alone. Depending on the nature or material the object is made out of, an enchantment may sometimes yield different results for different objects. Because of the nature of this method, runic inscription is mostly used on hard materials such as bone, wood, metal or stone.

Arcane Language

Runic inscription is based on the fact that magic can be focused into a spell or effect through the intention of words and language. There are many types of symbols, sigils, hieroglyphs, words and letters that are referred to simply as 'runes' by practicioners. Some languages are more suited than others to be used for runic inscription. As languages have evolved and changed over time, not all languages can convey the intricacies of spells in a simple manner by writing them out. The Astran is thought to be most suited for runic inscription. Since the arcane secrets of the Astran language have mostly been lost throughout the ages, runescribes have spent lifetimes trying to find traces of this language throughout the world.

Compound Compositions

There are a runes and symbols that have some magical capabilities on their own, but most runic inscription is done through intricate combinations and configurations of sets of runes called a 'Composition'. Scribes call a combination of compositions a 'compound composition'. Compound compositions can in turn be compiled and arranged into a Double Compound Composition, which in turn can be arranged into a Triple Compound Composition, and so on and so forth.

Works of Detail

Depending on the composition and the size of the object that is to be enchanted, runes need to be enscribed with extreme detail. The ratio of the size, width and the depth of the engraved rune is also important for the efficiency of the end result. Because of the delicate nature of runic inscription, the inscription is often protected from damage. This can be done through a specialized sealing compositions that prevent the runes from being altered. Mending compositions which restore the enchantment over time if damaged are often used in larger objects but also when experimenting with new methods. Other ways of protecting a runic enchantment is by sealing the engraving with another material, In bone and wooden objects, a simple wax or resin can be used, sometimes this material is even mixed with dust of gemstones. Inscriptions made in stone or metal objects are very commonly filled and sealed with precious metals such as silver, gold or platinum.

Activating and Deactivating

Most runic inscriptions are activated as soon as the inscription is completed, others may require to be activated with a spell or other magical energy. Deactivating a runic inscription can be as simple as destroying the important parts of the composition. Enchantments made by novice runescribes can be easily destoyed or deactivated, while masters of the craft have made it near impossible to temper with their work. Some runic inscriptions are made to be able to be activated and deactivated. By inscribing an object of which a single piece can be removed a person can simply interupt the composition, or repair it. In this way, the piece that activates the enchantment functions as a key and is commonly referred to as the 'key composition'.
Alternative Name(s)
Arcane Inscription
Glyph Etching
Subtype of
Related Technologies
Projected Intention
Spell Stitching


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