Dwarfs dont go in for magic. Like so many things embraced by humans and their allies, its just much too new-fangled and unreliable, at least from the Dwarfen point of view. Now runes on the other hand, thats a whole different story. Runes have an old power. Their carving is a ritual so refined that the results are as expected as rocks rolling down hill. The keepers of this art are the Runepriests, adepts and sages who spend their lives learning the language of runes. With their craft they can create effects of stunning power, accosting their foes with the power of the earth itself. They can also harden their allies against the most damaging of attacks, and heal their wounds.
In a world where magic is commonplace, it may seem that the Runepriests powers are unremarkable. However, his runes offer something unique and powerful - the ability to bind a rune to an object or creature to await a trigger which will unleash its power. A rune-marked blade burns as it strikes, a rune-marked breastplate hardens against a killing blow, and rune-marked flesh awaits only a word of command before releasing its healing energies. By marking his allies prior to battle, the Runepriest is free to join the fight where and when he is needed, be it shaping further runes of power, or entering the thick of the fight with rune staff in hand. It is important to note that runes retain their power even after the Runepriest expires.
Playing as a Runepriest
Preparation is critical to your success as a Runepriest, as is developing a keen sense of timing and coordination. You can use your runes to protect your friends and enhance their powers (even placing some of the runes effects under the subjects control), but their strength wanes quickly upon use and you must be ready to reinforce them as needed. Advance preparation makes it easier for you to split your attention between supporting your friends, and assaulting your foes. This division of duty is absolutely necessary in battle. Focusing purely on offense will leave your group mates without support after a short time. Conversely, playing purely a support role will rob your group of a rune-enhanced warrior of significant power.
Fighting against a Runepriest
A Runepriest can be a difficult foe to defeat. The powerful runes he can lay on himself and his equipment can make him a mighty warrior who is exceptionally difficult to slay. However, his abilities are primarily defensive or supporting in nature. In a group environment, it is wiser to leave the Runepriest for later and go after the heavy damage dealers or tanks first. They pose a more direct threat and, if ignored, are likely to tear you apart before you are able to work through the Runepriests defenses and healing powers.
Dwarf runes bind and hold magic, solidifying and stabilizing the power through the knowledge and craftsmanship practiced by Rune Priests through the centuries. A skilled Rune Priest can tap into this rune-etched power to call forth all manner of spectacular effects, from restoring life to his allies to calling down wrath and doom upon his foes. Dwarf runes are repositories of raw power, harnessed to a specific purpose by generations of skilled and focused runecarvers. A Rune Priest is adept at not only invoking these runic powers, but also at engraving runes on his allies equipment, granting them abilities far beyond their normal grasp. A true master Rune Priest can even call forth the power of mighty Master Runes, carving them into the very earth itself as an anchor for their tremendous energies.
Path of Grungni
A master of this path focuses on powerful and direct effects, learning to both restore his allies and smite his enemies with equal skill. The path of Grungni is for those who prefer to focus on a single target at a time, be they friend or foe, and unleash powerful effects upon them.
Path of Valaya
An arguably more subtle mastery, the path of Valaya is focused on effects which continue to linger after theyve been invoked. A master of this path prefers to stick to tested, tried, and true slow-and-steady abilities, whether hes building up his allies strength until they become unstoppable, or whether hes grinding his enemies down with inevitable and unescapable doom.
Path of Grimnir
This path is concerned with runes which affect large, sweeping areas as they unleash their innate power. A specialist in this path is an expert at changing the ebb and tide of combat by either bolstering his allies entire front line, or by sending vast swaths of crushing power across the enemy masses.
- Concussive Runes now instead is a 25% chance to remove 225 Morale from an enemy hit by any Path of Grimnir ability (link)
- Rune of Battle cooldown decreased to 30s (from 1 minute) and ability is unaffected by cooldown reduction abilities (link)
- Rune of Nullification duration increased to 10s from 5s (link)
- Rune of Fate cooldown reduced to 20s from 30s (link)
- Efficient Runecarving tactic given a +10% Disrupt Strikethrough (link)
- Rune of Mending can be cast on the move
- Resurrection Illness now applies a 25% stat debuff, down from 50%, still excluding wounds (link)
- Tier 1: Grungni is love; Grungni is life.
- So you want to play a Runepriest, eh? Enjoy being able to hide in bushes while the Archmages and Warrior Priests get targeted by Squig Herders and Magi. It's tier 1! Let the fun begin. Your first tactic at level 11 is a solid one: Stoutness of Stone. This will easily allow you to shake off knock downs, but in Tier 1 you don't see many of those, so you can go with Swift Runes instead. Swift Runes has its own drawback though: being an AP hog. Play what you like best, and only slot Divine Fury if you're a damage dealing stunty. The left tree points will increase your bread and butter ability: Grungni's Gift.
- Mid Tier: Grungni is still love. Nice Grungni. Good Grungni.
- At 17, grab Runic Blasting and slot that as your lone tactic. This will strengthen the ability you've used a million times so far: Grungni's Gift. At 19, swap it out for Discipline instead to give you the boost in Willpower. Remember, Willpower helps all of your healing abilities and it has the added bonus of increasing your Disrupt rate. At 20, add Runic Blasting back in and roll with those until you hit 30. At 21, grab Master Rune of Fury. This is your main AP feed for your party, and it's quite potent. At 30, you have a choice of Ancestral Inheritance for more armor, Regenerative Shielding for added defensive utility on your HoT, Restorative Burst if you need the AP (especially if you're group healing a lot through Blessing of Valaya), Stoutness of Stone if you want to shrug off knockdowns and stuns, or Swift Runes for the quick cleansing.
- Tier 4 - Bubble Trouble: This tier 4 build gives you the powerful Ancestor's Echo tactic.
- Slot Blessing of Grungni, Discipline, Runic Blasting, and Ancestor's Echo to round out this durable build focused on triggering Blessing of Grungni and Ancestor's Echo procs by spamming Grungni's Gift. Alternatively, drop Ancestor's Echo and grab the stagger, Rune of Binding, if you want more offensive capabilities.
- Tier 4 - Been There, Done That: Best of both the left and right trees. Requires rr50 or rr40+1 point from gear.
- Drop Runic Blasting to leave room for a fourth tactic of your choice in this advanced build. This will give you enough points for the stagger, your AP feed, and Ancestor's Echo.
- Tier 4 - Made for Battle: This DPS centric build is the juggernaut of Runie utility for warbands. This build requires rr50, and you're gonna be in the thick of it.
- Your main focus here is to crit as many enemies as possible with direct damage for the entirety of the battle. This will trigger the heal debuff from Rune of Nullification, and any direct damage will do (no dots, but aoe from Rune of Might and Rune of Battle will work). You'll take a utility or DPS spot in the warband, depending on build. Slot Extended Battle so your Rune of Battle reaches more enemies, and cast Rune of Might on cooldown when you're running under the legs of Orcs. Stagger key targets while you're waiting for cooldowns. Alternatively, drop Divine Fury for a defensive tactic like Stoutness of Stone. Since Divine Fury doesn't increase your crit chance, it's not a necessity.
- August 2018 update: Throw the new Concussive Runes tactic that drains Morale into your warband dps build.