Dwarven culture focuses on ancestor worship. For deviant dwarves that embrace necromancy, that culture is backwards—the dead should help the living, not be venerated by those who have their own lives to live. The ancestors had their chance. Now, tombs shall be fortresses, the revered dead shall be slaves to the dark thirsts of the present, and those who think to dominate shall taste death.
Detractors call this hideous, vile practice “meatsmithing.” The runes are printed on living flesh, rather than on cold steel. This necromancy is a disturbing, fleshy, corrupted practice to dwarves accustomed to working stone and metal.
Cost to Impart Rune
A dwarf with the Empty Rune can thereafter create runes for other dwarves. Each rune costs experience to implant, from the one who bestows the rune rather than from the one receiving the rune.
- Lesser runes cost 1,000 experience.
- Greater runes cost 3,000 experience.
- Master runes cost 5,000 experience.
Cost to Receive Rune
Dwarves receiving runes are damaged by the print of necromantic energy.
- Lesser runes cost 1 point of Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma.
- Greater runes cost 1 point of Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. (Losing 1 Constitution means the dwarf loses 1 hit point per level from permanent total.)
- Master runes cost 1 point as a lesser rune, and 1 point as a greater rune.
While lone dwarven necromancers can be a problem, more often they are in packs. A ruthless leader will arrange for an underling to take several runes, even if they are ruinous to the underling. Even if an underling cannot walk and is in a palanquin, borne into battle like a relic, the effects remain and can shift the tide of battle.
Location of Rune
- Lesser runes can be printed anywhere on the body. They are about the size of the dwarf’s palm, black with glittering nitrous silver—a broken, gummy glimpse of the endless night sky twisted into flesh.
- Greater runes must be printed on the torso, they are twice the size of a lesser rune.
- The Empty Rune must be placed over the dwarf’s heart.
Some ambitious dwarves force their students to get lesser or greater runes over the heart, to assure that they can never ascend to receive the Empty Rune. Others understand the crucial needs of leadership development for the spread of the cult.
[Stay tuned! Tomorrow, we’ll get a .pdf with the rest of the system.]
I found the image here.