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5E Balancing the Rune Knight

Undrave

Hero
That's a good idea. Hmm... I need to think about which would work best.
Another idea would be to treat Giant Sizing as a special rune itself, in that you have to sacrifice one of your active rune use to trigger it, so you'd only see two effect per short rest no matter what. And if you rule that two such effect can't be active at the same time, then you'll probably only see 1 Active per fight since the fight will probably end before they can trigger another one.

If you think it's still too strong, make the Giant Sizing ALSO deactivate the passive ability until they can engrave the rune again next long rest. I'm personally a fan of sacrificing long lasting passive bonuses for a powerful short time effect.

Personally I always felt the giant sizing thing detracted from the cool rune concept more than anything :p I would have preferred more runes at third level and giant sizing be made stronger as a capstone ability instead.
 

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Hurin88

Explorer
Personally I always felt the giant sizing thing detracted from the cool rune concept more than anything :p I would have preferred more runes at third level and giant sizing be made stronger as a capstone ability instead.
I think that to try to keep the archetype concept unified, you could make the Giant Sizing come from a rune enscribed directly on the RK's body, say for example as a tattoo of the generic Giant rune for 'Giant' (is that Jotun?). It wouldn't grant any passive ability, but it would be always present and ready to be activated, kind of like a Cleric's Channel Divinity is.

This way, every magical ability that the RK has would be tied somehow to the inscribing of a rune.
 

Undrave

Hero
I think that to try to keep the archetype concept unified, you could make the Giant Sizing come from a rune enscribed directly on the RK's body, say for example as a tattoo of the generic Giant rune for 'Giant' (is that Jotun?). It wouldn't grant any passive ability, but it would be always present and ready to be activated, kind of like a Cleric's Channel Divinity is.

This way, every magical ability that the RK has would be tied somehow to the inscribing of a rune.
That's how I would fluff it at least.
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
For all the people suggesting the Rune Knight be dialed down... let me point you at the Arcane Archer. A Fighter subclass with severe use limitations on its special abilities that's widely considered somewhere between "too restricted to be much fun" and "so weak it's complete garbage". The Arcane Archer is what you get when you're too stingy with a Fighter subclass abilities.

So what I'm saying is, I played a Rune Knight in one adventure, and it was in no way overpowered. Granted I wasn't trying to minmax my build, but still, it's no Loremaster. I highly recommend people give the Rune Knight a fair try as printed before they nerf the hell out of it, and that you consider Battlemaster your benchmark rather than the Arcane Archer.
 

Hurin88

Explorer
That's some good perspective. I confess that I have been comparing the RK to what other Fighter subclasses get -- and it sure did seem like the RK was getting a lot more than the Arcane Archer! Is the Archer indeed seen as weak?
 

Undrave

Hero
For all the people suggesting the Rune Knight be dialed down... let me point you at the Arcane Archer. A Fighter subclass with severe use limitations on its special abilities that's widely considered somewhere between "too restricted to be much fun" and "so weak it's complete garbage". The Arcane Archer is what you get when you're too stingy with a Fighter subclass abilities.

So what I'm saying is, I played a Rune Knight in one adventure, and it was in no way overpowered. Granted I wasn't trying to minmax my build, but still, it's no Loremaster. I highly recommend people give the Rune Knight a fair try as printed before they nerf the hell out of it, and that you consider Battlemaster your benchmark rather than the Arcane Archer.
This is why I recommend nerfing the effects rather than the frequencies of those effect because it's more fun to be your subclass all the time than just a few times per day.

That's some good perspective. I confess that I have been comparing the RK to what other Fighter subclasses get -- and it sure did seem like the RK was getting a lot more than the Arcane Archer! Is the Archer indeed seen as weak?
Oh yeah, the Arcane Archer is garbage. It's only an Arcane Archer like 3 times per day, it's dumb. It should be able to make Elemental damage at will. It doesn't break anything but it at least FEELS special.
 


So, here is my balancing attempt.

Haug, paragraph 2:

In addition, you can invoke the rune as a bonus action, gaining resistance to all damage until the end of your next turn. Once you invoke the rune, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

Uvar, paragraph 2:

In addition, you can invoke the rune as a bonus action to enter a prophetic state for 1 minute or until you’re incapacitated. Until the state ends, when you or another creature you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, you can use your reaction to cause the roll to have advantage or disadvantage. You can do this once for each of attack rolls, saving throws and ability checks until the prophetic state ends. Once you invoke the rune, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

That weakens the two strongest runes, but not in a crippling way. Haug works on any damage, but only for 1 round; Uvar lets you impose advantage or disadvantage on 3 different rolls in a minute, but not repeatedly.

I might make Ild stronger:

In addition, as a bonus action you can surround a weapon with a fiery aura. Once per turn when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or the fiery aura transforms into shackles and restraines the creature for 1 minute. While restrained by the shackles, the target takes 2d6 fire damage at the start of each of its turns. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, banishing the shackles on a success. The fiery aura emits dim light in a 10' radius, and lasts until a creature fails a saving throw against it, or 1 minute passes. Once you invoke the rune, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

That might be a bit strong; with this rewording, you can force 1 save/round until someone fails it.

The original version was a bit "ok, make a saving throw... nothing happened. See you next short rest!" to much for me.
 

Am I right to assume that the active property of the Cloud Rune (Skye, the one that deflects an attack to another target) takes effect without a save -- i.e. there is no save involved in the use of this Rune? That seems quite good to me too. Especially since it seems (again correct me if I am wrong) it can target a melee attack, but transfer it like a ranged attack (30 feet away). So the dragon bites the party wizard, but the RK negates that damage and transfers it to one of the dragon's orc minions, killing him with no save and leaving the wizard untouched?
Rule of Cool would state yes.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I have a player who wants to play the Rune Knight subclass of Fighter from the Unearthed Arcana article. I have not had anyone play one yet, but looked through the class and on some websites, and it looks rather overpowered to me. The RK sure gets a lot of goodies up-front (at level 3), with both passive and active rune abilities and Giant Might as an additional cherry on top. I have seen quite a few people (though certainly not all) saying the class is overpowered, and I would like to err on the side of caution by toning down the RK's powers a bit to start. I can always buff them back up to what they are in the RAW if it turns out he is not overpowered.

My question is: if I am concerned about the RK being overpowered, how can I best balance it? I am thinking of changing the refresh rate of the runes' active ability to only on a long rest (rather than on a long or short rest). Would that be reasonable? Is there a better way of toning down the RK without wrecking the class?
Why not run RAW and if you think its overpowerd in some way in your campaign that is ruining someone's fun then change the rules on the fly. And let your player know that could happen.

Maybe you can explain in what way the Mystic "ruined" your other campaign?

[note, I am a player in a Made Mage campaign with someone else playing a Gloomstalker. He seems overpowered to me; but now it seems every other encounter the monsters either have blindsight or tremorsense. So that's another way to address...]
 

Hurin88

Explorer
Why not run RAW and if you think its overpowerd in some way in your campaign that is ruining someone's fun then change the rules on the fly. And let your player know that could happen.
Changing rules on the fly is not a good option for me because I find that that's when players start to get annoyed. They use a cool power well, and the DM nerfs it -- that in my experience has been a recipe for party acrimony.

There is another reason too. If we just play the RAW, and the RK trivializes a big encounter, then it's too late; the damage has already been done. Changing on the fly only fixes things for the future; it doesn't erase the fact that what should have been a challenging encounter has been trivialized.

These two reasons make me want to get the class right from the beginning, rather than react to an OP character on the fly.

Maybe you can explain in what way the Mystic "ruined" your other campaign?
Maybe I was being a bit hyperbolic. The Mystic's bevy of powers for virtually every situation, combined with the ability to switch some of its abilities on the fly, trivialized many encounters and undermined the balance between the classes. The Mystic could just do virtually everything: heal (even the Revenant in the party!), nuke, control, etc. It was just too much.
 

Maybe don't compare with other fighters: how does the Rune Knight stack up against other more mystical melee classes like a Hexblade warlock?
Their (up to level 5) spells are based on 2/short rest, so that might give a reasonably close comparison with the runes.
 

Hurin88

Explorer
They've got all the goodies of a fighter (weapon and armor proficiencies, hit points, action surge). If they can fight as good as a fighter and cast as good as a Warlock, doesn't that suggest they are overpowered?
 
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They've got all the goodies of a fighter (weapoon and armor proficiencies, hit points, action surge). If they can fight as good as a fighter and cast as good as a Warlock, doesn't that suggest they are overpowered?
With the right invocations, a Hexblade Pact of the Blade warlock can get pretty close to replicating the abilities of a base fighter. (Outside of Action Surge.)
Hence why I'm thinking that comparing the runes to the spells warlocks get on a short rest might be easier than trying to compare them to other fighter subclass abilities.
 

WarrenM

Villager
I think Giant Might should also be a rune. Just started playing a Rune Knight, will let you know what I think.
 

Hurin88

Explorer
I think Giant Might should also be a rune. Just started playing a Rune Knight, will let you know what I think.
I think that is the best solution. Not only does it tone down something verging on OP, it also unifies the class thematically.
 

WarrenM

Villager
Hill isn't a big deal unless you have a Barbarian in the party (they might feel upset about it).

The real power is Storm and Defensive Runes. There are very few abilities that give enemies disadvantage on saves, much less every round for a minute. So you can reduce Storm to 1/Long Rest (2 at 15th Level).
I'm trying storm, but my party is not one able to abuse the disadvantage on saves. I think it would be fair to remove dissadvantage from saving throws as an option on use. I'd still be very happy with the result. The action and reaction use seems a good trade for the abilities.
 

WarrenM

Villager
For all the people suggesting the Rune Knight be dialed down... let me point you at the Arcane Archer. A Fighter subclass with severe use limitations on its special abilities that's widely considered somewhere between "too restricted to be much fun" and "so weak it's complete garbage". The Arcane Archer is what you get when you're too stingy with a Fighter subclass abilities.

So what I'm saying is, I played a Rune Knight in one adventure, and it was in no way overpowered. Granted I wasn't trying to minmax my build, but still, it's no Loremaster. I highly recommend people give the Rune Knight a fair try as printed before they nerf the hell out of it, and that you consider Battlemaster your benchmark rather than the Arcane Archer.
What runes did you try?
 

WarrenM

Villager
So, here is my balancing attempt.

Haug, paragraph 2:

In addition, you can invoke the rune as a bonus action, gaining resistance to all damage until the end of your next turn. Once you invoke the rune, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

Uvar, paragraph 2:

In addition, you can invoke the rune as a bonus action to enter a prophetic state for 1 minute or until you’re incapacitated. Until the state ends, when you or another creature you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, you can use your reaction to cause the roll to have advantage or disadvantage. You can do this once for each of attack rolls, saving throws and ability checks until the prophetic state ends. Once you invoke the rune, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

That weakens the two strongest runes, but not in a crippling way. Haug works on any damage, but only for 1 round; Uvar lets you impose advantage or disadvantage on 3 different rolls in a minute, but not repeatedly.

I might make Ild stronger:

In addition, as a bonus action you can surround a weapon with a fiery aura. Once per turn when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or the fiery aura transforms into shackles and restraines the creature for 1 minute. While restrained by the shackles, the target takes 2d6 fire damage at the start of each of its turns. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, banishing the shackles on a success. The fiery aura emits dim light in a 10' radius, and lasts until a creature fails a saving throw against it, or 1 minute passes. Once you invoke the rune, you can’t do so again until you finish a short or long rest.

That might be a bit strong; with this rewording, you can force 1 save/round until someone fails it.

The original version was a bit "ok, make a saving throw... nothing happened. See you next short rest!" to much for me.
Your Uvar rework adds a little too much tracking. I really think the rune is usable if we just skip the ability to give disadvantage on saves. Its certainly more effective than the sorcerers shadow hound ability. I'll try as is and see if it gets out of hand.
 

WarrenM

Villager
Rule of Cool would state yes.
Agreed, this seems cool and with a single use, not over powered. I've taken this rune and will give feedback after some experience. I feel best case scenario the diversion of one major attack is great. Worst case is there is one enemy or even just multiple low damage units and the rune fails to deliver. Its possible one may wish for a second use, but my first impression is that its fair.
 

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