D&D 5E Rune Knights: how do you begin a fight?

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Tl, dr: which power should I activate with a bonus action first?

So the Rune Knight has been a well-received subclass for fighters in Tasha's. It's a flavorful - and effective - alternative to the Eldrich Knight for a fighter with some magical powers. Now that the subclass has been out for a while, I imagine a lot of people have actual play experience with it (either as a player or GM).

For reasons that 99% of you won't care about1, my level 7 fighter is being reborn at a Rune Knight, and I'm wondering about how to play him best. He's the party tank, a decent damage dealer but very resilient, and uses his reaction to protect other party members (previously as a psi warrior). What you do in your first round of a fight can be pretty important, especially if it's a feature that will last the entire fight. It's a bit of a waste to keep those for the end of the battle, after all.

The Rune Knight has, for better or worse, a plethora of such options, and they almost all take a bonus action to activate, meaning there is a bit of a "traffic jam" to really get going (if it wasn't for this, the RK would frankly be OP). But which one to choose first?

  • Hill giant rune, for that sweet sweet resistance to slashing, piercing and bludgeoning damage, significantly boosting my tanking prowess
  • Storm giant rune, so I can use my reaction to boost party members by either improving their saves or attacks or by giving disadvantage to enemy attacks/saves.2
  • Giant might to get bigger, do more damage and have advantage on strength saves/checks

What has been more useful as your "fight opener" in your experience?

1: We are playing storm's king thunder, and my PC died. He is a scholar who has learned elven and gith styles of swordsmanship. He also has studied giants extensively because his hometown was destroyed by giants several years ago. As the PC died and failed to protect his "students" (another PC died too, it was a "half-PK"), he feels guilty and that his hubris caused him to reject the giant's power (the runes). Thus, he will now fight fire with fire so to speak - or use the giants' power against them. Also, he seeks to understand the events better, and the seer powers of the storm giants may be key.

2: I will note that there is a bit of an overlap between this ability and both the cloud rune and runic shield, thus perhaps it is less urgent?
 
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Rune Knight is the only subclass I've played twice.

It really depends on what you're fighting and where you're standing. If you can't get into melee, you're better off popping damage resistance or storm giant trance. If you're facing enemies that will force saves, the trance might take priority. If I'm not worried about getting hit immediately, I usually start with giant's might in order to get my damage buff going in round one.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Tl, dr: which power should I activate with a bonus action first?

So the Rune Knight has been a well-received subclass for fighters in Tasha's. It's a flavorful - and effective - alternative to the Eldrich Knight for a fighter with some magical powers. Now that the subclass has been out for a while, I imagine a lot of people have actual play experience with it (either as a player or GM).

For reasons that 99% of you won't care about1, my level 7 fighter is being reborn at a Rune Knight, and I'm wondering about how to play him best. He's the party tank, a decent damage dealer but very resilient, and uses his reaction to protect other party members (previously as a psi warrior). What you do in your first round of a fight can be pretty important, especially if it's a feature that will last the entire fight. It's a bit of a waste to keep those for the end of the battle, after all.

The Rune Knight has, for better or worse, a plethora of such options, and they almost all take a bonus action to activate, meaning there is a bit of a "traffic jam" to really get going (if it wasn't for this, the RK would frankly be OP). But which one to choose first?

  • Hill giant rune, for that sweet sweet resistance to slashing, piercing and bludgeoning damage, significantly boosting my tanking prowess
  • Storm giant rune, so I can use my reaction to boost party members by either improving their saves or attacks or by giving disadvantage to enemy attacks/saves.2
  • Giant might to get bigger, do more damage and have advantage on strength saves/checks

What has been more useful as your "fight opener" in your experience?

1: We are playing storm's king thunder, and my PC died. He is a scholar who has learned elven and gith styles of swordsmanship. He also has studied giants extensively because his hometown was destroyed by giants several years ago. As the PC died and failed to protect his "students" (another PC died too, it was a "half-PK"), he feels guilty and that his hubris caused him to reject the giant's power (the runes). Thus, he will now fight fire with fire so to speak - or use the giants' power against them. Also, he seeks to understand the events better, and the seer powers of the storm giants may be key.

2: I will note that there is a bit of an overlap between this ability and both the cloud rune and runic shield, thus perhaps it is less urgent?
So my Rune knight has unarmed fighting style and tavern brawler feat. She is actually a human level 1 Rogue, level 3 Rune Knight with a 16 strength and expertise in athletics so I won't really answer your question here as she is not 7th level.

She generally starts combat with a 1d8 unarmed strike. If she hits she follows it with a bonus action grapple attempt.

If she misses with her unarmed strike then she can use her bonus to activate Giant Might, but she only gets 2 uses of that a day so she only does it if it is one of the tougher combats.

If she is going nova she will start with giants might then grapple if successful then she uses action surge and shove prone. Now the enemy is grappled and prone and can't move so he can't stand up. Next turn she pulls out her rapier and sneak attacks with advantage.

She has cloud rune and stone rune so she activates those as reactions at times. Again if she is going Nova she will use the cloud on the BBEGs turn and then follow up with stone when convenient.

As for your question, I think the answer is to NOT take both Hill and Storm Runes, pick one and not the other. My character is a human so holding stone rune and darkvision when she gets to 7th level is a no brainer. If you are the tank I would think hill rune is better.
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Rune Knight is the only subclass I've played twice.

It really depends on what you're fighting and where you're standing. If you can't get into melee, you're better off popping damage resistance or storm giant trance. If you're facing enemies that will force saves, the trance might take priority. If I'm not worried about getting hit immediately, I usually start with giant's might in order to get my damage buff going in round one.
Thank you

Is giant might really that good if you aren't doing strength "moves" (like shoving)? + 1d6 dmg/round is ... nice, but it's not much.
 




Delazar

Adventurer
Currently playing a level 15 half-orc rune knight (Ganelon), my main issue is how to use my Reaction more than my Bonus Action! I just have so many options, and on top of that I took Sentinel, so every round is a constant "how do I spend my reaction in the best way?"

Regarding Bonus Actions, my opener is usually Giant's Might, mostly because my DM lets me carry around an oversized greatsword (4d6), so I need to be Large to wield it without penalties. I don't get to add the bonus die from Giant's Might when I wield the greatsword, but clearly it is not an issue when I'm large.

If for some reason I have advantage before my turn starts, I hold my BA until the end of the turn, hoping to get a crit and trigger the additional attack from Great Weapon Master. There's nothing worse than to crit and not having that BA available to attack again.

If the enemy is a heavy hitter, I try to prioritize Hill Giant Rune, but mostly I trust our healer to keep me up in the first couple of rounds.

So usually my priorities are:
Giant's Might -> Hill Giant Rune -> Storm Giant Rune (delaying them if I trigger GWM)

Added note: lately I took Skill Expert in Athletics, so sometimes I just shove my enemy with my first attack, and then Action Surge them while they're prone. Good times!
 




Thank you

Is giant might really that good if you aren't doing strength "moves" (like shoving)? + 1d6 dmg/round is ... nice, but it's not much.
Between 2 campaigns, I've never had an encounter where it wasn't active. If you play in a game with more combats, you might have to choose to fight without it sometimes but I've never been at a table that averaged more than 2 or 3 combats each day. Once your prof bonus is 3 or 4, its pretty much a free per-encounter power.

I've also used grappling more than any other character because I was large (Huge when i played a duergar!) and had advantage on Athletics. The DM made the mistake of throwing a halfling wizard at us, so i grappled her and flew around with wings boots + haste.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Some of the joy of playing a new class is figuring out this stuff. Play around with it for a bit before asking others what they think and you won't miss out on that fun.
Also - holy crap giants would be so much more dangerous if they had rune magic :O
When we saw this subclass in UA, as well as the Giant Soul Sorcerer, I created Runed Giants. I took your stock giants and added Rune Magic on top of their existing abilities (as well as a boost to their HP, etc...) to give them more of a feel of ancient supernatural 'world origin storyline' type beings. I am shocked we do not have something official like this from WotC by now. They're halfway between the giant and a primordial. If you're playing a high level game, they provide a real nice option for a high level foe of meaning other than Demon, Devil, and Dragon.
 

sulimo0310

Explorer
Thank you

Is giant might really that good if you aren't doing strength "moves" (like shoving)? + 1d6 dmg/round is ... nice, but it's not much.
IMHO, you shouldn't sleep on the DEFENSIVE benefits for your party of giant might. Sure extra damage, yadda yadda yadda. But a size increase means you threaten more squares, making it more difficult for enemies to pass you in Melee and reach your party. You also physically take up more space, making it much easier to block hallways and other natural choke points. Obviously this, like all the other powers, is situational based on the battle and terrain you are in. There is no "one right answer" of which ability to use first. This versatility of this subclass is it's strength, but the trade off is that it requires tactical awareness to be at its best. You have so many choices, and none of them are bad. Which one is BEST is always a judgement call with a changing answer based on the situation.
 

Yes, as many have stated it various depending on the specific fight. I personally and running an altered version of the class where we nerfed storm rune from being blatantly overpowered to just "spend a reaction to grant advantage or disadvantage to ONE d20 die roll" and removed the level restriction. We also changed the 7th level ability to be "Grant one ally an instance of one of your runes that grants them the passive benefits until they activate it and gain the active effects, at which point the rune fades. You can use this prof mod times per day and only have one extra active at a time"

So massive caveats aside, I also took Hill rune, and Cloud Rune.

I tend to start most fights with either the Hill Rune or Giant's Might depending on if we are fighting a swarm of enemies or one big one (or foes that deal energy damage). It comes down to each fight to be honest. One of my favorite moments was getting big and grappling two werewolves at once to hold them in the magical blender known as "cloud of daggers" cast by one of the other party members.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Some of the joy of playing a new class is figuring out this stuff. Play around with it for a bit before asking others what they think and you won't miss out on that fun.

When we saw this subclass in UA, as well as the Giant Soul Sorcerer, I created Runed Giants. I took your stock giants and added Rune Magic on top of their existing abilities (as well as a boost to their HP, etc...) to give them more of a feel of ancient supernatural 'world origin storyline' type beings. I am shocked we do not have something official like this from WotC by now. They're halfway between the giant and a primordial. If you're playing a high level game, they provide a real nice option for a high level foe of meaning other than Demon, Devil, and Dragon.
Indeed. If you did nothing to the giants but give them their rune, it still would be very significant. Hill giants become extremely tough for example. Cloud giants are lethal "oh you just crit-smited me for 80 damage? shame you just beheaded your mage friend..."

(frost giant not so much)
 

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