Rune Shaper 5e
Published on August 1, 2023
Weave the ancient language of the giants into your weapons and armor with the Rune Shaper feat!
Bram Sels - Wizards of the Coast - Inga Rune-Eyes
What Is Rune Shaper 5e?
Rune Shaper is a feat introduced in Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants that provides the ability to inscribe runes on items, thus allowing you to cast certain spells without expending spell slots.
What are Runes?
Runes are the ancient language of giants that allow them to channel powerful arcane abilities. The runes of power were handed down from Annam, the giant’s all-father, and represent pictographs that hold the meaning of certain words. These runes also hold latent power that can be tapped by “invoking” the runes, which causes them to expend their energy and they must be recharged before they are used again.
How Does Rune Shaper Work?
This feat provides access to certain 1st-level spells. See the “Which 5e Classes Make the Most of Rune Shaper?” section for more information about our color rating scheme if you aren’t familiar.
- Fog cloud: Decent battlefield control option.
- Inflict wounds: Good melee spell option.
- Chromatic orb: Go-to damage spell for low-level wizards and you can avoid the costly diamond component when you invoke the rune.
- Disguise self: If you’re interested in this option, go for the Shadow Touched feat instead.
- Burning hands: Get AoE damage option.
- Speak with animals: Probably not worth it, unless you really like animals.
- Armor of Agathys: Amazing defensive option for martials that will be wading into battle.
- Goodberry: Solid healing option that’s worth it to grab if you don’t already have a druid or ranger in your party.
- Longstrider: Increasing your running speed is a very situational buff.
- Command: Very versatile inside and outside combat.
- Entangle: Really solid battlefield control that’s even useful up into higher levels.
- Sanctuary: Clunky protection spell.
- Thunderwave: Decent AoE option that can be helpful if you’re surrounded and need some space.
You can learn a number of spells equal to half your proficiency modifier, which means you get one spell at 1st level and three spells by 17th level. The best part of this feat is you can “invoke” the rune and cast the spell without using a spell slot, which opens the door to martial characters who want to pick up a certain spell. You can also cast these spells using spell slots, which is a nice bonus for casters looking to expand their repertoire.
You also learn the comprehend languages spell and can cast it once per long rest without expending a spell slot, which is a neat little out-of-combat bonus.
In order to take this feat, you need the Spellcasting feature or the Rune Carver background.
Is Rune Shaper Good?
In our 5e Feats Tier List, Rune Shaper was given a B Tier rating, making it a niche feat that can improve some builds in D&D 5e.
The versatility this feat offers is quite substantial. Not only are there plenty of solid spells on this list, but you can change them out whenever you level up and even cast them without spell slots. This is a really solid ability when you want to fill a gap in your playstyle, such as adding a potent damage spell (chromatic orb, burning hands), some utility (disguise self, command), healing (goodberry), or defensive bonuses (armor of Agathys).
While this feat provides value for a ton of builds, it’s still not quite as useful as Fey Touched or Shadow Touched, which provide an ASI, a powerful 2nd-level spell and a 1st-level spell from certain schools. Where this feat can excel is if you want to add evocation or abjuration spells to your spell list, because neither of the aforementioned feats provide access to spells from that school.