This post is just some quick rune examples for people who might have either listened to the audio version of Sufficiently Advanced Magic, people looking for a refresher, or just haven’t read that particular series yet.
Enchantments are how people with an Enchanter attunement imbue items with magical power.
The procedure for enchanting an object involves making runes, physical marks that are powered by mana, which is magical energy.
In order to make a rune, you must carve it into the proper shape and then put in the right amount of mana of the right type. For example, a rune for a wand designed to hurl balls of flame would require a fire rune (as well as other runes).
There are a few main categories of runes that are used in the enchanting process.
Function Runes determine what the item can do. For example, a fireball wand would have a fire function rune.
Example: Standard Life Rune.
Activation Runes determine how the item is activated. For example, if the wand is activated by using some of your own mana, it would have a mana activation rune.
Example: Motion Activation Rune.
Recharge Runes are used to cause an item to automatically fill up with mana over time by drawing mana either from the environment or another source. These are not strictly necessary, but they are used in most so-called “permanent” items so that they do not have to be manually recharged.
Example: Life Mana Recharge.
Capacity Runes are used to govern how much mana the item can store. Without them, any item with a Recharge Rune will just keep filling up with mana over time until the object has more mana than it can hold and explodes. That would be considered bad item design.
Example: Life Mana Capacity.
Complex items may involve many different runes.
For example, an item for creating a barrier may require mental mana runes for detecting incoming attacks, then runes to create a barrier when an incoming attack is detected.
Similarly, an item designed to heal the user when they’re hurt may require mental mana runes to detect when the wearer is injured. An even more complex healing item might have functions for searching for which wounds are the most severe and prioritizing which order they’re healed in, or ignoring certain types of injuries that the item might not be able to heal properly.
Since Enchanters do not have access to every type of mana, they often use items called mana crystals or rely on help from others.
Mana crystals are exactly what they sound like – crystallized magical energy. An Enchanter can draw the mana out of these crystals and use them to power runes. Most mana crystals are found from the remains of monsters inside of the spires, but it’s possible for people with sufficient mana shaping skill to make their own crystals from the types of mana they can use. Veteran enchanters often learn how to make mana crystals so they can make more complex items.
In order to cooperate with someone else to make a rune, an Enchanter must first make a shell that is used to hold the other person’s mana inside the rune. This container holds the mana from the other person inside the rune, preventing it from simply dispersing into the air.
Making a shell is a mana shaping exercise that is similar to making a mana crystal, and thus not all Enchanters are proficient at it, especially early in their careers. Mana shells also have a capacity, meaning that a low level Enchanter can’t make a shell that can hold enough mana for something like an Emerald level enchantment.
Extremely talented Enchanters can also move mana from one rune to another rune. This is dangerous for most Enchanters, however, because moving mana generally involves passing it through your body to prevent it from dispersing in the air. If you pass mana from another attuned through your body, this can cause mana poisoning.
As such, only Enchanters who have sufficient shaping ability to move mana outside of their bodies or purify the mana inside their bodies generally are capable of safely moving mana between two different objects. (There are some exceptions where this is safer, such as being able to safely move mana between two items you created yourself, or moving mana that has already been purified by someone else.)
Attunements are marks that grant magical powers that are obtained in the Soaring Spires during successful Judgments. They can also sometimes be obtained directly from a Visage, but this is relatively rare.
Each Attunement involves a physical mark that appears on the body of the attuned.
Attunements grow stronger as the user’s mana increases, changing in appearance and gaining new abilities. For example, most attunements begin to generate a shroud – a form of barrier of mana – around the attuned when the attunement reaches Carnelian level.
Each attunement comes with an iconic function. These are generally called “unique” abilities, but in truth, they can sometimes be accomplished through other attunements or combinations of attunements. For example, the “unique” function of the Elementalist attunement is access to lightning magic…but a Summoner can still get access to lightning magic if they make a contract with a monster that can use lightning. Thus, the term “unique” is something of a misnomer, and it’s more accurate to say that they’re simply the function that the attunement is best known for.
Every attunement gives access to two or more types of magic when it is first obtained, and generally gives access to a third at a higher level.
It’s commonly theorized that attunements are much more advanced forms of enchanting runes that incorporate several functions into a single rune, or perhaps collections of several runes that visually appear to be one rune.
Artificial attunements have been made in Caelford, meaning that they can be reproduced with some degree of success, but the procedures for how they’re made are not commonly known.