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Runecraft (ルーン技術) is the original magical art used by the dwarves long before the introduction of Tier Magic. They're considered to be one of the powers alongside Martial Arts, Wild Magic, and Talents that did not exist in YGGDRASIL.
Two hundred years ago, Runecraft was the traditional magic art practiced by the dwarves of the Dwarf Kingdom. However, after the Demon God Unrest, the art became nearly extinct. As time passed, Runecraft further declined into oblivion when younger generations of dwarves chose to abandon its use in favor of the more practical and effective Tier Magic.
The art would have progressed further into extinction until the Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown decided to become a patron in the revival of Runecraft. Currently, all Runecraft based research is being conducted in Carne Village, where the remaining dwarven runesmiths have gathered for this epic undertaking.
Runecraft is the art of inscribing magical letters onto objects. When a rune is carefully engraved on an object, it enchants the object. The amount of magic inscribed in an object depends on the time it takes to inscribe a rune. In other words, runes are characters magically imbued with mana. Meanwhile, attempting to carve runes and enchant an object with both Runecraft and Tier Magic together can also be mutually repulsive. If a powerful magic caster tries an enchantment, the runes will distort.
There are 50 lesser runes, 25 middle runes, 10 upper runes, and 5 top runes, for a total of 90 runes overall. That said, many of them have been lost, and only a few are left. Exactly how many secret and divine-class runes there are is the stuff of legends. According to the dwarven runesmiths, it is not possible to carve runes and place enchantments on the same object. Runes are characters imbued with mana. Thus carved runes and enchantments are mutually repulsive.
Runes apparently were abandoned by the dwarves due to several disadvantages. Compared to Tier Magic, which could enchant an item in a near-instant, runes require time, thus using it in full production is not cost-effective. In addition, only runesmiths are able to create and utilize runes, and the number of dwarves capable of becoming runesmiths is said to be even less than those capable of becoming magic casters. However, runes possess advantages not found in the Tier Magic system, one of them being that runes hardly require any material cost.
The origins of runecraft are lost to the surviving runesmiths, however, Ainz Ooal Gown theorizes that runecraft may have originated from YGGDRASIL and that perhaps the runecraft system was never discovered by players due to its obscurity and machinations of the developers or, if it had, it was a well-guarded secret and monopolized by a select few.
List of Runes
- Lagu: This is one of the middle runes, which also means 'lake' in Anglo-Saxon.
- Cuern: This is one of the lesser runes which means 'sharpness'.
- The dwarven workshop, Stonel was hailed as a famous manufacturer of runecraft artifacts.
- Some runes used by the dwarves are recognized to be the same as the runes from Satoru Suzuki's world.
- During the ensuing war between the Roble Holy Kingdom and Demi-Human Alliance, Ainz has been trying to promote the spread of runecraft products by lending a fake one to Neia Baraja so she can use it to gain publicity. In addition to that, Shizu, Jaldabaoth, and his demon subordinates were ordered to feign fear at the 'Runecraft' weapon to show their supposedly potential benefits against demons.
- The war hammer of the Runesmith King is considered the secret treasure of the Runecraft.
- In Mass for the Dead, runecraft items were put on display by merchant in Arwintar. An alliance of nobles seeking to create a smuggling route for slaves to the Slane Theocracy also planned to give a runecraft set of armor as a gift their collaborators. Momonga learned of their existence by his spies Lupusregina Beta and CZ2128_Delta after they were inducted into Six Arms making his attention turn toward their origin.