Runes are small, weightless stones that allow players to cast spells using the Magic skill. Runes can be either bought from the various Rune shops found across RuneScape, traded with other players, purchased on the Grand Exchange, created from rune essence or pure essence through the Runecrafting skill, obtained from the Runecrafting Guild, procured from drops by killing monsters, or picked up from spawns on the ground.
The elemental runes (air, water, earth and fire, named after the Greek classical elements) can be substituted for by wielding a respective elemental staff, battlestaff or mystic staff. The only times an elemental staff cannot be used to substitute for runes is when setting up a portal in the Portal Chamber of a player-owned house, or when charging a Polypore Staff.
Runes come in a number of different types, but they can be categorised according to themes based on their names. For example, mind, body, blood and soul are all constituent parts of a human; cosmic and astral pertain to outer space; nature is in Guthix, law is in Saradomin, and chaos is in Zamorak; and life and death occur in time. The six combinations runes (mud, mist, lava, smoke, steam and dust) cover all possible pairs of the four elemental runes.
When the humans first came to the realm of Gielinor through the World Gate in the First Age, Guthix created Runestones, allowing the humans and other sentient races to practise the Magic arts. These runestones were created by Guthix using an ancient artefact called the Stone of Jas, which he found on Gielinor when he arrived.
In the Second Age, the humans continued and expanded the practice of magic. However, the runes that Guthix had provided began to dwindle and became a much sought after commodity. Many mages such as Dahmaroc had to fight each other for runestones. During one such fight, Dahmaroc was turned into stone himself, becoming what he once sought after so much.
At some point in the Second Age, the ability to craft runes was discovered when V - a Fremennik Seer - found the Stone of Jas in the Lunar Isle mine. Although the Stone was taken by 'those that walk a higher astral path', V discovered that the rocks around it had formed the Rune Essence, which is a magical rock capable of absorbing the elements of Magic. He and his followers then created the Runecrafting Altars in special areas most attuned to their respective element, which then folded upon themselves to create pocket dimensions. By bringing Rune Essence to these altars, runestones could be created. Many of the Fremennik thought that creating runes was blasphemy, as they were tools of the gods, and that they should only use the runes Guthix crafted for them, and V and his supporters split off from the Fremennik and formed the Moon Clan, and Runecrafting remained unknown outside of it.
By the time of the Fourth Age, the runestones that had been given by the gods had all but depleted due to the heavy use of Magic during the God Wars. The art of magic faded with the supply of runes, until essentially being lost to humans altogether.
At the start of the Fifth Age mainland Humans discovered Runecrafting when they discovered a Rune Essence Mine in the frozen north. After finding the essence, they soon after discovered the magical temples that the moon clan had created, and that the essence could be crafted there. Runecrafting soon became widely used in many locations. The Wizards' Tower was then formed, and became the greatest institution of magic in the land.
In year 70 of the Fifth Age the Wizards of the Wizards' Tower discovered how to solve the teleportation problem by routing teleports through another plane: the Abyss. This would allow them to teleport directly to the Rune Essence mine from anywhere in the world, which would greatly increase rune production. However there was a disagreement over exactly who should get the credit for the discovery, and the source of the actual spell, a Zamorakian demon, was unacceptable to the Saradominist Blue Wizards. The Blue Order abandoned the ritual to create a teleport "anchor" mid-casting, which caused a fire which destroyed the original Wizards' Tower, a catastrophe blamed in later years on the Zamorakian Red Order. The only survivors of the fire were Perien the Blue and Kelavan the Red. Perien founded a new Wizards' Tower on the site of the old one, and became its Archmage. Due to what happened to the first tower, which was a collaboration between followers of many gods, Archmage Perien restricted access to the tower to Saradominists only, and started teaching the teleport spell to the Rune Essence to only a select few people so that the Essence didn't fall into the wrong hands.
In year 169 of the Fifth Age Wizard Elriss from the Runecrafting Guild opened up more of the Runespan, the pocket dimension in which the Runecrafting Guild is located, where they could create Runes slightly different to those found in Gielinor. Rune essence here is obtained in floating rocks and in the local fauna, as opposed to that mined at the Rune essence mines. They are charged to an element (the same as those in Gielinor) by siphoning the fauna or nodes of elemental energy that appear on the plane.
All players can use the runes listed below. There are two categories of runes referenced in the game: elemental runes and non-elemental runes. Elemental runes include air, fire, water, and earth runes. Non-elemental include all others, which are: mind, body, chaos, death, blood, soul, cosmic, law, nature, astral and armadyl runes.
However, free players can only craft runes up to body runes (using the Runecrafting skill). Also free players are limited in the runes they can find in stores and that can be bought on the Grand Exchange. The two magic stores (in Varrock and Port Sarim) only sell the basic elemental runes, chaos runes, and death runes. The other types of runes can be traded with other players, gotten as drops or spawns, or bought on the Grand Exchange in Varrock.
|Rune||Shop Price||GE Price||Use||Member to runecraft?|
|Air rune||17||30||One of the four elemental runes. Used to cast air missiles. Also used in Ancient Magicks. Can be runecrafted.||No|
|Mind rune||17||18||Used to cast low level curse spells. Can be runecrafted.||No|
|Water rune||17||15||One of the four elemental runes. Used to cast water missiles. Also used in Ancient Magicks. Can be runecrafted.||No|
|Earth rune||17||14||One of the four elemental runes. Used to cast earth missiles. Also used in Ancient Magicks. Can be runecrafted.||No|
|Fire rune||17||68||One of the four elemental runes. Used to cast fire missiles. Also used in Ancient Magicks. Can be runecrafted.||No|
|Body rune||16||43||Used to cast low level curse spells. It is the best rune that can be runecrafted by non-members.||No|
|Cosmic rune||232||423||Used for item enchanting spells (jewellery, crossbow bolts, and orbs). Can be runecrafted, but only after completing the Lost City quest, which is members only.||Yes|
|Chaos rune||140||102||Used to cast low level curse spells. Can be runecrafted, but only by members.||Yes|
|Nature rune||372||427||Used in transmutation spells. For example, low level and high level alchemy, superheat and binding. Can be runecrafted, but only by members.||Yes|
|Law rune||378||489||Used to cast teleportation spells. Can be runecrafted, but only by members.||Yes|
|Death rune||310||132||Used to cast low level Ancient Magicks (rush and burst spells). Can be runecrafted, but only by members after completing Mourning's End Part II. Also used in Slayer Dart.||Yes|
Elemental runes and catalytic runes are given to players who are participating in Fist of Guthix, Dominion Tower, Barbarian Assault, or Stealing Creation. They are substitute for other runes. However they can only be used in combat spells. If a player tries to cast a non-combat spell, he or she will receive a messages saying You did not come here to do that!
|Elemental runes||Can be used instead of elemental runes (air, water, earth, and fire combined).|
|Catalytic runes||Can be used instead of non-elemental runes (mind, chaos, death, blood, body, nature)|
The members-only Lunar spell Stat Spy can be cast in Fist of Guthix, despite not directly affecting combat. These runes cannot be dropped. If they are dropped in the Fist of Guthix waiting room, they will be lost immediately. You will have to exit the waiting room and enter again to get them back.
Only members can use the runes listed below.
|Rune||Shop Price||GE Price||Use|
|Astral rune||220||433||Used to cast the Lunar Spells. Must complete the Lunar Diplomacy quest first. Can be made using the Runecrafting skill.|
|Blood rune||550||686||Used to cast high level Ancient Magicks (blitz and barrage spells). Can be made using the Runecrafting skill after completion of the Legacy of Seergaze quest.|
|Soul rune||410||431||Used to cast high level curse spells, skilling related spells like Crystallise, as well as Tele-other spells. Can be made using the Runecrafting skill after completion of the 'Phite Club quest.|
|Armadyl rune||Not sold||386||The only rune used to cast the spell Storm of Armadyl and released with the Ritual of the Mahjarrat quest. The quest must be completed to use it. It has no other use than the spell. It is also only made with Dust of Armadyl.|
These runes are members only, and act as one of each of their composite runes. To make them, you will need some elemental runes, a talisman of the same element, and an equal amount of pure essence. You must then take these items to the secondary elemental temple, and then use the elemental runes or talisman on that altar. For example, if you wanted to make dust runes, you would bring air runes, pure essence, and an air talisman to the earth altar; alternatively, you could bring earth runes, pure essence, and an earth talisman to the air altar. The talisman will be consumed as the combination runes are made.
Crafting combination runes uses one of the talismans, so it is recommended that one only crafts combination runes of the talismans one has the most of. The Lunar spell Magic Imbue allows a player to craft combination runes without the use of the opposing talisman. Crafting combination runes has a 50% chance of success. A Binding necklace allows 100% success for crafting combination runes 15 times.
|Dust rune||597||Air rune||Earth rune|
|Lava rune||590||Earth rune||Fire rune|
|Mist rune||523||Air rune||Water rune|
|Mud rune||573||Water rune||Earth rune|
|Smoke rune||596||Air rune||Fire rune|
|Steam rune||689||Water rune||Fire rune|
Many monsters drop runes in RuneScape, but some drop more than others. These are some of the more notable monsters that drop runes:
- Level 7 and 20 Dark Wizards south of Varrock, north of the Black Knights' Fortress, and south of Taverley.
- Wizards in the Wizards' Tower south of Draynor Village.
- Infernal Mages in the Slayer Tower.
- Air wizard, Earth wizard, Water wizard, Fire wizard south of Falador.
- Chaos druids in Taverley Dungeon.
- Flesh Crawlers in 2nd floor of the Stronghold of Security drop fire, body, nature and dust runes.
- Moss giants on Crandor and the Moss Giant Island, west of Brimhaven drop Air, Earth, Nature, Law, Chaos, or Cosmic runes occasionally.
- Goblins just South-west of the Grand Exchange.
- Ghostly warriors in the parallel dimension of the magic axe hut in level 55 Wilderness.
- Cockroaches drop many different kinds of runes, mainly air, water, fire, death and law.
- Hill giants drop air runes, nature runes, cosmic runes, fire runes etc.
- Ankou drop law, death, or blood runes, 15 noted pure essence, or 15 rune essence.
- Barbarians drop Earth, Chaos, Law, Mind, or Fire runes occasionally.
- Stone statues in Bandos' throne room drop many dust and earth runes.
- Black Knights in the Black Knight's Fortress
- Lesser demons drop 60 fire runes from time to time.
- Fire giants occasionally drop fire runes.
- Elemental workshop's guardians (Air Elemental, Earth Elemental, Fire Elemental and Water elemental respectively) regularly drop runes.
- Nex will drop up to 6500 blood runes (rare), or 4800 pure essence (common).
- Gargoyle commonly drop 37 or 75 Fire runes, 15 Chaos runes and uncommonly 5 Death runes.
- Spiritual mages commonly drop 20 Soul runes.
You can get runes as a possible reward from Fire spirits. The runes obtained cannot be selected however.
After completing the minigame, players are able to obtain runes for a cheaper price.
Here is a short list of respawn locations of runes throughout RuneScape.
The best place to get rune respawns in F2P is in the Dark Warriors' Fortress. The northernmost room contains respawns of 5 Earth, Water, Air and Fire runes. The room directly west of this contains 5 Chaos, Mind and Body runes. Players should be wary when approaching this area: Although this a good place for a rune spawn, the Wilderness is nevertheless a player-killing zone. It is not usually crowded and can be a good place for low levelled players to gain a few magic levels on the Dark Warriors.
|West of Lumbridge, behind Luthas's house on Karamja Island, Dark Warriors' Fortress, and on the ground floor of Lumbridge Castle next to the northern staircase.|
|Chasm Mines in Al Kharid, Dark Warriors' Fortress.|
|Chasm Mines in Al Kharid, inside Karamja Volcano, in Camelot Castle, and the Dark Warriors' Fortress.|
|North of Varrock, in Varrock Sewers, and Dark Warriors' Fortress.|
|Varrock Castle grounds, Varrock Sewers, in the Al Kharid Scimitar Shop, scattered in Level 6 - 8 Wilderness, Dark Warriors' Fortress and Lava Maze.|
|Southern stairway in Lumbridge Castle, Varrock Sewers, Wilderness, Dark Warriors' Fortress.|
|Levels 36-40 Wilderness, and Dark Warriors Fortress. Two spawns near the Trollweiss patch on the Trollweiss Mountain.|
|South-west of Yanille in the Feldip Hills. Members only.|
|Treasure chest in the Chaos Druid Tower and next to Demonic Ruins in the Wilderness. Members only. A thieving level of 59 is required to open the chest.|
|Ice Plateau in Level 48 Wilderness.|
|Level 45 Wilderness, Treasure Chest in East Ardougne and an island north of Rellekka. A thieving level of 28 is required to open the chest.|
|Carwen Essencebinder Magical Runes Shop||Burthorpe||Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Mind, Body, Chaos, Death||Teleport to the Burthorpe Lodestone and then walk north-east||Free-to-play; elemental stock of 300 runes|
|Betty's Magic Emporium||Port Sarim||Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Mind, Body, Chaos, Death||Teleport to the Port Sarim Lodestone and then walk north||Free-to-play; elemental stock of 300 runes|
|Aubury's Rune Shop||South-east Varrock||Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Mind, Body, Chaos, Death||Teleport to Varrock or to the Varrock Lodestone and then walk to the shop south of the east bank.||Free-to-play; elemental stock of 300 runes|
|Ali's Discount Wares||Al Kharid||All except Astral||Teleport to the Al Kharid Lodestone and then walk north.||Requires The Feud and Rogue Trader mini-game; elemental stock of 300 runes|
|Magic Guild Store - Runes and Staves||Yanille||All except Astral and Cosmic||Use a Teleport to House (with house located in Yanille), Yanille tablet, Watchtower Teleport, Fairy ring ciq or the Yanille Lodestone. Then walk east||66+ Magic required, or 61+ with a magic potion; elemental stock of 1,000 runes|
|Baba Yaga's Magic Shop||Lunar Isle||All except Cosmic||Teleport to the Lunar Isle Lodestone and enter the walking house just to the north.||Must have started the Lunar Diplomacy quest. It also is the only shop in-game that sells Astral runes. Elemental stock of 1,000 runes|
|Void Knight Magic Store||Void Knights' Outpost||Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Mind, Body, Chaos, Death||Use the Port Sarim Lodestone and walk east to the Squire (Void Knights) to travel to the outpost, then walk south-west to the shop.||Elemental stock of 1,000|
|Tutab's Magical Market||Marim (Ape Atoll)||Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Law||Use Teleport to Ape Atoll (requires Freeing King Awowogei), Fairy ring clr (requires Fairy Tale III and a small ninja greegree), or talk to Daero (see Ape Atoll#Getting there).||You must equip any monkey greegree to trade; elemental stock of 1,000 runes|
|Battle Runes||Level 5 Wilderness, north of Edgeville||Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Mind, Chaos, Death, Blood||Use Wilderness sword or Amulet of glory teleport, or Edgeville Lodestone teleport and walk north-east.||Very close to the Grand Exchange. Surrounded by aggressive Skeletons so it can be difficult to trade without the window being automatically closed constantly. Must have completed Abyss Miniquest for increased stock and blood runes. Elemental stock of 1,000 runes after miniquest.|
|Lundail's Arena-side Rune Shop||Level 50-55 Wilderness||All except Astral, Blood and Soul||Use a Wilderness sword or Amulet of glory teleport or Edgeville Lodestone and pull the lever south of Edgeville bank, then walk directly to the east and pull the Mage Arena lever.||Free-to-play. Located in the Mage Arena, a non-wilderness area, but requires passing through parts of deep Wilderness (level 50+); elemental stock of 1,000 runes|
|TzHaar-Mej-Roh's Rune Store||TzHaar City||Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Mind, Chaos, Death||Teleport to the main plaza using TokKul-Zo and walk north-east (requires The Elder Kiln), or teleport to the Port Sarim Lodestone or the Amulet of glory teleport to Musa Point and then walk to the Karamja Volcano to reach the city.||Uses Tokkul as currency. Located north-east of the TzHaar City Main Plaza (north of the city entrance). Elemental stock of 1,000 runes|
|Magic Training Arena Shop||North of Duel Arena||All except Astral, including all Combination runes||Use Ring of duelling or Al Kharid Lodestone, then walk north-east and enter the Mage Training Arena.||Uses Pizazz points as currency; infinite rune stock.|
Worn weapons (outside Daemonheim)
Worn equipment (outside Daemonheim)
|Tome of frost||43,000 Dungeoneering tokens||Water runes||15|
Worn weapons (inside Daemonheim)
All magic weapons (both wands and staves) in Daemonheim have the energy to provide infinite runes of all four elements, except the following which can only provide one type of elemental rune.
- An update fixed a bug in which runes purchased from the Grand Exchange used the image of a pure essence in place of the actual rune in the Grand Exchange collection box.
- On 9 June 2010, the images of runes in the inventory and bank were given a graphical revamp which tilted them to an angle, to make them look more 3D. Rune and pure essence were not included in the update.
- The true size of Runes can been seen in the Runecrafting Guild, whilst a female wizard makes them float in the air. They can also be seen in true size in a Rune display case in a POH.
- Despite the fact that they could be used for combat, runes can be brought into Entrana.
- In the early days of RuneScape, there was a planned life rune which would have been used for a type of magic-based summoning.