- "The Runesmiths you see, they're a rare breed now, and getting rarer. And the magic, that's going too. Only the Runelords, the venerable ones with a good five hundred years under their belt, only they can try to make really powerful runes these days..."
- —Durgrim Redmane, Hammerer.[2a]
Runesmiths work spells with their hammercraft, binding the Winds of Magic into mighty runes of power. They are a suspicious lot and jealously protect the secrets kept in their anvils and hammers, guarding the knowledge that allows them to make magic items — weapons, armour, rings and talismans — of greater potency than items wrought by any other mortal race upon the world.
The ancient Guild of Runesmiths is one of the oldest and most respected institutions in all of Karaz Ankor. According to legend, its origins stretch back to the days of Grungni, the great Ancestor God of Mining, Master of the Forge and Lord of the Runes. The Runesmiths Guild claims descent from Grungni’s son. For this reason, the Runesmiths sometimes refer to themselves as the Clan of Thungni, although they are not the only clan to claim descent from Grungni or his many sons.[1a]
The number of Runesmiths is not very great, and those remaining are related to each other, often in some very remote fashion. Each carries on his direct family’s traditions, learning the craftsmanship of blending magic and metal together by use of mighty runes of power. Runesmiths are ancient and powerful individuals. At the very least they will have endured hundreds of years of harsh apprenticeship under the demanding eye and unforgiving hand of their forebear. Older Runesmiths will have survived hundreds of years of further toil, centuries of beating runes from hot metal, and decades of searching out old secrets in the depths of lost Dwarf strongholds. As a result, it is hard to imagine a tougher or more cantankerous Dwarf.[1a]
In battle, Runesmiths aid their side by dampening enemy magic - earthing spells harmlessly before they can wreak havoc amongst the Dwarfs. They do this in the same manner as they capture the Winds of Magic to forge magic items, and they often bring along rune-covered talismans to aid in this endeavour. Many Runesmiths bear weapons and armour of their own crafting, and they are eager to show their comrades exactly how effective they can be. Whether by some gift of Grungni, or perhaps as a side effect of centuries of beating magical runes into white-hot metal, when a Runesmith feels the rage of battle, his weapons, and those of friendly forces around him, begin to glow and radiate heat as if remembering the forgefires from which they were created. This aura of power has proven effective in helping blades penetrate the armour or toughened hides of any foe.[1a]
In times of great need, the most powerful Runelords will bring an Anvil of Doom to battle. The Anvils of Doom are the most ancient heirlooms of the entire Dwarf race. They are the very anvils upon which the rune weapons of legend were forged, and were, perhaps, the very creations of the great forgefather Grungni. The anvils are especially made to attract and hold the Winds of Magic, arcane powers which can be captured and subsequently unleashed by a Runelord. Separate runes struck in the right order can call upon the different Ancestor Gods — Valaya for loyalty, Grungni to boost the power of arms and armour, and Grimnir to unlock the energies of fury.[1a]