Runes are one of those types of magic which have a feel to them that’s almost inherent. Runes, as a type of magic, simply evoke an older, earthier style of spellcasting than what “modern” spellcasters use. It’s a sort of pictographic language that has an inherent power all its own.
It’s also a form of magic not very well-represented in Pathfinder. Besides the Rune clerical domain, and a handful of spells that rely on symbols, there’s really not much for a rune-centric spellcaster. Does the Genius Guide to Feats of Runic Might, from the Super Geniuses at OtherWorld Creations, fix this? Let’s take a look.
A ten-page PDF, all but one page are devoted to mechanics (that singular page being for the credits and OGL). There’s an overview of how rune feats work before we’re presented with twenty-six new feats. The PDF isn’t bookmarked, but try as I might I can’t really hold this against the Super Geniuses; after the beginning of the book, there’s really no headings or sections that lend themselves to bookmarking. As usual for these products, several pieces of full-color stock art populate the book.
The rune feats themselves get a fair amount of explanation before we’re introduced to them. Beyond telling us about how it’s an older form of universal magic (that is, anyone can use it) it goes into the mechanics with surprising gusto. The number of runic feats you can have, and how many times you can use them, is detailed alongside information such as the Perception DC to see a rune glow when it’s activated. Interestingly, a number of these feats have maximum ability score prerequisites – that is, some can’t be taken if you have, say, a Dexterity score of more than 9. It’s an interesting choice, but can lead to some odd situations…though the fact that you can expressly retrain these feats (swapping them out for other feats) every other level should take some of the sting out of them.
After all of that though, the feats themselves are…not that inspiring. Most have minor spell effects, or otherwise achieve a relatively tiny mechanical bonus. This is, I think, a limitation based on Pathfinder’s inherent mechanics. These feats all have relatively easy prerequisites, so the designers couldn’t afford to have them be very powerful at all. Even with the limits on how many rune feats you can have, and how often you can use them, A feat to blind an enemy for 1 round is hard to make evocative, no matter how much flowery text you dress it up in.
The result is that this is a good product that, unfortunately, feels rather dry. Of course, rather dry for a Genius Guide is still quite impressive by third-party Pathfinder standards, but not compared to the usual Super Genius fare. To be sure, this isn’t a bad product, but it won’t really set your imagination on fire the way a lot of other Genius Guides do.