7 Best Runes for Weapons in Pathfinder RPG

A monstrous troll attacked a village, smashing everything in its path. The survivors of the attack called for a champion to aid them. A day later, a paladin appeared carrying a mighty sword. 

The paladin’s sword was imbued with the power of the gods, and it sliced through the troll’s thick skin like a hot knife through butter. With a single, powerful blow, the troll was defeated.

But what if the paladin had been armed with a different weapon?

Pathfinder players enhance their weapons with the power of eldritch runes. These runes bestow magic powers and allow for player customization.

One of the most important choices you’ll make for your character is what weapon runes to use. In this article, we’ll discuss the best runes for weapons in Pathfinder and provide some tips on where to find them.

Which Runes are Best for Weapons in Pathfinder and Why

During your journey, you might find a magic weapon. These are powerful weapons that obtain their magic from eldritch runes. You can inscribe runes on non-magical weapons to give them special powers.

There are many different runes available, each with its own benefits. So, which ones should you use? 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how to customize your magic items. However, you should use runes that help you build the character you want. 

There are two types of runes: fundamental runes and property runes. You can only have so many property runes on a single weapon, so you’ll need to choose them carefully. If you need help, ask your GM for advice. 

We talked to players and GMs and found some of the best runes for your weapons in Pathfinder. This list is by no means comprehensive. Check in the Core Rulebook for everything rune-related. 

Fundamental Runes

Weapon Potency

With this rune, you’ll be more likely to hit your opponent and deal damage. Etching a weapon potency rune onto your sword, for example, will make it more likely to strike true.

The weapon potency rune is a fundamental rune. All magic weapons have this rune. By upgrading your weapon potency rune to a +2 or more, you’ll be able to increase the weapon’s rune capacity, allowing you to add even more runes and more magical abilities. 


This rune increases the damage dealt by your weapon. It’s a great choice for characters who want to deal as much damage as possible with a single strike.

The striking rune is especially useful for those focused on dealing mighty blows to fell enemies quickly, like fighters who plan to leap into the fray. For example, if you’re up against an opponent with high armor, this rune will help you overcome their defenses.

As a fundamental rune, you can add striking to any magic weapon. 

Property Runes


If you’re using a weapon you can throw, this property rune will cause the weapon to return to you.

The returning rune is a must-have for characters that rely on throwing weapons. You can guarantee that your dagger or handaxe will always come back to you with this rune. 

Even if you can’t catch it, a returning weapon will return to the place where you are standing. Use this rune to ensure your weapon never gets lost or left behind. 


This rune deals cold damage and slows down your opponent.

A frost rune is ideal for characters who want to control the battlefield. With this rune, you can slow down your opponents and make it easier for your allies to take them down.


The speed rune is perfect for characters who want the opportunity to attack multiple times. This rune will allow you to make an extra attack each turn, giving you a significant advantage in combat. 

Use a speed rune to run circles around your opponents. With this rune, you can take down multiple opponents before they have a chance to react.

Ghost Touch

Try using a ghost touch rune if you’re up against an opponent that you can’t seem to hit. The ghost touch rune will enable your weapon to harm creatures that are normally immune to physical damage.

Use this rune to take down tough opponents like ghosts and demons.


With the dancing rune, you can make your weapon dance around you, fighting on its own. Keep your opponents on their toes with this rune.

The dancing rune is good for players who want some extra firepower. With this rune, you can take on several opponents at once and come out on top.

How to Apply Runes to Weapons for the Best Results

Etching a rune is a delicate process and requires special training. Only those trained in Crafting can attempt to etch or transfer an eldritch rune, and you’ll need the formula to do it. 

Remember, you can’t craft an item or rune that has a higher level than your character. So if you’re trying to craft a level 12 rune, your character must be at least level 12. 

The process of etching a rune is a carefully guarded secret. The formula for each rune is different, so you’ll need to gather several to craft a weapon with many runes.

The Benefits of Using Runes on Your Weapons

Runes offer several benefits for those who use them. By increasing the potency or damage of your weapon, you’ll be better equipped to take on whatever challenges come your way.

Runes will also grant you an edge over your foes by allowing you to influence the battle in other ways, like slowing the enemy. With the right combination of runes, you can make your weapons truly fearsome.

Choose your runes wisely, and they may serve you well in combat.

Examples of Weapons with Runes Applied

Many magic weapons exist in Golarion, each with its own unique story. Typically, you’ll refer to an item by the value of its runes. For example, you might have a +1 longsword or a +2 striking flaming longsword.

Here are a few examples of weapons that have had runes applied:

Shifting Sword

A shifting sword can take the form of another weapon. Use it to adapt to any situation. You can overcome the enemy’s defenses by changing your weapon’s form. 

Use a shifting sword to become the ultimate combatant. With this sword, you’ll always have the right tool for the job.

Vorpal Blade

As legend has it, the ferocious Jabberwock was defeated with a vorpal blade. Coveted throughout the world, you can use this weapon to kill anything, or anyone, with a head.

When you roll a critical success with a Vorpal blade, the target must succeed at a DC 37 Fortitude save. If they fail the save, they’ll be decapitated for an instant kill. 

Frost Brand

This level 16 sword is the bane of creatures from the Plane of Fire. The blade is made of icy shards sheathed in a layer of frost. Wielding it will give you 5 points of fire resistance. 

This sword has weapon potency, striking, and frost runes applied to it. Only a skilled blacksmith could forge such a weapon. 

Flame Tongue

A sword that sets foes ablaze, Flame Tongue is perfect for taking down foes who are resistant to normal weapons. Flame Tongue is a +2 greater striking flaming longsword with an ornate brass hilt. The blade is shaped like flickering flames.

These are just a few examples of the many weapons that Pathfinder characters use. By inscribing runes, you can tailor your weapon to fit your specific needs.

Finding and Buying Runes

While it’s possible to craft your own magic weapons, most players will be forced to hand over their hard-earned gold for the privilege of wielding one. 

Here are a few tips on finding and buying magic weapons:

  • Magic weapons can be found for sale in most large cities. Prices will vary depending on the weapon’s type, rarity, and power.
  • You can also find magic weapons as treasures during your adventures. Be on the lookout for secret compartments and hidden rooms – you never know what you might find.
  • Finally, don’t forget to bargain! Many shopkeepers are willing to haggle over the price of their wares.
  • Be careful when buying weapons from strangers. It’s always possible that you’ll end up with a fake or cursed item. 

With these tips in mind, you should have no trouble finding the perfect weapon for your character. So get out there and start adventuring!

Fighting for Survival

Pathfinders use weapons enhanced with runes to give them an edge in battle. There are many different runes that can be applied, each with its own advantages.

By increasing the potency or damage of your weapon, you’ll be better equipped to take on whatever challenges come your way.