The Diablo 2 Wiki
The Diablo 2 Wiki archive is available for anyone looking for information on Diablo 2. All information here is pre-D2R but contains a lot of useful information that is still relevant. Updated sections for new D2R features can be found on the PureDiablo Diablo 2 section


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Diablo II Items [e]
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Rune Group

Runes are small objects that, like gems and jewels, have no function until they are socketed into an item.

How to use a Rune

Runes add different properties to shields or armor vs. weapons, and sometimes shields and armor differ as well. See the full runes listing here. Runes can be upgraded; 2 or 3 of one type, plus a particular gem type/quality, can be combined in the Horadric Cube to upgrade to the next higher level rune. Runes are most powerful when combined into special runewords, so be sure you check the recipes for those.

R-sol.gifR-shae.gifR-dol.gifR-hel.gifR-io po.gifR-lum.gifR-ko.gifR-fal.gifR-lem.gifR-pul.gifR-um.gif


Runewords Nav

This is where Runes really become awesome. A "RuneWord" is the term for an item that has been socketed with special Runes in the correct order. Runewords can only be fashioned in regular (gray name, 'normal') socketed items, with the precise number of sockets required for that recipe. No more and no less.

The majority of the most powerful weapons and armor in the game are runewords, though they can be difficult to obtain, since the powerful ones require very scarce, high level runes. In addition to the runes, a suitable item must be found to create the runeword in. It makes no sense to create a high damage runeword in a weapon with a low base damage, so expert players search long and hard for just the right item with just the right number of sockets, while working to store up the runes they'll need to fill them. Runewords offer all the individual bonuses of all the runes used, and in addition usually add several other bonuses. For example, any runeword containing the rune "Zod" will have the indestructible trait, along with other bonuses of the particular runeword. Runeword items may also be reset to the original unsocketed item state via a cube recipe (Runeword + Hel rune + scroll of town portal) removing all the runes, and destroying the runes in the process. Once a rune is placed into an item, it is impossible to get it back, so it is best to make sure the runes are placed in the right order, and the right weapon/armor class is used.

Diablo II Rune Item Generation

Runes are not like gems, they are not dropped in equal amounts, they are more like items. There are common runes, and there are runes that you'll find once in your character's life, if that often. Runes drop pretty regularly, you'll often find several a game, but only the common ones. The less common runes are very hard to find, and the rarest of them all are virtually imaginary. On or in multiplayer games, you will have a better chance of finding more runes if there are more players present in a game, as the number of players in a game increases the total items dropped.

So how do Runes generate? A quick overview of how the game decides which items to drop when is needed.

  • When you kill a monster, the game picks a treasure class based on the monster's level (Mlvl).
  • A random roll takes place, and the game either drops an item from that treasure class, drops nothing, or goes down to a lower treasure class.
  • Once in the next lower treasure class it can again drop an item from that treasure class, drop nothing, or move to the next lower treasure class.
  • It will continue calculating what to drop until selected an item, or selecting to drop nothing at all.

Here's a quick list of comparative Rune scarcity. These figures change with balances in each patch, and they've grown much longer since these numbers, which were accurate for v1.07, when D2X was first released. In v1.11 the curve is much longer; you'll find far, far more of each level rune than you will the next higher level. With latest patch release v1.13 the drop rate for runes Um and above has been increased even further, by roughly three times that of previous versions.

El = 144,238
Eld = 96,159
Tir = 69,209
Nef = 46,139
Eth = 43,530
Ith = 29,020
Tal = 32,998
Ral = 21,999
Ort = 21,133
Thul = 14,088
Amn = 11,822
Sol = 7881
Shael = 6028
Dol = 4019
Hel = 2899
Io/Po = 1933
Lum = 1343
Ko = 895
Fal = 606
Lem = 404
Pul = 267
Um = 178
Mal = 115
Ist = 77
Gul = 48
Vex = 32
Ohm = 19
Lo = 13
Sur = 7.2
Ber = 4.8
Jah = 2.4
Cham = 1.6
Zod = 1

Further Information

You can find out more of the essential information about rune in one of these articles:

  • Rune FAQ - All your questions about runes are answered here.
  • Rune list - All the runes in the game, and how you can create a Zod rune from a fourteen trillion Els.
  • Runewords - Get help to create runewords.
  • Sockets - Get to know more about the socket mechanic.

Diablo 3 Runes

Diablo 1 Runes

Trivia (Rune History)

What do you really know about runes? The ones from our world comes from the ancient Vikings, and their "futhark" (equivalence of our 'Alpha Bet(a)'). They allegedly hold magic powers, and the magicks of the 'runa' are still practised today. These practices, called "Seden", are of course done mostly as a pastime, but some forms of the old runes were used in proper form as late as early 20th century in the 'Dalarna' area of Sweden...

In Sanctuary however, runes are definitely magically inscribed symbols that will grant (sufficiently prepared) items magical properties. For sages of these runes, magical RuneWords can be created to remake a mundane item into a Runic Item, with powers competing with magical artefacts.

Besides the fact that these supposedly ancient runes hold great and mystic powers, we know little about them. Who created them or how they are created is unknown. They seem to attract demons of different kinds, as they are often found on their corpses. If the runes are of demonic origin is not known either. They could have been the simple writing language of the first inhabitants of Sanctuary, who themselves were more powerful than Demons or Angels. Whatever the origin, they are of great use to heroes wishing to dethrone Diablo or Baal.