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Rune FAQ

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This is a full Rune FAQ for everything related to runes. What they are, how to find or make them, what a runeword is etc. Check the rune list for all runes, or the rune category for all articles relating to the subject.

What are the most common errors in making a RuneWord?

Most players have gotten the hang of runewords by now, but we saw a lot of errors in the early days/months after Diablo II's release. Of those mistakes, 99% were:

Do RuneWords work in single player or over Open

Yes, for the most part. In v1.10 and later, some runewords were added that only worked for characters on the ladders; not on the open realms. Some of these ladder-only runewords work for single player, but not all. See the full listing for more details.

Do RuneWords work on Mercs?

Yes, they do work on mercenaries. There were some bugs with this in early versions of D2X, but they're long since fixed.

Does +Magic Find gear work to find more or better Runes?

No, +MF% doesn't make more Runes or higher quality Runes drop. It doesn't hurt your odds either. Playing in games with more players is the best way to find more runes, since monsters drop more of all types of items in larger games. You can read more about rune hunting here.

How do I make a RuneWord?

To make a runeword, you must be sure you follow all of these steps exactly:

  1. The item must be a low quality, normal, or superior normal item. The name should be in grey. You can not use Set, Unique, Rare, or Magical items, even if they have the correct number of sockets!
  2. The item must be of the correct type. If the recipe says "swords only" it means it! Maces, axes, etc won't work.
  3. The item must have exactly the correct number of sockets. This means no more and no less than the number of Runes. You can't put a three-socket RuneWord into a 5 socket item, it won't work, you'll just get the bonuses from the individual Runes.
  4. You must insert the Runes in the correct sequence.
  5. You must use a recipe that works for the realm, ladder, or single player mode, depending on which you are playing.

Can I personalize a Runic Item?

Yes, via the quest reward in Act Five. Personalized Runewords now display correctly in all gold, but in some earlier versions of D2X they showed up in odd mixed colors. See it here.

Can I make a RuneWord in Wirt's Leg?

No. Wirt's Leg is classified as a special item, and will gain bonuses from socketed runes, but will not turn into a runeword. Example here.

Can I make a RuneWord from an Ethereal Item?

Yes, and it will keep the Ethereal property, greatly boosting the damage or defense of the item. This can be very useful for mercenary weapons or armor, since the durability will not run out. A few runewords include invulnerability or repairs over time bonuses, and they can be good choices for ethereal items too. Example here.

Do items with inherent bonuses keep them once they become RuneWords?

Yes, as long as the item is a normal item with bonus skills, and not a magical item. The items allowed are wands, staves, scepters, and all seven types of the class specific items.

These are the best types of items to use for RuneWords, since they keep their inherent bonuses, and stack them with the RuneWord bonus. You can get huge bonuses to individual skills this way, such as the wand Runeword White. The various Paladin shields are very popular choices for Runewords as well, thanks to the substantial damage or resistance bonuses such shields may be found with. For example, here's Ancient's Pledge made in a Paladin Shield, or this Leaf staff with huge skill bonuses.

What's a "Runic Item"?

A term for an item with a RuneWord combo in it. Once you get a three-socket shield and stick RalOrtTal into it, you have a Runic Item. This term was the official one created by Blizzard North, but it's largely fallen from common use over time.

Are RuneWords better in Superior Items?

Yes, the bonus to durability or defense or damage from an item being Superior is preserved with the RuneWord bonuses once it becomes a Runic Item.

Can I make a RuneWord out of a magical or Unique, Set, Rare, Crafted, or Magical items?

No, items must be normal or superior socketed items, (grey colored-text names) to make a RuneWord from them. You can find or make the socketed items with the socket-adding quest in Act Five. Note that some Uniques and all the items in the Griswold's Legacy Set have two or more sockets in them as inherent properties, but none of these can become a runeword. Neither can magical or rare items with two or more sockets.

Is there any way to take a Rune or Runes out of a socket?

Not prior to v1.10. In later versions there is a Horadric Cube recipe (Hel rune + scroll of town portal) that will empty the sockets in an item, though the runes (or jewels, or gems) in the sockets are destroyed in the process.

Can I make two RuneWords in the same item?

No, RuneWords can only be made in an item with the exact number of sockets the recipe calls for. If you try to put two two-rune recipes into one four-socket item, you'll just get the bonuses for the 4 runes.

Can I socket a Runic Item and add another RuneWord to it?

No, there's no way to add sockets to a Runeword. Even if there were, it would still be a magical-type item and ineligible for a further runeword bonus.