Rune Words are specific combinations of runes that grant specific socketed items several new magical properties. They were introduced in the Diablo II expansion, Lord of Destruction. Rune Words do not make a comeback in Diablo III. When a Rune Word is made, the item's name is changed to the Rune Word's name. It appears in gold text, like Unique items.

Rune Words keep the original properties of the socketed item. They do not work on socketed unique, magic, or rare items even if they have the required number of sockets, meaning players can only make Rune Words from items which have black-colored names. When runes are not inserted into an item properly (in correct order), the item will only gain bonuses from the inserted individual runes. Players must also have the right patch for Rune Words to work.

Mostly, effect of a Rune Word combines the normal effect of runes (even augments them), plus several other properties, which effectively turn the socketed item into a Unique Item, keeping the base attributes of the original item.

For example, the Rune Word Ancient's Pledge requires a 3 socketed shield and will not work on any other item even if there are more than 3 sockets. The Runes must be inserted in the right order -

  1. Ral
  2. Ort
  3. Tal

Doing so will grant the shield all of these bonuses:

  • +50% Enhanced Defense
  • Cold Resist +43%
  • Fire Resist +48%
  • Lightning Resist +48%
  • Poison Resist +48%
  • 10% Damage Goes To Mana

All players are able to complete this Rune Word after they complete the Act 5 Second Quest.

Definitions of Item Types

  • Body Armor -- Armor worn on chest
  • Helm -- Armor worn on the head; including Barbarian Helms, Druid Pelts and Circlets
  • Club -- Clubs and exceptional and elite versions
  • Shield -- Any armor used to block; including Necromancer Shrunken Heads and Paladin-specific Shields
  • Hammers -- War Hammer, Maul, Great Maul, and exceptional and elite versions
  • Maces -- Mace, Morning Star, Flail, and exceptional and elite versions
  • Melee Weapons -- Any non-ranged weapon (Sorceress orbs are not considered melee weapons)
  • Missile Weapons -- Bows and crossbows
  • Weapons -- Melee Weapons, Missile Weapons, and Sorceress orbs
  • Scepters -- Scepter, Grand Scepter, War Scepter, and exceptional and elite versions

Important notes

Rune Words do not work if the required number of sockets is not equal to the number present on the item. If this were so, then it could be possible that multiple runewords could be socketed in the same item, possibly making it overpowered.

They also fail to work when the item they are socketed to is not valid. The player cannot have an Ancient's Pledge Bardiche even if they have all 3 runes and a 3-socketed Bardiche. The player must use a shield for this rune word.

The Runes socketed must also be arranged in the correct order. Otherwise you will only get the effects of the individual runes without the bonus.

Rune Words won't work in Mechanic's, Artisan's and Jeweler's items. These items have sockets for magical reasons. Rune Words don't work on magical, rare, set and unique items, only on normal socketed items. For some rune words, finding the right socketable item can prove even more challenging than obtaining the specified runes.

You can still have a Rune Word item with bonuses other than those provided by the Rune Word itself. This exception works in non-magical Class-specific Items which sometimes have additional attributes linked to them. Rune Words added to such items with the correct number of sockets and no magical attributes will provide stacking bonuses with the original bonuses. This is common with staves, wands, and scepters, but Paladin Shields, Necromancer Shrunken Heads, Druid Pelts, and Barbarian Helms will work as well, provided they are not socketed via a magical prefix.

Maces doesn't mean all Mace class Weapons. When a Mace is called for in a Rune Word recipe, you can use a Mace, Morning Star, Flail and Exceptional/Elite versions. Likewise, Hammers means a War Hammer, Maul, Great Maul, or their Exceptional/Elite Versions, and Clubs means a Club or a Spiked Club, and their Exceptional/Elite Versions.

Be careful when using Rune Words formula with the runes Io and Lo... make sure you use the right rune.

Rune Words will not work with Wirt's Leg. It's not very effective as a weapon anyway.

See also

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