The 33 Runes in Diablo 2 are socketable items which, similar to Gems, can be put into Socketed items to provide additional properties on the item (see table below). Additionally, they have a number of other uses, which make them worthwhile to collect.


  • Can be placed in any socketed item to provide the Stat in accordance to the item slot of the Base Item.
  • Can be removed from a socketed item with Hel Rune + Scroll of Town Portal.
  • Can be upgraded (see upgrade section below).
  • The required Level of the Rune overwrites the item's Level requirement if it is higher.


Runewords are a special breed of items. In order to create a Runeword you have to put Runes into a specific base item in a specific order. The base item gains and provide the Properties from the socketed Runes, as well as a set of additional Affixes. The additional Affixes can have fixed or variable values, which makes "perfect" Runewords a sought after commodity. Please find a full list in the Runewords post.
In the example to the right, you can see the Spirit Runeword. This Runeword is created by putting the following Runes into a Shield or Sword in that order:

  • Tal Rune
  • Thul Rune
  • Ort Rune
  • Amn Rune


Another breed of special items are those created through Crafting. To create a Crafted Item, you have to put in a specific set of items into the Horadric Cube and click "Transmute". This action consumes the items placed in the Horadric Cube and create a new item which uses the same base item used in the recipe, has some guaranteed Stats and receives up to 4 additional Affixes. Please find a full list of all Crafting recipes in the Crafted Items post.
In the example you can see a "Caster Amulet" which requires the following ingredients:

  • Amulet
  • Jewel
  • Ral Rune
  • Perfect Amethyst

Horadric Cube Recipes

Numerous recipes for the Horadric Cube can create powerful and sought after outcomes for items. Among others, the recipe to upgrade Unique Weapons to a higher Base Item is used quite frequently to increase the power dramatically. To upgrade a Ribcracker you need to place the Unique, a Lum Rune, a Pul Rune, and a Perfect Emerald into the Horadric Cube and click "Transmute". This turns an Exceptional Base Item Unique into the same Unique on the Elite Base Item.


A very common use for Runes is trading in Multiplayer. Due to the rarity of the Mid-High Runes and their numerous uses, they are considered valuable and therefore a worthwhile currency:

  • Runes from El Rune - Fal Rune are considered "Low Runes". Most of them have close to no value, however, some Runes in this range are frequently used for Runewords or Crafting and can become valuable in the right combinations and quantity. In these combinations, they can be traded for Mid to High Runes. Examples are:
    • Crafted Caster Amulets: Ral Rune + Perfect Amethyst
    • So-called "Spirit sets": Tal Rune + Thul Rune + Ort Rune + Amn Rune + Hel Rune
  • Runes from Lem Rune - Gul Rune are considered "Mid-Runes" and are commonly used for smaller trades.
  • Runes from Vex Rune - Zod Rune are considered "High Runes" and have a varying value for trading which depends on their usefulness. A Ber Rune has the highest value among all Runes.

Farming Runes

There are several ways on how to farm Runes. From farming The Countess over rushing Characters for the Hellforge Quest to the farming of high player count areas which contain monsters with a particularly favorable drop tables.

The Countess

She has an extra Rune drop, allowing her to drop 0-4 Runes beyond the regular item drop. A low Player Count increases the chance for Runes to drop. Farming her is especially effective in Hell, as she can drop up to a Ist Rune on a fairly regular basis. In addition to that, she also drops the Key of Terror which is required for the Ubers.

DifficultyRegular DropBonus Rune Drop
NormalEl Rune - Ral RuneEl Rune - Ral Rune
NightmareEl Rune - Ko RuneEl Rune - Io Rune
HellEl Rune - Lo RuneEl Rune - Ist Rune

Hellforge Quest

The Hellforge Quest is a unique way of acquiring Runes. To use this method efficiently, you need 7 friends and a Character that is capable of rushing a full game of fresh Characters. The goal is to rush all these 7 Characters to Hell Act 4 and completing the Hellforge (Quest 2) in Nightmare and Hell. IMPORTANT: You have to do them individually in order to get the Rune reward for each of them. If multiple Characters complete this quest in a game, only 1 Rune drops! The Hellforge drops a Rune from a range of Runes with equal drop chances:

  • Normal: El Rune - Sol Rune
  • Nightmare: Sol Rune - Um Rune
  • Hell: Hel Rune - Gul Rune

Lower Kurast

Another very good, but rather repetitive way of farming Runes are the so-called Lower Kurast or "LK" runs. This method is effective in games with high Player Counts or with /players 7 in Single Player. You can find up to Ber Rune from all the clickables in Lower Kurast. A special house and torch pattern, which contain 3 super chests that drop a lot more items on average. This setup can spawn up to 2 times in Lower Kurast and is especially lucrative in Single Player where the map is not randomized.

Arcane Sanctuary / Chaos Sanctuary

These areas are particularly good to farm at high Player Counts on Multi- or Single Player. They contain Specters (Arcane Sanctuary) and Storm Casters (Chaos Sanctuary) which have an increased chance of dropping Runes, up to Zod Rune. Make sure to gather these ghost type monsters and kill them above platforms. Otherwise, they don't drop any items. In addition to the Specters, you also have 3 super chests on each of the directions that don't lead to The Summoner. Also... The Summoner can drop the Key of Hate which is required for the Ubers.


More of a niche method to farm Runes is in Travincal. You simply travel to Travincal and execute the High Council, including all of their minions. They drop more items than regular monsters and are capable of dropping up to a Cham Rune. Barbarians are especially effective for this method with find item.

Runes and their Properties

El Rune+50 Attack Rating
+1 Light Radius
+15 Defense
+1 Light Radius
Eld Rune+75% Damage to Undead
+50 to Attack Rating against Undead
15% Slower Stamina Drain7% Increased Chance of Blocking
Tir Rune+2 Mana after each Kill
Nef RuneKnockback+30 Defense vs. Missile
Eth Rune-25% Target DefenseRegenerate Mana 15%
Ith Rune+9 to Maximum Damage15% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
Tal Rune+75 Poison Damage over 5 secondsPoison Resist +30% Poison Resist +35%
Ral RuneAdds 5-30 Fire DamageFire Resist +30% Fire Resist +35%
Ort RuneAdds 1-50 Lightning DamageLightning Resist +30% Lightning Resist +35%
Thul RuneAdds 3-14 Cold DamageCold Resist +30% Cold Resist +35%
Amn Rune7% Life stolen per hitAttacker Takes Damage of 14
Sol Rune+9 to Minimum DamageDamage Reduced by 7
Shael Rune+20% Increased Attack Speed+20% Faster Hit Recovery+20% Faster Block Rate
Dol RuneHit Causes Monster to Flee 25%Replenish Life +7
Hel RuneRequirements -20%Requirements -15%
Io Rune+10 to Vitality
Lum Rune+10 to Energy
Ko Rune+10 to Dexterity
Fal Rune+10 to Strength
Lem Rune75% Extra Gold from Monsters50% Extra Gold from Monsters
Pul Rune+75% Damage to Demons
+100 Attack Rating against Demons
+30% Enhanced Defense
Um Rune25% Chance of Open WoundsAll Resistances +15All Resistances +22
Mal RunePrevent Monster HealMagic Damage Reduced by 7
Ist Rune30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items
Gul Rune20% Bonus to Attack Rating+5% to Maximum Poison Resist
Vex Rune7% Mana stolen per hit+5% to Maximum Fire Resist
Ohm Rune+50% Enhanced Damage+5% to Maximum Cold Resist
Lo Rune20% Deadly Strike+5% to Maximum Lightning Resist
Sur RuneHit Blinds TargetIncrease Maximum Mana 5%+50 to Mana
Ber Rune20% Chance of Crushing BlowDamage Reduced by 8%
Jah RuneIgnores Target's DefenseIncreased Maximum Life 5%+50 to Life
Cham RuneFreezes target +3Cannot Be Frozen
Zod RuneIndestructible

Upgrading Runes

Rune+Gem=Upgraded Rune
3x El Rune=Eld Rune
3x Eld Rune=Tir Rune
3x Tir Rune=Nef Rune
3x Nef Rune=Eth Rune
3x Eth Rune=Ith Rune
3x Ith Rune=Tal Rune
3x Tal Rune=Ral Rune
3x Ral Rune=Ort Rune
3x Ort Rune=Thul Rune
3x Thul Rune+Chipped Topaz=Amn Rune
3x Amn Rune+Chipped Amethyst=Sol Rune
3x Sol Rune+Chipped Sapphire=Shael Rune
3x Shael Rune+Chipped Ruby=Dol Rune
3x Dol Rune+Chipped Emerald=Hel Rune
3x Hel Rune+Chipped Diamond=Io Rune
3x Io Rune+Flawed Topaz=Lum Rune
3x Lum Rune+Flawed Amethyst=Ko Rune
3x Ko Rune+Flawed Sapphire=Fal Rune
3x Fal Rune+Flawed Ruby=Lem Rune
3x Lem Rune+Flawed Emerald=Pul Rune
2x Pul Rune+Flawed Diamond=Um Rune
2x Um Rune+Topaz=Mal Rune
2x Mal Rune+Amethyst=Ist Rune
2x Ist Rune+Sapphire=Gul Rune
2x Gul Rune+Ruby=Vex Rune
2x Vex Rune+Emerald=Ohm Rune
2x Ohm Rune+Diamond=Lo Rune
2x Lo Rune+Flawless Topaz=Sur Rune
2x Sur Rune+Flawless Amethyst=Ber Rune
2x Ber Rune+Flawless Sapphire=Jah Rune
2x Jah Rune+Flawless Ruby=Cham Rune
2x Cham Rune+Flawless Emerald=Zod Rune


Written by Teo1904
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi