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:
- 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.
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.
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.
|Difficulty||Regular Drop||Bonus Rune Drop|
|Normal||El Rune - Ral Rune||El Rune - Ral Rune|
|Nightmare||El Rune - Ko Rune||El Rune - Io Rune|
|Hell||El Rune - Lo Rune||El Rune - Ist Rune|
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
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.
Written by Teo1904
Reviewed by MacroBioBoi