Runes are one of the two upgrades you can equip on your character in the game Rogue Legacy. These items, only available after you unlock the Enchantress castle upgrade can increase your stats, give you new ways of moving, or change your interactions with enemies. Runes aren’t immediately available after you unlock the Enchantress. First you have to find them in Fairy Chests and then you have to buy them. There are a total of 11 different types of runes and each one is attached to one of five locations on your character’s body. This means there are 55 total runes to find in the game. It doesn’t matter where you equip the rune, but having multiple of the same type allows you to get the benefits multiple times. The following guide to runes in Rogue Legacy will help you decide which ones to prioritize in both purchasing and equipping.
Sprint Rune (A) – This is one of the two most vital runes in the game. When equipped, you can make a quick dash either right or left while in the air. This dash can even be in the opposite direction you are currently facing. You can only dash once per rune equipped until you touch ground again. If you get one, you should equip it right away, because it makes many Fairy Chest Challenges easier and is absolutely essential for certain ones, like the “No Jumping” challenge and the “No Looking Challenge”. Besides helping you gain additional runes, it is very good for avoiding spikes during normal castle exploration.
Vault Rune (A+) – This rune is essentially critical at all times, unless you have a lot of Air Runes. It allows you to jump while in the air. For each rune you have, you can jump once while in the air until you touch ground again. While this is generally useful for exploring, it is absolutely critical in most boss battles, as the only way to avoid many attacks and projectiles. Without this rune, you pretty much have to have extraordinary health and regenerative abilities to possibly get through most boss battles and you can just about forget ever complete a “Take No Damage” Fairy Chest Challenge.
Bounty Rune (B) – This rune is never bad, but almost never a top choice either. Each Bounty Rune increases the gold you get from a gold coin by 10%. While extra gold is nice, the small bonus won’t actually matter in the majority of situations. A few of these will add up quickly, but that means you aren’t equipping more useful runes.
Siphon Rune (B+) – This rune is either incredibly good or nearly worthless. For each Siphon Rune you have, you gain 2 mana points when you defeat an enemy. For a spell casting class, this is excellent, especially for the Archmage. But for any melee combat class this is pretty much a waste, since you shouldn’t be relying on your spells.
Retaliation Rune (C+) – The problem with this rune is simple. You need to take damage for it to be useful. Unless you have some means of regenerating health, you don’t want to take damage. But if you can regenerate health and you have a lot of health, a few Retaliation Runes can be incredibly exciting. For each rune equipped, an enemy takes 50% of the damage it dealt to you. That adds up quickly with two or three equipped. Barbarians should especially consider this rune.
Grace Rune (C-) – The Grace Rune is one of the weaker runes in the game, because you rarely benefit much from weakening enemies. For each rune equipped, enemies get weaker and give less gold. This can be nice if you are just a little too weak to deal with enemies in your current area, but usually this just means you get less gold for no meaningful benefit.
Balance Rune (A+) – This rune sits besides Vault Rune as one of the best runes in the game. Every time you kill an enemy, you gain 1 mana point and 1 hit point for each rune equipped. One of those two boosts is good for every character and recovering both means you can keep using your special abilities and not die. It may be just splitting the difference between Siphon Rune and Vampire Rune, but you generally want both benefits rather than just one.
Curse Rune (A-) – The Curse Rune is the opposite of the Grace Rune. Each equipped rune makes enemies harder, but also makes them drop more gold. Just like with the Grace Rune, the change in enemy difficulty is unlikely to meaningfully affect your play, while the extra gold will be useful. Occasionally you will make enemies too tough, so you need to watch out for that, but one of these runes is usually good for any build.
Vampire Rune (A) – The Vampire Rune grants you 2 hit points each time slay an enemy. Since running out of hit points is how you die, this benefit is always helpful. The one downside of this rune is that it won’t do anything to help you kill a tough enemy, just keep you alive longer to keep trying. This is the reason that the Balance Rune is generally preferable to a Vampire Rune.
Air Rune (A) – The Air Rune grants you ½ a second of flight when you activate it. That is a very short amount of time, so unless you have at least two equipped, you aren’t getting a lot out of this rune. It is helpful for some of the tougher Fairy Chest challenges and against some bosses, but the main benefit is maneuvering through some of the more difficult parts of the dungeon. A Vault Rune is overall more effective, but this grants flexibility that no other rune quite matches.
Haste Rune (D+) – Your character already moves fast enough that you probably have trouble controlling your movement. But if you have managed to master the controls and you are having difficulty evading the attacks of some bosses, this is a good choice of runes. It also is good in combination with Air Runes when you are trying to maximize flying time and don’t have additional Air Runes.