Role-Playing a Rune-Keeper:
As the title suggests, in posting this thread I hope to better develop some basic ideas before role-playing a character of the Rune-Keeper class. My thoughts are primarily based around what makes a Rune-Keeper unique, and how that might lend itself to the identity of a character. In doing this I hope to test the ‘boundaries’ of the lore, without necessarily breaking them. I would like to hear others’ thoughts on the matter.
According to Lotro-Wiki, Rune-Keepers are: “ Mystical linguists and masters of true names. Rune-keepers can heal in one battle and hurl destructive magic in the next. Inspired by Master Elf-smith Celebrimbor, whose skill with runes of power was unparalleled, the Rune-keeper wields powerful lost language to blaze a path of destruction or restore their allies' strength. In lore terms, the Rune-keeper marks the game's first true ‘magic user.’ ” The Rune-Keeper class is then compared to the Lore-master whose function is in “harnessing the traditional powers of nature -- calling down lightning, using water to make foes stick in the mud, or throwing a fireball made from a chemical concoction.” Of Lore-Masters it states that “the class is more of a combat chemist than a true magician.”
It goes on, “The Rune-keeper, on the other hand, actually taps into the primal physics-altering powers of creation through "true names." It's the same kind of power (though to a far, far lesser degree) as that tapped into by powerful elves like Galadriel and Celebrimbor (who serve as the model for the class).”
I am not sure what is meant by calling Lore-Masters ‘combat chemists’, because it seems that Lore-Masters’ skills are no less based on the primal forces of nature (primal physics) than Rune-Keepers’. Also, this term gets me thinking more about crafting vocations and primary professions than it does anything to do with class or skills sets. Incidentally, given Rune-Keepers’ affinity with words and for the power of language, I’m assuming players who are drawn to the Rune-Keeper class tend to choose the Scholar Vocation (alt characters’ crafting considerations aside). Is this a fair estimation? Continuing about the class itself though, might the Rune-Keeper’s abilities be thought of as related to ritual and incantation, if not prayer or calls to Elbereth*, words which draw their power and are spoken in the form of meditative chants? If written languages are based on oral traditions and are tools or symbols even, which point back to the spoken word.. the sound of it even, for me this would describe the basis for any approach to thinking about roleplaying a Rune Keeper. Ideas about creation, light and darkness, and being, might also be brought into that conversation.
*“Calls to Elbereth are repeated as song, poetry, and cries of desperation, directed at the light-giving Star-Queen. Elves (and others, as necessary) turn to the one who brought the light to Middle Earth. As a symbol of hope and sheer goodness, it seems natural that Elbereth would be so important—not only to the Elves—in the fight against Sauron.. Prayer is indeed the last resort more than once during the quest to destroy the Ring. Frodo cries to Elbereth while facing the sheer terror of the Black Riders, and Sam is later bolstered against Shelob by the words of the Elves’ hymn to Elbereth Gilthoniel. It is almost a passive thing, a prayer of supplication which the two Hobbits experience in these darkest moments. Frodo “heard himself crying aloud,” (Bk I, ch. 11) and Sam’s “tongue was loosed and his voice cried in a language which he did not know,” (Bk IV, ch. 10) as if the intervention is provided both against the darkness and in the formation of the prayer itself.. When all else fails, prayer is offered as a final source of comfort, wisdom, and strength—and the potential for actual intervention. The light provides guidance to Sam in the deepest darkness, and it is through the light again that he realizes his own strength.. In the repeated cries to Elbereth, one witnesses again the real importance of light against the darkness of Sauron. Simply her name and the words of a hymn are used for a variety of purposes, ranging from lament to praise and of course supplication depending on the issue at hand.” ~ Source: Prof. Rachel Fulton Brown's “Tolkien: Medieval and Modern” at the University of Chicago, Spring 2011 (http://tolkienmedievalandmodern.blogspot.com/)
There sometimes exists hesitation in accepting the Rune-Keeper as a lore-abiding class, and this seems especially challenging when thinking about role-playing one. Perhaps Rune-Keepers’ skills are taken too literally though. The lightning and fire and what-not that coincide with their abilities to channel the “Powers of Creation” could be understood as being in-game visual elements and cues meant for the player, not unlike other classes’ skills. That being said, perhaps what really makes the Rune-Keeper unique is a deep and disciplined belief structure that stands apart from any of the other classes, except save maybe the Minstrel who uses music. Unlike any of the other classes, the Rune-Keeper uses no weapons.