On this page you’ll find information about Runes, including information about upgrading Runes, farming runes, how to remove Runes from a socketed item, and a list of every Rune in the game and the effects each one provides when socketed.
Runes are a category of socketable items you can find, and at a glance, they seem fairly similar in function to [Gems]. Both count as “normal” items inasmuch as they’re not affected by Magic Find - they’re not magical items, the only way to farm them is to get more drops from pretty much any source. Once found, their primary function is to be inserted into socketed items, where they give a set, stated bonus - a popular early game use of runes, for example, is to insert Tir runes into socketed items, where they’ll provide “+2 to Mana after each Kill”.
Some of the mods Runes can add to socketed items can prove fairly helpful. We already mentioned how Tir can ease the Mana woes of early-game characters, Ist adds “+30% Better Chance of Finding Magical Items” (assuming it’s socketed in a weapon), Ber grants “Damage Reduced by 8%” when socketed in armor and helmets, and so forth. Like Gems, the bonuses gained from Runes can vary depending on what gear it’s socketed into, so keep an eye on that before dropping a Rune in something.
Since Runes aren’t magical items, items with “Better Chance of Finding Magical Item” will not increase their drop rate. Unfortunately, they count as “normal” items, meaning the only way to get more runes is to get more drops - volume farming. Your best bet is to find areas packed with normal enemies and kill as many as you can, as fast as you can. Opening chests can also yield runes, of course. [The Secret Cow Level], the [Flayer Jungle] or just about any area with high enemy density is your best bet for farming via kill volume, while [Lower Kurast] runs can also yield runes by plundering some regularly-spawning chests.
Both of these routes, however, are invariably tedious, and it’s often not a good idea to farm any one thing in Diablo 2, lest you get burnt out… especially since the drop rates for some of these runes can take thousands of runs and tens of thousands of kills.
Unlike Gems, Runes do not come in lesser and higher qualities inasmuch as there is no chipped Tir rune or flawless Tir rune, for example. Nonetheless, Runes can still be “upgraded” via the [Horadric Cube] by combining several (either three or two, depending on the type of Rune - all but the lowest-tier Rune also require a Gem of varying type and quality) of the same type of Rune, which will then upgrade it to one Rune of the next in the hierarchy of runes. This hierarchy is mostly determined by order-of-upgrade, but generally higher Lv runes are higher up on the hierarchy. Three El runes (Lv11) yield an Eld, three Eld (Lv11) runes transmute into a Tir, and three Tir runes (Lv13) combine to form a Nef, all the way up to the stupendously rare Zod rune (Lv69). There are 33 different types of Runes in total.
Removing Runes from Socketed Items
The good news is, if you make a mistake while socketing a Rune or Gem into an item, you can remove said Runes and Gems via the following [Horadric Cube] recipe:
1x Hel Rune + Scroll of Town Portal + Socketed Item
Put those things - and only those things - in the Horadric Cube in any order and hit the transmute button to remove any socketed Runes and Gems. Sadly, this will destroy the Runes/Gems, but it will recover the base item.
List of Runewords
|El||11||Weapon: +50 Attack Rating, +1 Light Radius; Armor/Helmet/Shield: +15 Defense, +1 Light Radius||–|
|Eld||11||Weapon: +75% Damage to Undead, +50 Attack Rating against Undead; Armor/Helmet: 15% Slower Stamina Drain; Shield: +7% Increased Chance of Blocking||El + El + El|
|Tir||13||All: +2 Mana After Each Kill||Eld + Eld + Eld|
|Nef||13||Weapon: Knockback; Armor/Helmet/Shield: +30 Defense vs. Missile||Tir + Tir + Tir|
|Eth||15||Weapon: -25% to Target Defense; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Regenerate Mana 15%||Nef + Nef + Nef|
|Ith||15||Weapon: +9 to Maximum Damage; Armor/Helmet/Shield: 15% Damage Taken Goes to Mana||Eth + Eth + Eth|
|Tal||17||Weapon: +75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds; Armor/Helmet: Poison Resist 30%; Shield: Poison Resist 35%||Ith + Ith + Ith|
|Ral||19||Weapon: Adds 5-30 Fire Damage; Armor/Helmet: Fire Resist 30%; Shield: Fire Resist 35%||Tal + Tal + Tal|
|Ort||21||Weapon: Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage; Armor/Helmet: Lightning Resist 30%; Shield: Lightning Resist 35%||Ral + Ral + Ral|
|Thul||23||Weapon: Adds 3-14 Cold Damage; Armor/Helmet: Cold Resist 30%; Shield: Cold Resist 35%||Ort + Ort + Ort|
|Amn||25||Weapon: 7% Life Stolen Per Hit; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Attacker Takes Damage of 14||Thul + Thul + Thul + Chipped Topaz|
|Sol||27||Weapon: +9 to Minimum Damage; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Damage Reduced by 7||Amn + Amn + Amn + Chipped Amethyst|
|Shael||29||Weapon: +20% Increased Attack Speed; Armor/Helmet: 20% Faster Hit Recovery; Shield: 20% Faster Block Rate.||Sol + Sol + Sol + Chipped Sapphire|
|Dol||31||Weapon: Hit Causes Monster to Flee 25%; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Replenish Life +7||Shael + Shael + Shael + Chipped Ruby|
|Hel||–||Weapon: Requirements -20%; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Requirements -15%||Dol + Dol + Dol + Chipped Emerald|
|Io||35||All: +10 to Vitality||Hel + Hel + Hel + Chipped Diamond|
|Lum||37||All: +10 to Energy||Io + Io + Io + Flawed Topaz|
|Ko||39||All: +10 to Dexterity||Lum + Lum + Lum + Flawed Amethyst|
|Fal||41||All: +10 to Strength||Ko + Ko + Ko + Flawed Sapphire|
|Lem||43||Weapon: 75% Extra Gold From Monsters; Armor/Helmet/Shield: 50% Extra Gold From Monsters||Fal + Fal + Fal + Flawed Ruby|
|Pul||45||Weapon: +75% Damage to Demons, +100 Attack Rating Against Demons; Armor/Helmet/Shield: +30% Enhanced Defense||Lem + Lem + Lem + Flawed Emerald|
|Um||47||Weapon: 25% Chance of Open Wound; Armor/Helmet: All Resistances +15; Shield: All Resistances +22||Pul + Pul + Flawed Diamond|
|Mal||49||Weapon: Prevent Monster Heal; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Magic Damage Reduced by 7||Um + Um + Topaz|
|Ist||51||Weapon: 30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items; Armor/Helmet/Shield: 25% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items||Mal + Mal + Amethyst|
|Gul||53||Weapon: 20% Bonus to Attack Rating; Armor/Helmet/Shield: 5% to Maximum Poison Resist||Ist + Ist + Sapphire|
|Vex||55||Weapon: 7% Mana Stolen Per Hit; Armor/Helmet/Shield: 5% to Maximum Fire Resist||Gul + Gul + Ruby|
|Ohm||57||Weapon: +50% Enhance Damage; Armor/Helmet/Shield: 5% to Maximum Cold Resist||Vex + Vex + Emerald|
|Lo||59||Weapon: 20% Deadly Strike; Armor/Helmet/Shield: 5% to Maximum Lightning Resist||Ohm + Ohm + Diamond|
|Sur||61||Weapon: Hit Blinds Target; Armor/Helmet: Maximum Mana 5%; Shield: +50 to Mana||Lo + Lo + Flawless Topaz|
|Ber||63||Weapon: 20% Chance of Crushing Blow; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Damage Reduced by 8%||Sur + Sur + Flawless Amethyst|
|Jah||65||Weapon: Ignore Target’s Defense; Armor/Helmet Increase Maximum LIfe 5%; Shield: +50 Life||Ber + Ber + Flawless Sapphire|
|Cham||67||Weapon: Freeze Target +3; Armor/Helmet/Shield: Cannot Be Frozen||Jah + Jah + Flawless Ruby|
|Zod||69||All: Indestructible||Cham + Cham + Flawless Emerald|