When you kill an Uruk Captain or Warchief (or rather, when one dies, you don’t need to actually do the killing) they will drop a Rune. Runes can be added to weapons, which can have one to five Rune slots each, depending on how many upgrades you’ve purchased. Runes modify how Abilities work, causing them to deal more damage, charge faster, last longer, or recover Health/Focus/Elf-Shot when performing certain Abilities. Simply put, they’re good things.
Rune drops are mostly random, but there are some things you can do to affect what you get. First, the level of the Rune dropped is equal to the Power Rating of the Uruk killed, with bonuses for various factors:
|Condition||Effect on Rune Level|
|Uruk's Power Rating||Base Level of Rune|
|Uruk is a Warchief||+2|
|Intel Gained on Uruk||+1|
|Death Threat Sent to Uruk||+1|
So, the Power Rating of the Uruk directly translates to the base level of the Rune. The Rune will also be two levels higher if the Uruk slain was a Warchief, and one level higher if you gained Intel on them, exploited a Fear/Hatred (not a vulnerability), if the Uruk killed you previously, and if you sent a Death Threat to them. This effectively makes 26 the max level of Runes, but a level 25 Rune will get you the Trophy/Achievement "A Mighty Boon". The higher the level of the Rune, the more potent its variable effect.
Of course, this only applies to normal Runes. Epic Runes are another matter, entirely. Epic Runes are not variable (they don’t have a level), and they typically have unique effects, which on the whole makes them more useful than normal Runes. Rarely, Epic Runes can drop from Uruk Captains, but they more frequently drop if a Captain has recieved a Death Threat, or if the Uruk slain is a Warchief. A Warchief who has recieved a Death Threat is almost guaranteed to drop an Epic Rune. Epic Runes are finite-once you’ve obtained them all, they’ll stop dropping.
Reduces the Focus depletion rate by 50% - NOTE: Does not stack with another "Ascendant" rune.
Aura of Dismay
25% (+1% per level) Chance unaware Uruks near a headshot kill will flee.
25% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +4 Elf-Shot on a Drain or Brand.
Bow Master (Epic)
Increases bow damage by 50%.
Explosive Demise (Epic)
20% Chance an area blast will happen around a charged bow headshot on Uruks or Ghuls.
Fell Handed (Epic)
A heashot kill recharges the Flame of Azkar at double the normal rate.
Fire Storm (Epic)
Adds a powerful blast to Fire Arrow.
Increases the bow distract range by 50%.
All weapon damage increased by 25% (+1% per level) while riding a monster.
Recover 25% (+1% per level) Focus for killing with the bow from stealth.
Knight of Eregion (Epic)
Recover +1 Elf-Shot on Shadow Strike kills.
10% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +2 Elf-Shot on any kill while riding a monster.
25% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +5 Health on bow kills.
River of Arrows
1% (per level) Chance to recover one Elf-Shot after firing the bow.
25% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +30 Focus for a headshot kill.
Stand Fast (Epic)
Increases all bow damage by 100% when Talion’s Health is below 25%.
The Black Arrow (Epic)
Recover +5 health on headshot kills.
25% (+3% per level) Focus after immobilizing an enemy with the Pin in Place ability.
Will of the West
25% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +10 Health on a headshot kill.
Recover 25% (+1% per level) Focus on any Shadow Strike move.
Wrath of the Eldar (Epic)
Increases the duration of the Flame of Azkar by +10 seconds.
Recover +2 Elf-Shot for a head explosion kill.
Bane of Mordor (Epic)
Increase the duration of the Shadow of Acharn by +10 seconds.
Bare as Bones
25% (+1% per level) Chance to get an automatic Critical Strike on the first hit in a Hit Streak chain.
Breath of Light
Recover 10% (+1% per level) Health on a stealth kill.
Bright Fury (Epic)
10% Chance to stun enemies near a Throwing Daggers or Brace of Daggers hit.
25% (+3% per level) Chance to recover +50 Focus on a head exposion kill.
25% (+3% per level) Chance to terrify more than two Uruks on a Brutalize kill.
Favor of the Lady
Recover 10% (+1% per level) Health when completing a Drain or Brand.
Fell Voices (Epic)
Recover all Focus and all Health for killing a Captain or Warchief.
Forge of War (Epic)
Recover +4 Elf-Shot for each Drain or Brand.
Harbinger of Doom
25% (+3% per level) Chance to recover +50 Health for each Drain from above or Brand from above.
Heart of Mearas (Epic)
Doubles Elven Swiftness speed burst duration.
Hunter’s Instinct (Epic)
Increase the range of Attract.
Lure of Power (Epic)
33% Chance any enemy near a Stealth Brand target will also be branded.
A stealth kill recharges the Shadow of Acharn at double the normal rate.
One With Nature (Epic)
Immune to poison - NOTE: Does not stack with the other "One With Nature" rune.
Orc Hunter (Epic)
Brutalize stealth kills cause additional terror.
Rule Through Fear
Recover 25% (+3% per level) Focus on a stealth kill.
Stinging Blade (Epic)
Recover +50 Health on a stealth kill.
10% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +5 Elf-Shot from a Brutalize kill.
To the Death
Recover 25% (+3% per level) Focus for grab shank kills.
25% (+3% per level) Chance to recover +25 Health on a head explosion kill.
Increases all weapon damage by 10% (+1% per level) when hitting an enemy from behind.
25% (+3% per level) to recover full Health when Hit Streak reaches 30.
Blade of Gondolin (Epic)
Combat finishers recharge the Storm of Urfael at double the normal rate.
Bones of the Earth (Epic)
Recover +3 Elf-Shot on a Flurry Kill.
Burning Pitch (Epic)
15% Chance to ignite enemies on a Counter (Triangle).
Cold as Stone (Epic)
Increases stun and knockdown durations on Countered enemies by 50%.
Defiant to the End (Epic)
Never surrender as you gain an additional Last Chance to return to the fray in combat against Uruks.
Dread Visage (Epic)
33% Chance to cause an Uruk’s head to explode when they are killed by Wraith Flash or Wraith Burn.
Drive them Back (Epic)
Countering enemies restores +3 Health.
Elven Grace (Epic)
50% Chance to reduce melee damage received by 50% - NOTE: Does not stack with another "Elven Grace" rune.
Recover full Focus when the Hit Streak becomes charged.
Foe Hammer (Epic)
Recover +2 Elf-Shot on combat Execution kills.
Glorious Charge (Epic)
20% chance to deal 10x damage on a Shoulder Charge.
1% (per level) defense versus ranged attacks.
Hidden Power (Epic)
Increases duration of Last Chance.
Know No Pain
10% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +5 Health on any kill.
Life or Death (Epic)
Recover +10 Health on combat Execution kills.
Mighty Rage (Epic)
Increases the stun and knockdown durations on melee attacks.
Power of the Earth
Recovers 25% (+3% per level) Focus on a ground execution.
Quick to Anger
10% (+1% per level) Chance to recover +5 Health on each Critical Strike.
Increases the Storm of Urfael duration by 10 seconds.
Increases melee damage by 10% (+1% per level) at mid Hit Streak ranges (15 to 29).
Recover 25% (+3% per level) Focus on a Flurry Kill.
Stand and Fight (Epic)
Increases all sword damage by 100% when Talion’s Health is below 25%.
Strength from Courage
Recover 1% (per level) Health on a Flurry Kill.
Storm of Battle (Epic)
Increases all sword damage by 50%.
The Bright Host (Epic)
Recover +1 Elf-Shot for each Wraith Flash kill.
The End Comes (Epic)
Uruks’ heads will explode on Wraith Blast kills.
The Undying (Epic)
Recover all Focus and Elf-Shot on any Last Chance success.
Tower of Defense (Epic)
Increases Hit Streak Reset Time +10 seconds.
Increases melee damage by 10% (+1% per level) at High Hit Streak ranger (30+).
Wrath and Ruin (Epic)
Increases the stun and knockdown durations on Wraith Flash.