Ever since we began our journey on Tutorial Island, we’ve been casting magic spells with these things called runes. During the tutorial, we were given some air and mind runes to Air Strike the chickens back to Lumbridge. Upon our arrival on Gielinor, we "borrowed" runes from the Magic tutor until eventually we were able to buy them from the Grand Exchange... unless you’re an ironman, then you actually had to use Runecrafting to get your runes. So, as a skill in the game, Runecrafting is our main source of obtaining runes. But lorewise, that wasn’t always the case. How did the human race actually obtain the power of using magic and runes?
As almost everything, it all began with the Elde… Guthix of course. As you all know, Guthix was the first god to visit Gielinor. Here he found some magical object called the Stone of Jas. Guthix felt like Gielinor was so beautiful, that he wanted other races to live here in peace. So, he brought the humans, dwarves, elves, fairies, gnomes and all the other races we all know and love. Okay, maybe some of the demons came a bit later with other gods. Upon their arrival, Guthix had a brilliant idea to use the Stone of Jas to create runes. He donated those runes to the humans and some of the other races. One can only wonder how much Runecrafting Guthix had done with the Stone of Jas, just to get enough runes for everyone. But as you can already guess, these runes eventually become scarce. Powerful mages fought each other over the runes, the winner taking all of the loser’s runes.
During the Second Age, the first runecrafter arrived. The Fremennik Seer V, or hero as he likes to call himself, found the Stone of Jas in the mines on Lunar Isle. He realised that the rocks close to the stone had become what we now call Rune Essence. After some studying, he learnt that these stones had the capability of absorbing magical elements. In order to create these runes, V and his followers created the runecrafting altars. These were positioned in places where the altar was most attuned to their corresponding element. An example of this is the Cosmic altar on Zanaris: since Zanaris is Gielinor’s moon, the cosmic energy on Zanaris is very present. As we know from the Lunar Diplomacy quest, the Fremennik didn’t like magic stuff, so V and his followers isolated themselves on Lunar Isle and created the Moon Clan. Thanks to this isolation, the craft of creating runes remained a secret to the outside world.
Fast forward to the God Wars in the Third Age. If you thought runes were scarce before, it was even worse at this point. The huge war that kept Gielinor busy drained all of the remaining runes from the people, until at the start of the Fourth Age, magic was lost to all those that required runes to perform magic, outside of the Moon Clan of course. At the start of the Fifth Age, new Rune Essence mines were found in the cold far north. The mines were very difficult to reach, so it was still hard to obtain Rune Essence. Still, when they realised how the altars spread around Gielinor worked, the Wizards' Tower was built. Here, four factions worked together to study the runes and their magic. Eventually, the Red Order apprentice figured out a way to teleport. Sadly for him, he wasn’t careful enough with his idea, and the Grey Order stole his idea. During the ritual required to unlock teleportation, the Blue Order found out that a Zamorakian demon was necessary as an anchor and that teleportation went through the Abyssal plane. The Saradominist Blue Order broke off the ritual and an oopsie occurred. The First Wizard Tower burned down and only the Blue and Red Order’s apprentices survived. The Blue Order’s apprentice Perien built a new tower and became its first Archmage. He blamed the First Tower’s destruction on the Red Order and banned them from entering the new tower. Perien and his followers worked on a new version of the teleportation spell, specifically one that would teleport to the Rune Essence mine. This spell was successful and very important, as the long and difficult trek to the Rune Essence mine in the north was no longer needed. Eventually, this knowledge became more public, and we’ve come to the point where anyone with a pickaxe can get the Rune Essence for themselves. This marked the beginning of the Runecrafting skill.
As the runes represent elements, it’s not weird that there’s a fire, air, water and earth rune. But as we all know, Runescape has plenty of different runes. For example, the nature rune altar found on Karamja seems to represent Guthix, the law rune altar found on the Saradominist island Entrana represents Saradomin, and finally the Chaos rune altar found in the devastated Wilderness represents Zamorak. Even Armadyl has his own rune, but weirdly enough, they're just called Armadyl runes. The other (non combination) runes represent the human body, cosmic energy, and astral energy.
So, there it is. The origin of runes again shows how greedy humans always have and will be when it comes to resources.
The next in the RuneScape 20th Anniversary quest miniseries came out this week, where we are chasing down Sliske... 's assistant, who is super envious of us being the hero and is doing everything she can to either sabotage it or make it into her own reality. In the previous quest, she fooled us into switching identities with her, making us appear as her and her appear as us. Which she in retrospect, she could've done so much more with then she actually did. She never touched my kingdom at Miscellania, my bank account remained intact, and I still have my Player Owned House dragon army. Instead, she saw fit to just hang out at the Blue Moon Inn the entire time and brag with poorly recalled stories of our past quest deeds and bask in false glory.
... so you can tell that she's really going to screw us over if we leave her to her devices.
The way the quests are structured, it feels like they are trying to bring back memories of old quests and their characters. We got to see and interact with some old favorites like Elvarg, Count Draynor, and Delrith from the times of RuneScape Classic, which also still exist as beginner quests to this day. To players who have been around for a long period of time, it feels like a pretty epic callback to the roots of their questing story, and to newer ones... well, maybe just a little reminder that there are two sides to every story. Elvarg has feelings too. Even if he ended an entire island community.
Now, we've got the second in the series called Flashback. Rather than steal your identity, Relomia has... technically... stolen the identities of a few other characters on Gielinor. Folks you are quite affiliated with, by the sounds of it. This was getting me a bit excited; would I get to see Hazelmere again? Maybe Zanik? How about Hannibus? Nah, I'm thinking too recent; it's gotta be characters like Hans, Bob the Axe Seller... maybe even some characters I barely interacted with that definitely need some extra dialog, like Ernest or Morgan le Feye.
... nah, we get Ozan, Merlin, and Ava. Did a couple quests with them. Good fun.
I mean, while I'll admit I was a little disappointed at this selection, I cannot fault the folks at Jagex. They did star in some pretty good quests, and I get what they were kinda going for. Merlin's Crystal was a classic in the days of RuneScape Classic, Ava's Accumulator quest was pretty memorable for its sheer absurdity in the RuneScape 2 days when we had to contend with the hardships, and Ozan's Quest really defined the break into NXT and 3D with its incredible parkour section.
It had something for everyone. Even if it was spread pretty thin.
The quest sees us replaying short, but pivotal moments in the quests themselves. The Assassin's Creed callback in Ozan's, the shattering of Merlin's crystal, and our... um... delivery of an undead chicken to Ava. I mean, that wouldn't have been my first pick for an RuneScape 2 quest; Rune Mysteries could've been a viable contender because of it redefining how magic, a core combat skill, worked in RuneScape.
For a quest itself, it's incredibly straightforward. There are no new assets; we do a little running around and confrontations, then the flashbacks in slightly tweaked areas with minimal extra graphical assets. Probably was made in a week due to how simply it played out.
And that's good. A quick little update to breathe in some life and get a story progressing. That's vital for RuneScape as a game because of how heavily story-oriented it is. We continue to play it because it's constantly updating with new content and new stories to justify said content. That keeps it so interesting. Even having to wait a month to hear Vicendithas offers that drive to want to know what happens next. A book whose pages turn when it wants to, but you know that eventually they will in the near future.
This questline is a celebration for RuneScape's 20th birthday party, and despite being a little bit on the weak side quest-wise, it's still a fantastic idea, and I'm looking very forward to seeing how the series concludes. I just hope that, at some point, the Champion's Guild gets involved, because all those ages ago, it was "the" guild to be in at one point.
Until next time,
Once Upon a Time continues with the next chapter, Flashback. We visit Ava, Ozan, and some Draziw’s on our way to a leads Q&A. Mods Warden and Liam take stock of where we’re at and where we’re going in April. Then, we answer your questions.
We celebrate the Spring Festival with butterflies, free XP for buyables, and cosmetics. Locked out players begin to make their returns with a goodwill bundle. We also review Pi-Mas combat fixes and theorize on everyone’s April wishes.
It’s a quiet week but nonetheless we have something for you. We’re re-releasing our Monthly Bit from January looking back at 20 Years of RuneScape history. We’ll also tackle a listener question and run through your achievements.