Diablo Wiki

Crossover banner.jpg
Diablo wiki on Fandom


Diablo Wiki

Rune Words are a type of item created when specific combinations of runes are inserted into socketed items. When the rune word is completed, it looks much like a unique item with the only notable difference that the runes show if the the player moves the mouse over the inventory image.

The runes must be inserted into the item in the proper order and the item must be a socketed item (meaning it must have a grey name, it doesn't work on unique/set/rare/magic items that also have sockets). The socketed item must also have the exact number of sockets required by the rune word. If these conditions are not met, the rune word will not be created and the player has potentially wasted the runes in question on a useless item. The bonuses that each individual rune confers will still be applied to the item, but the added rune word bonuses will not.

Rune words were introduced in the expansion, Lord of Destruction, and can not be created in classic Diablo II. In addition, some rune words were added to the game after the expansion in either Patch 1.10 or Patch 1.11. The most powerful rune words were almost exclusively added in the 1.10 patch, and so cannot be created unless the game is patched to at least that version. Several of these rune words are ladder only, meaning they can only be created on the closed Battle.net realms with ladder characters normally. To unlock them in singleplayer or over TCP/IP, one can either modify the game files or install a mod to do it such as PlugY.


For example, the Rune Word Ancient's Pledge requires a 3 socketed shield and will not work on any other item even if there are more than 3 sockets. The Runes must be inserted in the proper order:

Inserted in the correct order and in the proper item will grant the shield the following bonuses:

  • +50% Enhanced Defense
  • Cold Resist +43%
  • Fire Resist +48%
  • Lightning Resist +48%
  • Poison Resist +48%
  • 10% Damage Goes To Mana

If the runes are inserted incorrectly, only the inherent bonuses of the three runes will be applied:

  • 35% Fire Resist (Ral)
  • 35% Lightning Resist (Ort)
  • 35% Poison Resist (Tal)

Common Problems

Despite popular belief, Rune Words do not work if the required number of sockets is not equal to the number present on the item. Enigma will only work if the body armor has exactly three sockets.

They also fail to work when the item they are socketed to is not valid. The player cannot have an [Ancient's Pledge Bardiche even if they have all 3 runes and a 3-socketed Bardiche, since Ancient's Pledge is a shield-only Rune Word.

The Runes socketed must also be arranged in the correct order. Otherwise, you will only get the effects of the individual runes without the bonus.

Rune Words only work in non-magical items. You cannot insert a Rune Word into magical, rare, set or unique item. The runes will only confer their regular bonuses, and not the Rune Word bonuses.

Ladder rune words only work on ladder characters on B.net. Any other character, even non-ladder characters, will not be able to create them.

Be careful when using Rune Words formula with the runes Io and Lo, as it's easy to confuse the two at a glance.

Rune Words will not work with Wirt's Leg.

Definitions of Item Types

As Rune Words only work in certain item categories, it's helpful to know exactly what each one means. Listed below are the different categories of items used in Rune Words.

  • Body Armor -- Armor worn on chest
  • Helm -- Armor worn on the head; including Barbarian Helms, Druid Pelts and Circlets
  • Club -- Clubs and exceptional and elite versions
  • Shield -- Any armor used to block; including Necromancer Shrunken Heads and Paladin-specific Shields
  • Hammers -- War Hammer, Maul, Great Maul, and exceptional and elite versions
  • Maces -- Mace, Morning Star, Flail, and exceptional and elite versions
  • Melee Weapons -- Any non-ranged weapon except Sorceress orbs
  • Missile Weapons -- Bows and crossbows
  • Weapons -- Melee Weapons, Missile Weapons, and Sorceress orbs
  • Scepters -- Scepter, Grand Scepter, War Scepter, and exceptional and elite versions