Runes can be applied to any weapon that possess an open rune slot in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Runes improve the effectiveness of a weapon and can be applied at any weapon modification table. However, runes cannot be applied to armor; and once a rune is applied to a weapon, a rune cannot be removed, only replaced.
A rune's damage effect will change to AoE damage when applied to Dual-Blade Daggers, Greataxes, Greatswords and the Blade of Tidarion which is a unique staff that functions as a greatsword for any mage character.
Elemental rune schematics (fire, frost, lightning and spirit) are found by revealing special glyphs with Veilfire in different locations throughout Ferelden and Orlais, and they are always found in the order of increasing quality. The first glyph revealed will grant the basic rune schematic. The second glyph will grant the Master Rune schematic and the third glyph will grant the Superb Rune schematic. The Superb schematic cannot be found before the other two.
Conversely, non-elemental runes (cleansing, corrupting, demon-slaying and dragon-slaying) can be obtained in any order. The Superb Cleansing Rune schematic, for example, can always be found at the Suledin Keep Merchant regardless of whether the Cleansing Rune or the Master Cleansing Rune has been found.
- The following runes can be applied to staves: spirit, cleansing, corrupting, demon-slaying, and dragon-slaying.
- The following runes can be applied to non-stave weapons: fire, frost, lightning, cleansing, corrupting, demon-slaying, and dragon-slaying.
- Spirit runes require nine pieces of a specific essence to craft, whereas the other runes only require six.