Suikoden which is one of the many revolutionary JRPG series has many unique aspects. The fact you can recruit 108 different characters is astounding. Not only that, but the majority of them are playable and unique. You get the chance to play a bunch of different mini-games like Chinchiron. Suikoden provides a great and unique world and story experience. There are plenty more positives, but the one thing that ties everything together is the 27 True Runes. So I am going to tell you what the 27 True Runes are or at least the ones we know. **Warning – Contains Potential Spoilers**
History of the True Runes
According to Suikoden Wiki, Suikoden’s True Runes possess a unique power in comparison to their ordinary counterparts. They have ties with the universe and are engaged in an eternal struggle of chaos versus order. They often use humanity as their means to bring about their will. The history of the True Runes is said to go like this:
- In the beginning, there was “darkness.”Then finally, the “darkness” shed a “tear.”
- From that “tear,” the brother’s Sword and Shield were born.
- Sword bragged that he can cut anything. Shield replied that he could protect anything.
- Then the brothers began a legendary battle for seven days and seven nights.
- At the end, Sword cut Shield and Shield smashed Sword.
- Sword became the sky, Shield became the earth, and the sparks from the battle became the stars.
- And the jewels that adorn Sword and Shield Became the True Runes–
- The runes that all other runes were born from.
These True Runes are the essential backbone of the Suikoden universe. In its essence, each rune emanates god-like powers, but with a major caveat that runes have their own will or agenda. It’s no surprise that True Runes’ immense power attracts people from all walks of life. This includes regular folk, secret organizations, and royalty constantly seeking out these powerful items out. True Runes are a cause of most of the conflict in the Suikoden franchise. Powers between the True Runes are often similar to the struggles within and between different nations. In addition to conflicts, True Runes also fuel the majority of all the stories and lore of Suikoden.
Rune of Beginning
The Rune of Beginning is a True Rune representing the “initial chaos of birth” inherent in times of creation, according to Suikoden Wiki. You will always find this True Rune separated into two parts which are known as the Bright Shield and Black Sword runes. These rune bearers are bound by the rune’s power to fight against each other until only one survives to win the other one. You will get this feel while playing Suikoden 2 especially as the story unfolds. No one is certain whether the Black Sword and Bright Shield are the same “sword” and “shield” from the legends of creation. Also, no one knows what exact power the Rune of Beginning bears. It is said that the rune grants its owner the power to “judge war.”
Suikoden 2’s story and history are based on the Rune of Beginning and its Bright Shield and Black Sword components. Han Cunningham and Genkaku previously held the runes. They were friends that were destined to fight each other and they did representing the nations they were from. If you fast forward to the events of Suikoden 2 the hero Riou and his best friend Jowy would repeat history. Both would have one of these and eventually end up fighting each other to the end of the game. If you get the “good ending” they both continue to be the bearers of these parts of the Rune of Beginning. The Bight Shield is mostly defensive magic like healing while the Black Sword is mostly for attacking magic. Makes sense as the symbols are Sword and Shield.
The next true rune we are going to talk about is the Beast Rune. You truly get to experience this one toward the end of Suikoden 2. This rune represents animalistic rage and passion. According to Suikosource, it has been officially said that the High Priest Sasarai gave it to the Blight family as a gift. Truly it was because the Beast Tune refused to be contained in Harmonia. As the True Runes have a mind of their own to a point like I mentioned before Omnipotent brings. The rune as I said has immense power and ended up taking residence inside L’Renouille according to its own will. All this was super secret and it ended up being used in a political agenda.
It laid dormant and quiet until the most evil person in any game I have played, Luca Blight, took an interest in it. He literally killed his father as well as many others throughout his life. Luca Blight realized how the Beast Rune could be used as a weapon of war. He managed to sacrifice mass quantities of blood to awaken the various “relatives of the Beast Rune.” These Golden Wolves confused the Allied Forces when they took Muse because the city was filled with them. During the siege on L’Renouille, the Beast Rune took the form of the Silver Wolf and challenged the Allied Forces to a final bout. After it was defeated, it is unknown what happened to the Beast Rune.
Rune of Change
Suikosource described the Rune of Change representing the change that affects all in the universe. Unfortunately, this is one of the True Runes we don’t know much about. The power and its whereabouts all remain a mystery. What legend tells us is that the Leader of the Sindar supposedly holds this rune. The Sindar remains a complete mystery in the Suikoden world. They are a group of people that remain a mystery leaving behind ruins and intriguing many characters along the way.
Characters like Killey, Lorelai, Zweig, and others throughout the Suikoden series are always looking for answers about the Sindar. Some like Alex are even in search of their treasure. Some believe the Sindar are forced to move place from to place, because of the ruin. This is part of a curse and the Sindars finally found their “eternal city” after their eternal wander.
Suikoden’s Moon Rune represents compassion and destruction as per Suikoden Wiki. This True Rune also turns its bearer into a vampire. A bearer must find a way to gain mastery over its powers or the runes curse of dominating the bearer’s mind will take over. The Moon Rune has been held in Blue Moon Village for many years. Neclord would eventually steal the rune. But Sierra Mikain would recapture the True Rune back and continue to be its current bearer. When Sierra Mikain originally attained the Moon Rune, she ended up going on a massive killing rampage. She would eventually retreat into the forest to keep herself from harming others. Sierra eventually gained mastery and was able to tap into powers of compassion and control her urges. This would lead to the creation of the Blue Moon Village.
This is where Sierra lived with others who had cast their pasts away, such as Rean Penenberg and Neclord. Eventually, she removed the Moon Rune from herself and placed it on an altar at the center of the village. One day Neclord was overtaken by the lust for power and stole the Moon Rune then fled. He robbed immortality from villagers other than Sierra. Some of the villagers managed to flee and maintain their immortality by sucking the blood of others. Although Sierra lost physical possession of the Moon Rune, the rune still recognized her as its master. Thus, when Sierra caught up with Neclord, she was able to command the rune to obey her and deactivate itself. Neclord had used the Moon Rune during the Dunan Unification War to take over Tinto. The Moon Runes power requires the blood of over 100 people.
When it comes to the Circle Rune, it is a True Rune that represents order and stagnation according to Suikosource. Not much is known about this rune or its current bearer. The Holy Kingdom of Harmonia is named after this rune’s power of bringing peace and harmony. Which you could say kind of seems like the opposite of the Rune of Change. Hikusaak the only bearer that we know would clone himself creating Luc and Sasarai.
This was because a person can only bear one True Rune at a time. Many scholars argue that the power of stagnation has become more prevalent in recent times. The Holy Kingdom is said to have stalled due to this fact. The High Priest Hikusaak, its bearer, has also been rumored missing since Solis 230, causing a civil war. Due to all of these events, no one really knows where or what happened to Hikusaak or the Circle Rune.
According to Suikosource, the Dragon Rune enables dragons to exist in the world of Suikoden. Most of your experiences with this True Rune are in Suikoden 1. This True Tune also grants the power to control dragons. This rune is possessed by the current leader of the dragon knights Milia. Joshua Levenheit the former leader also possessed the Dragon Rune for over 2 centuries and used it in the first game. The leader of the Dragon Knights is always the bearer of this True Rune.
Next up we have an interesting True Rune known as the Night Rune. Suikoden Wiki, describes this True Rune as a representation of the “power of the night.” This rune allows “creatures of the night,” such as zombies, skeletons, and vampires to exist. There is an argument over the nature of this rune due to the Zodiac Sword’s claim that he is a “manifestation” of the Night Rune. Other sources state that the Night Rune is merely attached to its hilt. It is also known that the Zodiac Sword used to be another entity entirely, that had some past relations with Sierra Mikain. You can just think how the Night Rune and Moon could react to each other.
The Night Rune also gives the Zodiac Sword the ability to destroy “creatures of the night”, even vampires. Viktor would claim possession of the Zodiac Sword and use it to defeat Neclord. Eventually, he would pass it along to Edge for “safekeeping.” No one truly knows whether Viktor or Edge actually aged while using the Zodiac Sword. So this doesn’t serve as proof of whether the Zodiac Sword “is” the Night Rune. The Zodiac Sword itself is a legendary sword, never rusting, which makes one wonder if “immortality” even applies to inanimate objects. Conversations between the sword and Viktor can be quite amusing.
According to the Suikoden Wiki, Suikoden’s Gate Rune is a True Rune that is currently split in halves into the Back and Front Gate Runes. Leknaat had the Back Gate Rune with her sister Windy having the Front Gate Rune. It is a True Rune with the power to connect worlds. You can get the feel for this just by the name “Gate Rune.” Belonging to the Gate Rune Clan, this rune has been protected for centuries.
Unfortunately, the clan was destroyed by invading Harmonians in Solis 78. The two sisters, Windy and Leknaat (In the Gate Rune Clan, all members were considered siblings), separated the Gate Rune into two halves and teleported away. The Gate Rune was unheard of for centuries but surfaced during the “Gate Rune Wars” when the Liberation Army fought against the Scarlet Moon Empire which was controlled by Windy. Thanks to this True Rune the Blue Gate Rune (my personal favorite rune) was born.
Back Gate Rune
The Back Gate Rune is one of the halves of the Gate Rune, separated by Windy and Leknaat. The Suikoden Wiki says that after Leknaat teleported away from the destruction of her clan, she eventually escaped to the Magician’s Isle. She would create powerful wards to protect herself from anyone who wished to take her Back Gate Rune. Throughout the series, she would appear from time to time to speak to and sort of offer guidance to the hero.
Ironically, her sister Windy ended up becoming her biggest threat. During the final battle of the Gate Rune Wars (Suikoden 1), Leknaat used her Back Gate Rune to send Windy’s monster troops back to the “World of Emptiness.” She wasn’t strong enough on her own to do this, so Josh Levenheit helped with his Dragon Rune. After the events of Suikoden 3 the whereabouts of this rune and the bearer are unknown.
Front Gate Rune
The Front Gate Rune is one of the halves of the Gate Rune, separated by Windy and Leknaat. Once again the Suikoden Wiki says that Windy teleported away from the destruction of her clan, she searched for more power to seek revenge against the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia. Over time Windy would become very power-hungry wanting to gain control of more True Runes. Knowing that one person could only wield one True Rune, she researched ways to attach two True Runes to herself. Windy would eventually start searching for more True Runes. She would enlist the help of other True Rune Bearers, Yuber, and Neclord. Windy scoured the lands in search of True Runes. This is really ironic because she is doing the same thing Harmonia did to her clan to gain True Runes.
Eventually, she would end up finding the bearer of the Soul Eater, Ted. Windy would eventually attack Ted and try to take it from him. She would ultimately fail as Ted would pass the rune off to Tir McDohl. Her unyielding wish to gain the Rune of Life and Death indirectly caused the Gate Rune Wars. In the final army battle, Windy would use her Front Gate Rune to summon 80,000 monster troops from the “World of Emptiness.” Unfortunately for her, her monster troops were sent back by Leknaat and Joshua Levenheit bearer of the Dragon Rune. In the end, she is said to have died when Barbarossa jumped and fell from the balcony of his “Floating Garden,” taking her along. Since then, the rune has been missing, suggesting that Windy may still be alive.
According to Suikosource the True Rune known as the “Rune of Life and Death” is called the Soul Eater. The Soul Eater represents two inevitabilities life and death. This rune has devastating powers and an equally devastating curse. The rune is prone to bend the fate of people close to its bearer so they can get killed allowing the rune to eat their souls. Quite a few tragic deaths are experienced in the first game because of this rune. The Soul Eater was kept by the Village of the Hidden Rune until Solis 150. This is when Windy along with Yuber and Neclord, destroyed the Village. You actually get to see these events unfold in Suikoden 1.
Ted’s Grandpa would pass the rune to Ted, so Ted and you can escape the village in the first game. After receiving the Soul Eater Ted has since wandered the world for many years. Eventually, worn down by the rune’s curse and the social exclusion that it brought, Ted accepted the offer of the mysterious Fog Ship Guide to hand over the rune. This would then allow Ted to disappear from the world. His exile lasted years, but when he saw the actions of the bearer of the Rune of Punishment, Ted decided to leave the Fog Ship and return to the outside world.
Escalation with the Soul Eater
Unfortunately, the Fog Ship Guide was unwilling to part with the Soul Eater. It battled Ted and Lazlo (hero of Suikoden 4), for possession of it and the Rune of Punishment. Following the Guide’s defeat Ted would reclaim the rune and join the bearer of the Rune of Punishment in the war between the Island Nations and Kooluk. Finally, after the conflict was over Ted returned to a solo nomadic life. After his wandering, he befriended the son of General Teo McDohl, Tir McDohl. Suikoden 4 chronologically takes place before the events of Suikoden 1.
After Windy realized that Ted bore the Soul Eater, she would seek out and attack Ted. Barely escaping with his life, Ted would beg Tir to become the next bearer of the Soul Eater, which he accepted. Suikosource continues to say that from that point onwards, the rune bent the fate of those around Tir and dragged them into the clutches of death, starting with Odessa Silverberg, then with Gremio, Teo McDohl, and even its ex-bearer, Ted. It is uncertain whether having one’s soul sucked by the Soul Eater means death, as the spirits of those who have died live on within the bearer of the Soul Eater.
The True Rune known as the Eightfold Rune is one of the more mysterious True Runes of the Suikoden world. No one truly knows what the powers are of the Eightfold Rune yet. Yuber who is also kind of mysterious is the current bearer of this rune. According to Suikosource, many scholars argue that Yuber’s affinity with monsters like summoning and the power of teleportation is derived from this rune. Although no one is completely certain about this information. Yuber is always disappearing and reappearing wherever he pleases in history. For example, he is part of the first game and a big part in the third Suikoden as well. He is always being hunted by another very mysterious figure in Pesmerga.
Rune of Punishment
The Suikoden Wiki says that the Rune of Punishment governs Atonement and Forgiveness. This True Rune is considered to be the most cursed of them all. It feeds off of its own host’s life each time they use its awesome power. As such, the Rune of Punishment goes through bearers rather quickly. When this rune is used to its full extent, the owner turns to ash and their memories are locked away in the Rune. When one user dies it jumps to the next closest host. You might wonder, but what about the immortality factor of the True Runes? No bearer lives long enough for that to come into play. When its magic is used it’s usually at the cost of some of the hero’s (Lazlo) health.
If you recruit the 108 Stars of Destiny though the Rune of Punishment will move into the “forgiveness phase.” This means that the rune will no longer drain the life of Lazlo. It is said that the bearer vanished from the pages of history, knowing full well that his death would see the cycle of death and destruction start over again. Would like to mention a lot of this game takes place on a boat. Suikoden 4 is the first game in chronological order and you have a chance to see Ted. The Rune of Punishment is one of the more interesting True Runes of the Suikoden world.
Suikosource states that the Sovereign Rune is a True Rune representing absolute rule. This True Rune has been the Rugner family’s family heirloom since Kranach Rugner created the Scarlet Moon Empire. Before that though, the Sovereign Rune belonged to the Holy Kingdom of Harmonia. You get all of your experience with this rune in Suikoden 1. We know Windy had her hand in swaying some of the events leading to the war in this game.
It would be protected within the Holy City of Rupanda which was later renamed Gregminster. The powers of this True Rune do remain a mystery. But we do know it grants its bearers complete immunity to all runes. Due to this Barbarossa was never affected by the control of Windy. It also allows its bearer to transform into a three-headed dragon during the last battle of Suikoden 1. Barbarossa chose to embed this rune on his magnificent Dragon King Sword. After the final battle, Barbarossa jumped and fell from his castle’s balcony. Due to this the rune’s whereabouts and current bearer are unknown.
This curse rune, Sun Rune, is one of the 27 True Runes that governs over the great power of the sun according to the Suikoden Wiki. The Sun Rune can be a destructive weapon or a nurturing restorative force. Guardians usually get the Dawn and Twilight runes to help guide and direct the Sun Rune. The hero (Freyjadour Falenas) ends up with the Dawn Rune in the story. Unless the bearer possesses both twin solar runes in their body, the Sun Rune’s curse of insanity will overtake the host’s mind driving them mad. Just like when Queen Arshtat went mad and killed her husband and leader of the Queen’s knights Ferid.
We find out that George Prime had made a promise to Ferid that if this came to pass, he would have to deal her a death blow which would save her and the people from the Sun Rune. The curse is negated by bearing all three of these runes. Best of all, the possessor can use its great power however they see fit. Which would be to destroy or nurture the world. You never actually use the Sun Rune, but you see the destruction it causes. Bearing the Dawn Rune and Lyon bearing the Twilight Rune you attempt to thwart multiple political plots and save your sister. All the while calming the Sun Rune and saving the world. Suikoden 5 is the only main game where you don’t get to use the main True Rune.
True Fire Rune
Suikosource states that Suikoden’s True Fire Rune represents the power of fire. Everyone knows that fire can be very chaotic and destructive. It is currently owned by the new Flame Champion. You receive it from the Flame Champion’s wife Sana. Most sources assume that the new Flame Champion is Hugo. Hugo is the son of Karayan Clan Chief Lucia. You actually have the choice to pick Hugo, Chris, or Geddoe in Suikoden 3, but Hugo makes the most sense. It used to be owned by Harmonia. If you remember they were hunting the True Runes. It was hidden for a time in the depths of the temple known as the “One Temple.”
Eventually, the True Fire Rune was stolen by the “Fire Bringer” and the first Flame Champion came to be. Since that moment, the “Flame Champion” and Fire Bringer fought against Harmonian troops and even defeated them in numerous battles. Harmonia was always willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goal of acquiring more True Runes. Eventually, the Flame Champion grew weary and wished to be free from the True Rune’s destiny. So he disappeared after finding a way to remove it from his body. The rune grants powerful flame-based spells that hurt anyone if within the area of effect. Thanks to the True Fire Rune existing, the regular Fire Rune and Rage Rune were born.
True Earth Rune
The True Earth Rune as you could assume represents the power of the Earth. According to the Suikoden Wiki, It has many great and vast powers that do grant great protection and defensive spells to its bearer. It is currently in the possession of the Priest General, Sasarai. Sasarai like Luc was created as a clone of Hikusaak to be the bearer of the True Earth Rune. This was because as I have mentioned a person can only bear one True Rune at a time. This is one of the runes Harmonia managed to get its hands on over the years in their hunt for the True Runes. Thanks to this True Rune the regular Earth Rune and Mother Earth Rune were born.
True Lightning Rune
The True Lightning Rune is a True Rune representing the power of lightning. Eventually, as per Suikoden Wiki, Harmonia would find that it was a treasure of a nation. Harmonia would destroy the nation, but Geddoe would escape with the rune. Geddoe actually would bear the True Lightning Rune for nearly 70 years. Eventually, he would befriend and lend his powers to the Flame Champion and Fire Bringer. Geddoe would participate in the huge conflict that come to be in the Grasslands. He would keep his powers hidden and sealed from that time, even hiding the rune from his friends and traveling parties.
Like most True Runes this rune grants incredibly powerful offensive spells to its bearer. This True Rune more than any other has the most direct damage spells of any other rune in the series. You can choose for Hugo or Geddoe to have this rune, but sources assume Geddoe to be the bearer. This makes the most sense based on history and lore especially since he’s the only known bearer. Luc did steal it for a temporary time, but Geddoe would manage to retrieve it. Thanks to this True Rune the Lightning Rune and Thunder Rune are born.
True Water Rune
According to Suikosource, True Water Rune is a True Rune representing the power of water. Owned by Wyatt Lightfellow, (Chris’s Dad) the rune played a part during the First Fire Bringer War. Wyatt Lifghtfellow would also be known as Jimba while hiding amongst the Karayan Clan Tribe after the events of the First Fire Bringer War. This True Rune along with Geddoe and the True Lightning Rune assist the Flame Champion during that war. Since that conflict, the rune has been sealed in multiple locations but was unsealed once again during the Second Fire Bringer War. Which resulted in a major battle with your party as well the death of Wyatt/Jimba.
At this moment Chris found out he was her dad. Then this is where the rune is passed on from the hands of Wyatt to either Chris Lightfellow (His Daughter) or Hugo. The True Water Rune grants powerful healing spells along with some attack spells to its bearer. Most sources assume it’s Chris who makes the most sense in Suikoden lore. Her dad was the previous bearer of the True Rune so it makes sense. Thanks to the True Water Rune we have the regular Water and Flowing Runes.
True Wind Rune
The True Wind Rune is a True Rune representing the power of the wind as relayed by Suikoden Wiki. Its current owner is unknown, but it was owned by Luc until the ending events of Suikoden 3. He was created as a clone of Hikusaak to bear the True Wind Rune. This is because people aren’t supposed to be able to bear more than one True Rune at a time. Luc has been seen using this rune to summon a Golem in the first game, and he also used it to defeat Harmonian forces during the Dunan Unification War (Suikoden 2).
Luc attempted to destroy the True Wind Rune during the second Flame Champion War. He wanted to rid himself of his “curse” of his soul actually being attached to the rune. Luc ultimately failed in his goal due to the resistance given by the new Flame Champion and company. Thanks to True Wind Rune, the Wind Rune, and Cyclone Rune are born.
Now after reading about Suikoden’s True Runes, you might be thinking, but that’s only 18. My response is you are absolutely correct that is only 18 True Runes. When it comes to the lore of Suikoden there are 27 True Runes, but so far we only know about 18 of them. Konami stopped supporting the series after Suikoden 5 and the PSP Suikoden games. With the success and positivity surrounding Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, Konami announced remasters for the first 2 games. I don’t have faith in Konami, but depending on the success of the remasters and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes we might get new entries into the series. I know for sure fans would love to see what the other True Runes are and see more of the True Rune stories fleshed out. Stay tuned because I’ll be providing more Suikoden content.