A rune is a type of upgrade component for armor and bags. Unless otherwise specified, all instances of the word "rune" in this article refer specifically to armor runes. The only rune applicable to bags is a Rune of Holding. Runes drop in all campaigns and must be extracted from salvage items. Runes can also be purchased from Rune Traders.
 Armor runes
Runes (with one exception) are suffix upgrade components which can be used to upgrade armor, to provide a passive benefit to the character wearing the armor. Some of the more powerful runes also possess a downside - they reduce a character's maximum health.
Runes come in two broad varieties:
 Profession-specific runes
Profession-specific runes, when inserted into an armor piece, enhance the attribute level of a character wearing that piece of armor. Warriors get an additional type of rune, a Rune of Absorption, that does not enhance an attribute; it instead provides damage reduction. See the table on the right for images of profession-specific runes.
Another property of such runes is that they can only be applied to armor pieces of that profession. In other words, a character can only use runes of their primary profession, since they can only wear the armor of their primary profession. Runes for one profession cannot be applied on another profession's armor piece.
 Profession-independent runes
There are also runes that can be used by any profession. Originally, this was limited to Runes of Vigor, but the release of Guild Wars Nightfall introduced six more profession-independent runes. The table below provides a summary.
 List of runes
The positive effects of such runes do not stack with the effects of runes of the same attribute - the larger effect takes precedence. The negative effects of equipping several runes of the same attribute do stack. This reduction to player health from wearing redundant runes in this way is the basis of the 55 monk series of builds. An example of runes that do not stack is having two Superior Vigor runes on two different pieces of armor: the bonus to Health is still +50, not +100. On the other hand, two Runes of Vitae would stack for a net bonus of +20.
|<Profession> Rune of Minor <Attribute>||Minor / Blue||<Attribute> +1 (Non-stacking)|
|<Profession> Rune of Major <Attribute>||Major / Purple|| <Attribute> +2 (Non-stacking)|
|<Profession> Rune of Superior <Attribute>||Superior / Gold|| <Attribute> +3 (Non-stacking)|
|Warrior Rune of Minor Absorption||Minor / Blue||Reduces physical damage by 1 (Non-stacking)|
|Warrior Rune of Major Absorption||Major / Purple||Reduces physical damage by 2 (Non-stacking)|
|Warrior Rune of Superior Absorption||Superior / Gold||Reduces physical damage by 3 (Non-stacking)|
|Rune of Minor Vigor||Minor / Blue||Health +30 (Non-stacking)|
|Rune of Major Vigor||Major / Purple||Health +41 (Non-stacking)|
|Rune of Superior Vigor||Superior / Gold||Health +50 (Non-stacking)|
|Rune of Attunement||Minor / Blue||Energy +2|
|Rune of Vitae||Minor / Blue||Health +10|
|Rune of Clarity||Major / Purple|| Reduces Blind duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)|
Reduces Weakness duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)
|Rune of Purity||Major / Purple|| Reduces Disease duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)|
Reduces Poison duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)
|Rune of Recovery||Major / Purple|| Reduces Dazed duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)|
Reduces Deep Wound duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)
|Rune of Restoration||Major / Purple|| Reduces Bleeding duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)|
Reduces Crippled duration on you by 20% (Non-stacking)
 Runes of Holding
A Rune of Holding upgrades the carrying capacity of a bag from 5 slots to 10 slots. Unlike armor runes, a Rune of Holding does not add a suffix to the name of the item it upgrades. Also, unlike armor runes, it can only be purchased from merchants or acquired from collectors. Runes of Holding will only work on bags, not belt pouches, Charr Bags, Zehtuka's Pack, or Equipment Packs.
|The Guild Wars 2 Wiki also has an article on Rune.|
- Runes of Vitae and Attunement are single-potency runes; they use the Minor rune icon and are equivalent to Minor runes for acquisition purposes. Unlike other runes, their effects stack.
- All condition-reducing runes stack with other condition-reducing effects (such as insignia and certain skills). The reductions are each applied separately and each rounded separately.
- For example, if a character has two 20% reduction modifiers against blindness and an 8-second long blindness is inflicted, each modifier reduces the duration by 2 seconds (1.6 rounded up to 2), thus reducing the total duration to 4 seconds. If the blind was only 7 seconds long, each modifier would reduce it by 1 second (1.4 seconds rounded down to 1) for a total reduction of 2 seconds (resulting in a 5-second blindness).
- Attribute-enhancing runes stack with bonuses from headpieces but not with each other.
- The minimum price of any rune and insignia sold to a trader is 25, but like all other weapon and armor upgrades, they can be identified to increase their value. Although the identified values vary a lot, minor runes usually increase prices up to 26-50, major up to 52-100 and superior up to 104-200.
- Trade prices for runes vary considerably and can run to several platinum.
- There are some farming builds that require low health, like the 55 builds. Superior attribute runes are used to decrease the character's health to use such builds effectively.
- Runes are not included when a skill template is pinged, so the attributes are shown at their base level. However, your runes are considered part of your equipment and so are shown when a PvP equipment template is pinged.
- Runes can overwrite each other.