One of the best parts of Dishonored is its supernatural powers. Not only do they flesh out its world with an exciting layer of mysticism, but they also unlock excellent gameplay potential for the player.
Testing out how powers interact with the world and one another is one of my favorite parts of Dishonored, especially since the world is so reactive and open to the player’s actions.
Before you can start experimenting with all of the abilities, you can access Dishonored and its DLCs; however, you need to unlock them. I had a hard time tracking them all down during my first playthroughs of the game.
The game’s levels are so layered and dense that it is extremely easy to miss something without knowing it. So, here is where you can get all of the runes yourself to start thoroughly enjoying the abilities at your disposal in Dishonored.
Dishonored Runes Overview
Runes are a collectible in Dishonored that allows players to unlock and upgrade their supernatural abilities. This sees them playing a pivotal role in how players develop their playstyle throughout the game.
Runes are also spent on the upgrades players purchase, so once they are used, they are gone, with players being required to spend more for more powerful abilities. This is an excellent system as it prevents players from fully upgrading every ability, requiring them to develop a playstyle that prioritizes specific abilities and approaches.
The Runes of Dishonored also play an exciting role in the game’s great lore. They are explained to be carved out of whalebone, which makes a lot of sense as the nation of Gristol is built upon the whaling industry.
Whale oil is used to power the technology that is the blood of the empire, so using their bones for religious practices fits in the setting perfectly.
Base Game Runes – Mission: Opening
The very first rune you receive during a Dishonored playthrough is given to you by the Outsider at his Shrine. It is impossible to miss and is given directly to the player as an introduction to the mechanic.
Hound Pits Pub
Once you arrive at the Hound Pits Pub, you will gain access to a store of supplies operated by Piero Joplin. There is a Rune for sale in the store for 500 coins, which I try to buy as quickly as possible to start developing my play style early on.
Mission: High Overseer Campbell
Hound Pits Pub
Once you begin your first real mission to deal with High Overseer Campbell, another Rune will spawn in the Hound Pits Pub. You need to head along the shore by boat to the mission to get this one. I’ve found the easiest way to get there is to go to the boat and head left.
Some fish in the water will attack you, so use Blink to get over the larger bodies of water as quickly as possible.
There are four Runes to find in the Distillery District, so I’ll go through them in the order I prefer to grab them. The first three are all obtained by the strange character in this region, Granny Rags.
You need to enter her apartment through the open balcony door to get the first of her Runes. Then, head downstairs, where you’ll find her hunched over a workbench. Next to her, you’ll find a door you can walk through. At the back of the room is a Rune sitting there, ripe for the taking.
The next two Rune require you to complete a side objective for Granny Rags before spawning the Rune upstairs under an overturned boat. So, head back into the apartment and talk to Granny Rags.
She’ll ask you to deal with the gang members harassing her, and once you do, you’ll get another Rune. I prefer to get rid of them with some quick killing, but if you prefer a low chaos run, you can knock them out too.
The third Rune available from Granny Rags is more time-consuming, so some players don’t even bother getting it from her. I prefer to get as many Runes as possible during my playthroughs, so I can make Corvo as robust as possible.
If you want to get it from her, you need to do the tasks she asks you to complete after getting the second Rune from her.
To do this task, you must head to Galvani’s Lab, found on John Clavering Boulevard. This building is fun to play through but can be challenging to reach without being detected.
You must head to the top floor to find a secret lab to complete the task. I prefer getting the key to the lab from the maid found throughout the building and then opening the bookcase. If I take the Possession ability early on, I’ll use a rat travel through the open grates instead.
After you get the poison, you must travel to the Bottle Street Gang headquarters and infiltrate it to poison them all. There are many enemies throughout the area, so I highly recommend using a stealth approach here. Then, return to Granny Rags to get her third and final Rune.
For the last Rune in the Distillery District, you need to infiltrate the kiosk at the security checkpoint on your way toward the mission’s objective. I’ve found the easiest way to get it is by using the alleys and tunnels beneath the road to cross before running down the road and back up to the kiosk.
High Overseer Office
In the High Overseer’s Office, there are two more Runes to track down that are much easier to pick up while playing through the section. The first is found in the meeting room.
You can quickly identify this room as it is where High Overseer Campbell attempts to assassinate Martin. The Rune inside of it is on the wall above the fireplace.
The second Rune in this level section is in Campbell’s secret room. The room is at the bottom of the area in a storage room. It will likely be open, but if it isn’t, interact with the bust against an empty wall at the back of the room to open it.
The final Rune in this level is in Campbell’s backyard, where you escape after dealing with him. When you enter the area, it is found in a workshop on your left. There are a few ways into the building, but I’ve found the easiest is getting on the roof and dropping down into the building.
Mission: House of Pleasure
Hound Pits Pub
Before leaving on the boat, there are two Runes you can find in the sewers beneath the Hound Pits Pub. Once you’re back at the pub, talk to Havelock, and you will be asked to take out the Weepers in the sewer.
Get rid of them, and continue down the sewer to find them. The first is in the turned-over desk outside of the water, while the second is in the water just on the other side of the metal bars there.
Dr. Galvani’s Office
When you first re-enter the Distillery District, you’ll need to head by Dr. Galvani’s Office, where you went for Granny Rags on the first mission. You can find another Rune to take in the same secret room you were in.
Art Dealer’s Apartment
Another Rune can be found by heading to the Bottle Street Gang Distillery, but it is annoying because of how much running around you need to do. Talk to Slackjaw, and he will give you a side quest to reward you with the Rune.
To get it, you’ll need to torture Bunting at the Golden Cat for a combination to a safe in the apartment. Once you get the combination, head to the apartment’s third floor, and you’ll find a safe to open and grab the Rune.
The Golden Cat
Once you have the Runes above, you can follow the mission objective to reach the Golden Cat. There are three Runes for you to find there before you complete your mission. I prefer first to grab the one on the second floor.
It is inside a room next to the building’s main staircase, with two guards if you haven’t been discovered yet.
After grabbing that Rune, I head to the top floor to find a second Rune just outside the building. You can leave through any windows facing the Captain’s Chair Hotel to find it on a ledge.
This level’s final Rune is found in the room adjacent to where Emily is being held. The only presence in the room is a Courtesan, so choke them out and grab it.
The Royal Physician
The first Rune of this mission is found in a second-floor apartment with a door blockaded to prevent anyone from entering. There are a few ways to get it, but I find the simplest is going to the alleyway to the right of the building and climbing up to reach a chain that takes you to an opening in the back of the apartment.
This section of the level has two Runes to track down. The first is found inside a safe in Pratchett’s apartment on the third floor. I usually find tracking down safe combinations annoying, but this one is relatively straightforward.
To the left of the safe is a note with a clue pointing toward paintings throughout the apartment. Look at the paintings, and you will find the safe numbers.
The second Rune in this area is also easy to get. It is in the building right next to Pratchett’s and draws the player’s attention toward it through a man standing on a balcony screaming. Head inside and deal with the man however you want to, and you’ll find a Rune on a shrine to the Outsider.
This section has a single Rune in it that is available right at the start. When you enter the area, you’ll be placed into a house. The Rune is curiously just set on a table out in the open.
Anton Sokolov’s Laboratory
Once you reach Sokolov’s house, you will confront him at the top of it. Before you leave with him, grab the Rune in the laboratory. I’ve made this mistake countless times, so grab it before you leave. Otherwise, it can be a real nuisance to go back for it.
Mission: Lady Boyle’s Last Party
The first Rune of this mission is found in an apartment home to three Weepers. It is on the second floor of a building next to the bridge leading to Lady Boyle’s party. Blink up to the roof and climb in through the window to find it.
Dealing with the Weepers can be difficult if you want to stay hidden, but I’ve found that using sleep darts works well enough.
The second Rune in the Estate District is one of my favorites because it ties into the Outsider’s lore regarding Runes washing up in Gristol. To find it, you have to travel to the far end of the Canal, where it is resting on the bottom beneath the water.
This level’s final Rune is in the Boyle Estate itself. However, you also need to make sure you don’t kill all of the Boyle Sisters in the level, as this will prevent you from getting a Rune that is given to you by one of them after the mission. You must also duel and kill Lord Shaw to receive a second rune after completing the mission.
You need to get into the underground vault to find the Rune in the level. I prefer to do this by possessing a rat and running in, but you can also go to Lydia Boyle’s room to find a key. You should also duel Lord Montgomery Shaw in the party’s yard during this mission. This will have Treavor Pendleton giving you a Rune after the mission.
Mission: Return to the Tower
Hound Pits Pub
Before heading to Dunwall Tower for the first time, you can find one more Rune in the Hound Pits Pub in addition to the two gained by meeting requirements during Lady Boyle’s party.
One of them is for speaking to Emily after you talk to Callista Curnow. This Rune is cool because of how it pushes the player to interact with Emily, which would make sense for Corvo to do.
Dunwall Tower is one of my favorite levels in the entire Dishonored series. It has excellent level design, a tremendous non-lethal way to take out your target, and some fun Runes to track down. One of those Runes is found before even entering the tower itself.
The first is found in a bunkhouse next to the tower’s entrance. There are a few guards to deal with when getting it, but by this point, you should have plenty of tools to do so in the game.
The second Rune in the tower’s exterior is outside of the tower on the very top. There, players can find a safe house belonging to Hiram Burrows. If the player has been detected during the mission, Hiram will also be there, but regardless of his inclusion, there is always a Rune to grab.
There are also two Runes to pick up while you’re in Dunwall Tower. One of these is located in the torture chamber, where players go for non-lethal mission completion. However, you’ll have to deal with the torturer himself and his pet hound.
The second Rune is found in Hiram’s bedroom inside a chest, which feels like a very intimate way of stealing from him when you grab it.
Mission: The Flooded District
After taking out Hiram, Corvo is ultimately betrayed by his people and dumped in the Flooded District to die. Lucky for him, there are five Runes throughout the area for him to grow more powerful.
The first is found on the plain area at the start of the level. Take caution while grabbing it, however, as multiple River Krusts will be able to attack you while you do.
The next Rune is in the Central Rudshore, an excellent level section filled with detailed environments. Unfortunately, the Rune doesn’t require the player to explore those environments much, as it is found right before the exit, just after opening the sewer with Daud’s Key.
In this section, a Rune is tucked away and is one of the easiest to miss in the entire playthrough. To get it, you need to keep an eye out for the only balcony in the apartment building with an open door.
Reach that door, and then there is a sequence of open windows you must travel through to reach the Rune on the building’s roof.
Old Port District Sewers
Before the end of the mission, there are two more Runes to find in the sewers of the Old Port District. The first is through a locked door in Granny Rags’ home. To get through the door, you need to get a key from Granny Rags or Slackjaw.
The second Rune is found when you reach the small camp of plague survivors. In that camp, there is a hole that you can jump down to land by the Rune. However, I want to point out that if you are doing high chaos run, the survivors will instead be Weepers.
Mission: The Loyalists
Hound Pits Pub
The only Rune during this level is on a table on the second floor of Piero’s Workshop. It is straightforward to grab, which is excellent so that it doesn’t detract from the mission’s pacing too much.
Mission: The Light at the End
The final Rune of the base game is found in the Kingsparrow Gatehouse. I recommend heading to the maintenance room and going through the drainage to reach it.
Knife of Dunwall Runes – Mission: A Captain of Industry
Rothwell Slaughterhouse Exterior
The first area players can freely explore in the Knife of Dunwall DLC is outside the Rothwild Slaughterhouse. There are three Runes in this section, with the first being given to the player right at the start of the mission.
The second Rune is right above the entrance to the slaughterhouse. My preferred way to reach it is by blinking on top of the nearby guardhouse and then blinking to the railing above.
The final Rune in this section is given to you by gathering ingredients for Granny Rags. Gathering the ingredients she requires takes some time, but I wouldn’t skip it since there are so many fewer Runes available in the DLC than in the base game.
Rothwell Slaughterhouse Interior
The first Rune available inside the Rothwild Slaughterhouse is only spawned if the player purchases the Stolen Rune favor before starting the mission.
While I think it’s a bit weird for players to have to pay for some Runes to spawn, it is an exciting addition to the DLC. It can then be found in the tunnel connecting the refinery and the killing floor.
The second Rune is at the top of the building. There are a few different ways to reach it, but I recommend doing it at the start of the area. You can power up the nearby crane, giving you access to a chain that can be climbed to the top of the building. The Rune itself is in a small alcove next to a corpse.
This area’s final Rune is in the room where they harvest parts of whales. It is inside a desk right next to the electrical switch.
Mission: Eminent Domain
The Waterfront segment of the DLC’s second mission also holds three Runes. The first is only spawned if you purchase a favor before the mission starts, which I think you should do. It is then located right below the ruined bridge near the Legal District.
The second Rune is given to Daud for helping Granny Rags with another recipe. This one is as lengthy as the first but is still well worth completing, especially if you don’t purchase the favor for the first one.
The Waterfront’s final Rune is near the Estate District gate. You can find a chain near that gate that heads toward the water. Climb down it and look for a small warehouse that holds the Rune.
This section is the most packed with Runes of the three in the DLC. From the start of the area, climb up the roofs to your right to find an open window. Climb through it, and a Rune is located behind a crooked painting. While you’re in there, make sure to pick up the key on the filthy mattress.
For the second Rune, climb back out the window and head to the left, using balconies and other ledges to progress. This will lead you to a lower balcony with locked blue double doors. Use the key you picked up to open the doors. Go straight back and find the second Rune in a room behind a dresser.
The level’s third Rune is inside the excellent Timsh’s estate. It is on the top floor on a pedestal in the room with the stealable statue.
Inside the estate, you can also find a ritual from Granny Rags to complete using ingredients throughout the local apartments. Once it is completed, you’ll receive a Rune in one of its fireplaces.
The level’s final Rune is inside a chest on the first floor, which you can only open after getting Timsh’s key from him.
Mission: The Surge
The final section of the DLC only has two Runes to grab. The first is on the top floor of Daud’s Hideout. In the same room as Overseer Hume, you can open a locked chest with Daud’s Key.
The second Rune is in the building across from Daud’s Hideout. Inside the building, there is a room that holds the Overseer’s Assault Plans, and in that room, there is a breakable crate with the Rune.
Brigmore Witches Runes – Mission: Choosing Your Mark
During this mission, there are two Runes to grab before even leaving Daud’s Base. One is found in Daud’s equipment chest and the other on a bookshelf.
Mission: A Stay of Execution for Lizzy
In Coldridge Prison, there are two more Runes for you to find. The first Rune is only available after purchasing a favor and appears at the bottom of the staircase by the drained river.
The second Rune always spawns inside the interrogation room on top of a desk.
Mission: The Dead Eels
Drapers Ward Streets
Thankfully, this DLC gives players a lot more Runes to find and upgrade their kit with, and The Dead Eels is the mission that has the most. The first three are all found in the Drapers Ward Streets area.
The first one can be found on the storm drain in the canal, but only if you purchased a favor before starting the mission.
You need to do Granny Rags’ side mission to get the other two Runes. One is found in the Dressmaker’s apartment you visit for the mission, while the second is a reward for completing it.
Drapers Ward Riverfront
The Riverfront area of this mission has two more Runes to find. The first requires you to jump into the river and swim around to find a tunnel. Swim through it, and it will take you to an Outsider shrine holding a Rune.
To get the second Rune, head to the docks. There you need to find the group of Weepers, which is easy to do. Deal with them however you prefer to, and then there is a Rune near them to pick up.
Drapers Ward Textile Mill
The only Rune in this section is inside the Mill. To find it, you have to head to the Dry Storage room, and there isn’t anything special you have to do other than that.
Drapers Ward Sewers
The final section of the level also only has a single Rune. To get this one, make your way to the sewer ventilation room, and you’ll find an Outsider shrine with the Rune on it.
Brigmore Manor Exterior
In Daud’s final mission, there are three Runes to be found before you even enter Brigmore Manor. The first is only available through favor and is found on top of the small building near the player’s spawn at the start of the level.
Perhaps the weirdest and funniest Rune in the game is found by the rightmost corner of the manor. There you’ll find a safe that is sinking into the ground for some reason and just sitting open. Look inside, and you’ll be able to grab another Rune.
The final Rune to grab before entering the manor is earned by helping Granny Rags with one last side mission. It requires you to gather some River Krust pearls and clean them up, and then she will hand over the Rune.
Brigmore Manor Interior
The DLC’s final Rune islocated in the attic of the manor. It is found in a room with three chests with some gear to help you finish up the game.
Question: How many Runes are in Dishonored?
Answer: In the base game, there are 39 Runes, which prevents the player from unlocking everything in a single playthrough.
Question: What do Runes do in Dishonored?
Answer: Runes can be spent in the menu to upgrade and unlock Corvo’s supernatural abilities.
Question: How do You Find Runes while Playing as Daud?
Answer: While Daud doesn’t have the heart that Corvo had to locate Runes, he does have a power called Void Gaze that accomplishes the same thing.
The Runes in Dishonored are my favorite kind of collectible. There is a lot of variation in where players find them, many of them require players to explore areas or complete side content thoroughly, and they have an in-game benefit to finding them.
Corvo’s abilities make the game’s stealth sandbox so enjoyable, and upgrading them using Runes is an absolute must if you want to really enjoy the game.
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