The pain of training Runecrafting to level 99 is legendary. Many skills in OSRS, back when OSRS was new, could have been better trained. But none of them came close to Runecrafting. Believe it or not, 19,000 EXP/hour was considered good once upon a time.
Due to the horrid EXP rates, most players intentionally avoided touching Runecrafting for years. Since 55 Runecrafting is the highest quest requirement in OSRS, there aren't many reasons to put yourself through this torture. But OSRS in 2023 differs from what Runescape was in the early-mid 2000s. Numerous new Runecrafting training methods are now in Gielinor, so 99 Runecrafting is a little less painful.
That's not to say the Runecrafting grind isn't still awful, because it is. And since it is, you'll want to train as optimally as possible for your sanity's sake. That's where we come in. Let's figure out how to train Runecrafting to level 99 in the fastest way possible.
Weight-Reduction Clothing & Stamina/Energy Potions
Almost all Runecrafting training methods require a lot of running around (Unless you employ runners at altars). You ideally want 100% uptime on your running to achieve the best EXP rates. For that reason, bring your best weight-reduction gear and stamina potions.
Completion of Rune Mysteries
Rune Mysteries is a prerequisite for numerous Runecrafting-related activities, including Enter the Abyss and Lunar Diplomacy for Lunar spells.
Completion of Lunar Diplomacy
Lunar Diplomacy is a requirement to access the Lunar spellbook.
Completion of Lost City
Completing Lost City is a requirement to be able to craft cosmic runes. Not necessary in the overworld, but useful in Guardians of the Rift.
Completion of Troll Stronghold
You need to complete Troll Stronghold before you can craft law runes.
Completion of Mourning's End Part II
You need to complete Mourning's End Part II to craft death runes.
Completion of Sins of the Father
Completing Sins of the Father is necessary for crafting blood runes.
Completion of Dragon Slayer II
Completing Dragon Slayer II is necessary for crafting wrath runes.
Magic Imbue is a level 82 Magic Lunar spell that eliminates the need for talismans when creating combination runes. For maximum efficiency, while crafting combination runes, this spell is mandatory.
Like all Lunar spells, completion of Lunar Diplomacy is a requirement for Lunar spellbook access.
Magic Imbue uses fire, water, and soul runes. Any steam staff will cut two-thirds of your rune requirements.
NPC Contact is a Lunar spell that allows remote communication with NPCs. For Runecrafting, this is most useful for contacting the Dark mage in the Abyss to fix your essence pouches.
Rune pouches can carry up to 16,000 of any three runes. Rune pouches are handy for Magic Imbue, NPC Contact, or teleport spell runes.
There are five essence pouches: small, medium, large, giant, and colossal. You obtain most of them as drops from Abyss monsters after completing Enter the Abyss.
These hold increasing amounts of rune/pure essence, and all but small pouches degrade over time. The Dark mage in the Abyss can repair them. They are invaluable for increasing the number of runes you craft per trip.
If you plan on training Runecrafting by crafting lava runes, you should invest in binding necklaces. These have 16 charges and give you a 100% success rate at creating combination runes.
Traditionally, talismans for the corresponding rune are a requirement to enter any given rune altar. By combining a talisman with a tiara, you obtain a talisman tiara that you can wear and use in place of the talisman. That saves one inventory space.
Raiments of the Eye Outfit
The Raiments of the Eye outfit from Guardians of the Rift is invaluable to numerous Runecrafting activities inside and outside the minigame. If you are planning on using Runecrafting to make money, get Raiments of the Eye first.
If crafting blood runes for profit, blood essence will significantly increase your GP gains. These cost 60K GP each, or you can obtain them from Tombs of Amascut.
If crafting wrath runes, you will need protection from dragonfire.
Recommended F2P Training Methods
Levels 1-9: Air Runes
The first step on your long F2P 99 Runecrafting journey is air runes. The Air Altar is south of Falador. You will need to use 194 rune essence to reach level 9.
Levels 9-20: Earth Runes
At level 9, you can start crafting earth runes at the Earth Altar northeast of Varrock. You unlock fire runes at level 14, but as a F2P, without things like rings of dueling, fire runes are slower than earth runes. Getting to level 20 takes a couple of hundred rune essence.
Levels 20-99: Body Runes
Crafting body runes is the peak of F2P Runecrafting, as depressing as that sounds. The Body Altar is southwest of Edgeville.
You will need to use 1,737,329 rune essence to reach level 99. That's over 62,000 trips. At best, EXP rates hit around 20,000-25,000 EXP/hour.
Recommended P2P Training Methods
Levels 1-33: Questing
One of the beauties of OSRS membership is being able to skip over the early game Runecrafting grind via questing. Completing Temple of the Eye, Slug Menace, Enter the Abyss, The Eyes of Glouphrie, and The Ascent of Arceuus will get you to level 33.
Levels 23/33-50/77/95/99: Lava Runes
Once you hit level 23, you can begin crafting lava runes.
Lava runes are one of the best training methods available. Ideally, you want Magic Imbue, NPC Contact, a rune pouch, rings of dueling, binding necklaces, mist battlestaff, tome of fire, earth runes, and all the essence pouches you have. Without Magic Imbue, you will need a lot of talismans.
Use your ring of dueling to teleport to Duel Arena, then travel to the Fire Altar. Use your earth runes on the altar to make lave runes, deplete the essence in your pouches, teleport to Castle Wars to bank your inventory, then rinse and repeat.
The EXP rates here vary depending on your Runecrafting level. Immediately after unlocking lava runes, you can expect 38,000 EXP/hour. That jumps to as much as 100,000 EXP/hour once you hit level 80. But those rates are if you're Runecrafting on your own. If you employ runners (Four runners being the most ideal), you can achieve as much as 250,000 EXP/hour.
The problem? Crafting lava runes results in GP loss, not gain, which is one of the only saving graces of the Runecrafting grind. Even if you are training by yourself, you will train at a significant loss. If employing runners, training Runecrafting will cost you a fortune.
Levels 27/33-50/77/95/99: Guardians of the Rift
Guardians of the Rift is a Runecrafting minigame that requires at least level 27 Runecrafting and completion of Temple of the Eye. You ideally want a high Mining level for access to good pickaxes. You also need a chisel.
Guardians of the Rift is simple. You mine essence shards from guardian remains, then convert them into guardian essence at a craftsman table. Finally, head for any active altar you can visit to turn your essence into runes. Doing so rewards you with catalytic or elemental energy. Use the energy on the Great Guardian to receive points. Rinse and repeat until the current game ends.
The EXP you receive here scales with your Runecrafting level. Immediately after unlocking Guardians of the Rift, EXP rates hover at 20,000-25,000 EXP/hour. Once you hit level 80, the EXP per hour jumps to around 60-65,000.
While Guardians of the Rift is still a training method that requires attention, it is far less click-intensive than traditional Runecrafting training methods, which makes it very appealing. If you wish to do so, you can play Guardians of the Rift more casually and clock in around 30,000 EXP/hour while only actively playing the minigame for three minutes per game.
Levels 50-77/95/99: ZMI Altar
The ZMI Altar, or Ourania Altar, is a solid Runecrafting training method up to level 99. You can use it at level 1, but at least level 50 is recommended. Worlds 327 is the official ZMI world. Monsters will attack you while using this method, and the massive amounts of players around reduce the chances of monsters targeting you.
If you have completed Sins of the Father, I highly recommend using Daeyalt essence as it greatly increases EXP rates.
With Daeyalt essence, EXP rates at level 50 are around 50-55,000 EXP/hour. With rune/pure essence, that drops to around 30-37,000 EXP/hour.
EXP rates start to peak at level 90 Runecrafting. With Daeyalt essence, you can expect 80,000 EXP/hour. With rune/pure essence, those rates drop to 50-55,000 EXP/hour.
ZMI Altar is profitable, so while it is worse EXP than lava runes, some find the tradeoff worth it.
Levels 77-90/95/99: Blood Runes
Blood runes are the meal ticket of any runecrafter seeking profit from their grind.
You can craft blood runes at various altars, like the blood altar in Canifis or Arceuus. The EXP rates could be better, capping at around 37,000-40,000 EXP an hour, but it nets you 1-2 million GP per hour, so it's hard to complain.
If using Raiments of the Eye and or blood essence, your profit margins increase exponentially. From level 77-99 without either, you'll make around 94-95 million GP. That jumps to 150 million GP with the outfit and 184-185 million GP with the outfit and blood essence.
Levels 90-95/99: Soul Runes
Soul runes provide slightly better EXP/hour than blood runes and significantly less profit. If using the Abyss, soul runes net you 48,000 EXP/hour. If using the Soul Altar, you'll get 45,000 EXP/hour.
From 90-99 Runecrafting, you can make around 50-55 million GP with soul runes. But if it's GP you're looking for, there are better options.
Levels 95-99: Wrath Runes
Wrath runes are the best Runecrafting moneymaker in the game and provide a consistent 1.5-2 million GP per hour. EXP rates vary from 30,000-45,000 EXP/hour, depending on how active you are.
Alternative Training Methods
Levels 1-99: Arceuus Library
The Arceuus Library is a great way to breeze through early Runecrafting levels. Speak with Sam, Villia, or Professor Gracklebone, and they will ask you to find a book. You can speak with Biblia on the top floor to get a hint about where you can find the book. After retrieving the requested book, give it to the customer, who gives you a book of arcane knowledge. Rinse and repeat.
Books of arcane knowledge give you Runecrafting EXP equal to 4 times your current Runecrafting level. That means this method gets significantly worse at later levels but is excellent early on. If playing optimally, you can retrieve 150 books per hour. Less active players can expect around 100 books an hour.
There are many ways to make a lot of GP from training Runecrafting, so doing this to 99 feels like a waste. It remains a great no-requirement method of achieving a respectable Runecrafting level for access to better training methods.
Levels 91-99: Double Nature Runes
Nature runes are only worth crafting for profit, and they're only really profitable after reaching level 91, as you get two nature runes per pure essence.
EXP rates are poor, capping at around 30,000 EXP/hour, but crafting nature runes from 91 to 99 nets you around 150 million GP profit. If you don't meet the requirements to craft wrath runes, double nature runes are a good GP alternative.
Rough But Worth It
Runecrafting is a cruel entity. Brutally slow to train, level 99 Runecrafting is truly a feat you can be proud of. Skillers these days have a rough time maintaining profitable training methods, but with the value of runes in PVM content, Runecrafters never have to worry.
While it takes a while before you see any real profit, if you have high Runecrafting, you'll have access to a solid fallback option whenever you need to build up GP.