The system allows players to customize their champion before the start of the game by choosing from a number of Runes, which add or enhance champion abilities and statistics.
The player picks a Keystone Rune and five Secondary Runes that are then combined into a Rune Page. Each Rune has a significant effect, with Keystone Runes being more powerful (see below for a detailed description). The active Rune Page may be changed before each match; pages can be edited freely outside of matches.
It is not possible to enter a match without an active, valid rune page. The game will provide a pre-constructed page for the player if the selected rune page is not valid.
In his youth, thousands of years ago, Ryze witnessed the discovery of the first World Rune, as well as many more in the decades that followed. Believed to be a font of The Makers's might, conflict soon erupted over their control. This conflict escalated into the great Rune Wars, which erased Ryze's boyhood village of Khom, Shurima, from reality.
Sobered by the threat of annihilation, Ryze and his mentor manage to convince many of the World Rune's holders into sealing their World Runes beyond the reach of man. But many refused. After the death of his mentor, it fell to Ryze to continue the quest with only an ancient scroll for guidance.
Forward to the present day, the World Runes have begun to emerge once more, and the world has forgotten the price of wielding them.
Summoners may choose two Paths: one Primary and one Secondary. You may not pick the same path twice. There are five paths to choose from:
Precision (Improved attacks and sustained damage)
Domination (Burst damage and target access)
Sorcery (Empowered abilities and resource manipulation)
Resolve (Durability and crowd control)
Inspiration (Creative tools and rule bending)
The Primary Path has one Keystone slot and 3 Lesser slots, while the the Secondary Path has a choice of 2 of the 3 Lesser slots. Each individual slot provides a unique selection of runes, similar to the branches of the former Mastery trees, but you can only chose 1 rune out of each horizontal segment. You also gain an additional bonus based on the combination of your paths, referred to as a Set Bonus or Trait.
The Set Bonus is an additional passive based on the combination of your chosen paths, although not all combinations have distinct effects. The set's Title is currently only used within the in-game client, with the passive being unnamed when viewed within the out-of-game Rune Inventory.
The Merciless Elite
The Brazen Prefect
The Eternal Champion
The Twisted Surgeon
The Aether Blade
The Immortal Butcher
The Wicked Maestro
The Incontestable Spellslinger
The Ancient One
The Imperious Behemoth
The Arcane Colossus
The Enlightened Titan
The Elegant Duelist
The Ruthless Visionary
The following substitutions will automatically be made where applicable:
These substitutions are noted in chat when the game starts.
All accounts have access to 5 Preset Pages from level 1 that cannot be edited. Players can begin creating/editing rune pages at summoner level 11, but are limited to only editing the keystone rune. Starting at level 13 they can edit their primary rune path and at level 15 they unlock the secondary path aswell and can therefore customize the full rune page. The ability to hide Preset Pages was added in V7.23.
As with the previous system, accounts begin with 2 slots for personalized rune pages and may purchase the convenience of additional pages in the store for 590 or 6300. Any Rune Pages the player owned in the previous system were transferred across to the new system, in addition to the compensation received.
In the former system there was a limit of maximum 20 rune pages per account, but this is no longer true. The current limit is 25 Rune Pages as of Patch V7.22. The presets are not counted toward the limit.
Presets and Example
Inspiration: The Timeless (Inspiration + Resolve)
Precision: The Prefect (Precision + Sorcery)
Domination: The Executioner (Domination + Precision)
Note that IP and Blue Essence are being merged into a single currency in Season Eight.
Players who bought any legacy Runes or Rune Pages in the retired system receive a compensation according to the following table. This is only relevant for accounts created before the introduction of Runes Reforged in fall 2017.
Mystery Epic Skin for every 4 Rune Pages purchased with Riot Points (rounded up).
1500 for Rune Pages purchased with Influence Points.
You still keep your Rune Pages in the new system.
Tier-3 Marks, Seals and Glyphs
100 for purchases before Season 2017.
Full Refund for purchases during Season 2017, up to August 31st.
300 for purchases before Season 2017.
Full Refund for purchases during Season 2017, up to August 31st.
Limited Edition Runes
Exclusive Summoner Icon(s) to players who purchased the following:
During development, Precision and Sorcery were originally going to be Primary-only. 
Runes and their surrounding areas have distinct visual appearances similar to Runeterran factions, which may be intentional and reflect the real-world location of the World Runes:
Precision - Golden cityscape of Demacia or Shurima
Domination - Noxian fortification
Sorcery - Mountains of The Freljord, Mount Targon or Icathia
Resolve - Riverlands of Demacia, Ionia or southern Freljord
Inspiration - Beneath the heavens atop Mount Targon
The following statements generalize the changes made to compensate the loss of AD from Marks and Health/Armor from Seals, which were almost unanimously used due to the lack of options (and thus the game has been balanced, for example, around most champions having +9 Armor from Seals). The exact values may vary for specific cases, as Riot also took this opportunity to better distinguish classes (e.g. tanks from non-tanks; ranged from melee), as well as buff/nerf specific champions.
AD champions had the base damage on their abilities increased by 5.
Ranged AD champions also had their base attack damage increased by 8.
Most champions had their base armor increased by 9.
Most mages had their base health increased by 12 (+12), instead. Primarily excepting junglers.
Melee supports had their base armor increased by 20, instead.
Every rune that gives bonus Adaptive AD or AP, will always grant about 60% of the amount of AP as AD, or about 166.6% of the amount of AD as AP.
Riot has stated that they already have a number of additional runes in the works that will not be finished before the initial release.
Players may also see additional paths in the future, although none are currently in development and they would not be added outside of the mid- or pre-season patch.
There are 48600 possible rune combinations, factoring that:
There are 20 possible combinations of the 5 Rune Paths, of which 8 are with Resolve.
There are 81 possible combinations of primary runes, other than Resolve with 108.
There are 27 possible combinations of secondary runes, other than Resolve with 33.
New Effect: You can now swap your spells anywhere, not just at the store.
New Effect: If replacing a Summoner Spell that is on cooldown, the newly acquired Summoner Spell is unavailable to cast for a time equal to 50% of the remaining cooldown of spell that is being replaced.
New Effect: After collecting 100 Soul Essence, the timer to trigger the empowered attack increases to 300 seconds.
Editor Note - Correction: Apologies. The tooltip previously listed that the AD or AP ratio was Adaptive, but this was incorrect. Rather, it scales with both and it's actually the Damage Type that is adaptive.
Editor Note - Correction: Apologies. The tooltip previously listed that it reduced mana costs, but this was incorrect. Rather, it refunds mana spent. This is a subtle difference, but prevents abilities from being activated if you do not have sufficient mana to start with.