- "The Rune of Punishment. Most cursed, it is... it devours... human life..."
- —Steele, Suikoden Tactics
The Rune of Punishment (罰の紋章 Batsu no Monsho) is one of the 27 True Runes.
The Rune of Punishment is a True Rune that represents atonement and forgiveness and is always borne on the left hand of its host. This rune is parasitic in nature, and it feeds off its host with fatal consequences.
The rune has tremendous offensive capabilities, usually at the cost of the bearer's life force. When this rune is used to its full extent, the owner turns to ash and their memories are locked away in the Rune. The Rune will then transfer to the nearest available host. Whilst it is still believed that the Rune of Punishment will grant standard True Rune abilities, such as agelessness, there is no record of any of its previous bearers surviving long enough for this to be an issue. The Rune of Punishment is believed to be the most dangerous and deadliest among all of the 27 True Runes. It has four spells: Eternal Ordeal, Double Edged Sword, Voice of Death, and Everlasting Mercy.
The Rune became sealed in Obel after its then bearer died without potential host in range; it remained in the Ruins there for many years until discovered by the then Queen of Obel 15 years prior to the start of the Island Liberation War. She resisted the Rune's call to be used until a time when pirates threatened her children and her kingdom. Since that time it has moved around the region causing death to its bearers and destruction to those around them; no matter how much they may resist, fate transpires to place the bearers in situations where they end up using the Rune to save themselves or others. One such incident occured in a border village between Kooluk and the Scarlet Moon Empire: some Scarlet Moon nobles dressed up as Kooluk raiders and attacked the town to drum up support for a war; the then bearer of the Rune (who was a small child) unleashed its power and the nobles, as well as the village, were decimated. The previous bearer, Graham Cray, was the father of the child, and to rid himself and his family of the curse, Cray cut off his left arm, only for the Rune to take his son instead. After his son's death, he developed a fixation on the power he had discarded.
The rune ultimately ended up in the hands of the pirate Steele. who used its power to gain infamy throughout the Island Nations. During a raid on his boat, the pirate Brandeau defeated Steele, who unleashed the power of the Rune. At Steele's death, the rune passed on to Brandeau.
Knowing the fate of those nearby, Brandeau isolated himself from his friends and crewed his ships with strangers. During a raiding mission that went bad, he used the Rune to try and escape, but one young man (Razro) bested him in combat. As Brandeau died, in passing the rune on to the boy, Glen Cott stepped in the way, and the rune passed on to him, instead. Glen returned to his home of Razril, but did not bear the Rune long before he was forced to use it against an invading fleet, led by Dario. Although he tried to keep everyone away from him when he did so, circumstances saw the same young man close to Glen when he died, and the Rune transferred to him this time around.
Exiled from Razril for being allegedly responsible for Glen's death, this young man became embroiled in a war that started due to Kooluk's expansion progress, but continued due to Graham Cray's desire to obtain the Rune again. During this time, the young man managed to survive using the Rune's power a total of four times, before the power of the 108 Stars of Destiny moved the Rune into its little seen forgiveness phase, where it no longer drains the life of its bearer. After helping the Island Nations once more at the Fall of Kooluk, the bearer vanished from the pages of history, knowing full well that his death would see the cycle of death and punishment start anew.
- Eternal Ordeal: -300HP to 1 enemy, -30HP to self.
- Double Edged Sword: -150HP to all enemies, -50HP to self.
- Voice of Death: Very fatal (1 enemy), 10% fatal (self).
- Everlasting Mercy:-500HP (all enemies), +500HP (allies).
- Eternal Ordeal: Deals damage to a single foe within distance.
- Double Edged Sword: Randomly damage enemies within range 8 times.
- Voice of Death: High probability of instant-death against one foe.
- Everlasting Mercy: Heals allies + damages enemies in target area.
- The Rune of Punishment is the only True Rune in the series to have its own musical theme, with different musical arrangements.
- One of them present in Suikoden IV, simply called "Rune of Punishment"
- Two in Suikoden Tactics, one called "The Rune of Punishment ~ Meeting the Cursed Rune", and another with an unknown name, not present in the OST of the game. The music plays when you recruit Razro on Deserted Island, and sounds less sorrowful than the previous ones.
- The design of the Rune of Punishment was based off of a tattoo that was usually found scarred on the arms of ancient Japanese executioners. That design was edited to make the Rune's shape.
- This is the only known usable True Rune not to be borne on the Right Hand slot.