Runes (紋章, Monshō) are a natural phenomena in the Suikoden series.
In the words of some, runes "make the world the world," encompassing many elements of life, both physical and mental. Runes are the root of power for all that exist, for all the phenomenon in the world. Everything is symbolised or born from a rune.
In the beginning, there were only 27 runes in the world. These runes are called the 27 True Runes. If a person is able to become an heir to a True Rune, they would obtain a truly powerful force. However, due to the enormity of this power, bearers of such runes and their friends, even history itself, can be affected and destroyed. Some wars, such as the Gate Rune War and the Dunan Unification War have been greatly affected by these runes.
Runes are usually fragments of True Runes, possessed with different abilities and powers based off the rune they came from. The abilities of a rune can vary greatly but they can usually give the ability to cast magic, strengthen weapons or enhance the bearer's physical ability. Of course, someone can be a warrior without the use of runes. However, for people and groups to gain influence without the power of runes is said to be very difficult indeed.
As long as the use of war as a driving force in civilization remains, the importance of runes as used by individuals or groups cannot be eliminated.
- Genso Suikoden Encyclopaedia (ISBN 4-575-16297-3), pages 283-284