The Countess High Rune Farming - Diablo 2
How to Reach: Black Marsh (WP) > The Forgotten Tower
Zone Level: Nightmare: 42 - Hell: 79 (Level 5)
Golden Chest: No
Boss/Champ Packs: 1 - 2 per level
Hell Immunities: Cold (The Countess, Dark Stalker), Fire (Devilkin, Blood Clan), Lightning (Dark Archer), Ghost (Physical)
The Countess is one of the most popular early game farms because she drops a Rune almost every single time you kill her. In fact, on Nightmare she can drop up to 6 Runes (though you'll rarely ever see 3, let along anything more)! Farming her for long enough will allow you to make any of the Runewords that you need for your character.
For this reason, The Countess is one of the most commonly early farmed bosses at the start of each Ladder or for any Single Player who is looking to gear up with some Runewords for Nightmare or Hell. Most people skip all of the trash around The Countess when they do these runs and as much trash as you can skip in The Tower dungeon as a whole.
Basically people run through The Tower as fast as possible, kill The Countess, grab the High Runes that she drops and then leave the game immediately to do another run. There are two things worth noting about The Countess... The first is that she'll always spawn on the opposite side of the room as you enter on.
Second, depending on your map layout The Countess may be 'leashed' to her room. You'll be able to pull her minions out but she'll never actually leave the room herself. You can use this to your advantage if you are undergeared or leveled and farming her on Hell difficulty.
If you're curious what High Runes you can find on The Countess depending on the difficulty you're playing on, check out my lists below. Keep in mind that The Countess' loot table works differently than regular enemies when it comes to dropping Runes too. Basically, she has one guaranteed Rune drop and then a 'bonus' Rune drop.
Regular Rune Drop Table
Normal: El - Ral
Nightmare: El - Io
Hell: El - Ist
Bonus Rune Drop Table
Normal: El - Ral
Nightmare: El - Ko
Hell: El - Lo
The normal Rune drop table is what she drops from every time you kill her and has the more common Runes on it. Her bonus loot table typically has all of the same Runes the first loot table does with an additional two or four of the more rare ones. As aforementioned at the start of the guide The Countess has a chance of dropping up to six runes in total. One of them always comes from her regular loot table and the additional ones that drop come from her bonus table.
Last but not least, if you are playing on Single Player I strongly recommend you keep the game set to 1 player as that'll increase your chances of getting a Rune from The Countess' loot table. When you increase the amount of players in the game you'll increase the amount of Magical items that will drop from The Countess. Doing this will actually decrease the chances of you finding additional Runes because a Magical item that drops can and will take the place of a Rune.
The Countess Normal difficulty High Rune drops.
The Countess Nightmare difficulty High Rune drops.
The Countess Hell difficulty High Rune drops.