Sorry this post is late. End of semester stuff got crazy!
Rituals were a great concept in solving the God-mode wizard and cleric problems of previous editions. That said, I don't love how it was executed. Making them take some time and costing a little something is a pretty good idea, but overall, I've only ever found a few that were useful.
My idea is to make rituals involve more of the party, working like many ritual-casting systems I've seen in LARPs, take up some time, but more time as detailed in rounds rather than in minutes or hours, and maybe be more affordable--but less automatic. I'd also like to see the spells a little bit specific to certain power sources, as, right now, Wizards are as likely to raise the dead as Clerics. This bothers me.
When looking for 4ed solutions, of course, I went to the Skill challenge. By making each ritual a self-contained skill challenge, you make the casting of these complex spells happen in stages, be difficult, but possible to complete in combat, and allow the whole party to get involved, if they so choose.
First change: the entry feat to a set of feats:
Prerequisites: Trained in Arcana; Arcane power source.
Benefit: You can master, lead, and perform rituals of your level or lower whose prerequisites you meet. You are treated as trained in any skill check you roll during a ritual challenge (granting you a +5 bonus to the check if you are not already trained in it.) At levels 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 you learn one ritual with the Arcane prerequisite for free. At heroic tier, you may cast 1 arcane ritual per day without paying the initial component cost. At paragon tier this increases to two arcane rituals and at epic tier, 3.
Prerequisites: Trained in Religion; Divine power source.
Benefit: You can master, lead, and perform rituals of your level or lower whose prerequisites you meet. You are treated as trained in any skill check you roll during a ritual challenge (granting you a +5 bonus to the check if you are not already trained in it.) At levels 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 you learn one ritual with the Divine prerequisite for free. At heroic tier, you may cast 1 divine ritual per day without paying the initial component cost. At paragon tier this increases to two divine rituals and at epic tier, 3.
Prerequisites: Trained in Nature; Primal power source.
Benefit: You can master, lead, and perform rituals of your level or lower whose prerequisites you meet. You are treated as trained in any skill check you roll during a ritual challenge (granting you a +5 bonus to the check if you are not already trained in it.) At levels 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 you learn one ritual with the Primal prerequisite for free. At heroic tier, you may cast 1 primal ritual per day without paying the initial component cost. At paragon tier this increases to two primal rituals and at epic tier, 3.
These feats help preserve the classic spell lists without making a character who wants a wide variety of rituals available to him have to spend a ton of feats to cast rituals of multiple types. All half-elves could easily gain access to two ritual types through their dilettante power. Most classes have an initial multi-class feat that offers an at-will power as an encounter power, which would also satisfy this requirement. I am okay with a wizard having to at least dabble in divine magic in order to cast divine rituals. These feats also alleviate a little bit of the never using rituals because initially getting them and then casting them is so expensive problems. A few free-bees should make them a regular part of adventuring life.
I included the bonus to untrained skills because I wanted trained ritualists to be at least decent at all parts of rituals, even those that require non-traditional skill checks (like Endurance to control the arcane energies present, or Diplomacy to bargain with the outsider you are seeking answers from). That said, a wizard will likely still welcome a mighty warrior to channel the arcane energies through, as his 20 Con+training will likely be superior to the wizard's. Also, with more checks made towards the casting of the ritual per round, the faster the ritual can be completed (when the caster doesn't have to do it all himself.) The caster Leading the ritual can take no actions other than maintaining the ritual. Helpers can contribute to a ritual whenever appropriate, and they don't need to have a ritual casting feat in order to help. The Leader spending all of his round "working" on the ritual represents him talking the others through their roll in the ritual.
Type: Divine (Restoration)
Initial Component Cost: Special
Aid Another DC: 14
Failure Cost: Special
Market Price: 680 gp
To perform the Raise Dead ritual, you must have a part of the corpse of a creature that died no more than 30 days ago. You must prepare the body with enough mystic salves equal to the dead creatures level x 25 gp at heroic tier. At paragon tier it requires mystic salves equal to the creature's level x 250 gp. At epic tier, it requires mystic salves equal to the creature's level x 2,500 gp.
Check 1: Petition Divine Intervention (Religion DC 24)
Check 2, 4, 6, 8: Rebuild the Broken Body (Heal DC 24)
Check 3, 5, 7, 9: Survive the Shock of the Body Rebuilt (Endurance DC 12; May only be made by the target of the ritual. This is the only skill check the dead character can make. The character may not be aided on these checks).
Check 10: Find the missing soul (Insight DC 12)
Check 11: Bring the missing soul back into the body (Diplomacy DC 12)
Check 12: Reunite Body and Soul (Religion DC 24)
The subject returns to life as if he or she had taken an extended rest. The subject is freed of any temporary conditions suffered at death, but permanent conditions remain. The subject immediately loses 1 healing surge per failure suffered during the ritual attempt. The number of healing surges lost increases to 2 per failure at paragon tier, and 3 per failure at epic tier. If the subject does not have enough healing surges to sustain this loss, he loses HP equal to his Surge Value for each healing surge he lacks.
The subject returns with a death penalty: -1 to all attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws, and ability checks. This death penalty fades after the subject reaches 3 milestones.
You can't restore life to a creature that has been petrified or a creature that died of old age.
The subject's soul must be free and willing to return to life. Some magical effects trap the soul and thus prevent raise dead from working.
A failed ritual can be tried again.
This ritual still shouldn't be done in combat, as each skill check should probably take a standard action, and 1 cleric, acting alone, couldn't get it done faster than 7 rounds, spending an action point, assuming no failures. This ritual will be very hard to successfully perform on low-level PCs, as they may have a hard time hitting the high Religion and Heal DCs. Aiding another makes this ritual more sure, but still difficult. That's why I made it so inexpensive for heroic tier characters to be raised: failure will probably happen and have to be factored into that cost. On the flip side, Epic tier characters pay much more in this system, but should have no problems hitting the DCs regularly. Plus, Epic tier characters have so many ways to cheat death, it's silly, so it will likely come up only rarely.
My idea for the complexity of each ritual (# of checks required, how many hard DCs, how many built-in advantages) charts directly with how much time the original ritual required:
1 or 5 minutes: Complexity 1 (4 successes, all moderate)
10 minutes: Complexity 2 (6 successes, 1 difficult)
30 minutes: Complexity 3 (8 successes, 2 difficult, 2 advantages)
1 hour: Complexity 4 (10 successes, 3 difficult, 4 advantages)
8 hours: Complexity 5 (12 successes, 4 difficult, 6 advantages)
I decided to ignore the rule that each PC can only get 1 success for a use of any given skill. To counter that advantage to the PCs, I am also ignoring the rule that PCs get to pretty much pick whichever skills they want to use, giving them a prescriptive order and difficulty of skills.
A failed check would cause whatever complications are involved in the ritual, and would need to be rerolled. 3 failures in a ritual would require the ritual be aborted, the initial components lost, and the ritual begun again.
In the coming weeks, I will rewrite some other rituals using this system.