Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Rituals

Note: Sorry for my holiday disappearance.  The beginning and the end of semesters is a super-busy time for me, and I haven't had much time to blog.  I hope to be back on a regular schedule soon.

But as for rituals: The more I think about this skill-based ritual system, the more I like it.

I wonder if, while giving rituals a level is still useful, seeing as we should have guidelines concerning at what level they should have these abilities and what the DC for checks should be, divorcing a PC's level from their ability to USE a ritual isn't a good idea.

This makes rituals another great type of treasure.  Using the treasure guidelines of giving out items of up to 4 levels above the PCs can give casters a chance to try a rituals that may be a little too tough for them, but not impossible, and very valuable.  Also, while it would be easy to allow PCs to freely purchase rituals of their level or lower, you could pick and choose appropriate rituals you might want your PCs to have access to for plot reasons.  In a very difficult and potentially deadly campaign, slipping the ritualist a raise dead ritual at level 4 might be useful, and while actually raising the dead could be tough for a little while, it would eventually become pretty much automatic.

Now for an Epic Tier Arcane Ritual!

True Portal
Level: 28
Type: Arcane (Travel)
Initial Component Cost: 5,000 gp (see text)
Aid Another DC: 24
Failure Cost: 5,000 gp (see text)
Market Price: 425,000 gp
Duration: Special
This ritual works the same as Linked Portal, except as noted here.
Check 1: Gather Arcane Energies (Arcana DC 40)
Check 2-4:  You are not limited to teleporting to places you've seen or that have permanent teleportation circles.  However, when performing this ritual, you must describe your intended destination clearly and hold that description in your mind.  "Lord Sommes's Audience Chamber" is sufficient, as is "the nearest temple of Kol Korran."  Your description must use only place names and other static references; you can't say, "wherever Prince Oargev is."  All participants in casting this ritual must seek the same location or the ritual automatically fails. (Nature or History DC 30)
Check 5:  You open the portal at the pictured location.  If the destination is blocked by a warding ritual, the portal opens at a point along the ward's boundary.  You can see through the portal before you enter, and you don't have to step through if you don't want to. (Arcana DC 30)
     You can use an existing teleportation circle as the origin point of this ritual, making minor temporary modifications as part of the ritual.  Using a teleportation circle reduces the ritual's initial component cost and failure cost to 100 gp and grants a +5 bonus to your Arcana checks.

I find myself, when designing these rituals, coming up with a pattern of:

  • First Check: Gather appropriate Energy
  • Middle Checks: Craft the spell
  • Final Check: Execute the spell.

I am considering making this a formal part of the ritual, possibly even requiring the First and Final checks to be made by a caster with the appropriate ritual caster feat, and the middle checks to be made by anyone participating...


  1. To what extent would you expect to push players to roleplay their contributions to ritual checks? Honestly, a huge portion of my problems with the ritual casting system would have been solved with feeling like the system gave players something to roleplay in the ritual casting itself (so that I could potentially turn around and grant bonuses to the casting roll for giving a cool description).

  2. Honestly, that would totally be up to the DM. Sometimes good skill challenges need to be a background framework that dictates the campaign world's reaction to PC role-play. Sometimes they can just be a way to see if something complex works or not. Would I personally ask them to RP the whole deal every time they cast a Comrade's Succor or want to Teleport somewhere? Nope. I would, however, make the role-play through the ritual they discovered in the ancient ruins that will allow them to sanctify their weapons, enabling them to actually hurt the epic-level ancient evil they accidentally awoke when they raided the temple, for instance.