Rituals Revisited

All the standard rules for rituals from the Player Handbook, page 296. To summarize these:

Feat

The character must have the Ritual Caster feat to create and use rituals.

Ritual Book

They must acquire a ritual book, at a cost of 50gp. This can take many forms, from a book, inscribed on cured hides, etched on stone tablets, painted on armor and weapons, or even patterns of knots tied in rope. No matter what the form, the “book” holds 128 levels of rituals and requires the 50gp investment. To inscribe a new ritual into your book, it takes 4 hours for Heroic Tier ritual, 8 hours for Paragon, and 12 hours for Epic Tier.

Mastery

All rituals, in order to be used, must be mastered. To master a ritual, the character must study for 8 uninterrupted hours. You can master any ritual encountered up to your level of experience. There is no limit to the number of rituals you can master.

Performing a Ritual

To perform a ritual, you must:

  1. Spend a certain amount of time (specified by the ritual description) performing various actions appropriate to the ritual, such as reading long passages out of a book, scribing complex diagrams, burning incense, chanting, or performing a long set of meticulous gestures.
  2. A ritual requires certain esoteric components, which you purchase or scavenge before your perform the ritual and which are expended when the ritual is complete (see Components, below).
  3. A ritual may requires a skill check (Arcana, Heal, Religion, or Nature), which usually determines the ritual’s effectiveness. Even if the check is low, the ritual usually succeeds, but if the result is high, you can usually achieve better results.

Components

The component type needed to perform a ritual are based on the key skill required:

  1. Lesser Residuum – Lesser residuum is fairly common in nature, the by-product of magic use and often harvested from planar gates. It can be used as a component for most rituals, save for Greater Rituals (below), and has a market cost of 1sp per unit.
  2. Greater Residuum – Greater Residuum is used for special, powerful rituals, called Greater Rituals, and comes from the Disenchant Magic ritual used on magic items and distilling it from magical energies of the outer planes (an expensive process). It is used for rituals involving the creation of a permanent item with a gold piece value, or particularly powerful rituals (see list below). Greater residuum can also be used for Lesser rituals, and acts 10x as powerful as lesser residuum. Market cost for Greater Residuum is 1gp per unit.

Some rituals require additional costs, such as healing surges or a focus item. A focus item is not expended when you perform a ritual.

Greater Rituals:

Amenuensis
Argent Portal
Brew Potion
Clarity Salts
Create Scarecrow
Create Teleportation Circle
Create Tree of Life
Dark Gift of the Undying (Ghede)
Enchant Magic Item
Enchant Magic Item
Fool’s Gold
Forbiddance
Forge Weapon
Guards and Wards
Imprisonment
Ironwood
Lich Transformation (Ghede)
Master Artisan
Mindshape Warwing Drake
Overland Flight
Pact of the Iron Ring
Primal Grove
Purge Spellplague
Raise Dead (Ghede)
Raise Land
Rebirth
Ritual of Twin Bindings
Shift Mote
Succor
Time Ravager
Transfer Magic
True Portal
Undead Servitor (Ghede)
Voice of Fate (Ghede)
Walk Crossroads
Walking Death (Ghede)
Ward of the True Name
Waterborn

Ghede Rituals require interaction with the Ghede, or Loa of death. These rituals, due to their primarily divine nature, require the use of a humanoid soul to function as part of the material costs. When the ritual is cast, the soul must be present and used as an active ingredient in the ritual. Souls are gathered from freshly killed humanoids (the body is considered “fresh” until sunset, when the soul leaves the body) and can be stored as a shrunken head, a process that takes 6 hours but requires no component cost. Soul larvae can also be used for this purpose (See Manual of the Planes). In this way, Ghede rituals not only require their component costs, but also require a victim.

Lesser Ghede Rituals

Remove Affliction
Ritual of Retrieval
Cauldron’s Rebirth
Ghost Walk
Consult Mystic Sages

Ritual Scrolls

Ritual Scrolls do not need the feat or mastery to cast, but still require time and components to cast.

  1. Can be created by transcribing a ritual you have mastered. Creating a scroll takes 8 hours for Heroic, 16 for Paragon, and 25 for Epic tier rituals
  2. A character cannot master a ritual from a scroll, or copy it into ritual book – it is considered a simplified version of a ritual, partially cast and primed so it only takes up a single page.
  3. Casting from a scroll takes half the normal cast time, since the creation of a scroll has primed the magic
  4. Ritual scrolls do not require the Ritual Caster feat to use, and can be used by anyone.
  5. Ritual scrolls have the same material cost as casting a normal ritual; these costs are paid when the scroll is created, not when the scroll is used.

Free Rituals

A character with the Ritual Casting feat (or class ability) gains one ritual at each level they gain a feat at for free (for a total of 18 rituals). This ritual must be of your level or lower. This represents research and understanding gained as a part of the advancement in power. You still need a ritual book or other ritual focus item to record these rituals in. A character that takes the Ritual Casting feat later than level 1 gets these rituals retroactively. This does not preclude a character from gaining additional rituals by other means.

Storing a Ritual

Storing a ritual works the same as performing a ritual (PHB 298), including the ability for others to assist. It takes the same amount of time to prepare, but no material cost. A ritual caster can store a number of rituals they know, of their level or less, equal to their INT or WIS modifier.

Rituals stored in this way may have a normal casting time equal to one hour or less, and may be stored while the character is on an extended rest. Storing a ritual “prepares” it to be cast later at an accelerated rate.

Using a Stored Ritual

It requires a full round action and the expenditure of the component cost of the original ritual (in components specific to the ritual type, as explained above), as well as the expenditure of a healing surge to use a stored ritual. The healing surge accentuates the component cost in this case, reflecting the caster drawing upon internal energies to fuel the spell, accelerating the casting process. Needless to say, this form of casting is usually only used in combat.

Creating Rituals

Creating a new ritual from scratch is a long, hard, expensive process. It is generally best to see if one can be found somewhere in the world before endeavoring to research it from scratch. Developing high-level rituals is an especially daunting task.
To make a new ritual you need to go through the following steps.

  1. Design the ritual rules, making a complete write up and have the GM agree to it.
  2. Research the ritual for one day per level of ritual, paying five times the market price.
  3. Make a roll using the key skill, with a difficulty of 10 + the level of the ritual.
    If this roll fails, it can be attempted again, at the cost of one week and the casting cost of the ritual in components.
  4. Once created, decide if you want to keep the ritual secret, or spread it and gain profit. If you choose the later, you earn back four times the Market Price of the ritual from buyers, possibly more if the DM judges it particularly attractive.

Enchant Item Ritual

To keep the creation of magic items special in a campaign, but still allow characters the freedom to make or even upgrade their own magic items, I came up with the following house rules for using the :

  • Time – Creating a new magic item requires one casting of the Enchant Magic Item ritual per level of the item being created. However, due to the Enchant Magic Item ritual is so tedious and taxing that it can only be cast once per day. The ritual does not have to be cast all at one time, over an immediate succession of days – it can be cast over any number of days when it is convenient to cast the ritual.
  • Cost – Making a magic item requires materials equal to the full list cost (as per the original ritual). The costs are split up between the crafting/forging of the mundane item which is to be enchanted, and various ritual materials such as rare components, sacrifices to placate deities or some other supernatural entity, and the like. Divide the total cost by the Level of the magic item, and that is the amount of gold that must be expended with each casting of the Enchant Magic Item ritual.
    Note: This also allows for magic items to be completed over time, as money becomes available to the character, rather than a single massive expenditure.

Example: Maklos desires to make a +2 Flameburst Crossbow, which is an 8th Level magic item and costs 3400gp. It will take him 8 castings over 8 days in order to complete the weapon, and he spends 425gp on materials each time he uses the ritual. He could complete the weapon over a string of 8 successive days – or he could start the casting on one day, go off adventuring for a week, and then come back and get three more days of work done, be off again on another adventure, and finally complete the last four days when he gets back again.

Magic Item Recipes – Under this rule, recipes are required to make new magic items. Characters discover recipes typically through study (skill challenge), by discovering the recipe for a magic item as part of a treasure trove, or as a reward from a grateful and powerful patron. Typically, possessing an item which can be used for study that shares one or more similar traits to the new item is a definite benefit when trying to create a magic item recipe. For example, having a pair of Feyleaf Sandals on hand while trying to figure out a recipe for a Cloak of Displacement would be beneficial, as both items have the ability to teleport the wearer. Also, having access to a mages’ guild, or an arcane library, or even a powerful magical entity can greatly improve the chances of obtaining a new magic item recipe. Once a recipe is known, it can be recorded in the character’s ritual book and used repeatedly to create new magic items.

Solo Skill Challenge – Magic Item Recipes

  • Goal: Discover a Recipe for a New Magic Item
  • Level: Equal to the level of the magic item being created
  • Complexity: 2 (Heroic Magic Item), 3 (Paragon Magic Item), or 4 (Epic Magic Item)
  • Primary Skills: Arcana, Dungeoneering, History
  • Secondary Skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Heal, Intimidate, Insight, Nature, Religion, Streetwise

Examples of Skill Use:

  • Arcana – Up to half the successes of the challenge can come from this skill, and they can range from pure research to examining a magic item with similar properties.
  • Dungeoneering – Many magic items were created to excel at dungeon delving, and skill knowledge can assist in puzzling out the recipe.
  • History – Most magic items have been boon or bane of famous historical and legendary figures. This skill knowledge can garner clues to what might be required to make the magic item which was the secret of their success – or their demise.
  • Secondary Skills – Many magic items have traits which relate back to a specific skill, such as the Healing for an item that heals or grants temporary hit points, or the Intimidate for an item that can cause fear or terror. Social skills such as Bluff, Diplomacy, Insight, and Streetwise can also be used to interact with NPC sages and wizards to try to get them to reveal what they know about making a particular item, or to get eyewitness accounts of seeing a particular item in action.

Consequences

  • Experience Points – This skill challenge offers no experience points to the ritual caster. Gaining a magic item recipe is its own reward.
  • Success – The ritual caster gains the recipe for the magic item of her choice and inscribes it in his ritual book. She can now use it with the Enchant Magic Item ritual to make that particular item.
  • Failure – The formula is flawed and might produce a cursed item (as per Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium). Divide the number of successes by the total needed to determine the chance of creating a cursed item. Note that the ritual caster knows the formula is flawed and can choose not to use it.

Upgrading existing Magic Items
To use the Enchant Magic Item ritual to upgrade a magic item to its higher level version is fairly straightforward. The cost is the difference between the current magic item and the new upgraded version, and the time it takes is equal to the level difference between the two items.

Rituals Revisited

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