Rituals

The ritual magic rules came about a few years ago. At first, they were an adaptation of rules from a previous edition that my old DM had used in his group when he was a kid. I later sat down and came up with new rules, which changed them further. Then, a friend of mine was working on rules for his campaign world, and came to me with an idea for synergy casting. I helped him hash out that system, and it became the basis for the cooperative casting rules. This ruleset also included rules for spellwebs (sorcerer rituals), which I later decided were too unwieldy and were cut.

When went over the rules for Project Phoenix, I decided to clean up the ritual casting rules a bit. 4E had made just about every non-combat spell into a ritual, but I didn't want to go nearly that far. I wanted to make rituals from the logical spells - stuff like planar ally/planar binding, large-scale spells like guards and wards, and spells that take a long time to cast, like secret chest. One thing 4E did do right, though, was make the raise dead spells into rituals. Bringing back the dead should be a chore, not something you can accomplish with a snap of the fingers.

Along the way, I separated the spells into lesser, greater, and grand rituals. Lesser rituals became the less powerful spells - usually just spells that took a long time to cast, but were involved enough that they couldn't properly be classified as normal spells. This included things like speak with dead, most divinations (legend lore, commune, etc.), and the teleportation spells like plane shift. This also covers the lower-level rituals (3rd-5th).

Greater rituals became larger-scale effects or really involved spells. Imagine a bunch of casters - clerics, wizards, whatever) standing around an altar, chanting and summoning the energy to cast a spell. That is a greater ritual. These are always higher-level spells (6th to 9th), and generally very powerful.

Grand rituals are strictly legendary (10th+ level) spells. Before, legendary spells could be rituals, but they followed the standard ritual rules (see the legendary spells discussion for more details). Grand rituals are very similar to greater rituals, except that they require more casters and take longer to cast.

One thing our old campaign had was the ability for ultra-powerful spellcasters to toss off rituals by themselves. We simulated this by giving them the ability to sacrifice XP for each caster that was missing, but I'd never liked XP costs for anything, and since PP doesn't use XP, I had to come up with something else. A single caster can cast a lesser ritual - these things are usually designed that way anyway - but it took me awhile to think of a way to let powerful casters summon elemental swarms or raise an island from the sea by themselves. It wasn't until recently that the obvious solution hit me - let the caster's levels substitute for additional casters. For every x levels above the minimum required, the focus can exclude one caster from the ritual. This would allow for what we had done before - let ultrapowerful casters toss off rituals on their own.

Finally, I allowed casters to be able to memorize rituals, instead of having to cast them from a scroll, book, or tome. This is a minor benefit, but useful nonetheless - it enables casters to do rituals on the fly, instead of lugging around (and chance losing) a precious scroll or book containing the ritual incantations.

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