Ritual Magic

The Vancian spells employed by most wizards comprise a highly compact form of magic known to the inhabitants of Leng as High Magic. It is the most impressive, simple and dramatic form of magic - each spell is essential a prepared web of symbols that can be charged with power beforehand, and released in an explosive burst of power. For the sake of dispatching foes and creating wondrous magical effects in the course of adventuring, it is an unparalleled tool. However, not all wizards are pragmatists and adventurers. While High Magic can be cast without really understanding why it works, some mages want to investigate the very nature of magic. Others want to learn its inner machinations so that they can create effects that - while subtle and slow by comparison - are often many orders of magnitude more powerful than a simple spell. Their collective efforts are known as Ritual Magic.

Wherever spells are simple, rituals are complicated. A wizard may be assisted in his research by outside forces, but a normal spell is still basically the same as every other spell: a complex arrangement of arcane sigils and words of power that draw energy from other planes. Some spells are good, and draw upon positive energy, and some spells are evil, and draw upon negative energy, but the energy itself is primal and neutral in nature. With rituals, this is not necessarily the case; no two rituals are alike. Some may invoke ancient pacts sworn by groups of elementals; others may call the name of a particular extraplanar being associated with the intended effect. Some draw instead from wells of magical energy, and may require certain components made of magically charged materials, or even magic items. Every ritual is different: with this complex and scholarly school of magic, there are few rules.

Casting a Ritual

A ritual is a kind of magical working, though it bears more of a resemblance to an alchemical recipe than a spell. Rituals are not memorised; in fact, they cannot be memorised. Like an alchemical recipe, a ritual cannot be cast unless the caster has both studied it and has it to hand, for they are long and complex. Almost without exception, rituals take up tomes of anywhere between 50 and 1,000 pages. Some of the more potent ones even span multiple grimoires! Before a ritual can be attempted, it must be studied carefully; for every point of Intelligence they have, the scholar can comprehend 1d4 pages per day.

Every ritual has a difficulty rating, which determines how complex it is to cast and how liable to failure it is. Failing to cast a ritual by 20 or more is a critical failure, and will usually have some kind of negative consequence. Most rituals have a difficulty between 20 and 100, but some are actually above 100 - as ritual success is determined with a d100, these actually cannot be cast without some kind of special condition or extra source of power.

The base difficulty of a ritual is the chance that it will fail for an uninitiated user. The only thing that affects the success of the untrained is their level - if they are wizards or priests (not bards, druids, paladins, etc), the difficulty is reduced by a single point for every level they have attained. Non-magic-users cannot attempt to cast rituals; you must either be a spellcaster or have the Ritual Magic NWP. There are some practitioners who do not have mage levels because they dedicate themselves entirely to Ritual Magic; these are colloquially known as witches or warlocks.

Ritual Magic NWP

Proficiency Name Score Slots Required
Ritual Magic INT - 4 2

Those who have studied the art of Ritual Magic can not only complete a ritual, but excel at it. For each rank spent in Ritual Magic, the effective difficulty of a ritual is reduced by 5. If a warlock manages to succeed at a ritual by a large margin - which may be as little as 5 or as much as 70 - they may perform the ritual more effectively than a simple success would grant. This way this manifests is specific to the particular ritual being cast.

The Ritual Magic NWP works in a similar way to Alchemy - the NWP has its own experience track, and ranking up requires it to be filled. There is only one way to improve one's ability to cast rituals - by casting new ones. Each time a ritual that has never been used before is cast, triple its difficulty is awarded to the caster as experience. Casting a ritual that has been cast before only grants 1 XP per point of difficulty. You do not gain ritual experience for "pointless" rituals. They must be performed in the service of some end; you cannot simply grind out Spirit Beacons. The DM has the final say.

Level Experience Threshold
Level 0 0
Level 1 200
Level 2 500
Level 3 900
Level 4 1,500
Level 5 2,500
Level 6 5,000
Level 7 8,500
Level 8 12,500
Level 9 20,000
Level 10 30,000
Level 11 50,000
Level 12 100,000

Power Sources

Generally speaking, the only way to make a ritual easier to cast is by increasing your level or by studying the art of ritual magic. However, this is not always enough. Some rituals have a difficulty rating exceeding 100, making them very difficult or even impossible to cast at all without an external source of magical energy.

The easiest sources of magical energy to exploit are ley-lines - at the point where two or more ley-lines cross, a great deal of magical energy is stored up, and this can make rituals significantly easier to cast (see the Dowse ritual for more information). It is also possible to temporarily increase your effective wizard/priest level by combining the power of multiple magic-users. Priests can do this by means to the first-level Combine spell. Either priests of wizards can do this with the Combine ritual.

There are other, more effective power sources available to an enterprising mage, but these are more costly, more dangerous, or both. Extraplanar beings, such as those called with Karna's Invocation, can be compelled or persuaded to lend their arcane power to a ritual. Lastly and most sinister of all is the ritual of Blood Sacrifice, which can use the life energy of living creatures to empower a ritual. The use of this black art is the highest type of heresy imaginable.

Realm Spells

Realm spells, as found in the Birthright rules, realm spells are a special class of ritual magic that can only be cast by Regents. The rituals described above often require significant preparation and resources, but realm spells are on an entirely different level. They often require months to cast, cost thousands of gold pieces, and require the caster to have direct access to the natural energies of the land in the form of Source Holdings. In exchange for these requirements, however, incredible workings can be done - workings on the scale of entire countries and their denizens.

Rituals

Ahtak's Metamorphosis

Range: Touch
Duration: 3d6 days
Area of Effect: 1 person
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 40
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Casting Time: 10 minutes

This simple ritual, originally devised by a powerful Wu Jen named Ahtak, behaves very similarly to an Alter Self spell. Casting it requires the inscription of a complex alchemical sigil of transmutation, which the subject stands within. If this sigil is permanently inscribed in stone, the casting time is reduced to 1 round. Casting this ritual also requires a material focus from the animal whose attributes the subject will take on - i.e. the scales of a fish or the feather of a bird.

Included with the ritual are a number of complex and interchangable formulae. In order to make it have the desired effect, the caster must spend 1 hour in preparation, devising the correct sequence of formulae to achieve the specific attribute of the animal he desires. Of course, once he has devised a particular formula - i.e. "from the scales of a fish, grant the power to breathe water" - he does not need to prepare it again on subsequent castings. However, the completed formula is long and complex, and must be written down.

Generally speaking, the caster can cause any change in line with the effects of an Alter Self spell. Unlike the spell, however, this ritual can be used to grant the special powers of a creature - such as the breath of a dragon or the eyes of a medusa. These effects are weakened, however, and obviously require a specimen to use as a reagant. The more powerfully magical the original effect was, the more it is weakened - the ritual only has a certain amount of power to work with, after all.

For any given formula, it is only possible to critically fail the ritual check when the formula is first being devised. A critical failure represents that the formula was incorrectly constructed. The result is that using it will cause the subject to gain a random feature of the animal in question - and this change is permanent. Once the formula has been successfully constructed, however, failing the ritual just means that nothing happens.

Becalm

Range: Self
Duration: 1 day
Area of Effect: 1 mile radius
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 50
Preparation Time: 1 day or Special
Casting Time: 1 hour

Legends of powerful mages calling up storms abound, but the opposite is less heard of. Nonetheless, this is a popular ritual amongst seafaring brigands, combined with a stout rowing crew - any pirate mage with Becalm in his repertoire is guaranteed employment for life.

In order to cast this ritual, the warlock must fashion a net from fine threads of silver worth no less than 100 gp. This can be reused as long as it is not damaged by the ritual. The net must be hung from a high place (such as a mountaintop or a ship's crows' nest) for a full day. It must be attended carefully so that the wind is always blowing directly into the net, and the net must be carefully held open. If it is disturbed at any point, the ritual must be started again from scratch. Once the net is prepared, it can be kept for as long as desired until the ritual is to be cast.

In order to cast the ritual, the net must be wrapped in a piece of sailcloth from a shipwreck, which is consumed . The warlock must then stand in a place that is exposed to the sky and cast the ritual, which compels the spirits of air to leave this place and go to the location of the shipwreck that the cloth was taken from. If the ritual is successfully cast, the area within 1 mile will become completely still for 1 day. If the ritual fails, however, a powerful wind will tear the silver net apart, destroying it and carrying it off into the air.

The zone of calmness can be renewed by casting the ritual, up to a maximum of one week. However, the moment the caster fails to renew the spell - whether because the ritual fails, or they neglect to recast it - the winds will return with great force. For a number of days equal to the period of stillness, it will be impossible to cast Becalm again. Furthermore, any roll on the Weather table is increased by 3 until this period of strong winds ends. In addition, the warlock must re-prepare the net before casting it again.

The area of effect can be increased by increasing the time that the net is hung for: 1 week increases the radius to 3 miles, and 1 month increases the radius to 5 miles.

Blood Sacrifice

Range: Self
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: Self
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 80
Preparation Time: 1 turn
Casting Time: Special

One of the darkest forms of necromancy, the blood sacrifice attempts to use the life force of a victim to strengthen one's ritual casting. It is extremely difficult, but failure carries no penalty but the waste of life energy. As such, even weak ritual casters can make use of this ritual - they simply need to kill a lot more.

Before the blood sacrifice begins, all preparations for the ritual to be empowered must be finished. Then a complex circle (which can be any size) must be drawn on the ground, designed to trap spiritual energy. Finally, a specially prepared silver knife (worth at least 50 gp) must be prepared with a certain sigil. When all these preparations are complete, the caster stands within the circle and spends 1 round speaking the words of activation.

Once the circle is activated, the caster must kill one person each round. The victim must die within the circle, and they must die by the consecrated knife. If a full minute passes without killing anyone, the ritual ends. Each time they kill a victim, they must make a ritual check. Success means that the life force was captured successfully; failure means it was wasted.

When the sacrifice is over, they must immediately use the power they have collected in the knife to cast a ritual - or it is wasted. The difficulty of the ritual is reduced by a proportionate amount, though never to below half of its original difficulty. Ordinary people reduce the difficulty by 1 per death. Martial types reduce the difficulty by a number equal to half their level. Spellcasters reduce the difficulty by their level. Finally, each rank in the Ritual Casting NWP that the victim had reduces the difficulty by 3.

For example, say that 3 commoners, a 4th-level fighter and a 3rd level mage were all successfully sacrificed. Their power would collectively reduce the difficulty of a ritual by 8 points.

Call Forth The Lurker

Range: Personal
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 40
Preparation Time: 1 day
Casting Time: 1 round

Demonology is a notoriously risky and difficult field of magic; calling spirits of dark and malevolent power that far execeeds your own in the hope of controlling their might is an endeavor that ends poorly for most who attempt it. Those who survive, however, pass down the tools by which their art can be safely practiced. The Ritual of the Lurker is one such tool; a literal rite of passage for the novice demonologist. It is one of the easiest demonological rituals to cast, for the one it calls actively seeks to be summoned into this world.

The Lurker on the Threshold is said to be a psychopomp; like Father Death himself, he is a force that exists in the multiverse for one very specific reason. In his case, that purpose is to test those who seek to become great in the arts of demonology. The only danger in performing the ritual itself appears if it is failed by 30% or more; in this case, the Lurker is not called, but some other being from the Astral. This is unlikely to end well for the novitiate demonologist.

The Ritual of the Lurker provides no protection against him, but none such should be needed, for he means his summoner no harm. Indeed, some believe that the Lurker is himself the manifestation of the unwise avarice of every demonologist, and a warning against those who would delve too deep before they are ready. In order to summon the Lurker, 42 magical runes must be inscribed over a doorway. You will know the ritual is working if they begin to glow with a soft silvery light. Then the doorway must be sealed tightly closed and an incantation that takes 8 hours to fully speak must be intoned. Once it is complete, the caster must shout at the top of their voice, calling the Lurker to come forth.

If the ritual succeeds, there will be a knocking at the door. If it is then opened, the Lurker will appear before the caster and bid them follow it into the Astral Plane. They must do so. The trial that the Lurker will lead them into is different for each caster, but it always involves facing the summoner's own true secret nature and consigning their ego into the void. If the trial is failed, the summoner is not ready; they lose enough Ritual Magic XP to place them at the beginning of their current level, and the Lurker will not come to their summons again for 1d6 months. If the trial is successful, the summoner will instantly gain 250 Ritual Magic XP.

Once the trial has been passed, the summoner may call the Lurker whenever they wish. He can tell them nothing they do not already know in some way, but can provide insight into their secret flaws, their forgotten dreams and their true personality. He can even help to regain memories that have been lost. However, the Lurker represents everything a person is too weak and mortal to admit about their true nature, and meeting them is a harrowing experience; each meeting deals 1d12 points of Sanity damage, with a saving throw vs. spell for half. Each time the Lurker is called, he will refuse to appear for 1d6 months before he can be called again.

Combine

Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 0
Preparation Time: 1 turn
Casting Time: 1 round

Combine is a very simple and common amongst both priests and mages, who both have their version. Simply put, it is a source of power for ritual casting. Although the reservoir of power in a normal human is nowhere near as much as that found in an intersection of ley-lines or magic weapon, a large number of spellcasters can amass their power to great effect. Likewise, this ritual can be used to take advantage of the great spiritual power of extraplanar and magical beings, as long as they consent.

This ritual is immensely simple to cast, so that no training in Ritual Magic is needed. All that is required is that you are spellcaster or other magically empowered being. Those participating must spent 10 minutes cleansing their mind and spirit, focusing their attention so that when the time comes they can dedicate all of their power into a single destination. While these 10 minutes pass, the ritual caster draws a circle of chalk, whose edge contains 1 smaller circle for each participant. When they are finished meditating, the participants stand in these circles, with the ritual caster in the center. They begin a long, slow chant which continues until the ritual caster has completed his own ritual.

For every two spellcasting levels of a participant, the difficulty of the ritual being cast is reduced by 1. Every rank in Ritual Magic that they possess will also reduce the difficulty by 1. Beings with the spiritual energy of a lesser tanar'ri can reduce the difficulty of a ritual by 5; those equivalent to a greater tanar'ri can reduce the difficulty by 10; and those equivalent to a true tanar'ri can reduce it by 20. Warriors and martial types cannot assist unless they are trained in Ritual Magic.

Although it is not possible for a Combine ritual to fail, it leaves the casters in a uniquely vulnerable state. If any of them stops chanting, even for a moment, both the Combine ritual and the ritual being assisted will fail. Likewise, breaking the circle, damaging any of the casters, or any of the casters voluntarily choosing to leave the circle will also ruin the entire effort.

Note that all members who participate in a Combine ritual have their energy sapped, and become fatigued. Spellcasters must have all their spells in order to qualify as their level, and these are drained by the ritual. A spellcaster who has cast some of their spells is considered to be reduced in level by a commensurate amount. For example, say you are a level 9 wizard (able to cast level 5 spells), but you have cast a level 3 and a level 2 spell. You are considered to be only level 8 for the purposes of a Combine ritual, since you have cast 5 levels of spells.

Dowse

Range: Self
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: 1 mile
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 25
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Casting Time: 1 minute

This is one of the easiest and most commonly cast rituals. It is used to located ley-lines: invisible currents of natural magical energy that run beneath the earth. Once located, these lines can be useful to magic-users in a very large variety of ways. For example, it is drastically easier to magically connect two locations - to teleport, communicate, and so on - if they are both located along the same ley-line. If a wizard's tower is built on a ley-line, they will find any form of magical working along that line much easier. Of particular interest are ley-points, places where 2 or more ley-lines intersect. These are locations of great power, places where the veil between the material plane and the astral plane are worn thin. Ley-points are ideal locations for extraplanar travel and for creating magic items. Furthermore, ley-points are places where magic is naturally amplified, making them very useful for ritual mages. The difficulty of any ritual cast on an intersection of two ley-lines is reduced by 5. If more than two ley-lines form a ley-point, the difficulty will instead be reduced by 10, 15, and so on. Intersections of two ley-lines are relatively easy to find; it is rarer to find a ley-point formed of three ley-lines, and more than this is almost unheard of.

The component required to dowse is a sterling silver pendant with a value of at least 50 gp. This must be immersed in running water and left in the light of a full moon overnight. The ritual to prepare the pendant for dowsing takes 1 hour, at the end of which the check is made; if the pendant is impure silver or an alloy, the difficulty is increased by 20. The ritual magician will not know whether they have succeeded until they attempt to use it. Activating a dowsing pendant requires the recitation of a short incantation, which only takes 1 minute. If there is a ley-line within 1 mile, the pendant will pull towards it of its own accord for a few seconds. Once the pendant is positioned directly over a ley-line, it will begin to softly glow with a blue iridescence. A pendant positioned over a ley-point will glow even more brightly, depending on how many lines are intersecting.

Dowsing pendants produced by this ritual are de facto magical items, albeit weak ones, and they give off a very faint aura of divination magic. Their enchantment fades within 1d4 weeks of creation, although passing the ritual check by 30 or more will infuse a pendant with enough power to permanently enchant it. Pendants can be tested for defectiveness with a Detect Magic spell, or simply by attempting to use them within 1 mile of a known ley-line.

Ethereal Interstice

Range: None
Duration: Spcial
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 70
Preparation Time: 1 turn
Casting Time: 3 rounds

This ritual is the diametric opposite of Pentacle. Instead of creating a region which exists wholly in one plane, it allows creatures or objects to exist simultaneously in two planes at once. Specifically, it bridges the gap between the Material or Elemental Plane in which it is cast and the Border Ethereal. This region between planes, in which you are able to see, affect, and be affected by both planes simultaneously, is known as the Interstice.

The ritual is cast by drawing a large chalk circle around the objects and creatures to be affected. This is embellished with various runes and symbols of arcane portent. Finally, the creatures or objects must be "prepared" by marking them with a special glyph, known as the Threshold Rune. This mark must be made with some kind of magical substrate, such as a dragon's blood. Alternatively, the mark can be carved or tattooed into the objects or creatures - but as detailed below, this can have unwanted consequences.

Once the ritual is completed, all affected beings are brought forth into the Interstice. While in the Interstice, they can see things in the Ethereal as if they were physically present. A doorway which only exists in the Ethereal can be walked through even if it is a solid wall in the Material, and normally insubstantial spirits are similarly real. Subjects of this ritual are able to leave their plane - for example, by following a portal that leads into the Deep Ethereal - but when they return they will still be in the Interstice.

The key to this ritual is the Threshold Rune. The glyph is very fragile - usually just a smear of dried blood - but as long as it is maintained, the ritual is permanent. If it is broken and disrupted for any length of time, however, the ritual will immediately end. Depending on your surroundings when this happens, the results of an accidental erasure could be catastrophic. The ephemeral nature of the Threshold Rune can be overcome by carving or tattooing it into the skin; this makes the ritual fully permanent. However, those affected in this way can only leave the Interstice if the rune is completely excised from the skin. Given the dangers of a constant connection to the Ethereal Plane, it is not a decision that should be made lightly.

This is a dangerous ritual to bungle, dealing as it does with planar travel. Critically failing the ritual results in a failed junction, forcing the subjects entirely into the Ethereal Plane. As long as the Threshold Rune remains intact, the subjects will then be trapped there; they cannot voluntarily leave. If involuntarily removed from the Ethereal, their soul will be separated from their body and remain trapped in the Ethereal. For those with carved or tattooed brands, this is very dire situation. Note that even when the Threshold Rune is removed, escape from the Ethereal must be secured by some other means.

There is a variant of this ritual which does not make use of the Threshold Rune, and has a time limit of 24 hours.

Karna's Invocation

Range: Unlimited
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: 1 extraplanar entity
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 65
Preparation Time: Special
Casting Time: 1 turn

One of the more powerful spells of Conjuration cast by magic-users is the 6th-level Ensnarement, which releases considerable magical energy to puncture a hole between planes and lure an extraplanar being from the "other side". Even this spell, however, is a pale imitation of true demonology. Most of its power goes into the fashioning of a magical prison for the summoned being; it relies solely on trickery to entice an extraplanar being to actually step into that trap.

Karna's Invocation is the standard for all demonologists and summoners. It was devised using Ensnarement as a model, and shares many similarities. A magical circle must be created, which can be hand-drawn in a single turn. A circle such as this has a 20% chance of failing when used. Every additional turn of preparation time spent will reduce the chance of failure by 1%, although not below 10%. Circles can be permanently engraved to prevent accidental disruption. Engraved circles can also be inlaid with precious metals at a cost of 50,000 gp. This takes a full month to do, but reduces the chance of failure to 0%.

Unlike Ensnarement, Karna's Invocation cannot call up a "generic" member of an extraplanar species. A specific name must be known. This does not need to be the True Name, which grants complete power over the being, just a name that is tied to the target's essence and can be used to call them forth. For this reason, many demonologists hoard grimoires containing the names of powerful entities, and guard them jealously. A being who has been summoned and compelled by another cannot be used by you, so only the most minor beings are recorded in easily found books. If no names are available, it is possible to use a spell such as Ensnarement to conjure forth a being and attempt to learn its name.

As long as the circle is drawn correctly, the proper name is known and spoken, and the target is not trapped or compelled by another, the desired creature will be summoned. Once it is summoned, it cannot escape. However, keeping an extraplanar entity imprisoned in the long term is still risky - the circle can be disrupted by so much as a straw falling across one of its lines, and this will release the imprisoned being. The caster can dismiss the imprisoned being at any time by speaking the counter-ritual, though this takes 1 turn to do.

Once the caster has imprisoned the creature, it is up to them to extract an agreement from it. The magic of the circle will bind the creature to any agreement it makes as if compelled by a Geas, but only if it is spoken in the proper format. For example:

Spellcaster: As token of your service, I compel you to guard this portal and slay any who attempt to pass through it. I compel you to make yourself invisible and inaudible at all times except when you must appear to fulfil this service, and to exercise your will and power against no one but those who this binding compels you to forbid. I compel you at appear when I command you to do so, and to converse as commanded in a manner that is free from guile or trickery. I compel you to remain true to this service for a year and a day, commencing from the moment of agreement. This is the token of your service.

This ritual cannot force the summoned being to agree to a particular service if he does not desire it. The spellcaster may attempt to negotiate with their captive and persuade them into an agreement, using either the promise of a reward or the threat of continued imprisonment as leverage. He can attempt to use magic to torture, charm, dominate or otherwise force the captive into agreement. Each time a magic spell is cast across the lines of the circle, however, there is a chance that it will disrupt the lines of power; a new check is rolled to see if the captive escapes. There can be other unforeseen consequences of spellcasting into a circle, as well - a spell such as Mental Domination, for example, may open a mental link which the captive can use to mount a psionic attack.

There is one exception to this requirement: a process known as binding. Under normal circumstances, an extraplanar being that dies in the Material Plane returns to its home plane and reforms there. The circle of power constrains and confines them, however. If enough damage is dealt to a captured being to reduce it to 0 hp, its physical form is destroyed but its spiritual presence remains trapped within the circle. This damage must be dealt without freeing it, of course: any material weapon will break the circle, and magical attacks have the same risk of undoing the circle as noted above. It is also possible to draw an especially large circle which you can enter without breaking and fight it on equal terms.

A creature whose physical form has been destroyed will remain trapped in the circle in the form of spiritual energy as long as the circle is not broken. If the circle is broken at any time, they will immediately reform. Otherwise, their energy can be used by the spellcaster as a power source. It can be used to enchant an item, in which case it will reduce the enchantment cost and result in the entity's consciousness being "bound" into the item. The item's enchantment must reflect the nature of the being to be bound to it.

The discorporate power of a defeated entity can also be used to power other rituals. Using power in this way will completely destroy the entity, as its very life essence is consumed. Creatures of equivalent power to a lesser tanar'ri will reduce a ritual's difficulty by 10; greater tanar'ri will reduce it by 25; true tanar'ri will reduce it by 40.

Failure of this ritual means that the creature in question cannot be summoned until 3 days have passed. Critical failure indicates a partial summoning, in which the creature was briefly able to see the face and location of the caster. Suitably warned, it can take protective measures - or seek the caster out for revenge.

Beings of demigod status or greater, including Demon Lords and the Dukes of Hell, cannot be summoned by this ritual unless they desire to be. Entities of this level of power, if they consent to appear, will be constrained by the circle - they cannot break it - but it will not prevent them from returning to whence they came as soon as they desire to do so.

Malbeth's Locator

Range: Self
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Special
Difficulty: 40
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Casting Time: 10 minutes

Malbeth's Locator is a bread-and-butter ritual, used to locate people who have been lost. It is easy to cast, but the components can make it difficult or costly, especially if you fail.

In order to perform the ritual, a map of the highest quality is required - worth at least 250 gp. If the area being searched is a city, it must show individual streets and city blocks. If it is of terrain, it must show all the prominent features such as forests, lakes, rivers, etc. The accuracy of the spell depends on the quality of the map being used. The spell also requires the ashes of daisy plants - at least 2 drams, which is mixed with the blood of the person to be located. Blood can be replaced with the ashes of nails, hair or bone, but the difficulty will be increased by 10. Replacing the blood with the ashes from some personal item owned by the target will increase the difficulty by 25. Finally, powdered chalk is required.

The blood and ash mixture is prepared beforehand, along with complex incantations. Then, the warlock must place the map flat on a surface. A circle of chalk is drawn around it, and the elements are invoked in Vintish to draw the power of air and earth into the circle. The names of Sabbaton and Fotamecus are spoken, and a reference to the pact they swore is made. Finally, an incantation in Druidic is spoken - which a Druid could translate as relating to beseeching the elements to accept foreign spirits into their domain without taking offense. Finally, the warlock pours the mixture in a heap on their location on the map - the ritual cannot be performed if their current location is outside the maps' boundaries. If the ritual fails, the map will be ruined as the blood soaks into it. Otherwise, the blood and ash will hover slightly above the surface of the paper. Over the course of the next 10 minutes, the warlock must concentrate intently. The mixture will move slowly across the map from where it was first place, coming closer and closer to the place where the target is located.

This ritual does not have a maximum range - as long as the target is "on the map", they can be located. However, large-scale maps are obviously less accurate than local ones - a map of a country will only tell you approximately what region they are in, while a map of a city could narrow it down to a specific district or street. It is possible to cast the ritual multiple times with a range of maps to "home in" on your target, if you have these materials available.

Mercurial Form

Range: 0
Duration: 8 hours
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Special
Difficulty: 50
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Casting Time: 20 minutes

This ritual creates a transformative brew which renders the caster's skin silvery and metallic, whilst the skin remains flexible, it becomes as hard as armour. For this ritual, the caster requires a single drop of mercury (worth 200 gp), iron filings (worth 2 gp), chalk dust, and a drop of the caster's blood which is added to a cauldron with water. The mixture is broiled in a cauldron whilst the ritualist speaks words of power. If the ritual is a success, the mixture will turn into a silvery mixture which will begin to rise from the cauldron and begin to coat the extremities of the caster's body. The mixture will slowly crawl along the caster's skin and bond to it, feeling like a warm glove. After eight hours, the mixture will slowly drip off the caster's body and form a small caustic puddle on the floor.

While the ritual is in effect, the caster is totally immune to attacks by edged nonmagical weapons. It also confers an Armor Class of 0 against all physical attacks (including magical ones), but provides no protection against wholly magical attacks (magical fire, magic missile, et cetera). The surface of their skin is also reflective, causing the caster to function as though under the effect of a Gaze Reflection spell. Any form of stealth is impossible while in this glittering, shimmering form. Furthermore, they are doubly vulnerable to electrical attacks and suffer a -2 penalty against these forms of attack. The same applies to any spells that affect metals: in particular, Heat Metal is particularly dangerous as it does maximum damage on all dice, and the metallic skin cannot be willingly removed by the caster until the spell has run its course.

If this ritual is failed, the mixture congeals at the bottom of the cauldron, hardening into slag and ruining the receptacle. If it is critically failed, the mixture erupts into a cloud of noxious gases. All in 40 feet must make a saving throw vs. breath weapon or contract a poison that reduces CON by 1 point each turn for 1d10 turns. At the end of this period, a saving throw vs. poison must be made. If it is failed, a point of CON is permanently lost. Either way, the lost CON returns at a rate of 1 each day.

Mossycoat

Range: Personal
Duration: Permanent
Area of Effect: 1 coat
Saving Throw: N/A
Difficulty: 55
Preparation Time: 3 days
Casting Time: 2 hours

This ritual creates a magical hooded coat made of moss. The coat must be created by picking live moss from woodland areas and sewing it together with golden thread, worth 200gp. The process of assembling the mossy coat takes 3 days, during which time the coat must be kept damp. The coat must then be taken to a place of strong natural energies: druidic circles, areas bisected by ley-lines, and the homes of fey creatures are examples. For two hours, the caster must gather the roots of plants which grow in this area and weave them into the coat, after which the caster must put the coat onto the intended recipient.

If the ritual has been successful, the coat will cradle the form of its new owner, and will fit no one else. If the ritual has been unsuccessful, the coat will unravel, destroying the thread used to create it. A critical failure will result in a normal-seeming coat that immediately animates as a Plant, Dangerous I (Choke Creeper) when worn. This will also happen if the coat is fashioned for a wielder who is an affront to nature.

While worn, the coat provides the following benefits:

While worn, the coat remains permanently, magically damp. If exposed to fire, magical or otherwise, or extreme aridity, it is ruined. The coat is very delicate and takes 1 full round to carefully remove. If the wearer of the coat is struck in combat, it must make a saving throw vs. crushing blow or be destroyed.

Parthogenesis

Range: Touch
Duration: Permanent
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 100 or 60
Preparation Time: 1 to 3 days
Casting Time: 1 hour

This exceptionally costly and difficult ritual, or others like it, are the origin of many of the strange monstrosities that inhabit the world: chimerae, manticores, owlbears and so on. It allows for life to be created: not from nothing, for this is impossible, but by combining creatures to create something wholly new and possibly even fertile. This ritual has two difficulties: perfecting the process is a matter of trial and error, and one which often fails. When the ritual succeeds, the formula has been perfected, and subsequent attempts become easier.

The first thing that is required for parthogenesis is a vessel: it must be easily large enough to contain the specimen and enough liquid to completely cover it. The vessel must be of good quality and made either of glass, crystal or metal. This vessel must be filled with a special solution, the specific proportions of which vary in accordance with the creature being created. Many of the ingredients are mundane (though costly) alchemical reagants that can be found in any large city. However, some other magical liquid is also required as a substrate, such as dragon's blood. The preparation of this solution takes 1 day and costs 500 gold for a small-sized creature; each size category above this triples the gold cost and adds an additional day.

The next thing needed, obviously, are samples of the creatures to be combined. A manticore, for example, is made from a human, a bat, a lion, and a large quantity of iron for the tail. All samples must be of the highest quality: the iron must be free from any impurities, and the living ingredients must be exceptional specimens who are in the fullness of health. Using less than perfect specimens will increase the difficulty by anywhere between 20 and 100 points, depending on how inferior they are.

Finding specimens for a parthogenic ritual is not simply a matter of finding physical substrates; the spiritual power of the things being combined is important as well. Combining a bat, a serpent and a lion might create a draconic-seeming creature, but it would be far from a dragon. It would have neither the intelligence to be more than an animal, nor would it have the magical nature that allows it to fly or breathe fire. In short, it would be a firedrake. Parthogenesis is an act of transmutation, after all, and the principle of equivalent exchange applies: you cannot create something from nothing.

When the vessel is prepared each of the specimens is prepared by placing them into a deep sleep. They are then placed into a ritual circle and certain words of power are spoken over them, sending each of them into a kind of hibernatory stasis. Then, one by one, they are sumberged within the vessel. The final stage is to perform the actual ritual, speaking a complex incantation over the vessel to begin the process of deconstruction and reconstruction that will create a chimeric being. This takes a full hour.

After the ritual words have been spoken, it will be immediately apparent whether the ritual has failed - either because the formula was wrong or because the process was incorrectly followed. The balance of deconstruction and reconstruction will be thrown out of balance, and the solution will become a deadly acid. It will dissolve the specimens and eat through the vessel, destroying anything it touches and evaporating into nothing with one round. If the process was performed correctly, the process of deconstruction and reconstruction will begin. The specimens will slowly dissolve away into the substrate, and eventually will reform as a foetus of the new chimeric being.

Like a clone, the chimera takes time to grow. Small or medium sized creatures take 2d4 months to grow, while large sized creatures take 1 full year. Every size category above large doubles the time required. It is possible to make fertile specimens with this ritual, but this can only happen if every single step of the process is performed with the utmost precision. Only if the ritual is succeeded by 40 points or more is this level of perfection achieved. As noted above, once a particular chimera has been successfully created at least once, the difficulty drops to 60 on subsequent attempts.

Pentacle

Range: Personal
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: 5' diameter or more
Saving Throw: Special
Difficulty: 30
Preparation Time: 1 round
Casting Time: 1 round

An exceedingly simple ritual, and the first learned by many aspiring witches and ritualists. The pentacle is a circular region that is rooted in the Material or Elemental Plane in which it is cast, and cannot be easily crossed by creatures that exist partly in other worlds. For obvious reasons, it cannot be used outside of the Inner Planes. A standard pentacle has a diameter of 5 feet; it can be drawn larger, but each additional 5' of diameter increases the difficulty by 2 and adds another round to the preparation time. The circle lasts for as long as the caster remains within and the lines are not physically broken.

Any creature which dwells partly in another world will be hindered by the invisible barrier of a pentacle; this includes any being made of spiritual energy (such as an elemental, fey or demon) as well as vampires, wights, and any other undead with a link to the Plane of Negative Energy. It also applies to creatures in the Border Ethereal, such as ghosts. The effect of touching the barrier depends on what the pentacle is drawn with. If it is drawn with chalk, the area within the pentacle is only grounded to the Material; affected creatures must make a saving throw vs. spell to cross. If it is drawn in silver, the pentacle is an area that exists entirely in the Material. It is impossible for affected creatures to enter at all. However, such circles cost 1 gp per foot of diameter.

If a creature is forced into a chalk circle, it is the same as if they passed the saving throw; they can act normally. However, a creature that is forced into a silver circle is forced entirely into one of the planes it inhabits. It can choose; for example, a vampire would choose whether to be forced into the Material (losing the power to level drain until it leaves) or into the Plane of Negative Energy (causing it to be banished).

A critically failed pentacle will be very obviously and visibly wrong. It will glow bright red; rather than preventing extraplanar creatures from entering, it will trap the caster within until the circle is broken by some outside force.

Return of the Rat

Range: Self
Duration: 1 hour
Area of Effect: Personal
Saving Throw: N/A
Difficulty: 40
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Casting Time: 10 minutes

Despite its name, this ritual can be cast on any small vermin-like creature. If the creature is smaller than a mouse (such as a spider, for example), the difficulty raises to 60 due to the tiny and precise life-forces being manipulated. The creature cannot be much larger than a large rat, or its life force will be too much for such a simple ritual to control. Finally, the creature must be of animal intelligence. Also required in the ritual are strong spices of the kind that can be bought in any high-class supplier of kitchens (50 gp value), a gold-threaded pouch (100 gp value) and a small brazier. Only the spices are consumed.

The caster must place the dead mouse in the centre of a ritual circle and prepare a small brazier nearby. The caster must, over the course of ten minutes, recite the words of the ritual, and after the end of each recitation, the caster must scatter the strong spices into a brazier. If the ritual has been successful, the dead mouse will begin writhing and wriggling, reliving the moment of its demise. Placing the mouse immediately in the golden threaded pouch will cause the undead mouse to cease wriggling and will contain the magics of its unlife until released, whereapon it will last for the aforementioned time. The mouse may not be returned to the pouch after its release.

When the caster wishes to activate the power of the ritual, they must remove the undead, and wriggling, mouse from the pouch. The mouse will scout and take empathic orders from the caster, during which time the caster will descend into a trance, seeing as it sees. After an hour elapses, the mouse will decay rapidly, collapsing into a pile of bones and rotting fur. This will also happen if the mouse travels more than one half-mile from the caster. While in the necromantic trance, the caster is totally helpless and unaware of his surroundings.

If this ritual is critically failed, the drawing of Negative Energy into the mouse attracts the attention of a more powerful being. The caster will not be aware of this until he takes hold of the mouse and attempts to place it in the pouch. Upon touching it, the mouse's body will issue forth a shadow (as the monster) that attacks the caster, automatically scoring a hit on the caster's outstretched hand. The shadow behaves as a normal undead of its kind, and must be defeated or banished by the usual means.

Seance

Range: Special
Duration: Concentration
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 45
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Casting Time: 1d10 minutes

A seance is an attempt to commune with the spirits of the dead, as per the spell Speak With Dead. Three types of seance can be attempted:

Of the three types of seance, invocation and communion are the easier, and conjuration is the hardest of all. When attempting to conjure a spirit from the afterlife, the difficulty of the ritual is increased by 25%. Furthermore, the difficulty of the ritual is increased by 3% for every HD the spirit had in life beyond 3. The difficulty of the ritual can be decreased, however: by 10% if a blood relation is present, or by 30% if a blood relation is actually performing the ritual. Furthermore, the difficulty of the ritual is decreased by 1% for each participant beyond the required three people.

In order to cast a seance, at least three people must link hands in a circle after the sun has set. For an invocation, the grave, ashes or corpse must be in the middle of this circle. For a communion, the circle must be in the place of haunting. The circle must include three black candles and the blood of a livestock animal or humanoid. If the blood of a human or a black rooster or goat is used, the difficulty of the ritual is decreased by 5%. The preparation time includes the time taken to prepare the circle, as well as the time taken as the medium places themselves into a deep meditative trance. Once the preparation is complete, the medium calls for all participants to link hands with them. They must then chant the five names and demand that the spirit reveal their presence.

If the ritual succeeds, the spirit is impelled to appear before the medium. They may or may not manifest visually; if they do, they will appear as a ghostly, translucent figure - a haunt. The haunt will remain within the circle and will converse with the medium and the medium alone. The medium can attempt to force the haunt to truthfully answer questions, but each question requires another ritual casting check. Failure causes the haunt to vanish.

If a ritual casting check is failed by 30% or more - whether during the initial summoning or when attempting to ask questions - the spirit turns hostile. If they had 7 HD or less, the spirit in question is a haunt. Otherwise, they manifest as a Ghost. They immediately attack.

Soul Bonding

Range: 100 feet
Duration: Permanent
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Special
Difficulty: 70
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Casting Time: 1 round

The ritual of soul bonding is an act of the necromantic arts, both powerful and versatile. In most civilised lands, the use of such magic is considered heretical. It is an act of transferrence of the soul, similar to a Magic Jar spell. It allows for a person's immortal soul to be bonded to an object, but this comes with a risk: the act of performing this ritual involves removing the essential life force from a creature's body. Critical failure results in the soul being lost, with the effect of killing the participant.

Preparing for this ritual requires a sample of your own blood. This is then used to inscribe a complex sigil on the object to be bonded. This could be something simple like a suit of armor or a book, or it could be something more complicated - such as a house or even a fresh corpse. The latter option makes the use of soul bonding as a way to achieve mortality possible; although only a corpse that was slain by suffocation or death magic will actually operate properly. Other corpses will be no more than a zombie vessel. Before it is used to paint the sigil, the blood must be mixed with some magical substance on a 1:1 ratio. Very magical substances, such as dragon blood, will reduce the difficulty by up to 25 points.

Once the object is prepared, the actual casting of the spell takes only a single round. However, a soul must be provided. If the participant is willing, they may be placed within a specially prepared circle of chalk. This takes another hour, but guarantees successful soul transferrence if the ritual is correctly performed. If they are unwilling, some means must be found to force their soul out of their body - such as a Magic Jar spell. Discorporate spirits such as ghosts, astral travellers or other ethereal beings can be forced into a prepared object as long as they are within 100 feet, but they are entitled to a saving throw vs. spell. If they succeed, the sigil on the object is ruined.

It is possible to use the ritual of soul bonding on the recently dead. After someone dies, depending on their attachment to the Material, they remain connected to the place of their death and their corpse. If a soul bonding is cast no more than 1 hour per level after their death, their discorporate soul may be drawn back and bound to the prepared object. However, this increases the difficulty to 125; if they are unwilling, they receive a saving throw vs. spell. Alternatively, the use of a Speak with Dead spell, a Dead-Rune, or other magical means of conjuring spirits can bring a soul back for bonding without increasing the ritual's difficulty.

The effects of soul bonding vary, and are difficult to predict. A gem or stone may show no outward signs of containing a soul. Larger objects, particularly those with moving parts, may behave as though under the effect of an Animate Object spell. In all cases, the inhabitant of a bonded object is able to sense the presence of living creatures within 60 feet. Likewise, even if bonded to large and immovable objects such as buildings, very powerful souls may be able to exert some measure of influence over their surroundings.

A soul bonded creature takes on the attributes of the thing it has been bonded to, but they retain their knowledge and memories. Spellcasters can cast spells as long as they can speak and gesture. Warriors retain their martial skill, although their vital statistics might change. A soul bonded to an object can hear, see and speak as long as their container has ears, eyes or mouth to facilitate this.

If the blood seal is broken for any reason, the soul bonding is reversed. It is possible to tattoo the seal with your blood instead of drawing it, but this increases the preparation time to 8 hours.

Spirit Beacon

Range: Personal
Duration: Concentration + 1d20 rounds
Area of Effect: 100-5,280 foot radius
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 25
Preparation Time: None
Casting Time: 1 round

A simple ritual often learned by fledgling witches, it is one that nonetheless should not be cast lightly. The spirit beacon is an ethereal fire: a light that shines through the ethereal plane. It requires no components or preparation.

Activating the spirit beacon successfully has several effects. First of all, the caster's aura will begin to blaze brightly in the Ethereal Plane. Any creatures that dwell in the Ethereal Plane can see it as a bright, burning fire, as can anyone with the ability to see invisible creatures. Secondly, the beacon will cause a magical aura to radiate within 100 feet per 1% that the ritual is passed by, to a maximum of 5,280 feet (1 mile). A Detect Magic spell in the area will reveal this aura, as well as the direction of its source.

The magical aura emanated by this ritual can be felt by magical beings. Spellcasters have a 1% chance to feel it per level; ritual casters have a 3% chance to feel it per rank of Ritual Magic. Elves and gnomes have a 5% chance to sense it, regardless of class. Spirits, fey, dragons, and all other sylvan and intrinsically magical entities in the area of effect will always be able to sense the aura, as will those who are gifted with the Second Sight. Anyone who knows the Spirit Beacon ritual and spends a round concentrating will also be able to sense it without a chance of failure. Each aura has its own distinct feeling, magical creatures that have come across the caster or mortal creatures who know the caster well will be able to identify it as feeling "like them", though they may not be able to articulate why.

The effects of casting this ritual can vary wildly. It is commonly used by witches in the same coven to locate each other, or to communicate with familiar or friendly spirits in their home territory. Outside of familiar places, it can be risky to use; it is imposisble to know whether your beacon will call a friendly and curious fey, a dangeorus and malevolent entity, or nothing at all.

Failing this ritual exhaust the caster, and prevents it from being cast again for 1 hour. There are no penalties for critical failure. Spirit Beacon, unlike most rituals, is simple enough to permanently commit to memory.

Storm Calling

Range: 10 miles
Duration: 1 day
Area of Effect: 5 mile radius
Saving Throw: None
Difficulty: 70
Preparation Time: 1 week
Casting Time: 8 hours

This powerful and difficult ritual is similar in some respects to spell such as Control Weather. However, instead of lasting a matter of hours, they can affect conditions for days on end. Although the ritual is fairly difficult in its own right, more pressing is the immense strain it places on this involved in it. Working with such immense elemental energies can "burn out" a spellcaster temporarily, and repeated attempts can cause them to permanently lose their powers. For this reason, although only one ritual caster is needed, it is common for many spellcasters to combine their strengths in order to evenly distribute the strain.

The draining effect is identical to level drain, and the magnitude depends on the power of the storm being called up. At the DM's option, other sources of power - such as those from natural gifts - maybe be used instead, and will be similarly drained. Drained levels are restored at a rate of 1 per week, and can be distributed among the ritual participants as desired - each individual decides how much strain to take on themselves. As noted above, repeated draining may cause permanent loss of levels.

The "basic" storm, which drains no levels, use the range, duration and area of effect shown above. It also has an "intensity", determined by the current season. A rain storm in the wet season would have a "moderate" intensity, while a sand storm in the same season would have a "weak" intensity. Likewise, in the dry season a sandstorm would have a base intensity of "moderate". Changing the intensity of a storm doubles the energy levels drained for each step - i.e. from weak to moderate, or moderate to strong.

The "basic" storm is, of course, somewhat anemic. This is where the draining effect comes in. By spending energy levels from the participants, it is possible to greatly magnify the power of the storm in accordance with the tables below.

Range Levels Drained
50 miles +1
100 miles +2
200 miles +3
300 miles +4
500 miles +5
1000 miles +6
Duration Levels Drained
2 days +1
3 days +2
1 week +3
1 month +4
Area of Effect Levels Drained
15 mile radius +1
20 mile radius +2
30 mile radius +3
50 mile radius +4
75 mile radius +5
100 mile radius +6

To give an example. Imagine it is the dry season, and you are trying to summon a storm strong enough to swamp ships. You want it to have a 30 mile radius (+3), last 3 days (+2), and you want to send it 200 miles away (+3). You're also trying to conjure a moderate-level storm in a season that would normally only produce weak storms (x2). Therefore, a total of 16 levels will be drained in the casting of this ritual - meaning it will need many participants indeed.

Telemon's Minor Rituals

Range: Special
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Special
Difficulty: Special
Preparation Time: Special
Casting Time: Special

Although they are traditionally attributed to the archmage Telemon, who pioneered the practice, the minor rituals come from a variety of sources. In effect, each of them is the ritual version of a traditional High Magic spell. Many spells - such as most of those found in the scholl of Evocation - are not appropriate for ritual casting and have not been converted. But some spells are useful regardless of whether they take a minute or an hour to cast. This is the tradeoff of a minor ritual; they don't need to be prepared like spells do, but they take much longer to prepare and cast.

The minor rituals are the most common ritual texts in circulation, and the easiest to get hold of. It is also relatively easy to create them. Any mage with the Ritual Magic NWP can convert a spell he knows into a minor ritual. This takes 1 week per spell level, and incurs the same costs as spell research.

Spell Level Ritual Difficulty
1 20
2 30
3 40
4 40
5 60
6 60
7 80
8 80
9 120

The preparation time for a minor ritual is always 1 round, the time taken to draw a simple ritual circle. The casting time depends on the casting time of the original spell. Spells with a casting time of 1 round or less take 1 turn. Spells with a casting time of up to 1 turn take 1 hour. Spells with s casting time of longer than 1 turn cannot be converted into rituals.