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Rituals in D&D

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randalls
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« on: June 10, 2008, 06:45:37 pm »

I've discovered something I like in 4E: Rituals. While I don't like the idea of turning all combat spells into powers and all non-combat spells into rituals, I think the idea of having certain spells replaced by time-consuming rituals would enhance the fantasy feeling of a number of low-powered campaigns.

For example, replace the raise dead and raise dead fully spells with rituals that requires a cleric, holy objects of the clerics religion, and a lot of time to perform would add a lot of flavor to a campaign without hurting anything. It would also put a stop to clerics raising dead party members in the dungeon, which has always annoyed me.

Some rituals would have to be performed by a cleric or a magic-user (and many might have minimum level requirements), but other rituals might be designed to be performed by anyone who can follow directions and gather the necessary materials. Many of these rituals might be on the nasty side (summoning demons, cursing your neighbor, etc.) which would open up all kinds of interesting adventures as players could not automatically rule out anyone who is not a spell-caster if, for example, demons are infesting an area.
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Philotomy
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2008, 10:47:37 pm »

I don't have the 4E rules, but I remember something similar in one of the Rolemaster Companions (i.e. an optional system for ritual magic).  I may have to dust off my RM books and take a look at it, again.
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randalls
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2008, 07:01:56 am »

I don't have the 4E rules, but I remember something similar in one of the Rolemaster Companions (i.e. an optional system for ritual magic).  I may have to dust off my RM books and take a look at it, again.

I wouldn't want to use anything like the 4E ritual system which often involves making multiple skill rolls, having the right feats, etc., I just like the basic ritual idea. I have four or five of the Rolemaster Companions so I'll have to look through them as well. I don't remember a ritual system, however, so it may be in one I don't have.
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brianm
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2008, 02:33:02 am »

For my Moldvay/Cook/Labyrinth Lord hack, I'm considering allowing magic-users and clerics to cast spells above their level as rituals.  For the magic-users, they will have to acquire the spell's formulae by the usual means.  Clerics will require the approval of their deities, which may or may not be overtly granted.  (I still haven't decided yet how directly the gods will act upon the world.)

In either case, the time to cast will be one hour per level of the spell, and the cost of casting it will be something like 50% cheaper than hiring someone to cast the spell for you.  Casting certain spells in certain places (stone circles, for instance) or at certain times (under the full moon) might grant some sort of bonus to the spell or reduce the time and monetary cost.

- Brian
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randalls
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2008, 09:51:22 am »

In either case, the time to cast will be one hour per level of the spell, and the cost of casting it will be something like 50% cheaper than hiring someone to cast the spell for you.  Casting certain spells in certain places (stone circles, for instance) or at certain times (under the full moon) might grant some sort of bonus to the spell or reduce the time and monetary cost.

Sounds like a workable system to me.

I'm planning on adding rituals to the OD&D campaign I'm preparing for. Rituals will be suppressed magic (by the Wizard's Guild) because they are the way evil people summon demons, bind good people to do their evil will, etc. The official story is that this is all rituals can be used for. The players, however, may discover that much more magic can be done via a ritual by just about anyone -- assuming they stumble across the clues and are interested in following them up, of course.  If not, my villains will make excellent use of rituals in just the way the Wizard's Guild says all rituals are used.
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