Whereas instant spells and miracles are well known, tightly controlled methods for causing an effect, ritual magic taps into the more fundamental forces of the universe. Thus rituals (or their miraculous equivalent, ceremonies) can be used to cast known spells, effects beyond level 10, unusual effects or combining the powers of multiple characters.
However, the greater flexibility and power of rituals comes with a price. Rituals take longer to cast than instant spells/miracles and channeling the extra power can harm the casters, causing life damage. The damage this power causes can be reduced in multiple ways:
A single character can perform rituals by simply learning Magic Ritual for spells and Religious Ceremony for miracles. This allows them to create and cast rituals up to the level of their skill.
To successfully perform rituals above their level of skill, a character must join with others to create a ritual group (known as a cabal for magic rituals, and a conclave for religious ceremonies). The group is lead by a Lead Ritualist and aided by the Assistants.
Working harmoniously wih others to perform rituals requires training to control the variations and fluctuations in power introduced by other casters. The greater the skill in Work With Cabal/Conclave, the higher the effects that can be cast. At least one person with Work With Cabal/Conclave is needed to perform as a group, but it is much better (and less painful) if everyone has at least Level 0.
Characters can attempt rituals beyond their level of skill, but doing so risks serious damage and backlash from the gods and elements.
Characters can create brand new rituals (which have a new effect) up to their relevant ritual/ceremony skill. Each ritual takes (level + 1) weeks to create, during which the character cannot do any other activities beyond the basics of living.
Authors can only create rituals which feature themselves as the lead ritualist, unless they have Work With Cabal/Conclave skill up to the level of the ritual.
When a ritual is created, the following details must be specified:
Characters can work together to create a ritual, sharing the required time amongst them.
Characters can modify existing rituals, up to twice their own ritual level. This is required to change casters, components, number of sacrifices, etc. This takes (level + 1) hours, but the time is halved if the modifier has ritual skill equal to or better than the ritual level.
A character can obtain a generic ritual script for any instant-cast casting that they have access to. They must modify it to suit their own casters, components, focuses, etc.
You can only guarantee the success of a ritual if all the required casters, components, circles, etc are present. Otherwise the ritual counts as ‘unskilled’ and has much greater risks.
Rituals follow the same casting requirements as normal spells/miracles (you have to Concentrate), except you can never run, and if using a circle you must remain within 20ft of it. Instead of vocals, you perform the ritual. If you are interrupted, you take the damage and lose the power, but do not gain the effect.
You can hold a completed ritual by spending 1 mana/standing per minute. Ending a ritual before it is completed requires 1 minute of concentration and the agreement of all participants.
The process for an individual to cast a Level N ritual (for which the character has appropriate ritual skills and script) is as follows:
A group of people where at least one has Work With Cabal/Conclave can form a ritual group, made up of a Ritual Leader and Assistants. The maximum level of ritual they can perform is limited to:
The leader’s ritual skill affects how much casting damage is done by the ritual. However, the inclusion of any participants without the Work With Cabal/Conclave skill will result in a drastic increase in the casting damage. Participants must have knowledge of a similar casting, either by ritual or instant-cast. If they don’t, the ritual counts as ‘unskilled’.
The process for a group to cast a Level N ritual (for which they have appropriate ritual and Work With Cabal/Conclave skills and an appropriate script) is as follows:
If the ritual has a range of ‘Self’, then only the leader is affected.
Example: Breeze, Nemesis and Ariel want to perform a level 4 Air ritual together. Breeze, the leader, has Air Ritual 2 and Work With Cabal 1. Nemesis has no Air Ritual (but knows a relevant Air spell) and Work With Cabal 1. Ariel has Air Ritual 1 and Work With Cabal 1. Together they can perform rituals up to Level 4 (limited by Breeze’s skill as the leader). The casting damage is controlled by Breeze’s ritual level, so it is 3 + (3 × 2) = 9 life damage. Breeze gets to decide who takes the damage.
Example: Thalassa really wants to join the ritual group above, but doesn’t have any Work With Cabal skill. If they modify the ritual to include her, then the disruption caused by her unskilled presence means that in addition to the original 9 life damage, everyone will take an extra (5 × 2) = 10 life damage each, and lose 2 Death Thresholds for the next 24 hours.
Any two or more characters can form a cabal as long as at least one character has the Work With Cabal skill. However, you cannot contribute to a ritual if it is of your opposing school (except for Circle mages with the appropriate guild bonus).
Any two or more characters with at least one shared Principle can form a conclave, as long as at least one character has learned the Work With Conclave skill. Characters without a shared principle cannot join the same conclave. Conclaves can only use their Work with Conclave skills to assist if they share an adjacent path.
Example: Giselle creates a conclave to perform a Life ceremony. Characters with ceremony skills in Justice, Life, Freedom and Balance can join the conclave, but characters using ceremony skills in Order, Might, Death, Chaos or Anarchy cannot.
When casting rituals that interact (such as Spellweave or Extension), you perform them one after the other. If they are required to be done immediately together (such as Spellweave) then no effects happen until both rituals are completed.
When working with multiple casters or instant-casts, they must all finish at the same time.
This table is a handy summary of the rules above for casting damage.
|Difference between leader’s skill level and ritual level||Damage for an individual||Damage for a group where everyone has WWC||Damage for a group where someone doesn’t have WWC|
|Skill is 3 or more levels higher||0||0||0|
|Skill is 2 levels higher||1||1 for the whole group||1 for the whole group|
|Skill is 1 level higher||2||2 for the whole group||2 for the whole group|
|Skill is the same||3||3 for the whole group||3 for the whole group|
|Skill is 1 level lower||6||6 for the whole group||6 for the whole group + 5 life and 1DT each|
|Skill is 2 levels lower||9||9 for the whole group||9 for the whole group + 10 life and 2 DTs each|
|Skill is 3 levels lower||12||12 for the whole group||12 for the whole group + 15 life and 3 DTs each|
|Skill is 4 levels lower||15||15 for the whole group||15 for the whole group + 20 life and 4 DTs each|
|Skill is 5 levels lower||18||18 for the whole group||18 for the whole group + 25 life and 5 DTs each|
|Skill is 6 levels lower||21||21 for the whole group||21 for the whole group + 30 life and 6 DTs each|
|Skill is 7 levels lower||24||24 for the whole group||24 for the whole group + 35 life and 7 DTs each|
|Skill is 8 levels lower||27||27 for the whole group||27 for the whole group + 40 life and 8 DTs each|
|Skill is 9 levels lower||30||30 for the whole group||30 for the whole group + 45 life and 9 DTs each|
|Skill is 10 levels lower||33||33 for the whole group||33 for the whole group + 50 life and 10 DTs each|
Components and focuses can absorb casting damage. You can use up to one of each in a ritual. Components are irrevocably destroyed at the end of the ritual, whereas focuses are undamaged and can be used again.
A ritual/ceremonial circle holds power (mana/standing as relevant) to absorb casting damage. The maximum power that the circle can hold is equal to the ritual skill of the person who drew it plus 1. Drawing the circle takes at least 1 minute, and adding power takes 10 seconds per point. Anyone can add power, even if they are not part of the ritual group.
A circle does not have to be a ‘circle’ but can be any enclosed shape. The circle must be big enough to encompass the Casters, Components, Focuses & Sacrifices. The physical circle must be created during the ‘drawing’ time, this can be by marking a circle in the earth, using rope/branches, pouring powder etc. It must also be relatively simple to destroy, by scuffing the ground, removing the rope etc. and cannot be hidden.
An undamaged circle can be re-empowered at the GM’s discretion.
Talismans and Holy Symbols provide no protection from ritual casting damage.
Rituals and Ceremonies tap into the primordial power of the Principles and the Elements that make up the world and exist for all with the skill, will and power who are daring or foolish enough to attempt to claim them and bend them to their will. This can include those without training, or attempting to cast beyond the limits of their training without assistance, but this is a risky path to follow. Without formal training, the end result of such rituals and ceremonies are rarely predictable, but the following tends to hold true:
Performing an unskilled ritual as either an individual or a group works as follows:
Certain spells and miracles, for various reasons, are too powerful, too unique or too unpredictable to be refined into instant castings. The same rule as for unskilled rituals also applies. Despite a character’s best efforts in providing power, sacrifices, components and focii, more unique rituals or ceremonies may fail for any reason, including no reason at all, at the whims of the Gods or Spirits of the elements (As decided by the GM & Character Refs). Power remains lost in such attempts. These should not be used on game without prior GM and Character Ref approval, and are more intended as plot devices. These include, but are not limited to:
Summon Elemental/Planar Spirit
One of a wide variety of rituals for various paths and spirits, this ritual needs to be written for a specific elemental or spirit in question and performed in areas which have a strong connection to the element or plane in question, using a Ritual Circle to summon the creature into. It offers no way of controlling the spirit however, that is left to the summoner. Higher level rituals allow for the summoning of more powerful creatures.
Open Portal to Plane
Similar to summoning, opening portals to other planes needs to be performed in specific locations where the borders between planes are weaker, and use a Ritual Circle to create the portal within. The portal will remain open for as long as the caster holds the ritual (See Maintaining a Ritual). More powerful ritualists can open portals in more places. Of course there is no guarantee that the area on the other side of the portal is safe, or can be opened again from the other side…
Dispel Spiritual Influence
These rituals cannot be refined to instant castings for the simple reason that each casting is effectively unique and a different casting in it’s own right. For more detail see Spiritual Influences.
Greater Resurrection/Raise Dead (Minimum Level 5 (Life)/6 (Justice)
The Ceremony to bring a character back to life after being dead over an hour cannot be refined to an instant because it must be tailored specifically to the character who is being resurrected to guide their spirit back from the afterlife. Such resurrections are not straightforward and require lengthy negotiations with the powers that be to ensure success. More powerful Ceremonialists can bring back characters who have been dead longer.
Destroy Holy Symbol/Mystic Talisman (Minimum Level 25 (Fire/Chaos)
The Ritual to destroy a Holy Symbol or Mystic Talisman cannot be refined into an instant casting because of the sheer level of power needed to destroy items protected by the soul held within them, and the wardings needed to contain the backlash from the powers that are unleashed. Ritual Circles are typically used to defend against this but some foolish Cabals attempt to without these.
Excommunication (Miracle Only)
The Ceremony of Excommunication is not one undertaken lightly. A Conclave of at least 3 Ceremonialists of the same path as the target (Who must also be present, but not willing or concious) call upon the Path to pass judgement on the charges presented by the 3 casters. If the case is found to be justified the target loses the ability to cast all of their miracles up to the level of the ceremony until some attonement is peformed, set by the Path. The Path can always impose lesser or different punishments if the powers that be (The GM & Character Refs) see fit. Spurious cases result in all 3 casters being excommunicated themselves for a number of days equal to the Ceremony Level. No magical variant is known to exist.
Create Warding Circle
The Warding Circle rituals are a technique to defend against forces counter to the element or path of the caster. It involves the creation of a Ritual Circle onto which the warding spell or ritual is cast. Once cast, the ward will prevent spells, miracles or creatures from crossing or affecting things inside the ritual circle until the mana or standing within the circle is exhausted. The circle consumes 1 mana/standing a minute until exhausted, at which point the warding circle loses all protective qualities. The circle can be empowered with power whilst active in the usual fashion. Dispel (Path/Magic) and Path/Mana Lace remove power from the circle (Equal to level for Dispel). Higher level warding circles protect against higher power spells/miracles/creatures.