Rituals and Ceremonies

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 ritual magic can be used for casting spells and miracles beyond level 10 and combining the powers of several characters as well as the more usual single character casting a simple spell or miracle.

However, the greater flexibility and power of rituals comes with a price. Rituals take longer to cast than instant spells/miracles and also the extra power can harm the caster(s).

Ritualists and Ritual Groups

A single character can perform rituals by simply learning Magic Ritual for spells and Religious Ceremony for miracles. This allows him to create and cast rituals up to the level of his skill.

In order to create truly powerful effects, ritualists must work together in a Ritual Group. A Ritual Group formed to cast ritual spells is called a Cabal, whereas a Ritual Group formed to cast miracles is called a Conclave.

Working harmoniously with others to create effects requires training to control the power. Without this training, a character cannot control the variations and fluctuations introduced by other ritualists. To successfully work together, two skills are required:

Work with Cabal/Conclave
This general skill provides the basic training required to work with other ritualists. It does not need to be bought for a specific School/Path or Cabal/Conclave. Work with Cabal/Conclave limits the characters Magic Ritual/Religious Ceremony skill that can be used when casting a ritual with a Cabal/Conclave.

Example: Archibald has Magic Ritual (Water) 3, Magic Ritual (General) 1 and Work with Cabal 4. When performing a Water ritual with a Cabal his Work with Cabal skill is limited to 3 and when performing a General ritual it is limited to 1.

Join Cabal/Conclave

This skill is specific to each Cabal/Conclave that the character joins. At level 0, it only allows the character to cast rituals with the Cabal/Conclave. Higher levels for a Cabal/Conclave can be learnt, representing an investment by the character in learning how to work with specific ritualists. When casting rituals, the character’s Join Cabal/Conclave skill level reduces the casting damage assigned to him by the Ritual Leader.

Characters do not need to know any ritual skills to learn Join Cabal/Conclave. In the case where a character does not have any ritual skill, he can only provide Mana/Standing and have casting damage assigned to him.

Example: Archibald has Magic Ritual (Water) 3, Work with Cabal 2 and Join Cabal (Tower of Water). Barel has no Magic Ritual (Water) but has Join Cabal (Tower of Water).

The highest level of Water ritual that Archibald can cast on his own is 3.

The highest level of ritual that Archibald + Barel can cast is the sum of their Work with Cabal skills, which is 2 + 0 = 2. This ritual must be specifically created for Archibald + Barel to perform. Though Barel doesn’t add any skill to the ritual she can still provide Mana and also take damage.

Forming a Cabal

Any two or more characters can form a Cabal by learning the “Join Cabal” skill to level 0. This allows the characters to cast ritual spells together to the limit of their Work with Cabal skills.

Other characters can join the Cabal, with the permission of its other members, by spending time with the Cabal and then learning Join Cabal 0. Members of a Cabal typically share the same Magic Ritual skills, though this is not an absolute requirement.

Forming a Conclave

Any two or more characters with at least one shared Principle can form a Conclave by learning the “Join Conclave” skill to level 0. Thus a character with Religious Ceremony (Justice) can form a Conclave with a character with Religious Ceremony (Life), but could not form a Conclave with a character with Religious Ceremony (Death). This allows the characters to cast ritual miracles together to the limit of their Work with Conclave skills.

Other characters can join the Conclave, with the permission of its other members, by spending time with the Conclave and then learning Join Conclave 0. New members must have at least one shared Principle with all other members of the Conclave.

Creating Rituals

To create a ritual from the beginning requires (level + 1) days

where each day consists of at least 8 consecutive hours. While creating a ritual a character cannot perform any other activity beyond the basics of living.

Example: Simkin has Magic Ritual (Water) 4 and wants to create the new Water ritual Rot(T), a spell that destroys wooden weapons. The Rot(T) spell is deemed to be level 0 and thus takes him 1 day to create.

The maximum ritual level a character can create is equal to his level in the appropriate ritual skill (Magic Ritual (School) or Religious Ceremony (Path)).

Example: Simkin has Magic Ritual (Water) 4 and can create Water rituals up to level 4 or modify an existing Water ritual up to level 8.

When a ritual is created, the following details must be specified

Casters

The identities of the casters are integral to the ritual. Characters can research rituals involving other characters as long as the caster(s) are present during the research for at least 4 hours every day. If the ritual is for a Ritual Group which includes the researcher, then the rest of the group do not have to be present as long as the level of the ritual is less than the character’s Work with Cabal/Conclave level.

Example: Pilgrim has Magic Ritual (Earth) 6 and a Work with Cabal 4. Thus he can:
• Create Earth rituals up to level 6 for which he is the only Caster.
• Modify existing Earth rituals up to level 12 for which he is the only Caster. However, there’s little point doing so as he won’t be able to cast them.
• Create or modify Earth rituals for any other characters to the same levels as long as they are present for at least 4 hours each day.
• Create Earth rituals up to level 4 for any Cabal he belongs to.
• Create Earth rituals up to level 6 for any Cabal he belongs to, as long as they are present for at least 4 hours each day.
• Modify Earth rituals up to level 12 for any Cabal he belongs to, as long as they are present for at least 4 hours each day.

When creating rituals for a Ritual Group, the ritual does not have to include all its members.

Components
Components are optional and are used to reduce the damage from the ritual. The exact type and number must be specified. A ritual can have a maximum of 6 Components. At the end of the ritual all Components are irrevocably destroyed.
Focuses
Focuses are optional and are used to reduce the damage from the ritual. The exact type and number must be specified. A ritual can have a maximum of 3 Focuses.
Circle
Ritual Circles are optional and are used to reduce the damage from the ritual. Only the minimum level must be specified. (The Ritual Circle must match that of the School/Path of the ritual.)
Sacrifices
Sacrifices are optional and are used to reduce the damage from the ritual. Sacrifices do not have to be killed as part of the ritual, but also refer to volunteers who join the ritual to help. Only the number of Sacrifices needs to be specified, not their identities. Sacrifices can only be used to absorb casting damage, they cannot contribute Mana or Standing to the ritual.

All rituals must be submitted to the Character Ref for approval, and the Character Ref is free to make changes. Creating or modifying a ritual is really a research project in which the character attempts to find a method to control and direct the magical power. In particular, what works for one character may not work for another.

Multiple characters can be involved in the creation of a ritual as long as all have the required level of skill. This reduces the amount of time required to create the ritual.

Example: Gemdar needs to create a new level 6 ritual, which will take a total of 7 days. However, he needs the work completed sooner so he asks his friend Flake to help out. With the two of them working on the ritual, the time is halved to 4 days.

Modifying Rituals

A character can modify an existing ritual that is up to twice his ritual skill level. In addition, if the level of the ritual is less than or equal to his ritual skill, then the time taken is half (rounded up) that of creating the ritual.

Usually, rituals based on instant spells or miracles can be treated as being modifications of an existing ritual. This is based on the assumption that all instant spells/miracles are refinements of ritual magic and thus a character with access to an instant spell/miracle also has access to the equivalent ritual.

For some characters, particularly those who do not belong to a Guild or similar organisation, this assumption may not be correct.

Example: Archibald has Magic Ritual (Water) 4 and wants to create a Clear Mind(T) ritual. To create this ritual would normally take 2 days, but as it has an instant spell equivalent and Archibald is deemed to have access to the underlying ritual, he can create a ritual in only 1 day.

Modifying a ritual allows everything apart from the ritual level to be changed.

Example: Caffrey spends 2 days modifying the Strength Justice Ceremony for his own use and creates a ritual requiring
• 1 caster: himself.
• 2 Standard Components: two lots of bull’s blood.
• 1 Superior Focus: a Giant’s fingernail.
• A level 2 Ceremonial Circle of Order.
As his Religious Ceremony(Justice) skill is 2, this will take 2 days.

Example: Mayhew has decided to redo his Ice Blade 0 ritual as, with his higher level, he no longer needs as many components, focuses, etc. He spends a single day and creates a new Ice Blade 0 requiring
• 1 caster: himself
• 1 Superior Focus: a large pearl

Example: Nefar, a Priest of Death, has finally found the forbidden Ritual of Tek’anhut after years of searching. The ritual is level 24 and is too difficult for Nefar to understand with his Religious Ceremony(Death) skill level of 10.
After destroying a few infidels, he becomes sufficiently experienced to increase his Religious Ceremony(Death) skill to 12, which is high enough for him to begin modifying the ritual. The modification takes 24 days and Nefar creates a new ritual requiring:
• 4 casters: Nefar and his three top lieutenants Wrack, Ruin and Michelle.
• 2 Superior Components: the heart of a Paladin and a black marble headstone with his own name inscribed on it in gold.
• 4 Standard Components: the finger bones of an Orc, grave dirt, swamp water and a vial containing the blood of all the casters.
• 1 Superior Focus: the Skull of D’Kral, a powerful Lich destroyed 2 centuries ago.
• 2 Standard Focuses: the altar of his Deity and a sacrificial knife.
• A level 7 Ceremonial Circle of Death.
• 5 Sacrifices.
The next step is for him to find the Skull of D’Kral and kill a Paladin for his heart.

Casting a Ritual

A ritual can only be cast if all the specified Casters, Components, Focuses, Circle and Sacrifices are available.

One of the ritualists involved in the casting must be nominated as the Ritual Leader. For individual ritualists, the Ritual Leader is obviously the ritualist himself. For a Ritual Group, any member can be nominated the Ritual Leader for a ritual, though usually this will be the character with the highest Work with Cabal/Conclave skill level.

The maximum level that a Ritual Group can cast is equal to the sum of all their Work with Cabal/Conclave skills (which may be limited by their Magic Ritual/Religious Ceremony skills for the specific school/path they are casting).

When performing a ritual:

Rituals follow the same Casting Requirements as for casting a spell/miracle normally, except you can never run (and if using a Ritual Circle, you should remain within/around it) and instead of using the standard vocals, you perform the ritual (but the name of the spell/miracle must still be said at the end of the ritual).

Concurrent Castings

You can cast multiple spells/miracles together that interact in some way (e.g. Extend/Extension and Spell Weave) with both Rituals and Instant-Cast as described below:

Ritual and Instant Cast

If the spells/miracles are cast by Ritual and Instant-Cast then the Instant-Cast must be done just before the end of the ritual.

Example: Winterlight rituals up Extension 2 (level 2, 3 minutes); just prior to it ending, Pilgrim casts Blade Sharp 1 on Winterlight’s sword and Winterlight finishes the ritual, targeting it on the sword.

All Ritual (same caster)

If all the spells/miracles are cast only by Ritual by the same caster then the final effect is only ready when the combined ritual ends.

Example: Iussis wishes to make himself strong for 1 hour. He rituals up a Strength (level 2, 3 minutes) and an Extend 2 (level 2, 3 minutes). After 6 minutes the ritual is complete and Iussis has Strength for 1 hour. If interrupted beforehand Iussis has nothing and is affected as per Ending a Ritual.

Example: Magma wishes to combine Blade Sharp and Flame Blade. He rituals up a Spell Weave 3 (level 3, 4 minutes), a Blade Sharp 3 (level 3, 4 minutes) and a Flame Blade (level 3, 4 minutes). After 12 minutes the ritual is complete and Iussis has a sharper, flamey sword. If interrupted beforehand Magma has nothing and is affected as per Ending a Ritual.

All Ritual (different casters)

The different Rituals should be timed so that they end at the same time. Note you can maintain one (Maintaining the Ritual) if necessary.

Example: Exhor rituals up an Extend 3 (level 3, 4 minutes) intending to cast it on Iussis’ Strength ritual. After 1 minute, Iussis begins his Strength ritual (level 2, 3 minutes). Both rituals complete at the same time and Iussis has Strength for 1 hour (Note the Extend +1 level adjustment for different caster).

Casting Damage

The amount of damage is based on the Work with Cabal/Conclave level of the Ritual Leader. When casting a ritual with the same level as the ritualist’s skill, the amount of damage is 15 Life Points per minute. This amount is reduced by 3 Life Points for every level higher that the ritualist’s skill level is higher than the ritual level (to a minimum of 0) and increased by 3 for every level lower. The Ritual Leader can distribute this damage amongst all participants and Sacrifices as he sees fit.

Skill Level – Ritual level Damage/Min
5+ 0
4 3
3 6
2 9
1 12
0 15
-1 18
-2 21
-3 24
-4 27
-5 30
-6 33
-7 36
-8 39
-9 42
-10 45
-15 60
-20 75
-25 90

Example: Gemdar is casting a level 4 Earth ritual using his Magic Ritual (Earth) skill of 6. This will take 5 minutes and cause 9 Life Points of damage every minute.

Components and Focuses

Components and Focuses can be used to reduce the damage, with the amount based on the quality of the item. At the end of the ritual Components are irrevocably destroyed, whereas Focuses are undamaged and can be used again.

Quality Damage Reduction
Focus
Standard 1/min
Superior 2/min
Master 4/min
Legendary 8/min
Component
Standard 3/min
Superior 6/min
Master 12/min
Legendary 24/min

Example: When Gemdar created his level 4 Earth ritual, he specified the use of 2 Standard Components and a Standard Focus. These reduce the damage by 7, so Gemdar only takes 2 Life Points of damage every minute.

Circles

To create a circle of a particular level, the character must have learnt Inscribe Magic Circle/Inscribe Ceremonial Circle to at least the same level.

Drawing a circle requires (level) minutes.

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.

Once drawn, it must be empowered with Mana/Standing to be effective. Empowering requires the character to touch the circle and takes 10 seconds per point of Mana/Standing transferred. Any character or group of characters, can empower a circle. A circle can take up to twice its level and any Mana/Standing beyond this limit is simply not transferred. The amount of casting damage that a circle protects against is equal to the amount of Mana/Standing it has been empowered with.

Example: As well as the Components and Focuses, Gemdar also specified that his level 4 Earth Ritual requires a level 1 Earth Circle. This increases the amount of time to cast the ritual, as it takes him slightly more than 1 minute to prepare and empower the circle with 2 Mana. This further reduces the damage by 2 Life Points every minute, so Gemdar takes no casting damage when using this ritual.

Once drawn, a circle can be re-used provided it is undamaged (at the GM’s discretion), though it must be empowered again.

Talismans and Holy Symbols
Talismans and Holy Symbols protect against any ritual casting damage assigned to the character by the Ritual Leader.
Join Cabal/Conclave
Characters can learn how to work with a particular Cabal/Conclave by increasing their Join Cabal/Conclave skill. The level of this skill reduces any ritual casting damage assigned to the character by the Ritual Leader.

Example: Nefar and his three lieutenants have Work with Conclave skills of 12, 8, 4 and 3, which means that the combined Ritual Group can cast a maximum level ritual of 27.
Nefar brings the Ritual Group together to cast the level 24 Ritual of Tek’anhut, which he has modified for the group’s use. Nefar is the Ritual Leader, and his skill minus the ritual level is (24 – 12 = 12), which equates to 51 Life Points of damage per minute.
This is reduced by:
• 2 Superior Components (12)
• 4 Standard Components (12)
• 1 Superior Focus (2)
• 2 Standard Focuses (2)
• Level 7 Circle of Death (14)
So the ritual will cause 9 Life Points of damage per minute. As the ritual will last 24 minutes, this will cause a total of 216 Life Points of damage.
The ritual also requires 5 Sacrifices, for which Nefar has captured 5 Human villagers (30 Life Points, 10 Death Threshold).
For the first 21 minutes of the ritual Nefar assigns the damage to the Sacrifices, killing each one in turn. On the 22nd minute 7 of the 9 Life Points of damage is assigned to the last Sacrifice, killing him. Nefar assigns the remaining 2 to Michelle, which causes no harm as she has a level 4 Holy Symbol. On the 23rd minute Nefar assigns all 9 Life Points of damage to Michelle again (he never really liked her), causing 5 Life Points of damage. On the 24th minute Nefar assigns the 9 Life Points of damage equally amongst his three lieutenants (3 each) and, as they each have Holy Symbols, none of them take any damage.

Maintaining a Ritual

Once a ritual has been cast, it can be maintained by expending 1 Mana/Standing per minute. A Ritual Group can divide this cost amongst its members.

Example: Mayhew spends 6 minutes casting Mass Rust in preparation for an attack by a tribe of Orcs. By the ritual has been completed the Orcs have not appeared, so Mayhew decides to extend the spell by spending 1 Mana/minute. Two minutes later the Orcs appear, and Mayhew releases the Mass Rust.

When maintaining a ritual you have to Concentrate.

Ending a Ritual

If a ritual is interrupted, you effectively loose everything as if the ritual had been completed, but nothing happens.

You can voluntarily end a ritual. However, all participants must do so and it takes a full minute (and if one of the participants doesn’t want to end the ritual, treat it as an interrupted ritual).

It is not possible to end a ritual early and cast a lower level spell/miracle.

Example: Archibald is performing a ritual to cast an Ice Blade 4 (5 minutes). He cannot end it after 3 minutes and cast an Ice Blade 2.