Ritual Magic (Apath)

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Introduction

Ritual magic is slower and less exact than spell magic. A number of people gather and perform a ritual together, having a general idea of what they want to achieve. The lead caster selects a ritual seed, usually a spell the caster knows, and the ritual amplifies and changes the effects of this seed, usually into something much stronger.

All spellcasters are capable of ritual magic, but the more powerful spellcasting classes does it better. You can can learn or improve your ability to use ritual magic with the the Ritual Caster feat.

Ritual Caster Feat

This feat allows anyone to learn to cast ritual magic, and improves the ritual magic ability of classes that are not full spellcasters. Note that at level 20, all classes benefit from the Ritual Caster feat, as it gives access to level 10 spells for the purpose of ritual magic only.

Ritual Caster

You can cast ritual spells

Benefit: You can use ritual magic as if you had the ability to cast spells of a spell level equal to half your Hit Dice. Your caster level for ritual magic is equal to your Hit Dice. This in no way changes your ability to cast spells or use magic items outside of ritual magic.

Casting Ritual Magic

Casting ritual magic requires following a fairly simple sequence. First you select a seed or root spell that has the effect you want, and then you apply modifiers that change the effective spell level of the ritual. These modifiers change the effective level of the ritual spell in a way similar to metamagic. If, after all modifications, the final spell level is one you can cast, you can use the ritual spell once you have fulfilled all the conditions of the ritual. If you have fulfilledall conditions, and survived the consequences of any hassle points you have collected (see below), there is no roll or random factor - just like regular spell casting, the ritual casting automatically succeeds.

Hassle

As you modify the ritual, particularly as you reduce the effective level of the ritual casting, you collect hassle points. This is a bad thing. Hassle points are an abstract measure of the opposition and friction your work on the ritual provokes. The more hassle points you collect, the more likely it is that some outside agency that objects to the ritual will seek to hinder you. Depending on the number of hindrance points you have collected, this can range from minor inconveniences such as additional random encounters or obstructing your preparations to a full-scale attack on the ritual site itself.

Hassle is the random element of rituals. Rather than have a big final roll for the ritual that can fail, causing a great anticlimax, hassle is there to provide hindrances that are adventure elements in themselves. The goal is to make casting a ritual exciting and dangerous rather than just demanding a lucky roll.

Spell Seed

The first step is always to select the sort of effect you want the ritual to have. This is done by selecting a spell, or sometimes a root ritual that is not actually a researched as a spell, but that could potentially become a spell. This spell seed has a spell level that is used as the initial level of the ritual spell. This spell level is later modified by all the factors below. Note that the exact details of the ritual seed are superseded by other ritual factors. Spell details such as casting time, spell components, range, and duration are usually not factors in the final ritual spell.

Having spell effects as the basis of ritual casting saves making up hundreds of different rituals, but also means that any poorly designed or balanced spells risk being used as poorly designed/balanced rituals. Be careful with what spells you allow in the game!

Range /Duration

Targets

Mitigations

Ritual spells usually end up being very high level, higher than you can cast. To make rituals manageable, you apply mitigations, extra effort put into the ritual to help you perform the magic.

Cast Time

This is the amount of time spent on the ritual itself. All casters and assistants must be present the entire time. A congregation, if any, need only be present for the last hour of this time. If the ritual takes 8 hours or more, this precludes any other downtime activity that day. A ritual that takes days takes 8 hours for the caster and all assistants each day.

Days (+3 hassle)
Hours (+1 hassle)
minutes

Date

Certain days are more compatible with certain rituals. Particular days are sacred to different deities or are very active for magic in general. Other times are marked by stellar conjunctions or otherwise special - these are much more rare. All magically significant days are well known to various factions, who keep an eye out for ritual magic performed on these days.

Weekday
Festival (+2 hassle)
Day of Calling (+4 hassle)
Celestial conjunction (+6 hassle)

Resources

Conditions

Known Spell

Ritual Spell Basic Characteristics

Casting Time 1 minute
Components V, S, M
Range 100 ft
Area/Targets 10 ft. radius burst, 10 ft. cone, or 1 creature
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw as spell seed
Saving Throw DC 10 + 1/2 caster level
Spell Resistance yes

Limitations Of Ritual Magic

There are certain things ritual magic just cannot do.

  • No ritual spell can be lower than 2nd level. This means you have to be able to cast 2nd level spells (or be forth level and know the Ritual Casting feat) in order to use ritual casting at all.
  • A ritual spell can either have an area or a number of targets, not both.
  • A ritual spell can improve either duration or range. Never both. A ranged ritual can still have an instantaneous duration.
  • A ritual spell cannot create a magic item. There are other rules for doing that.

See Also