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Ritual Basics

Casting a ritual requires a lot of spiritual and psychic energy.  Simply "going through the motions" and performing a ritual like someone following a cookbook is futile.  Each ritual a person performs requires a portion of their own energy be thrown into the ritual to start the energies which drive the power called upon during the ritual itself.  There are experience costs associated with most rituals that the ritual leader must pay as soon as the ritual begins apart from any other penalties or sacrifices designed into the ritual.  The following table shows the base XP cost the ritual leader must pay when he invokes a ritual.  The cost is based upon the end DC of the ritual before conditional modifiers are applied.  There is no known way to eliminate this cost.

Base
Ritual DC

  XP Cost
0 - 20 ~ 0
21 - 40 ~ 500
41 - 60 ~ 1,000
61 - 80 ~ 5,000
81 - 100 ~ 10,000
101 - 150 ~ 15,000
151 + ~ Special *

* Rituals with a DC over 150 require that the caster sacrifice their own life force for the ritual.  People who give themselves up to this sacrifice can not be brought back to life by any known means.  For purpose of development cost, consider these powerful rituals as requiring 20,000 XP.

All rituals are classified under three categories:  Divine, Arcane, or Wild.  Divine rituals are those designed to beseech a particular deity or divine force to aid in the completion of the ritual.  Divine rituals do not need to be led by priests but those attempting the rituals must be on good terms with the deity they are invoking otherwise nasty surprises may ensue.  Arcane rituals are those that are performed by arcane spellcasters who attempt to emulate or modify an arcane spell.  An example of this is a ritual performed to cause a Gust of Wind to descend upon an encamped army to douse their torches and cause minor chaos within the camp.  The scope of the ritual is beyond that of the base spell and with this form of ritual usage the effect is still considered arcane in nature.  Wild rituals do not fit into either other category.  These tend to be personal rituals or rituals that involve a large group without calling upon divine forces. 

Researching new rituals is a costly and time consuming event.  It costs (10gp x XP cost) to discover the proper procedure and materials for a ritual.  It also takes one week per 1,000gp to perfect the ritual.  See the section on Building a Ritual for precise information on ritual creation.  Once a player develops a ritual they give the completed ritual to the GM for final approval and confirmation of success.  The GM rolls a Ritual skill check for the player against the DC of the proposed Ritual, success means the ritual should function as researched.  Failure means the player thinks the ritual will work but the GM should come up with an alternate end effect (possibly deadly to the caster) depending on how badly the skill check failed.  GMs can also consult the Ritual Failure information to help decide on an appropriate effect.

An individual can perform a ritual "on the fly" without benefit of research but the Ritual DC is increased by 10.  Similarly, the ritual may be performed without the correct or even substitute tools but the DC is increased by 10 as well.  Rituals performed in this manner are dangerous and seldom are worth the risk. 

Ritual Needs

To perform a ritual a person needs a focus for the ritual's energies.  Although some rituals can be performed where the focus is the individual performing it, most rituals require the use of additional tools and supplies.  Like some other skills, use of the Ritual skill can be accomplished without tools but the person suffers a -4 to their skill check roll if they use nothing and a -2 if using improvised tools.  Masterwork tools add nothing to the skill check unless the tools are to be consumed in the ritual.  If they are to be consumed, masterwork tools provide a +2 circumstance bonus to the ritual skill check. 

Rituals can also utilize the power of elemental beings.  There are specific rituals to calling these powers to aid in ritual work so I won't cover their calling here.  If a person calls extra planar aid, they must provide a medium for the elemental forces to interact with their ritual.  Examples of such things would be a pound of salt for earth or a gallon of wine for water.  It is best for ritual casters to use supplies that cost more than their expected need than to skimp on supplies and use substandard tools.

Restrictions and Timing

Environment and cosmology are important factors in ritual performance.  There is no real system for when a ritual may be performed or what extra factors contribute to the success and failure of a particular ritual.  The GM

Casting a Ritual

The act of performing a ritual takes at least 5 turns (5 minutes) so rituals are impractical for combat situations.  Whoever is leading the ritual begins by invoking a purification ritual upon the tools to be used and invoking any external powers to be used in the ritual itself.  As with any ritual, the leader must make a ritual check while performing the purification.  Failure adds a +5 DC to the final Ritual check.  At this time any XP cost associated with starting the ritual are paid.  The ritual leader then proceeds to perform the ritual until completion.  Disruptions or distractions during the ritual casting provoke Concentration checks as if casting a 5th level spell. 

In the event of a ritual that takes longer than 1 day to perform, someone must be actively attending the ritual site and tools at all times.  The ritual leader need not be the person so engaged but anyone helping is considered an extra person in the ritual and must roll a Ritual check accordingly to possibly modify the ritual leader's end skill check.  If the ritual site or tools are destroyed, the ritual ends immediately in failure.  Any backlash or XP penalty of the ritual still effects those involved in the failed ritual as normal.  There is also the possibility of extra consequences, see Ritual Failure for further possibilities.  Each day of the ritual, the leader must perform the same purification ritual over the ritual tools.  The DC adjustment for failing at the purification is only applied once no matter how many times it is performed or failed.

Once the person performing the ritual reaches the end of the casting, they roll a Ritual check to check for success.  Success or failure is not always apparent to the individual depending on the nature of the ritual cast.  GMs are encouraged to roll the skill check themselves and then describe any perceived effect to the player. 

Additional people assisting in the ritual must maintain concentration during the actual performance of the ritual itself.  Attacks against those individuals result in a Concentration check.  If the Concentration check fails the ritual is disrupted but not necessarily ruined.  Whoever fails a check is no longer part of the ritual but penalize the leader's end roll as if they had failed their initial Ritual check.

Outside Help

During the preparation process, the ritual leader can invite the aid of elemental energies or outsiders in the completion of the ritual.  Calling upon the aid of such creatures always contain an element of risk but the benefits normally mitigate any potential detriment.  See the information under Outsider Aid for complete information.