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Sacrifice, The Path To Power

Some religions require the practice of sacrifice to honor or appease a particular deity.  For ritual magic however, sacrifice is used to provide extra power and give bonuses to the ritual leader's Ritual skill check.  The nature and quality of a sacrifice depends greatly on the needs of the particular ritual. 

There are three basic types of sacrifice that affect ritual checks.  Material sacrifice is often considered symbolic sacrifice but can still have a dramatic effect on the outcome of a ritual.  Destroying a valuable gem or burning an effigy during the ritual are examples of material sacrifices.  Energy sacrifices are subtle but costly ritual boosters.  Sacrificing levels, experience points, or attributes are examples of energy sacrifices.  The last category of sacrifice is the sacrifice of Life.  Living sacrifices are never practiced by good ritual leaders and some evil leaders will incorporate these into every ritual.  These types of sacrifices grant both the most potent and the most unpredictable bonuses to a ritual check.

Material Sacrifice

Sacrifices of this nature most often take the form of precious items such as gems or works of art.  Personal effects are also sacrificed in certain rituals.  Sacrificed material items are destroyed upon an alter during the process of the ritual to help fuel the energies needed to produce the effect.  GMs must use judgment about the material sacrificed.  Sacrificing an item that has no significance to the outcome of the ritual has no bearing on the ritual skill check.  Below are some common modifiers that can be applied to ritual material sacrifices.

Item Modifier
per 1,000 gp of worth + 1*
Gems (per 100 gp) + 1*
Personal Item of Ritual Leader (per 1,000 gp) + 2
Personal Item of Ritual Helpers (per 1,000 gp) + 1
Item Belonged to Target of Ritual. + 2
Item is a Religious Relic + 4
Magic Item + 2
Vital Body Part of creature related to ritual goal. + 2#
Non-vital Body Part of creature related to ritual goal. + 1#
Entire Body of creature related to ritual goal. (not alive) + 3#
Likeness of ritual target (per 100 gp) + 2*

The method of sacrifice itself may be ritualistic or simply practical.  Simply smashing or burning an item is the practical way of sacrificing the item during a ritual.  Other methods of sacrificing may involve ingesting the item (if biological) or using magical methods to dispose of the item.  If outsiders or elementals are called forth for the ritual sacrificing material items may be accomplished by giving these beings the items in question. 

Energy Sacrifice

Energy sacrifices are difficult to explain in game lingo but the mechanics are quite simple.  Individuals may sacrifice experience points, whole levels, or a point or two from a single attribute.  These sacrifices have a more potent effect than material sacrifices.  Once sacrificed, there is no way to regain these back except through normal adventuring to increase naturally.

Energy Type Modifier
Experience Points (per 1,000) + 2*
One level (minimum experience to be of target level) + 5 **
Two levels (minimum experience to be of target level) (maximum sacrificed) + 15 **
One point from a physical attribute + 2 **
Two points from a physical attribute + 5 **
Three points from a physical attribute (maximum) + 10 **
One point from a mental attribute + 4 **
Two points from a mental attribute + 10 **
Three points from a mental attribute (maximum) + 25 **

* Can not sacrifice experience points if it will take you below the required amount for your current level.
** Modifiers from the same type of energy do not stack.  Only the higher value is applied.

Energy sacrifices from contributing individuals must be at least equaled by the ritual leader.  For example, if three people are aiding in the ritual and each sacrifice one point of Wisdom, the Ritual Leader must also sacrifice one point of Wisdom to gain any benefit of the aiding individual's sacrifice.  If individuals aiding in the ritual sacrifice more than the Ritual Leader is capable, as in one aiding member sacrifices 9,000 XP but the leader can only sacrifice 5,000 XP without going down a level, the Ritual Leader may sacrifice his maximum capable and still gain the benefits from the addition sacrifice by those aiding him.

Living Sacrifice

The most potent of all sacrifices is that of a living entity.  There are few hard and fast rules governing this type of sacrifice but the GM is encouraged to keep in mind the appropriateness and quality of the proposed sacrifice before allowing the final adjustment.  Below is a guideline for players and GMs to follow but other factors may influence the final adjustment. 

Sacrifice Modifier
Animal Sacrifice + 1 per HD
Magical Beast Sacrifice (non-sentient) + 2 per HD
Unwilling Sentient Creature Sacrifice + 2 per HD
Willing Sentient Creature Sacrifice Ψ + 4 per HD
Sacrifice Representative of Ritual Element + 2
Sacrifice is Blood Relation to Ritual Leader + 2
Sacrifice is "untainted" Ж + 4
Sacrifice is a Divine Spell-caster of same alignment as Ritual Leader + 2
Sacrifice is a Divine Spell-caster of different alignment as Ritual Leader. + 1
Divine Ritual with Sacrifice the Enemy of the Deity. + 6
Divine Ritual with Sacrifice follower of the (evil) Deity. + 4

Sentient Creatures are those with an Intelligence of at least 4.
Ψ
Willing creatures must be free from magical or mundane Compulsion or Coercion.
Ж Untainted creatures are at least of the age of responsibility, not magic wielders, and in the same physical purity as when born.

Divine Ritual Sacrifices

Ritual Leaders must take care in Life Sacrifices during Divine Rituals.  Modifiers have the reverse effect (negative modifier) if the Deity called upon is of good alignment.  Some neutral Deities will take exception to sacrifices of their followers or certain types of animals and will also reverse the sacrificial effect.  Evil Deities tend to welcome any life sacrifices.  Those Deities who require ritual sacrifice in regular worship do not grant ritual bonuses for those sacrifices.