Greater Rituals

Copyright Nicholas HM Caldwell © 2004

Edited by Mario Butter for The Guild Companion

Ritual Magic is introduced in HARP's College of Magics supplement, and is divided into Lesser Rituals and Greater Rituals. Lesser Rituals are ritual versions of existing spell effects and are fully described. Greater Rituals are hinted at as being the method of creating ritual effects which have no counterparts in Spell Magic.

The manuscript of College of Magics did not make such a distinction, but space and other editorial concerns prevented the inclusion of rituals to create novel effects.

This article will present guidelines for Greater Rituals. It should not be construed as the official rules on the subject (unless ICE turns up in my inbox with a request for me to write an extension of College of Magics). It is also not a repackaging of material from the College of Magics manuscript. Rather it is an extension of the published material, compatible with the published rules, yet in keeping with the spirit of my original intent.

Creating a Greater Ritual is akin to creating a new spell, and in general, the rules for spell creation as described in Chapter 5 of College of Magics are used with only minor modifications.

Step 1: Define the core concept.

Write down the idea encapsulating the effect of the proposed ritual. This is identical to spell creation step 1.

Step 2: Translate the concept into Aspects

Every ritual has at least one Action Aspect and at least one Object Aspect. Determine the Aspects in exactly the same way as for spells. Total the Aspects costs as per the spell creation rules step 2.

Step 3: Determine the Attributes

Every ritual will have an area of effect, a range, a duration, and so forth. In creating spells, the normal advice is that the attributes should have the minimum values appropriate for a useful spell in order to minimise the base cost of the spell. In Ritual Magic, an effect with a different range or duration or area is not a scaled ritual but a different ritual. In creating a Greater Ritual, the attributes of range, duration, and area of effect should be set at the desired level in the "base form". The Attribute costs should then be calculated using the spell creation rules (step 3).

Note: GMs may wish to consider the use of the extended spell creation costs in my previous article, Spell Casting on an Epic Scale, TGC #66 August 2004.

Step 4: Calculate the Base PP Cost

The standard formula (step 4 of the spell creation rules) should be applied to determine a base PP cost. Note: This is not the final cost of the ritual.

Step 5: Determine the Scaling Options

Although the area, range, and duration of effect of the Greater Ritual should be at their desired values, some rituals may involve other parameters such as Damage Size, Numeric Bonuses, etc. The PP cost for the required options can be found in Step 5 of the spell creation rules. These should be added to the "base PP" cost.

For Greater Rituals, the Final PP cost is three times the sum of the base PP cost and scaling options PP cost.

The existing rules for researching, learning and performing Lesser Rituals apply to Greater Rituals.

The following modifiers are applied to researching new Greater Rituals:

--40 if the Greater Ritual does not involve High Magic effects;

--80 if the Greater Ritual does involve High Magic effects.

Example: Clear Skies Ritual

This ritual will clear the skies of all haze, precipitation, clouds, etc., in an area up to 1-mile radius (centred on the ritualist's location at the conclusion of the ritual) for one hour. This ritual will not affect the wind. This ritual can only be cast outdoors.

Potential Influences include:

Actions: Fanning away steam from a cup of boiling liquid.

Auspicious Place: On a mountain

Fragments: A scale from an Air Dragon

Precious Gems: Diamonds

Precious Gems: Sapphires

Aspects: Transform (major) [30], Cloud [15], Weather [40 x2]. Total Cost: 125

Attributes: Range: Self [5], Area of Effect: 1 mile radius [150], Duration: 1 hour [80].

Total Cost: 235

Base PP Cost is 18 PPs

Final PP Cost is 54 PPs

Example: Banish Demon Ritual

This ritual will banish an Incubus Demon (Class IV), compelling it to return to its home plane of existence, if it fails a RR versus Magic. The banished demon cannot return of its own volition to the place from which it was banished for 1 year. The demon must be within 100' of the ritualist at the conclusion of this ritual.

Potential Influences:

Actions: Invoking the Demon's truename and exhorting it to "Begone".

Actions: Prayers to deities opposed to demonic entities

Auspicious Dates: On the feast day of any saint famous for exorcising demons

Auspicious Places: Performing the ritual on consecrated ground

Fragments: Blood or body fragments from the targeted demon.

Aspects: Return [10], Travel [10 x2], Teleport [20 x2], Demon [15]. Total Cost: 85

(Note: the Travel and Teleport Aspects are included to ensure that this ritual can deal with a Demon that has not been summoned to this plane)

Attributes: Area of effect (1 target) [10], Duration (10 rounds) [40], Range (100') [40]

Total Cost: 90

(Note: The duration is not yet correct as there isn't a base option for one year.)

Base PP cost is 9 PPs

Increasing the duration to one year requires a scaling option costing 9 PPs (from my extended scaling options in the "Spell Casting on an Epic Scale" article.)

Enabling the ritual to handle Class IV Demons costs 6 additional PPs

Final PP Cost is 72 PPs ((9+9+6) x3).