Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ritual Magic

I've been thinking quite a bit about ritual magic systems for DnD style gaming. I think it could be something that could be tacked on to the magic systems that are currently in use.

First the player would have to learn a ritual. This could be via training, ancient texts, or even god given (a DM could "give" a ritualistic caster one free ritual per level - automatically learned, or let the player develop them with DM approval).

After learning the ritual - the spell caster would have to perform the ritual. This could involve special components, a lengthy invocation with lots of chanting and such, and it could employ sacrifices (gold, oils, food, living creatures, etc...) to the Gods, demons, spirits, etc... Certain rituals may only be valid if performed on a certain day, or time of day, or during one season only, etc.. You may also have to perform the ritual at a certain spot, or in a holy church or location, etc...

The ritual would create a magical effect that lasts for a specified amount of time. It could be permanent, or it could last for a specific amount of time. Or it could end upon a specific circumstance being achieved. For example if the character is seen, or is touched by light, or by moonlight, or if the character eats or drinks anything, etc... the effect is gone.

I've heard about ritual magic systems being used for the Carcosa game. I didn't order a copy of this game though because none of my players are into the sword and planet thing. I wonder if they are similar to this idea or completely different.

Although I really like clerics in ODD and 2nd edition. I've always thought that the vancian magic system for clerics is a bit strange - considering you are petitioning the god for very defined effects that you can then cast later just like a wizard. Maybe an alternate cleric class could be developed that utilizes rituals along side traditional cleric type abilities. I guess this style of cleric could pray to one god only or to a host of gods. I think each setting would have to adapt the system around their cosmology.

Cleric (alt)
HD, experience progression, and attack table identical to your favorite ruleset.
Turn Undead (unchanged)
Ritual Magic

Next up: a list of possible rituals and ideas on how many rituals you could have "active" at a time. Maybe some thoughts on whether there would be Levels of rituals or if they would all be the same level.

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