Monday, December 15, 2014

AD&D Ritual Magic

Vancian magic is alive and well in the 10th Age, don't get me wrong. Nor do I have anything against it in any way. I love it, so let us not paint me as one of those folks who can't stand it or comprehend it. I actually think its a very sensible way to deal with a powerful force in a high fantasy setting. The question arises, what happens when you want to take that fantasy down a notch to an extremely low fantasy setting? Well, certainly you have to do something about wizards.

So here we are again. Rituals, the common ground of all those who try to "solve" the Vance question without resorting to the Hasboro Sorcerer Solution (which takes high magic into extraordinarily high magic). So what's the proposal for working ritual magic?

All rituals can be learned by any class, but they take time to learn. They are generally a list of instructions, difficult to accomplish. They can also include "magical words" in other languages (generally the languages of demons or gods) as well.

Rituals require a long time to learn, making the primary resource used up learning them the very time of your life. A ritual will generally take 3-12 months to master, but with a successful "learn spell" check, it will take 1/3rd that amount of time. This allows characters with higher intelligence to learn spells quicker.

You must have someone to learn a ritual from, generally a creepy old poisoner, sorcerer, or priest. Rituals are highly specific and few people know more than a handful.

Learning from a grimoire, tome, or papyrus takes double the normal amount of time. It also penalizes your learn spell roll by 5%.

The Charlatan Sorcerer
Thief Kit
Bonus: Start play with 1d4 rituals known. Also receive an extra ancient language for free.
Penalty: Your first hit die is only a d4 (or just 4 hp if you start level 1 with max hp). Further hit dice are d6s. You only get +30% to distribute to your thieving skills at level one. You can put all 30% in one if you like.

Pendant of the Eye
Time to learn: 3 months
This ritual creates a charm which will provide the wearer with a +1 bonus to all saving throws. The pendant must be crafted from lapis lazuli and fashioned in the shape of a Khorassus Eye of the East. The charm must be whispered the secret words for three nights and sprinkled with the blood of the caster. The magician cannot go to sleep during this entire period, requiring a constitution check to stay up. At the end of this time, a learn spell check is made. If it is successful, the amulet is created but the caster is drained and must recuperate for a week. This roll is increased by 10% if the caster crafted the amulet himself.

Taking Signs
Time to learn: 12 months
These are a class of divining ritual. Most require taking auguries from the intestines of an animal, but other types include casting of bones, etc. Complete focus and ritual purity are both required, which takes several hours. At the end of this time, the casting will display either generally favorable or unfavorable omens. At the DM's discretion, more information may be obtained.

Warding the Cup
Time to learn: 3 months
This ritual is a simple one to perform and requires the magician to carve a secret sign known from ancient days in Cedarland onto a drinking vessel. After this is done, the magician at once loses a temporary d4 points of CON (returning at the rate of one per hour). The vessel will shatter if poison is ever placed within it.

Holding the Door
Time to learn: 3 months
Similar to warding the cup—the same types of activity (carving a secret sign) and penalty (loss of d4 CON) except the target must be a door of wood. Once that door is shut and barred, it will hold fast and no key will open it until the next sunrise.

Powder of Slumber
Time to learn: 6 months
This is actually a potent poison that can knock out a man-sized target when applied in the proper doses. It must be prepared from juice of the poppy and powdered hops. The correct preparation will create a powder which can be used to dose food or drink or a liquid which can be administered. In a half dosage, the target must make a save vs. death or fall asleep for 1d4+1 hours. In a regular dosage, the target must make a system shock check or die; if they succeed, they will be knocked out for 1d6+1 hours. In any dosage larger than this, the target must make a save vs. death or die.

No comments:

Post a Comment