Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Song of Dirt and Wind - Ritual Magic

So I got distracted from working on the house rules.  I'd been meaning to polish up the rules for ritual magic for awhile, and figured I'd hit that part this evening so the supernatural rules were pretty much complete.  I know ritual magic doesn't fit in a lot of post apocalyptic games, but I wanted to make a tool kit set of rules that supported occult apocalypses, like awakening ancient gods, vampires taking over the world, etc.  I'll be working on more example rituals in the near future.


Rituals are mystic procedures that when preformed by one trained in the occult arts can produce amazing results.  Those without training in the occult arts can attempt these rituals, but doing so is a difficult, dangerous, and foolhardy choice.  Rarely are such decisions made twice.
Characters who wish to perform rituals should think about purchasing the Knowledge (Occult) specialization, the Occult Training benefit, and the Ritual Specialization benefit.

Rituals are found through gameplay, such as discovering ancient texts or otherworldly scrolls, and must be learnt individually.  Learning a ritual requires a Knowledge (Occult) test against the Learning Difficulty of the ritual.  Learning a ritual generally takes ten minutes, but due to the difficulty most ritualists spend more time than the minimum.  Each doubling of the time required to learn the ritual grants a +1B bonus to the Knowledge (Occult)  check to learn the ritual.  

New characters with the Occult Training benefit can select one ritual per level of Knowledge (Occult) they have, but any rituals selected must share one keyword with the keywords the character has gained through Ritual Specialization and the Casting Difficulty of the ritual cannot be higher than the Knowledge (Occult) specialty of the character x3.  Thus a character without the Ritual Specialization benefit cannot start with rituals.  
Casting a ritual requires a Knowledge (Occult) test against the difficulty of the ritual.  Generally these target numbers are very high, so characters must spend extra time to get bonuses to their check.  Like with learning rituals, each doubling of the time required to cast the ritual grants a +1B bonus to casting the ritual.  Thus rituals are something that must be prepared and planned for rather than something used on the fly.  Also most rituals require special components, intonations, movements, etc that make them impossible in some circumstances. These are detailed in the ritual description.  

Many rituals can be further increased in power with a sacrifice of lifeforce or blood, either the caster or someone elses.  For each Injury the caster inflicts on himself or someone else during the ritual, the casting check gains a +1 bonus.  For each wound the caster inflicts on himself or someone else during the ritual, the casting check gains a +1D bonus.  More benevolent rituals, particularly the Protection and Life keywords, may not gain this bonus, but that’s up to the gamemaster.  Due to this option, some villainous sorcerers may rely on human sacrifice to fuel their more difficult rituals.  
Rituals can be cast ahead of time and left unfinished save for one syllable or gesture, called hanging a ritual.  To hang a ritual the player must cast the ritual as normal, but it does not activate and is instead tied to an item that becomes a talisman holding that ritual.  The player must have that item in hand to activate the ritual, which, the player may choose to do as a Greater Action.  While a player has a spell hung the player suffers 1 point of Composure damage that will not return until the hung ritual is discharged.  A character can only have a number of rituals hung equal to his Knowledge (Occult) specialty.  A hung ritual can be harmlessly discharged with no effect at any time as a free action as long as the talisman is in hand.  If the talisman is destroyed the ritual is immediately lost.  .

Rituals could be reskinned to use Technology (Repair) instead of Knowledge (Occult) to represent building mad scientist gadgets, though a different set of rituals is likely a good idea along with adding a time requirement to the rituals.  In this case Ritual Specialization would become tech specializations and keywords on rituals would become fields like Robotics, Energy, or Computers.  
Example Rituals
Circle of Binding
Keywords: Binding, Area
Learning Difficulty: 15
Casting Difficulty: 21
Physical Requirements:A circle must be drawn on the ground(or if it is within 10 feet of the floor, the ceiling).  This circle must be unbroken and must be all of one unbroken material, such as a rope, chain, or pile of salt.  For every 100 supply days of goods used in procuring higher quality supplies grants the caster a +1B bonus to casting this ritual.  

The caster creates a circle up to 10 feet across and at the close of the ritual names a specific creature or type of creature.  Any creature fitting that description that enters the circle cannot leave the circle or target anything outside the circle without passing a Challenging (18) Will (Dedication) check.  Failing this check inflicts an injury in the trapped creature.  

By increasing the difficulty of casting the spell by +5 the caster can increase the size of the circle by 10 feet or the difficulty of crossing the circle by +3.  The spell lasts until something breaks the line drawn during the casting of the ritual.  Often such lines are drawn in sand or dust, meaning a good wind, rain, or someone outside the circle swiping with their foot can break the ritual.  More permanent rituals use metal circles.

No comments:

Post a Comment