Divine Trappings: Rites and Rituals

Ah yes. Halfway through writing the post I wanted for ‘R’ day, and I realized it would be a much better renamed and used on ‘S’ day.

One of the hazards of being me, it means I moved it and have to start over again. Bugger. Okay.

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game has rules for rituals, based on the ‘incantations’ rules from 2003’s Unearthed Arcana. They basically allow the ritualist to perform a spell for specific purpose. That is, where plane shift can allow the caster to reach any level of any plane if the right focus is available and be cast more or less any time from any place, using ritual magic for the same purpose is much less convenient. Each ritual is unique and learned specifically, likely takes the ritualist to only a single plane (or a specific place on a single plane), stands a decent chance of failing outright because of the skill checks needed, and inflicts backlash on the ritualist even when successful.

Why bother, then? Why go to the trouble when a single spell is more powerful, more flexible, and less costly?

Because the ritualist does not need to be a spell caster (though casters get a bonus to the skill checks needed), and because there is no actual level requirement to use a ritual. A first-level character could conceivably, if not likely, use a ritual to reincarnate (as the spell) a dead ally.

I want to identify some rituals for each deity, but they don’t need to be completely developed. It might not even be necessary to describe each ritual in any significant or meaningful name, if the name alone is evocative enough.

For my immediate purpose I don’t need to fully develop the rituals. I’d like to identify some rituals for each deity, but initially it might be enough to name them… an suitably evocative name might be enough, and I can come back and fill in the details later.

As elements of a domain aspect, I probably want to suggest ritual subjects, or adjectives or descriptive phrases that could suit the domain. The more evocative and unusual the better, I expect: for the air domain ‘wind’ might be okay, ‘breeze’ would be better, but ‘zephyr’ stands out.

I daresay Tome of Adventure Design will be my savior here. I used it when working on Rituals of Low Fantasy (another series I need to finish and get packaged for publication). Low Fantasy Gaming uses entirely different rules for rituals, but the concepts are similar.

The Conan books from Modiphius might have something also, probably in the Gamemaster Toolkit.

And, of course, a decent thesaurus. This time I’m definitely going to want a thesaurus.

Time to head upstairs and take a look.


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