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Rituals

The following spells, though part of the spells presented in this book, are specifically meant to be used as rituals and can be learned and (mis)used by even those with no magical ability.

These occult spells represent dangerous magic that reaches out to affect the supernatural. Whether they ward against it, summon its presence, or beg its unseen favor, these spells interact somehow with dark forces beyond the grasp of most mortals.

New Rule: Non-Ritual Casters

Non-Ritualist. There are many tomes and even oral histories that teach hedge magic to the uninitiated.

Anyone may attempt to meddle in the mystic arts, and even wild talents have mastery over magic, but the untrained do not have the discipline or knowledge of arcane formulas that prevent catastrophic consequences.

The following spells have special rules for allowing the casting of a ritual spell without any special ritual knowledge. These may be the results of a sorcerer’s apprentice misremembering their master’s teachings, or a foolish adventurer attempting to recreate a ritual through an ancient tome that has a page or two missing. Whatever the cause, the only requirement is that the non-ritual caster has some access to the ritual’s instructions, whether they be complete and correct, or not.

A non-ritual caster will always perform a ritual that is grossly flawed, and often it can be so detrimental that the benefits rarely outweigh the drawbacks. Consider this as a guideline for any ritual to be cast by a non-ritual caster, and really anyone foolish enough to meddle with something that they barely understand.

For any other ritual, consider potential negative consequence to the spell being cast, either by creating an imperfect result, or even creating some random but negative magical surge that affects the caster in some way. When in doubt, consult this random table.

Random Misfortune Table
d12 Misfortune
1-2 The spell has no effect, and any material components are consumed regardless of whether the spell would have consumed them.
3-4 The spell works as written for non-ritual casters, but you have angered the powers that govern mystic secrets. You have disadvantage on all rolls to save against or resist magical effects for 24 hours.
5-6 The spell works as written for nonritual casters, but it affects a random target or allows the original target to pick a new target. In the case of a nontargeted spell, the spell instead backfires and explodes for 1d8 force damage per level of the spell, affecting a 10-foot radius centered on the caster.
7-8 The spell has no effect, and the spell creates an anti-magic field (as per the spell) that lasts for 1 month from the time of casting, centered on the spot where the ritual was completed.
9-10 The spell summons a storm of mystic energy. The area encompassing a 100 ft. radius centered on the ritual becomes difficult terrain due to tumultuous winds and unstable magical energy. All creatures within the storm are subject to force damage once per round (1d6) until they can leave the immediate area.
11 The spell has no effect, and you summon a random outsider. (GM’s choice)
12 The spell goes wildly out of control, and works too well! Your GM is encouraged to create a proper though catastrophic consequence, such as the summoning of dozens of overzealous unseen servants, for instance.

Note: You may also elect to have flawed rituals available to learn for those spellcasters capable of doing so. Someone practiced at ritual magic can tell that a ritual is flawed, whereas an amateur would not. In the case of an incomplete ritual being cast by someone capable of ritual magic, make sure that you flatly state that not only is there a danger of the spell going wrong, but hints of what the consequences may be. The reason a non-ritual caster gets no such warning is that they have no way of knowing when they are stumbling into disaster.

Ritual Mishaps as Curses

Consider any of the mishaps either from this table or from the miscasting of a ritual for a curse effect, whether to add to a cursed item, a result of divine intervention or a bestow curse spell.

The effects of each miscast spell are meant to be interesting and perhaps the fodder for adventuring, rather than debilitating and show-stopping.

Curses should similarly be interesting, and a motivation for more adventure, rather than an obstacle to be dealt with before more fun can be had.

Remember that your players should have enough warning before dealing with a flawed ritual to decide if they want to cast it, so that they may accept the consequences.

Ritual Spells

Exorcism

2nd-level abjuration (ritual)

Classes: Cleric
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a holy symbol, scripture in any media, such as cuneiform or book)
Duration: Instantaneous

Notable disturbances destroy small objects around you as you attempt to force an unwanted spirit from a possessed individual.

As long as you maintain concentration for the entire hour, you can perform an opposed Wisdom or Charisma check against the possessing entity (you may choose which).

If you succeed, you drive the spirit out at the culmination of the spell’s casting.

Non-ritual Caster. A layman may cast this ritual spell if he is taught by the clergy, though it would be foolhardy to attempt such a task without significant assistance. Non-ritualists that cast this ritual and fail the contest are at risk of being possessed and have disadvantage to checks against any such attempts. Whether the attempt successful or not, the non-ritualist also gains 1d4 levels of exhaustion.

Magic Seal

2nd-level abjuration (ritual)

Classes: Bard, Cleric, Wizard
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (chalk containing powdered silver, worth 50 gold, which the spell consumes, and a container, which is effectively consumed by the spell)
Duration: Until the container is broken After defeating an enemy of a certain type (including celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, or undead), you may imprison their essence within a container. You must have drawn a mystic symbol upon the container beforehand, and you may only cast this spell on a creature that is somehow subdued (knocked out, incapacitated, or dead). Sleeping targets are not subject to this spell.

No matter what state the target is in, it must make a Charisma saving throw to resist. If it fails, it becomes trapped within the receptacle, and cannot escape unless an outside force breaks the container, or they break it from the inside.

A trapped creature may make an attempt to break its prison at every new moon. At this time, the ritual must be cast again, allowing the trapped creature a new saving throw to escape. If the ritual is not cast, the creature automatically breaks free. If this ritual is performed at every new moon for one year, the seal becomes permanent unless broken from the outside.

Non-ritual Caster. A non-ritual caster may attempt to cast this spell, but the magical prison is rendered imperfect. The trapped creature has advantage on its saving throw to escape the prison once it has been trapped. Moreover, it forges a link with the caster while it is imprisoned, and it can attempt to reason with, corrupt, or even cast enchantment spells at the caster once each day at sunset. An evil creature is likely to use this time to thoroughly corrupt its warden before instructing them to set the creature free. This link is broken once the demon is freed, slain, or properly imprisoned.

Ritual of the Harvest

3rd-level divination (ritual)

Classes: Druid
Casting Time: 1 or 2 hours (see text)
Range: Special (see text)
Components: V, S, M (a sacrifice worth at least 100 gold, typically crops or livestock, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Instantaneous

By communing with the spirits of nature, the ritual caster may perform this two-hour ritual in the form of a raucous feast, culminating in the sacrifice and ritual destruction of crops, livestock, or even a well-made effigy. If the casting is uninterrupted, the forces of nature take notice, and the surrounding area out to a 10-mile radius is blessed with a slight boon to the next harvest, typically increasing yields by 5-10%. A given area may not benefit from this boon more than once a year.

Alternately, the caster may instead meditate for 1 hour, after which the caster is considered to have an advantage on any Wisdom (Survival) and Intelligence (Nature) skill checks, and provides enough sustenance for them and any companions. These benefits last for 24 hours.

Non-ritual Caster. Unscrupulous ritualists and spirits may even seek to replace the normal sacrifice with that of a sentient being, especially if the being happens to be from a rival faction. While this is normally unnecessary, non-ritualists that cast this ritual must use a sentient sacrifice. If you are an amateur and are disrupted during the ritual, nature responds angrily through a local manifestation.

This takes the form of an angry elemental, or even natural disasters ranging from droughts to volcanic eruptions.

Séance

1st-level conjuration (ritual)

Classes: Bard, Warlock
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (a crystal ball, tarot deck or séance board worth at least 10 gp)
Duration: Concentration

Through the use of special divining tools, you summon the attention of something otherworldly and often incorporeal. This may manifest as a number of physical disturbances, such as objects being knocked over, or the temperature in the immediate area dropping.

This is followed by an eerie quiet as the being turns its attention to the séance participants.

A called entity (typically a ghost) must make a Wisdom saving throw. If it fails, and the entity is compelled to answer any questions honestly for as long as the ritual caster concentrates.

Once concentration on this spell is broken, the entity stays and acts freely until banished, or it may return to its original location at any time.

It is up to the GM to decide if the summoned entity is friendly or hostile. The spell caster may banish the ghost as an action.

Non-ritual Caster. If you are an amateur with proficiency with occultist tools, you may attempt to cast this spell with no special training or instruction. You must make a Charisma check with a DC of 15. If you fail, a random entity of the GM’s choice is summoned. An unsuccessful summon can act like beacons for rogue entities asking for or even demanding help from the assembled group.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

5th Edition Horror. © 2018, Fat Goblin Games; Author: Ismael Alvarez