June 1, 2008 at 10:18 am
filed under Roleplaying
Tagged ,

Whoops! It’s a third post, as if it is some sort of bonus post, or perhaps as if I am trying to get rid of drafts that won’t be applicable in a week or so.

If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s an excerpt up about Rituals.

I like the theory behind what I’m reading here. D&D had a lot of iconic and interesting spells that were nearly impossible to use. It’s not that they were complicated. It’s that the choice between Magic Missile or Mend wasn’t really a choice. 3e mitigated this somewhat by putting a lot of minor spells into the 0th level category. Still, many higher level spells that were potentially interesting lost out to their more versatile or widely applicable counterparts. 4e is trying to change that.

Rituals, in theory, let you cast those spells without having to give up other abilities. Since they require either a hard copy of the ritual or a scroll, the only requirement seems to be having the skill and the ability to cast rituals. I’d be surprised if the latter weren’t achievable through a feat, multiclass or otherwise.

I notice that they also managed to preserve the notion of a scroll this way, too. While rituals can be performed from a book, which a character can do any number of times, a character can also perform them from a scroll, which is single use but cuts the casting time in half.

Some of the abilities they’ve picked for scrolls are old favorites or sound like spells I would’ve liked to have seen PCs use more: Magic Mouth, Traveler’s Feast, Speak with Dead, or Comprehend Language. Granted, a wizard with a reasonably large spellbook in 3e would’ve made this practical with the Scribe Scroll feat. Heck, maybe I’m missing out by not playing a wizard who scribes the crap out of scrolls.

I also like the idea that some of these are skill checks. For instance, Cure Disease offers a chance of death if you try to cure a disease that outclasses your skill. Interesting! I’d be disinclined to inflict this on the players unless they were consciously gambling with a PC or NPC’s life. (More on this sort of thing in another post.) That doesn’t mean I can’t, for instance, have stories where an NPC in over his head screws up and someone dies for it.

That’s all I have for now. I’m really looking forward to leaving some scrolls in front of the PCs and seeing what they do with them.

  • episoen

    I really liked their whole section on rituals as well. I liked it enough to bookmark the link, even (which is not something I often do). I think that it adds a great set of tools for players to use, and I definitely plan on using lots of rituals in my next campaign.

    Oh, what plans I have, Matthew. What plans I have.

  • deadlytoque

    I’ve been playing in a D&D game every other week or so since the books came out (I think we played session 5 or 6 last week) and we finally used a ritual, and it was great! We found a secret passage into the sleeping chamber of a goblin underboss, and there was a guard patrolling back and forth outside the chamber. So, our wizard took 10 minutes and slapped down a burst 4 zone of silence (-10 to perception checks for anyone outside to hear anything inside) and we moved in quickly and grabbed the underboss and pulled him back into the secret passage. Loved it!

    So many times in the past (in 3.5, that is) I’ve kicked myself for not having prepared/memorized a spell that was on my list but just had such limited application that I couldn’t see any point — until that specific situation arose. With rituals, this no longer needs to be a concern!

  • Wow. That’s a pretty cool use of a ritual!

    Unfortunately, I am a lousy DM who does not have his players’ rituals and abilities on file. :/ I need to fix this, so I can at least set the PCs up for stuff like that, if they don’t think of it themselves.

    Thanks for sharing!

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