View Full Version : incantations--> epic spells--> rituals

2011-04-25, 06:33 PM
OK, so essentially I'm a tad annoyed at that incantations are intended for such small scale, and epic is too easily broken, and so I would like a system for all those nice messy cult rituals where you have 200 magi all chanting in sync, sacrificing innocents by the hundreds, and summoning up, demons, hellfire, plagues, and other such extreme things that one would turn to epic spells for, but I would rather a system that was intended for multiple casters, and hopefully with some balance.

first lets brainstorm fragments, than toss out some, offset others, ect. feel free to contradict other ideas with your ideas.


1. 3 primary factors: difficulty to cast (spell craft DC, or preferably something more clever), power (what it can do), and scale (how big of a ritual is it, a three man scrying thing, or a ten million man doomsday thing)
2. sacrifices in terms of sacrifices, spell slots, backlash and such goes to power.
3. the larger the scale and power the higher the difficulty
4. Optional GM minus to difficulty for proper presentation (I plopped the stick of butter in the cauldron and went for a walk doesn't cut it)
5. restrictions on long term effects.
6. steal ideas from incantations, epic spells, and circle magic
7. use True Sorcery, and Thieves' world
8. make a set number of spells with a reasonable cost
9. make a certain number of casters necessary for a given spell difficulty
10. make there need to be a leader, and if he/she dies the spell goes haywire
11. keep summons/minions from participating
12. use multiple key skills

2011-04-26, 06:25 AM
There are rules like this somewhere in the forgotten realms stuff, circle magic its called, i think.

2011-04-26, 06:29 AM
Epic's a bit easily broken- incantations are a bit weak- maybe mix and match the best aspects of both?

As long as the DM keeps control of what mega-spells are allowed, it may not break the game.

2011-04-26, 06:34 AM
that's the intention :smallbiggrin: (though if you play incantations right they can also be overpowered)
(circle magi are also in the DMG)

2011-04-26, 11:59 AM
Well, I've been brewing something up alot like what you were thinking of, but in the end, I gave in... Until now :)

Thieves' world is by and in it self a quite handsome alternative to the spellcasting system of D&D. But do you want le cream de la cream, you should take a look at True Sorcery, this allows for making devastating summoning effects, such as summoning a demon in the midst of spreading curses and fireblasts all around the point of summoning. Oh and it does of course also allow sacrificing creatures to gain higher chance of succesful casting a spell, in exchange for some taint, but hey, no matter :P
In truth a system that can be made marvelous, with great minds ;) Uhm, oh, perhaps I should mention that instead of spell slots you take nonlethal drain damage for casting spells, just a small appetizer to start out with :)


2011-04-26, 01:07 PM
Hmm, I'm not familiar with those would you mind explaining the systems a bit? :smallbiggrin:

2011-04-26, 01:31 PM
Well, consideringer infringement regulations I don't know how much I'm allowed to spill to you, but I can hint ya at some discussion forums containing already posted information :P heh, and some is even released by the publishers as a free preview ;)

This (http://true20.com/files/TrueSorcery_pre_02.pdf) and sorta this (http://www.greenronin.com/store/product/grr1801.html) would give you the gist of things ;)

further (http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=3941.0) reading (http://www.greenronin.com/store/product/grr1707e.html) would (http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/164688-anyone-picked-up-true-sorcery.html) be this (http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/community/gaming/dnd/trueSorceryAMagicalSourcebookAnyonePlayWithThisMag icalSystem&page=1&source=search#0) :)
Excuse me for the inconvenience, but it is a great buy for only 18 bucks, I'm still intrigued by it's endless potentials ;) Even just True Sorcery alone is all you're actually looking for, and that's the cheaper one of the bargain :D


2011-04-26, 02:13 PM
If you want to do things with large circles of casters, you're going to need to adjust for that explicitly - most of these systems only give very slowly scaling bonuses for that, whereas one caster with an optimized saving throw or casting check or whatever does much better.

The epic spell system is only broken (overpowered) if people can make their own spells and thereby abuse mitigation factors to make them trivial. Otherwise it tends to be broken (uselessly weak). So if you had a fixed list of these things that could be used, you could use the epic spell system as a start for scope and so on. Basically if you as the spell designer don't abuse or even optimize mitigation factors, the results will give you something that roughly looks like 'a big 3 digit number DC = a big epic effect, a big 2 digit number DC = permabuffs or smaller scale cool stuff'.

Then make it so the resulting DC of the spell is the number of people needed to cast the ritual, and each of them must have a minimum caster level of X, where X is something like 1 per 50 points of the DC. So a DC 250 epic spell requires 250 casters of 5th level as the ritual component. You might even want to be gentler on the caster level requirement, doing 1 per 100 or something, or say that the DC equals the sum total of caster level over all participants or something like that. Make the casting time automatically and irreducibly ten minutes per point of DC (so a DC 100 spell takes a little under 24 hours to cast), which can be maintained by shifts. Season to taste.

Now there's also a requirement that one person be the ritual leader at all times. It's interesting if this could be anyone - skilled or weak - but that if they get knocked out during the casting it collapses or goes haywire. The shift changes for these are perilous, requiring a Concentration check of DC/10 (or something) to keep the spell going as one steps away and one steps in. Ring of Sustenance or awakened golems preferred!

Make sure you forbid summoned or bound creatures from participating as the ritualists or the old chain-gating solars trick will kick in.

2011-04-27, 07:25 AM
I'd say some of the premade epic spells can be broken *double checking this*
Well there's always snatching an item to give you +500 spellcraft, but that aside mass frog is a tad cheep (though fun enough that it must work), Crown of vermin is cheep, but than again they've nurfed creeping doom since than, kinetic control has a high DC, but all the same combined with spell turning lets you tell everyone to stop hitting themselves... and of course I could pick at these all day (I'm somewhat reserved in terms of cheese both as a DM and a player (though mostly that player part is because I can twist the system into a hideous knot.

I was also thinking of making the system available to single casters, but than get serious with mobs. anyways I like the idea of more casters for a higher DC, and I just got the idea, why not make it a few key skills, and tune them to certain aspects. Ex: bluff/intimidate/diplomacy/sense motive for summoning spells, balance if it goes on forever, use magic device if there are components, spellcraft/concentration/decipher script as the base 3... something like that anyways, I don't wanna give skill monkeys too much power, but if no one member can be making more than one check...

good catch on the solar thing, though any reasonable DM would have one of them along the chain ready to kill the player since they were about to finally deal the killing blow to something vary evil. :smallbiggrin:

I like the leader thing, though I think some rituals are also done without a leader so lets just make it easier to cast with one. :smallbiggrin: