View Full Version : DM Help Parts of a Ritual

2016-10-23, 12:36 AM
Okay, so the PCs ave recently encountered a halfling man who helped them out, and now they sort of owe him a favor. What they don't know id that this halfling is actually a wererat, and also a member of a cult dedicated to Torog. This wererat cult are desperate for their god to recognize their faith and allow them to join his ranks. to this end, they are seeking the pieces needed to perform a ritual that will sink a section of the surface world into the Underdark, where they hope to turn it into a torture den worthy of Torog. Tis area of the surface, of course, includes the village the PCs use as their home base.

Naturally, the halfling is going to get the PCs to retrieve one of the artifacts needed to perform the ritual. But I'm having some trouble coming up with ideas for what artifacts are needed and where they might be kept.

2016-10-23, 04:16 AM
Some kind of powerful earth-controlling artifact would make sense, capable of sinking tons of earth like that. If you want to make it less obvious how dangerous it is, maybe that artifact (by itself) makes changes very slowly (inches a day), but in combination with other things in the ritual it would be speeded way up.

Or bound earth elemental spirits, which could be stored in various forms. Maybe corrupting them into necroelementals, if you want the ritual a bit darker.

2016-10-23, 04:37 AM
A drow / druid / dwarven community is in possession of an artifact that summons / augments / controls dangerous creatures with a burrowing speed that they use for war / mystic druid stuff / mining operations in hard bedrock. Those villains must be stopped from using it to raid an unsuspecting elven village from below during the next festival of the Seldarine / do lunatic druid stuff / greedily dig to the Demon Core at the heart of the world.

2016-10-23, 01:54 PM
I'm going to second Icefractal's idea of having the parts individually be harmless.

Maybe an artifact that stabilizes erosion used by a now abandoned sea-side village to keep the shoreline intact; an artifact that dampens magical effects, like a low level anti-magic field; and an artifact that enrages elementals, specifically earth elementals.

The halfling expresses the desire to collect these artifacts to ensure the prosperity of his people. The erosion artifact will ensure longevity, and the dampening artifact will ensure that the enraging artifact cannot be used to harm their village (or some other nonsense).

The cult already holds a fourth artifact, though: The Dagger of Reversal. Using an unholy ritual, they are able to reverse the effects of each artifact. The first artifact now causes erosion at an accelerated rate; the second artifact now amplifies magic within it; and the third artifact now subdues and enslaves elementals.

Or, just as an example.

Make each part weak or innocent on its own, but when they go all Voltron with the artifacts it becomes a tool for destruction.

2016-10-25, 09:46 AM
The ritual has to be done in a sacred cave nearby. You need a pillar of stone sacred by the deity of earth itself to hold the cave up because otherwise it would collapse under the power of said ritual.

2016-10-25, 10:47 AM
Well, to undestand what a ritual makes for magic you need to understand why a magic user should need a ritual.

A ritual is used when normal casting is either impossible, or when normal casting is otherwise inconvenient. Often it involves a constraint of time or an expenditure of power.

For great power a ritual is used by spellcasters to pool their resources or to share the burden along the lines of "if we all chip in we can make sure we all stay fine, yet do a great deed of magic", where otherwise, if one person were to do it, it woudl cost them more then just their magic, but possibly even their life or leave one such exhausted that they can't work magic for days or weeks.

Now then, let's make a ritual!

First step in a ritual is the collection or acquisition of power. To do great deeds, you need great energy. This would work like a photocamera's flash: you charge up the capacitors so you can expend enough energy to make the flash happen. This could be represented by a spell/prayer/mantra that symbolised an offering and uses a focus to pool the energy (like a cup, bowl or chrystal). This part may be crude beucase its objectibe is simple: gathering and storing.

Next up is the shaping of said power. This step is all about tranformation: the conversion of the gathered power to shape it into something workable. With the collection complete the power shall have to be shaped to have the desired effect. This is often done with a metaphor of networks and depending on the way the power is stored (as a liquid in a bowl, as a powerder or as a series of chrystals), the focusing implement will differ. For liquids, a series of canals or channles are often used to fill various pools that transform the contents at various stages. for powder it's like priming a cartridge or creating and shaping a clay. For chrystals, optics often use lenses to converge, diverge, split or otherwise manipulate the optic beam. This could eiterh be a staionary table or a puzzle made from pieces. also katalysts like lenses, filters etc. might be appropriate as objects to gather. Also, a next part of the ritual spell or chant is applicable to have the party seek.

Last but not least is the release of power. As the energy has been gathered (phase 1), transformed (phase 2) it now has to realeased to unleash its effect(s). This stage is one of controlled release and consuption. The thing you made during step 2 will ahve to be destroyed to allow the effects to run their course (even if that is the creation of something different). Not unlike the transformation of a cartridge into a flying bullet. For this stage a trigger (present at the premises or used as a key of sorts), as well as a third part of the spell.

Byut what about 5e's ritual spells? Well, for those spells it's not about the collection of power (as you can cast them for free) but about the shaping of the ambient energies, whcih, given enough time can be done for free. In a hurry you can, however, pump enough magic out to make it happen in an instant (in a way the application of more power takes away the neccessary step of transforming). In a way the process above is not only for rituals, but also for spells themselves. So why bother? Well, remember what I opened with? This is not about casting a spell, it's about sharing the pain, cost or increasing its effects to great heights. You don't cast a ritual just because yopu are free on sunday, no, you want to move mountains, control the seas, shackle gods and imprison demons. You know, end of the world kinda stuff.

So with implements and ritual parts to choose from, as well as cleaning out the ritual chamber, ther eare more then enough jobs for the party to do for your were-rat.

In this case I'd advice a ritual chamber carved out of rock, with a hole for light at an auspicious moment, using chrystals to alter the light and feed it into a liquid to form a series of gems and minerals. Those will be ground, mixed and tranformed into a clay, to be baked and formed into a ceramic key fo sorts and glazed with blood of a sacrifical X (insert target apropriate for your audience). Then to release the magics, it is thrust into the god's altar unitl it clicks in place and the god is summonned to do the bidding of the priests that woke him.

Oh, and before I forget: insert apropriate dramatic soundeffects of earth grinding and fireworks exploding and the required lightshow. Think effects worthy of a Rammstein concert.

2016-10-25, 03:03 PM

*Slow claps as a single tear runs down his cheek*

2016-10-25, 04:35 PM
*Slow claps as a single tear runs down his cheek*

Thank you.

By the way, do you mind if I put this quote into my extended signature among my creations and praise?

2016-10-25, 06:02 PM
Thank you.

By the way, do you mind if I put this quote into my extended signature among my creations and praise?

Of course I don't mind; be my guest.

2016-10-30, 06:15 PM
In terms of standard artifacts The Moaning Diamond might be appropriate