Ritual casting is a complicated process. If every component, every element, and every action is not taken properly, the Ritual will fail. Any player seeking to cast a Ritual must follow the following steps and have the appropriate staff member(s) present:
If possible, casters who intend to Ritual cast at an event should alert campaign staff well in advance that a Ritual may occur at the event. Some Rituals require the campaign's Plot Committee be notified, especially if the Ritual requires NPCs to perform actions, or if the Ritual requires a member of the Plot Committee to provide information or other support. Some Ritual Scrolls require the notification of the Plot Committee prior to Ritual casting, and failure to do so many mean that you will not be allowed to perform the Ritual that event or else that the Ritual will automatically fail.
The caster should take the time to make sure all of the required resources are ready. Failure to have any of these prerequisites available at the time of Ritual casting means the Ritual cannot be conducted, and the Ritual marshal may confiscate and break one Ritual component in the caster's possession. The caster is responsible for ensuring that the following items are available when a Ritual marshal is sought to officiate:
- A physical representation for the Circle of Power (if the caster is not using a Greater Circle of Power)
- A copy of the Formal Magic section of this Rule Book
- A 10-sided die
- The Ritual Scroll or scrolls to be used; the caster must have at least a one in ten chance of successfully casting the Ritual
- The Ritual components required for each Ritual Scroll
- Valid recipients for each Ritual, whether items or persons. Any item to receive a Ritual casting must already be approved for use (for example, weapons must be safety checked before being the target of a Ritual)
- Any additional players or NPCs required for the Ritual
- The caster's player card, as well as the player cards of any Ritual casters aiding in the Ritual casting
A Ritual marshal is a staff member approved by the chapter in which the Ritual is to take place. It is important to remember that Ritual marshals can be very busy, so it is the caster's responsibility to take the time to make sure everything is ready to proceed before obtaining a Ritual marshal and to minimize the amount of time a Ritual marshal will be needed. Depending on the Ritual, the caster may also need to request a "magic item temporary tag" from the Ritual marshal. Players should be quick, professional and courteous when conducting a Ritual.
Upon arrival, the Ritual marshal will take the following steps, with which the players involved should cooperate:
- Ritual marshal identifies the primary caster and any additional casters who will assist in the Ritual
- Ritual marshal reviews the casters' player cards to note how many levels of the appropriate school of Formal Magic they possess. Note that a Ritual Caster may choose to not use all of their Ritual Levels when casting if they so desire
- Ritual marshal reads the first Ritual Scroll thoroughly, asking relevant questions. For example, if the scroll has the ability to cast a more powerful form of the Ritual, the marshal should ask the player what level of the Ritual the caster is attempting
- Ritual marshal confirms that all the required components and recipients are present within a valid Circle of Power
- Ritual marshal calculates and informs the players of the Difficulty Rating of the Ritual
- Ritual marshal calculates and informs the players of the chance of success of the Ritual as follows: The Success Number used for the Ritual roll is ten plus the primary caster's Formal Magic levels minus the Ritual's Difficulty Rating. If using secondary casters to aid in the Ritual, add one to the number of caster formal levels for each valid secondary caster participating
- Ritual marshal repeats this process for each Ritual the players intend to conduct
- Ritual marshal informs the players they may begin the first Ritual
- The caster casts the Circle of Power spell if not already inside a Circle
The caster begins the Ritual casting by stating the words "Begin Ritual casting." The caster must be able to read the scroll and must be able to use Game Abilities throughout the casting. The caster must touch a valid recipient for the Ritual within thirty seconds of beginning the Ritual, or the Ritual automatically backlashes. So long as the target of a Formal has been signified by touching it within the first thirty seconds of the Formal, the target remains valid despite any other steps taken to prevent the caster from touching the target (such as the target suffering a Prison effect after being touched).
A dead body may be the target of a Ritual; however, if it leaves the circle before the Ritual is complete (such as dissipating to go resurrect), the Ritual will backlash.
Once touched, the caster may not designate a new recipient for the Ritual. During the Ritual casting, the caster cannot do much of anything but speak and fulfill the actions required in the Ritual Scroll.
No spells or Game Abilities may be used by the caster from the point the caster states "Begin Ritual casting" until the Ritual ends, except High Magic, Educated, and any skill or spell specifically set forth on the Ritual Scroll.
If a person is casting a Ritual that stores a spell or ability, then a person with the ability to use that ability or cast that spell must, at the appropriate point in the Ritual, touch the recipient and declare the name of the spell or ability to be stored. The recipient is not affected by the spell or Ritual being stored and the person with that skill or spell should only utter the name of the skill or spell, not the verbal that invokes the effect.
A Ritual will fail without backlash if, at the time the caster states "Begin Ritual casting," any of the following conditions are met:
- The caster, Ritual Scroll and all required components are not in a Circle of Power
- The caster does not have at least a one in ten chance of successfully completing the Ritual without a flaw or backlash
- the Circle of Power representation is not properly set up as per the Circle of Power spell rules prior to the beginning of the Ritual
- The caster fails to possess a Ritual Scroll for the Ritual to be attempted
- The caster fails to follow any preparatory requirements indicated on the Ritual Scroll prior to stating "Begin Ritual casting.
A Ritual will automatically backlash if any of the following conditions occur after the caster states "Begin Ritual casting" and before the Ritual is complete:
- Another Ritual casting has previously been commenced and not completed in the same Circle of Power when the caster states "Begin Ritual casting"
- A reagent provided for the Ritual has expired
- The caster does not touch a designated recipient within thirty seconds of starting the Ritual, if such a designation is necessary
- The caster designates an invalid recipient for the Ritual after stating "Begin Ritual casting"
- The caster, intentionally or inadvertently, after having touched a designated recipient for the Ritual, designates a new recipient of the Ritual
- The caster or other person designated in the Ritual Scroll fails to touch the recipient when declaring a skill or spell to store in the recipient
- The caster cannot read the Ritual Scroll due to poor lighting or other obscuring factors
- The caster loses possession or sight of the Ritual Scroll or any of the components
- The Ritual Scroll or Ritual components leave the Circle of Power
- The caster becomes unable to use Game Abilities
- Any individual enters the Circle of Power by any means other than Spirit Walk, Spirit Recall, or resurrection
- The recipient, caster, or any individual aiding in the Ritual leaves the Circle of Power
- the Circle of Power expires or terminates for any reason
- The caster or those aiding the caster receive a weapon or packet delivered attack, even if the attack would not normally harm the individual
- Any additional requirements of the Ritual listed on the Ritual Scroll are not met
- The caster uses a Game Ability other than High Magic, Educated, Teacher, or a Game Ability, spell, or magic item specifically indicated on the Ritual Scroll.
If an automatic backlash occurs, a die roll is made upon the backlash list. Any Ritual that suffers an automatic backlash is assumed to immediately fail. All Ritual Scrolls, catalysts and reagents within the Circle of Power during a Ritual that generates an automatic backlash are destroyed.
After the caster states "Begin Ritual casting," the following steps must occur before the Ritual is deemed complete:
1. The Ritual marshal calls a Hold
2. If the recipient of the Ritual is an individual, the Ritual marshal will ask the recipient, "A Ritual is being cast on you. Do you accept it?" (note that a player must accept any Rituals that do not allow refusal, such as Banish to Other Plane, Divestiture, and Obliteration). If the player says "no," the Ritual marshal must follow the rules set forth below under the heading "Unwilling Targets"
3. The Ritual marshal makes sure that everyone in the Circle of Power is awake out-of-game
4. The Ritual marshal assures that the Ritual can properly begin
5. If the Ritual has not yet failed or automatically backlashed, the Ritual marshal tells everyone in the Circle of Power, "There is magic all around you" or a similar phrase
6. The Ritual marshal calls "Lay on"
7. The Ritual marshal rolls the ten-sided die once where the caster can observe the die roll. As the die roll takes place before the Ritual completes, the caster has in-game knowledge of whether something is not going well with the casting and may use Terminate Casting to abort the Ritual based on the die roll
8. The Ritual marshal determines if the Ritual fails for any reason other than the die roll
9. The Ritual marshal waits the duration of the Ritual casting, in case a condition occurs that would cause an automatic backlash
10. Assuming the Ritual has not automatically backlashed, the Ritual marshal announces either "You have successfully completed the Ritual" (if the Ritual succeeded) or "Something has gone dreadfully wrong" or similar (if it does not).
The Ritual has now ended.
Assuming no automatic failure or backlash occurs, the success or failure of the Ritual is determined using a tensided die as follows:
- If the number is less than or equal to the Success Number and is not "0," then the Ritual succeeds.
- If the number is greater than the Success Number or is "0," then the Ritual marshal rolls a second ten-sided die. Any result but a "0" on the second die roll indicates a flaw. A "0" on the second die roll indicates a backlash, which requires the Ritual marshal to roll a third ten-sided die and look on the backlash table on the Ritual Scroll to determine the form of the backlash.
A successful Ritual follows the procedure set forth in "Success," below. A Ritual that fails or backlashes follows the procedure set forth in "Failure," below.
Success: The Ritual marshal either awards the successful caster a temporary tag for the Ritual conducted or makes sure the Ritual effect is carried out by informing the Plot Committee or by personally overseeing the Ritual's effect. A temporary tag allows the Ritual marshal to write down the Rituals conducted and indicate that a permanent tag for the Ritual should be awarded at the end of the event or at the beginning of the next event that the recipient of the Ritual attends.
The temporary tag should indicate the Ritual's name, duration, recipient, aspect, effect of the Ritual, and any other pertinent information. The temporary tag should should be signed by the Ritual marshal. Recipients should make sure the temporary tag has accurate information and is signed by the proper staff member(s).
Please note that the Plot Committee reserves the right to assign plot effects that may not be set forth in the Ritual Scroll. When this occurs, the Plot Committee will likely designate such plot effects effective only in the local chapter.
Failure or Backlash: If the Ritual fails or backlashes, a Ritual marshal will determine the effect, if any, of the failure or backlash based on the scroll's charts. Any lasting effects will be written on the player cards of any individuals affected.
Casters are expected to role-play and resolve their flaws and backlashes without complaint for the duration listed on the Ritual Scroll. Local chapters also have the discretion to generate a unique plot effect or encounter based on a Ritual gone awry that may not be specified on the Ritual Scroll.
Once success or failure has been resolved, the Ritual marshal should collect all Ritual components and Ritual Scrolls consumed in the Rituals. These will be turned into the Logistics staff to be registered in the campaign's database. If there are more components in the caster's possession than were needed to cast the Ritual, the caster may designate which components were consumed as long as they meet the requirements set forth in the Ritual Scroll.
Multiple casters may participate in the casting of the same Ritual. One, and only one, of the participants must be designated the "primary" caster. The other casters are known as the "secondary" casters.
Each secondary caster must have the same aspect as the primary caster and at least one level of the Formal Magic ability. For example, only secondary casters with a Celestial aspect can aid a primary caster with a Celestial aspect. The Ritual marshal should review the player cards of each secondary caster before the Ritual begins.
For each qualified secondary caster aiding in the Ritual casting, the primary caster is deemed to have an additional level of Formal Magic for purposes of the Ritual being cast. No matter how many levels of the Formal Magic skill each secondary caster possesses, the primary caster gains no more than one level per secondary caster present.
Moreover, the primary caster must have at least a one in ten chance to successfully complete the Ritual before the effect of the presence of any secondary casters is determined. No more than one secondary caster may aid a primary caster for each level of the Formal Magic skill possessed by the primary caster.
No matter how may secondary casters assist a primary caster, the chance of successfully completing a Ritual cannot exceed nine in ten. A flaw or backlash is always encountered on a die roll of 0, regardless of the assistance of secondary casters.
Secondary casters must follow all the same rules with respect to the conduct of Rituals as the primary caster, except that secondary casters do not have to possess their own Ritual Scroll or Ritual components, do not have to be able to see or read the Ritual Scroll, and do not have to touch the recipient during the Ritual casting. Secondary casters may not withdraw their support for the Ritual after the Ritual has begun.
In case of failure or backlash, secondary casters are subject to the same effects as the primary caster. For any other targeting purposes, the primary caster is considered the only "caster" of the Ritual unless otherwise specified on the Ritual Scroll.
Some Rituals allow the enchantment of specific items. These items must be approved before enchantment. Weapons typically require a safety check. Jewelry needs to be entered into the chapter's database and assigned an item number before the Ritual casting. The item must always have a surface large enough to engrave a number upon it. Only after the item has been approved is it ready to be used in a Ritual.
After the Ritual, assuming success, the item immediately becomes property of the game. Therefore, you should not use items you wish to keep. Alternatively, if you enchant your armor or a special item that you do not wish to make an in-game item, if you are searched and the item taken in-game, you must turn over the tag but waive the ability to recognize in-game your item when it used by someone else.
A specific item may not contain more than twenty Rituals. Some Rituals that can increase effects on a specific Ritual may count as more than one Ritual towards this twenty Ritual maximum. Note that this counts all Rituals on an item; an item may have multiple batches of Rituals each with their own tag, but the total number of Rituals may not exceed twenty.
Enchanted items sometimes have a limited life span. When a Ritual expires, the item's owner is expected to turn the tag over to the campaign's staff. Enchanted items immediately return to their normal state upon expiration.
Some Rituals can transform or change a targeted player into undead, another race, or another class. The player must follow the instructions on the Ritual Scroll after the Ritual is complete and the player's new character information will be changed in the chapter's database. Such players are expected to provide their own make-up for any transformation, if necessary. Sometimes the staff may be able to lend supplies for transformations.
Players who change classes or skills are required to get teaching cards before the change if they wish to spend XP on skills they did not already possess.
As with items, individuals cannot possess more than twenty Rituals on their Spirit, including such rituals as Regenerate, Vengeance, and Spirit Link. If the individual dies, some Rituals may expire upon resurrection if they were placed upon their Body.
Unwilling Targets: Sometimes Rituals are cast on unwilling recipients. The player of an unwilling recipient may inform the Ritual marshal that he or she wishes her character to resurrect rather than accept the Ritual. In the case of Ritual effects delivered outside the context of a Ritual casting, the player may choose to have their character immediately dissipate and head to the nearest earth circle for ressurection, following the normal rules.
In such cases, the casting still continues for its proper duration and then the Ritual marshal checks for failures normally. Any failures that could have a detrimental effect on the recipient of the Ritual are ignored, and the failures affect the caster or others in the Circle normally.
A recipient of a Ritual cannot choose to die in order to avoid the affects of any ritual marked as "unrefusable", such as Obliteration, Banish to Other Plane, or Divestiture.
Many Rituals-particularly Rituals that summon the undead, extraplanar creatures, magical creatures, or that create Constructs-require the cooperation of NPCs to play the summoned or constructed creatures. Some Rituals have specific effects that occur immediately and require a staff member to implement, like a Whispering Wind that allows the caster to send a message to another individual. These effects are executed by the NPCs, the Ritual marshal or chapter staff. Such Rituals will never last longer than a single event, and often no longer than an hour.
A chapter's staff may require the caster to provide individuals to play these NPCs if the staff does not have NPCs available. The caster should give their chapter staff advance warning of the casting of such a Ritual so that NPCs can be scheduled if the staff is willing and able to do so. The caster has the burden to ensure there are NPCs available that have been approved by staff at the time of casting. Proper arrangements should be made prior to undertaking the Ritual. If the caster provides NPCs for these roles and the NPCs are not otherwise participating in the event or are a paying player character for that event, the chapter staff may charge the NPCs a fee for their attendance.
The caster is also primarily responsible for any make-up, costuming and weapons for the NPCs and if the staff does not have or is unwilling to provide such materials, the caster must provide them. Monster cards will be provided for the NPCs.
The creatures that have been summoned or created are not player characters. They are not as smart as player characters and campaign staff can limit their capabilities and personality. All NPCs must work within any limits the campaign staff sets, including limitations on the administration of Killing Blows, and on the caster's commands that the NPCs will follow. The NPCs may not even be required to do the caster's bidding at all. Only approved members of the chapter staff or their assigned proxies may roleplay some particularly powerful creatures. Personal friends of the caster are not allowed to play such creatures