Meta Magic - Rituals

Meta Magic - Rituals

Casters vary widely as to the way in which they draw upon the forces of magic. It is not even understood in some societies that personality and magic are intimately related. A pure state of the relationship between a person's personality and their expression of magic is referred to as synchronicity.

Some cultures discourage synchronicity at all. This is accomplished most often through the art of wizardy, the priesthood, and shamanic ritual. Any class that uses rituals to escape the bonds of synchronicity shows this feature.

Such rituals bypass the personal exposure and link between the individual and their art. Other classes have other means of handling synchronicity. Warlocks are granted their power through contracts with outer powers. As such their powers are a manifestation of the outer powers personality and not their own. So they behave more like channelers than fonts of their own power. Sorcerers and bards are the most exposed to synchronicity. These classes have great trouble expressing themselves with arcane forces not in tune with their personalities. Finally, Wyrds are completely synchronous arcane mages. Most wyrds are remarkably similar even in personality if they utilize the same elemental magic.

Meta Magic is a raw form of any sources power, be it arcane, divine, or primal. It is required by every other magical type. Meta magic is unique in that it is completely asynchronous. No one is naturally able to deal well with meta magic. Synchronicity acts as a catalyst to the individual’s ability to do magic. You can easily see that the first expressions of magic were always synchronous with that person's personality. From there the backfit to meta magic had to be understood/learned.

Most priests and druids are somewhat drawn to the personality of their deity so their synchronicity is mixed with their channeling.

Rituals allow access to forces that the users are not synchronous to. This includes a special type of ritual called a core ritual that allows access to meta magic. Core rituals result in effects that last for a duration, usually tied to an astronomical marker. The typical marker is the day/night barrier and is referred to in ritual magic as period magic.

Notes on Rituals:
1) Ritual books are personal and it is very difficult to use ritual books of other ritualists, especially out of source. Usually the method used to utilize a ritual book is by ritual copying or ritual synchronizing with the rituals in the book, one by one. All such methods are chancey resulting in the possible loss of the original, the new copy, or both.
2) Ritual books work only for 1 source. A ritualist may have a book for each source they can perform rituals with.
3) The Ritual Caster feat must be taken for each source, arcane, divine, or primal.
4) Rituals performed by classes that do not start with ritual casting (including hybrids) suffer a +2 per tier DC penalty to all rolls with rituals. Rituals performed by classes that are out-of-source for that class suffer a +2 per tier DC penalty to all rolls with rituals. These penalties stack so a hybrid druid for instance who took 2 feats to get primal and arcane ritual casting would be -4 with arcane rituals.
5) Ritual Books cost 10 sp per page if purchased retail. Crafters that make them can do so for a fraction of that cost. The bindings are variable in expense but the base cost is 100sp.
6) Mastering a Ritual involves casting it 3 times successfully. The first cast is at 33% success until that is acheived. The second at 66% and the last at 90%. Casters that fail their 90% casting usually have some terrible issue that simply prevents their learning that ritual. After the third successful cast a ritual is mastered.
7) Even mastered rituals fail 5% of the time. Failed rituals expose the caster to events.
8) Ritual Scrolls are often not personal and can be attempted by anyone.
9) Assisting with a ritual exposes the assistant to the penalties for ritual failure. As with any skill no matter how many people aid the caster the bonus is only -2 on the DC. Assistants must beat the full DC of the task to aid.
10) Any attempted ritual expends all components no matter what.
11) Aborted rituals expose casters to events 50% of the time.
12) There exists a copying ritual for each source (Amanuensis). This ritual is used to copy scrolls to scrolls and book pages to book pages. The formula for success is 75% +5% per level of ritual below characters level -15% per level above character's level. Each failure destroys the target materials and has a 30% cumulative chance to destroy the original capping at 90% after 3 failures. Each ritual failure is treated as a ritual casting failure and exposes the caster to an event.
13) All rituals cost semi-permanent hits from the mage. The SPH hits cannot be healed and return only at the rate of 1 semi-permanent hit point per extended rest. Rituals usually cost 1 SPH per level at which the ritual was cast.
14) Rituals of the same kind cannot be cast simultaneously (at different levels) on the same caster. This means detection rituals within a source can only be cast at 1 level. As an example, you cannot have multiple arcane dispels running.

Civilization vs Primal

In my world Clerics and Wizards start with their own source of ritual casting due to their being civilized classes. The primal classes do not have a natural ritualist. The organized and practiced processes used by ritualists are not endemic to primal tribes. They must invest in primal ritualism in order to use rituals.

Regarding SPH specifics:

SPH are recovered normally at the rate of 1 per extended rest.
An endurance check of DC 20+number of SPH down will recover an extra hit per extended rest.
A person trained in Arcana and Healing can heal 1 more hit per extended rest with a healing check of DC 20+number of SPH down.

Certain properly prepared sanctums of arcane power will heal 1 additional point per extended rest.
Exquisite quality sanctums can heal 1 additional point.
It is said that there are some places along ley lines where an additional point can be restored.

Some languages of magic and some rare ritualists have developed rituals that incur some risk in order to increase this healing rate. Such rituals are highly sought after by experienced ritualists.

Containing the power of rituals
Ritual magic is asynchronous. It is thus not naturally understood or in tune with anyone. As such the knowledge of rituals is difficult, almost impossible, to contain for any length of time. This causes ritualists to write down the specifics of their rituals in some form. This form varies by source and as follows.

Arcane Spellbooks and Scrolls
With the concept of Containment comes two directions, the temporary and the semi-permanent. Nothing can be truly permanent. Temporary containment is in the form of scrolls and these can then be transferred to semi-permanent containment in the form of spellbooks.

A scroll is transcribed through a laborious process that is itself a ritual. The process is personal and one ritualists scroll has no certainty of being understood or usable by another practitioner.

Such scrolls, if located, can be used by most practitioners as contained rituals. There are two types of these scrolls. A power containment and a ritual containment. Power scrolls are weaker magic and more synchronicity is bled in with the transcription. They are easier to use and last longer. A power scroll will last an entire season before losing the ability to be used directly. A ritual scroll, once crafted, will typically last only through the period of one month, retaining its magical power.

Scrolls are a typical means for a ritualist to discover new arcane rituals and powers. In the case of powers, their fleeting nature prevents their being learned entirely, they may only be used. Rituals however have a chance to be learned by the ritualist. When they are found it is a profound treasure.

Spellbooks are the semi permanent means of containing arcane spells and rituals. Leather and other hides in quality make are the least permanent materials onto which such power can be transcribed. Spellbooks are then of two types after that, bound and unbound. This means bound by arcane connection to the ritualist or not.

Unbound spellbooks may be used as scrolls when unbound and this destroys the pages. Bound spellbooks may be used that way as well but the preferred method is to review the material on a regular basis and by this means be able to cast that ritual that day. The contents of the rituals learned can only be used that day and then they vanish from the mind of the ritualist. A given ritualist may only keep their int modifier in spell levels in their head at once. This expands again at the paragon tier and again at the epic tier.

If a ritualist forgets their ritual and loses their spellbook the ritual is for the most part lost, but, there is a very very slim chance to recall the ritual from memory alone. The chance is 33% for a mastered ritual, 22% for a ritual cast successfully twice, and an 11% chance for a ritual only cast successfully once. There is only 1 chance to recall the ritual and very few things indeed increase this chance.

Materials for Scrolls and Spellbooks
Never cheap, writing substrate and inks are in high demand across the civilized world.Often the simplest and most used mundane inks and papers are insufficient or transcription of arcane power. Usually, this is merely a matter of the effort requiring quality versions of the same materials. In the case of spellbooks the bindings can get even more pricey.

General costs for paper are around 3cp per sheet for standard quality. Cheap leather bindings are around 2 sp each. A standard starting spellbook is made from quality versions of each of these and costs 12sp containing 10 pages. Most aspiring arcane ritualists would not be caught dead with such poor grade materials, but, dozens of guildhall students each year make do with precisely that.

Transcription is the process of moving an arcane spell or ritual from one source onto or into another.

There are great risks in the process of transcription. The risks are threefold. Risk to practitioner of course. Risk to original document and risk to the new document.

Divine Articles of Faith
Articles of Faith are so varied and sacred that even many ritualists within a religious sect do not have access to them. They pull direct power from the deity and are thus subject to the highest levels of scrutiny. Often, like arcane sourced rituals, these rituals are written down into scrolls and prayerbooks. But divine sourced rituals may also be stored in song, in soul, and in edifice/artifacts. There are differing issues with each application of containment.

Primal Runes and Sigils
Primal sourced containment is often evidenced in area magic and grounded there by runes and sigils. Runes are empowered writing whereas sigils are icons and essence holders not written but infused upon an area or person.


The Material Components of Rituals -

Most ritual magic is accomplished with various material components that are detailed upon learning the ritual. In general, substitution is quite possible as long as the contagion, or type (keyword) is right and the power level of the component is sufficient. Usually, having more of a lesser degree of substance IS NOT useful. Only truly master ritualists can combine lesser quality substances to make up for the lack of a high quality one. As an example ritualists commonly refer to a concept called the rule of 9s. This means that whereas for example motes are generally 1/3 the size of the next quality rank of mote, it actually takes even masters 9 of the lesser motes to make up for the lack of the higher quality one.

What is a mote?
Motes are the atomic quanta of magic. They are the smallest part of it that is still it. Here are the mote ranks:

Least -

Two other levels are conjectured, the zero mote and the world mote. But so far as anyone can tell, no one uses either. There are many magic ritualists that claim to have used or understood zero motes, but no one in history has made or manipulated the world mote. Supposedly the world mote is the entire world.

Types of Motes -

Magic is divided by essence or pollution. The essences are born of emotion as well as substance. Everything is the interaction of consciousness and matter. Anger begins at being. It is the most present and solid and usually the first. Earth is anger. Then there is push or direction. This is desire and of course it is Fire. Reaction or Fear, is represented by flowing, calculating, and decision. This is Water, and Air, giving rise to Mind. Then the circle returns to anger with Body. Light is added to desire. Then Deception. This gives rise to Blood. Then the circle returns to fear with darkness. The final iteration is anger with thunder and the final essence of lightning. There are three negated essences poison, void, and cold, for anger, fear, and desire respectively. The final map looks like this:

Anger: Earth - Body/Unity - Thunder/Truth - Lightning - Poison
Fear: Water/Organization - Air/Chaos - Divination/Mind - Darkness - Void
Desire: Fire/Success - Light - Deception/Mystery - Blood - Cold

Life and death as essences pervade all types but there is a special connection in the cycle between earth and cold, between blood and body, between thunder and deception, between lightning and light, between poison and fire. These connections are hard to cross and referred to as magical thick walls. All connections from water, air, mind, darkness, and void are thin connections.

Ritual Magic and Understanding Raw Motes


Raw motes are created via ritual magic. Usually guildhalls have some font or structure to do this. Almost all magic within the world naturally is typed. The natural effect of the world on raw magical force is to type it, to mix it, to label it.

All channelling is working with essence. Essence just means the mixed conscious force. Divine just means extra planar. Primal is essence on earth and is otherwise indistinguishable from divine. Arcane effects are usually imposing the self into the mix, either via bloodline (sorcerer), or will(wizard). The effortless nature of supernatural channelling makes primalists jealous. They exert a lot of body essence to channel primal magic. Divine classes and warlocks just receive their powers through pre-powered conduits.

The effortlessness of divine magic is intimidating and bewildering to primalists, giving them some strange edge on primal casters. The self-empowered nature of arcane magic is out of order to divine casters, making them fear arcane casters and giving the latter an edge over them. And the circle is complete with arcanists using will instead of the more primal body connection, the sense of belonging in this world, rather than being ... odd ... permeates arcana.

No one knows how this edge manifests, but in macro history it is apparent as a force.

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