Atherian Ritual Magic

   First up for today, it’s a brief discussion on the Ritual Magic of Atheria – where every knowledge skill carries with it a certain amount of magical lore. In a world founded on magic, it’s hard to avoid it.

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   Knowledge is power.

   This is more literally true in worlds of fantasy, where magic is both an ambient force and one of the foundations of the universe. In such worlds, the distinction between mechanism, art, and magic is thin indeed. In a world of enchantment (and often of poorly-defined physics), who can say how much of the strength of steel is due to metallurgy and how much to the occult skills of the refiner and the smith? How much to the blessing on the forge or to communing with the spirits of the metal? How much to traditional charms, and how much to the blade channeling the fighting spirit of the wielder? How many legendary blades have failed to strike true – or even broken – in the hands of those unfit to wield them? How many have grown strong with history, blood, and victory, drawing power from the achievements of their wielders? Are illnesses cured by herbs, by the sacred symbols traced upon the skin, by the prayers and incantations of the physician, or by the combination of those things in an appropriate magical ritual?

   On Atheria, where matter is little more than an illusion cast upon a seething sea of magical energy, the truth very, very, often comes down on the side of magical ritual – and knowledge is very literally power.

   In the Atheria setting, all knowledge skills can be used to enact magical rituals. Unfortunately, even on Atheria, there are limitations. Lesser rituals – those with a DC of 10 or less – can be attempted by anyone who finds and follows the directions. Enacting a more powerful ritual – that is, any ritual with a DC above 10 – requires either having committed that specific ritual to memory (which provides a +5 bonus to performing it and raises the DC limit to 15) or acquiring the Ritual Magic Feat/Ability, which allows you to create your own rituals and removes the DC limitation entirely. At least as importantly, rituals require the use of appropriate knowledge skills, as shown by the sample common rituals provided below. Finally, at often most limitingly, they require the appropriate supplies and materials – although most of the lesser, common, rituals don’t require very much. Other advanced talents include reducing the amount of materials required, being able to perform rituals more quickly than usual, and being able to reduce the magical disturbances (and thus the amount of unwanted attention) that powerful rituals produce. Unfortunately, magic is always a bit unpredictable: the operator must always roll when performing a ritual – and always fails on a “1”.

  • Common Knowledge/Arcana rituals include View the Hidden (reveals magical auras, DC 5), Phantom Lights (DC 10), Offering (DC10), The Revelations of the Fey (analyzes magic, DC 15), Speak with Local Spirits (DC 20), Casting the Circle (enhances other magics, DC 25), and Create Orichalcum (more or less liquified or solidified magical energy, at DC 40 or so).
  • Common Knowledge/Architecture and Engineering rituals include Insulate, Clear Drains, and Drawing the Wind (improves the functioning of chimneys, all DC 5), Household Blessing (protects against a wide variety of minor misfortunes, DC 10), Gaze of the Earthborn (evaluates the foundations and stability of a structure, DC 15), Lay Cornerstone (helps bind a building together, DC 20), Reinforce Walls (makes the walls of a fortress mildly resistant to magic, DC 25), and many more.
  • Common Knowledge/Geography rituals include Dowsing for Water (DC 5), base Metals (DC 10), or even for Gems and Precious Metals (DC 15). Since Geography includes the magical energies of the environment, it’s important for locating the shifting boundaries between the various realms (DC 10), useful in setting up warnings and traps against foes, and in many other practical fields.
  • Common Knowledge/History rituals including evaluating relics (dating them is DC 5, determining basic information about their origin is DC 10, details about their origin is DC 15, and a detailed history since they were created is DC 25), determining how someone died (DC 10), postcognition (DC 20+), repairing damaged items,
  • Common Knowledge/Local rituals cover finding paths (DC 5-15 depending on whether you’re looking for human routes, animal routes, or intentionally-hidden routes), predicting the weather (DC 5 for short-term, 10 for a week or so, 15 for a few weeks), finding good fishing spots (DC 5), spreading rumors via mysterious means (DC 15), translating ancient inscriptions (DC 20), and Legend Lore (DC 30).
  • Common Knowledge/Nature rituals include blessing the fields (DC 5), checking the edibility of plants and fungi (DC 5), keeping domestic animals from straying (DC 10), contacting the local fey (DC 10, but dangerous), requesting (not controlling) weather (DC 15), healing effects (DC varies), binding an animal spirit to someone to grant them totemistic powers (DC 35), and detecting the presence of extradimensional beings and other disturbances.
  • Common Knowledge/Nobility and Royalty rituals include parentage tests (DC 5), addressing a large group clearly (DC 5), the marriage ritual (DC 10), administering oaths of office and appointing people (DC 15), Oathbinding (DC 20), crowning a king (DC 25 to create a mystical link to the land), and determining bloodlines (DC 15 to 40, depending on how far back you’re going),
  • Common Knowledge/Religion rituals include the Ritual of Naming (DC 0), Sacrifice (DC 5), Burial (DC 5), Cleansing (DC 10), Drawing down the Dark (calls on a Lesser Dark Lord, DC 10), Chelmian Spiritbinding (binds the spirit of a ritual victim to a Chelmian stelea, DC 15), Ordination (dedicates an acolyte to the service of a god), and Gate of Light or Darkness (DC 10). Rituals such as Creating Undead, Raising the Dead, and similar stunts are far, far, more difficult.
  • Common Knowledge/The Planes rituals include detecting dimensional energies (DC 10), distant visions (DC 5 to 25, depending on the degree of control desired), tapping into the power of the Dragon (gaining Mana, DC 30), stabilizing dimensional pathways (DC 25), summoning demons (DC 5 to 50, depending on the power level desired), and sealing dimensional rifts (DC 40). In general, dimensional magic rituals aren’t very useful to amateur ritualists.
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2 Responses

  1. […] that all Knowledges provide related magical rituals on Atheria. You can find a lost of examples HERE. The setting also uses Tiered Skills – making the less commonly used skills correspondingly […]

  2. […] Atherian Ritual Magic. The magical rituals available through Knowledge Skills. […]

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