Grand Rituals in Practice – Coronation, Divine Spark, et al.

And here we have another question…

Some of the effects I was thinking about as Rituals were Coronation, Divine Spark, Creating extradimensional realms (several adventures have extradimensional realms of artificial construction that are large and/or have strange properties. Oddly they are often far beyond the limits of the systems given to create such things by the same publishers. Runeforge in pathfinder comes to mind. There was also an old WoC adventure with a dimension on the other side of a half-orc sorceresses mirror (created by her unconscious mind) where orcs were good guys and undead were good and empowered by positive energy), and Instantaneous Transformations.

-Chrisianak

I think that the implied question there was “do you have any thoughts on those?” – and, as usual, once someone asks a question… I almost always do.

Coronation (DC 48) is certainly an excellent choice for a ritual – and could be a relatively easy one to find at that; some NPC high priest or master of ceremonies or some such is certain to have it memorized (and thus to be getting a bonus on performing it).

So what are some of the best components for it?

  • Location: Holding a public ceremony at the kingdoms capital (+5), a field coronation after leading a victorious battle in defense of the realm (+4), at a stronghold that exerts influnce over a notable portion of the realm (+3), at the court of some mighty ally (+2), with your court in exile (+1).
  • Trappings: With the prior rulers personal weapon, regalia, and a supportive member of his or her immediate family (+5), with some of the trappings of the office and your immediate rivals on display (+4), with the trappings of great personal power and wealth (+3), with your own military forces armed, ready, and standing in support (+2), with a modest group of followers ready to enforce your will (+1).
  • Acclaim and Support: From the major power groups of the realm – the Nobles/Military, the Mages, the Priests, the Merchants and Landowners, and the Masses (+1 for each group participating up to +5).
  • Involving the Gods: Having the realms patron gods (or demons or whatever) send an approving representative (+5), having various high-level priests willingly invoke the blessings of their patrons (+4), making sizeable donations to the realms temples (+3), promising to start a crusade or found a religious order or some such (+2), and simply being formally crowned (and lectured at length) by a holy man (+1).
  • Being Witnessed (without serious disruption): By other rulers (+5), by family members and major nobles representing other rulers (+4), by important foreign diplomats and public figures (+3), by representatives of other realms militaries, major guilds, and similar groups (+2), or by local guildsmen, minor nobles, and numerous lesser witnesses (+1).
  • Binding Oaths: To sustain and defend the realm (+1), to enhance and develop it (+1), to provide heirs and see it endure beyond your own time (+1), to manage it and it’s people with care (+1), and to maintain it’s beliefs, heritage, and purity (+1). Note that these aren’t necessarily “good” oaths (although they are generally Lawful); a pragmatically evil despot who wants the money to keep flowing in can swear those oaths just as well as a noble paladin can. You will have to swear all of them – allowing the magic of the ritual to bind you to them – to get that +5 bonus though.
  • Public Works: Committing to the construction of a new and upgraded Capital (+5), Mighty Fortress/Palace, great wall, or set of lesser fortresses (+4), major works of civil engineering (+3), great cathedral or religious structure (+2), or simply investing substantially in infrastructure (+1).

I’ll have to leave it up to whoever is organizing the ritual to come up with the description, but it shouldn’t be all THAT hard to come up with something suitably dramatic and impressive.

The most obvious side effects are pretty simple; the new ruler is binding himself or herself to the realm, and gaining the ability to expend their personal energies on helping it out. This will necessarily notify every interested magical being of the event (possibly leading to opponents attempting to disrupt the ritual), it can lead to things that are afflicting the land afflicting it’s would-be ruler, and the new rulers personal strengths and weaknesses will be – to at least some extent – reflected in the realm.

It will only get really bad if someone botches the ritual – but even a successful coronation ritual is likely to lead to the new rulers occasional paranoid thoughts being reflected across the realm as secretive cults, plots, and treacheries, to unconscious desires turning into actual monsters, and similar problems. A botched one… well, how many lost kingdoms overrun by monsters are out there? Turning loose all the stuff lurking in the less pleasant recesses of an evolved brain is not necessarily a good idea. Ask the Krell of Forbidden Planet.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that most of those components are things that go into a “successful” (politically useful and accepted) coronation ceremony whether it’s also a magical ritual or not. After all, classical coronations were always been intended to invest the new ruler with supernatural influence and authority.

Divine Spark (DC 70 as a ritual) – is designed to bypass the usual story-based requirements for becoming a God by taking the Godfire ability. It is fairly similar to Coronation in many ways. The best components for IT are going to be the direct aid of an existing god, completing various epic quests, tapping into the power of mighty artifacts and relics, and so on – obviously enough, the kind of stuff that might justify taking the Godfire ability anyway. Given that Divine Spark is already a ritual spell, that is (once again) only to be expected. Of course, given that the usual use of the spell is to bypass such requirements, and that anyone who expects to hit DC 70 even with good components is obviously absurdly good at rituals… They may well be willing to settle for less than optimized components.

Side effects on THIS one are likely to be global or nearly so – and will generally involve the user’s Spheres of Influence and interference by opposing powers.

Creating Extradimensional Spaces is generally a job for the Spacewarp spell template (The Practical Enchanter, Page 72) or possibly for a Ward Major (also discussed in The Practical Enchanter) and is discussed further in Playing with Extradimensional Spaces. There also may be some useful bits in THIS article on magical creating cities. The Genesis spell / power and Pathfinders Create Demiplane spell sequence produce much the same results – but all of them result in rather small creations. There’s no reason why variations such as “undead run on positive energy” can’t be added as minor planar traits though (and Orcs are allowed to be good, it’s just uncommon). Still, even if you play games with traits and restrictions to increase the effective size, these spells simply don’t allow for full-sized dimensions, or for adding really large numbers of inhabitants. You might be able to keep expanding things and adding goodies with the persistent use of Reality Editing though.

The Eclipse Demiplane Creation spell allows for creating a tailored dimension, but at level twenty-one it’s a bit hard to pull off, whether by direct casting or with a DC 92 ritual. There are ways to do it at relatively low levels by exploiting “specialized and corrupted for triple effect” (and giving up most control due to it being of far too high a level to cast safely), but few game masters will want to let you be that cheesy.

You can also try picking up Dominion and Manipulation, Sphere of Influence, and Godfire (All Specialized / only as prerequisites) and then taking Creation. For a mere 18 CP that gets you one personally tailored dimension (there’s an example over HERE). That’s also more than a bit cheesy, and will require special permission from the game master – but will allow you to define a realm without necessarily being of very high level or otherwise being capable of mighty magic.

I’m afraid that I can’t tell you much about “Instantaneous Transformations” without a little more detail though. After all, transformations come all the way from Prestidigitation tricks on up through Polymorph Any Object and beyond.

And I hope that helps!

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4 Responses

  1. Oh yes, “The Inner Fire”, corrupted to cost 1 Mana per casting and specialized to cost 1 Action point per spell… Godhood at level 5, then use “Spiritual Transformation” to grant yourself a template that has it (or wait until you can get it otherwise) and you have the backstory my characters in general. Even if you don’t plan on taking Godfire, having that ability to take Dominion as a Guildmaster etc. never hurt anyone.

    • Hm. I’m not sure what “it” is in “a template that has it” – but really, as long as your group is having fun, there’s no wrong way to use the mechanics.

      Now I often give my characters ritual magic; it makes it so easy to say “Hm… I think I know a way to to that, but we’ll need…” and basically propose an adventure.

      • The “it” was Dominion… Some sort of Landlord-Template or something similar, at least if you are like me and have it as more of a backstory-justification of why you have such a template in the first place or why you are that instead of one of the more regular races
        (the cost of “your life and your memories” seems like something Compact metamagic could do, correct me if I’m wrong there).

        Though, I have to agree that IF you have a party of willing helpers, ritual magic is a better and cleaner way of doing things like this, especially because it feels more earned that way. The Inner Fire is more of a desperate way to achieve your goals for times when you have no one to rely on.

      • Hm. A template for evil landlords, moneygrubbing merchants with no ethics, slave traders, and similar sorts… I must make a note of that one. Probably Dominion, Witchcraft with the Souls pact, the Inner Fire, the Compact Metamagic (allowing you to include victimizing people as a spell component), and so on.

        And there’s no reason why the Compact metamagic shouldn’t be able to let you pay for magic with personality traits, fond memories, aging, or similar sacrifices. There are, after all, a few literary worlds where any act of magic requires some such price.

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