Pen and Paper RPG House Rules

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Rituals

Rituals are larger and time consuming spells that take at least five minutes to cast (rumors talk of titanspawn witches with rituals taking decades to cast) and a lot more props to focus the Scion’s power than a boon, cantrip, spell, or supernatural stunt.

Often Rituals are often required to activate ancient devices, open portals to other worlds, scry far off locations, open paths into terrae incognitae, enable magical mcguffins or counter magical mcguffins or other such one shot uses that push forward the story. As a rule it is far more effective to make use of a Magical Path’s Spells or a Purview’s Boons.

In order to cast rituals the Scion must have at least one dot in Magical Talent and any Purviews used in the Ritual.

A typical Ritual might be creating a field of Darkness around the caster to gain a bonus to intimidation or stealth, illuminate a room, stop a wound from bleeding or cause sickness.

Rituals have a duration of an hour without expending extra effort.

Higher power rituals could create storms or modify storms or shroud an entire building in darkness. They can do damage to individuals connected by fate or a sympathetic connection like blood or hair. A powerful ritual might create a Golem with Earth Magic or give a bonus to an entire army’s campaign or next battle.

To research about a ritual or Boon: Intelligence + Academics.

To find an ancient hidden or forgotten ritual: Intelligence + Investigation

To invent a new ritual or Boon: Intelligence + Science.

Formula design time: Rituals can take minutes to design on the fly or weeks of tweaking for the perfect equation. The advantage to belonging to an ancient tradition is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel and most mages have a library with typical rituals that they can learn in five minutes for low complexity rituals to an hour or two while most Permanent constructions can take days to learn and longer to cast.

Optimized Rituals can be treasured Birthrights for lucky Scions.

Sometimes a Tradition’s style and foci can require a longer casting time such as meditation but since meditation doesn’t require material, verbal, or somatic components it tends to balance out.

If the Ritual is especially complicated it might have Secondary Purviews which the character also needs to have in order to cast the Ritual.

The better designed the Ritual the quicker it is to learn and to cast. It is also easier to cast if well designed for the caster’s Tradition or Style.

The higher the caster’s ability in the Primary (Purview or Magic) the quicker and less props the caster needs.

The Storyteller declares how many successes are needed to successfully cast the Ritual. Leftover successes are then used against a target or towards the effect wanted.

If the caster is lacking or surpassing the requirements in the Primary (Purview or Magic Talent) than the number of successes needed goes up or down per dot along with increasing or decreasing the Willpower cost of the Ritual by that number. So, if the Ritual requires Sun Purview at 5 than a Scion with Sun Purview at 3 would need two extra successes which would be subtracted from his Ritual roll and have to spend 2 additional Willpower. On the other hand a Scion with a Sun Purview at 7 would have his required successes be two less and the Willpower cost of the Ritual would be two less.

A powerful and complicated Ritual can be simply to difficult for a would be Ritualist in the case of Rituals with secondary Purviews or Talents. If the caster doesn’t meet the secondary requirements than he can’t cast the ritual. If he surpasses the requirements he doesn’t receive any additional benefits.

All Rituals cost at least 1 Willpower to cast.

Complexity:

Basic complexity effects (level 1) Cantrips with longer durations. (no cost)

Simple complexity effects (level 2) Creating or summoning animals. Sense a storm approaching. Bless a follower with enhanced combat bonuses. Influence a human being or charm an animal. Break a wall. (Legend cost:  1)

Intermediate Complexity effects (level 3) Creating Creatures with 1 Legend. Mimic Hero level boons. Move a storm front around a city. Bless a squad with bonuses in battle. Charm a human being. Cause a building’s foundations to crack. (Legend cost: 2, Willpower cost:1)

Advanced Complexity effects (level 4) hit multiple targets with subtle effects or have stronger effects like aggravated damage. Can mimic Demigod level boons. Can create/summon a Creature with legend from 2 to 4. Some effects require additional Willpower at this level and possibly even experience points. Stop a storm front from advancing towards a city or slowly weaken it. Create a tropical storm. Heal aggravated wounds. Bless an hundred men with bravery and hardened wills to withstand a titanspawn’s fear based magic. Ward a neighborhood from artillery bombardment. (Legend cost: 4, Willpower cost: 2)

Master Complexity effects (level 5) can mimic boons on the God level or create/summon a Creature with legend greater than 4. Dissolve an hurricane or create one out of thin air. Provide a morale boost to thousands after a terrible defeat returning faith in your leadership. Ward a city from a nuclear explosion. (Legend Cost: 8, Willpower cost: 3)

Scale:

Basic: (level 1) One person or target. A couple of meters of area effected. Range of a city block. (no cost)

Simple: (level 2) Group of under 10. 25 meters of area effected. Range of a couple of kilometers. (Legend cost: 1)

Intermediate: (level 3) Under a hundred. Area effect of an half kilometer. Range of 25 kilometers. (Legend cost: 2, Willpower cost: 1)

Advanced: (level 4) Thousands. Area effect of 25 kilometers. Range of 500 kilometers. (Legend cost: 4, Willpower cost: 2)

Master: (level 5) Millions. Area effect of 500 kilometers. Unlimited range in a world or into another world with a strong sympathetic link. (Legend cost 8, Willpower cost: 3)

Permanence:

Basic: An hour (no cost)

Simple: Until the next sunset or sunrise. (Legend cost: 1)

Intermediate: From a week to a season specified by the Ritual. (Legend cost: 2, Willpower cost: 1)

Advanced: A year and a day. (Legend cost:4, Willpower cost: 2)

Master: Permanent. (Legend cost: 8, Willpower cost: 3)

Some costs can be alleviated by using rare materials or by sacrificing as mentioned in Scion: Hero in the Magic Purview section. Other rituals may require rare materials regardless which can be a way for the Storyteller to control certain Rituals that might be game unbalancing.

Mechanics:

The Primary (the main Purview or Magic Talent) grants an automatic success per dot on Ritual success rolls. For Ritual DV’s the default Primary is the Ritual’s Primary (a Sun Ritual uses Sun for defense) but an opposing Purview can often defend just as well. Such as Moon or Darkness countering a Sun Ritual. Regardless of the chosen Primary the defender can add it (with Storyteller permission) as automatic successes per dot.

Typical Rituals: (Perception, Intelligence, or Stamina + Occult) + Epic Bonus – Required Successes

Some Traditions use Stamina especially those that demand sacrifice, asceticism or suffering from the Ritualist while the typical Ritualist focuses on everything being done in the right order in the right way. Those whose Traditions focus on Intelligence tend to be the more modern technologically based or those of neoplatonic Hermeticism. Once an attribute is picked based on the Scion’s Tradition it rarely changes but for some Rituals it might change if it would be logical to do so.

Direct Attack Rituals: To Hit: (Charisma + Occult) + Epic Bonus – Required Successes

Subtle Attack Rituals: To Hit: (Manipulation + Occult) + Epic Bonus – Required Successes

Occult Dodge DV: (Perception + Occult + Legend)/2 + Willpower + Epic bonus

Countermagic DV*: (Intelligence + Occult + Legend)/2 + Willpower + Epic bonus

Occult Resistance: (Stamina + Integrity + Legend)/2 + Willpower + Epic bonus

*Countermagic DV gets these bonuses: +1 if knowledgeable of Tradition, another +1 if trained in that Tradition, +1 if defender knows the same or similar ritual, spell, or boon, and +2 if using a defensive action. Also, receives an automatic success per dot that the defender has in the Primary be it a Purview or Magic Talent whichever is higher.

Countermagic also allows the Mage to attempt to unweave Rituals by creating a new Ritual designed to destroy the target effect.

A Mage may shield a number of allies equal to his Magic Talent dot with this defense if it is higher than their natural defense.

Some rituals might be additionally defended against by Armor such as most elemental medium spells.

For transformative Rituals such as being turned into a pig the character may choose to replace Stamina with Appearance when resisting as it represents a sense of self.

Result:

If the Ritual is successful and penetrates defenses it takes effect. Extra successes leftover can enhance the Ritual’s potency or damage.

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