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RosenMcStern

New description of Rituals

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Here is the proposed new description of rituals that will come with Rise of the Yokai Koku. Apart from the clarifications about targets or the duration of Enchantment, it is essentially equivalent to the existing one, but explained more clearly.

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Ritual Casting

Most power descriptions refer to the effects of activation in Combat Time, and in some cases specifically in Advanced Combat. In some cases a hero can activate a power minutes or hours, sometimes even days or weeks before he or she actually needs them in Combat: for example, a Blessing of the Kami usually remains active for several combat encounters, and an Arcane Spell can be extended to last until the next Downtime by tripling the Channeling it uses up. Ultimately, though, the default effect is supposed to occur during a Combat or a non-violent Conflict, and the activation procedure takes just a handful of seconds.

By using a more complex casting procedure that can only work outside combat, a character can alter the scope of a power to obtain broader and more creative effects within its general framework. In this case, the power user must spend extra time, ranging from some minutes to several weeks, engaging in rituals and practices which help him or her to focus personal energy on the desired effect, or to better commune with the supernatural entity which must provide it.

The Time Scale on which this ritual takes place may vary: from Adventure Time for an enhanced version of the power, to Downtime for an Enchantment that permanently alters the nature of an item or place. A Conflict of the caster’s Will against the full Value of the power takes the place of the Activation Roll used in Combat Time, and is mandatory even for powers which would normally not require a roll in Combat. From a practical point of view, this Conflict *is* the ritual, and we can call it a Ritual Casting, or Deep Meditation.

If the Conflict is successful, the final effect of the power is altered in one or more of the following ways:

1.       The scope of the power is enhanced.

2.       The power takes effect on a higher Range scale (see Enhanced Range Table).

3.       The power can affect a group of targets, or become an area effect.

4.       The power duration is extended beyond normal.

The exact implication of these enhancement will be detailed in the following paragraphs, and are often dependent on the Time Scale on which the ritual takes place.

Running the Conflict

A ritual implies a Conflict of the caster’s Will against the full Value of the desired effect, including the multiplier for the Time Scale. Focusing, Holiness or other derived attributes can take the place of Will if relevant, and if higher. The Time Scale of the conflict must match the desired duration of the effect, and the desired Range according to the enhanced range table. The character cannot end the Conflict with a Quick Exit, while the Narrator can (and should, if the power user is attempting to obtain an effect far beyond his or her limits).

The skill used in the Conflict is always Concentration, and the caster can always use the Power itself as a Concentration Trait, even when it would normally occupy a slot in another skill or Allegiance, or when it is not considered a Trait. The Challenge Rating is usually 50%, but can rise to 80% in the following cases:

·         if the Value of the power is more than double the power user’s starting Resolution Points,

·         if the ritual takes place in a magically or psychically hostile environment,

or in other specific conditions, depending on the ritual.

Any Negative Consequences the power user suffers are automatically Recurrent, and will stay in place at least as long as the power effect(s) last. You will often label these Consequences as psychic fatigue, but the Narrator may introduce other Consequences with interesting narrative effects.

Who can use rituals, and when?

Possession of a Ritual Casting or Meditation stunt is usually necessary to use the meditative form of a power. However, in most settings and contexts this stunt is included in the pre-requisite Trait for being a magician. For instance, the Miko, Kannushi, Monk or Shugenja Status traits allow Ritual Casting, and the knowledge of Onmyoji clearly includes it, too.

Nominally, cantrips are too narrow in scope to form the basis of a ritual. However, a monk’s ability to extend their Might beyond the normal limit of 4 enables him or her to make the spell flexible enough to cast them ritually. Blessings from the Kami and all kind of powers that allow manipulation with Stunts can be use it in a ritual, even when the power user does not know any Manipulation Stunt. It is the very nature of the power that makes it flexible and extensible, not the caster’s abilities.

Innate powers are usually not fit for Ritual use. Exceptions to this principle are usually mentioned in a specific creature description.

Enhanced Scope

Powers with an enhanced scope become more or less freeform, and both the player and the Narrator must agree that a specific effect is possible before attempting to create it. When the Narrator does not approve a specific usage, he or she should simply tell the player, and never set an “impossible” level of difficulty for the Conflict.

As long as the nature of the power is not altered, its effect may become significantly broader, in some cases paralleling what greater powers of the same kind can achieve non-ritually. For instance:

1.       Project Lightning could create a thunderstorm if a large enough area is influenced, or Project Cold could create a snowstorm or an avalanche.

2.       Head of the Beast could transform the caster into the animal, like Totem of the Beast would do, just in a longer time and without some of the extra enhancements.

3.       Demoralise or Telepathy could send disturbing or revealing dreams to a distant person, providing the caster has access to a personal item belonging to the target.

Duration

A ritually cast power can be kept active as long as the Time Scale of the game remains the same used in the Ritual Casting. This extension of duration does not use up any Channelling. Even Instant powers can be prolonged with a ritual, as their instantaneous effect can be delayed until a triggering condition activates it, or even repeated for several times (for instance, when a thunderstorm generated with Project Lightning creates thunderbolts).

A ritual casting can be used simply to prolong the standard effects of a Power and keep it ready for use in Combat or Adventure time. If a power user performs a ritual to achieve this effect, the power does not count against Channelling or whatever limit the power system uses for extending duration. In fact, Channelling and pre-activation of spells are an abstraction representing the application of extra concentration to the power to keep it active for longer, which is a form of ritual itself. If the player takes the time to roleplay a ritual, taking extra time and risking Consequences, then this takes the place of the pre-activation procedure and lets him or her avoid the expenditure of Channelling.

Some circumstances may suggest employing a Conflict rather than a pre-Activation for narrative reasons, particularly when the power has the Overcome or Concentration attributes. For instance, it makes sense that using Dominate on an individual to keep him or her under constant control be treated as a Conflict.

Attributes

Even though the scope or scale of the power is enhanced, its numeric attributes remain the same as those of the non-ritual version. However, the meaning of a numeric attribute may vary in the ritual version of the power.

If the power user can manipulate some attributes with Manipulation Stunts or in other ways, then he or she can do the same when ritually casting the power, and within the same limits (Focusing, extra Allegiance, etc.). Otherwise, the attributes cannot exceed those normally permitted for the power in Combat Time, and minimal requirements for attributes must be met. For instance, an aura of fear cast over an area must have a Might of 2, the standard for Demoralize.

Might

The actual Might of a ritual power cannot exceed those of its Combat Time version, but it might be applied differently. For instance, a magically created thunderstorm will create thunderbolts with a damage potential not greater than the Might of the original Project Lightning; however, lightning can now strike targets that the magician could not see when he or she performed the ritual.

Range

The equivalent in distance of the Range attribute varies according to the Time Scale of the ritual (see table).

Enhanced range table

Range score

Range, Combat Time

Radius, Adventure Time

Radius, Narrative Time or Downtime

Touch (0)

Touch

Touch

Touch

C (1)

Close, or WILx2 metres

WIL kilometres

WILx10 kilometres

S (2)

Short, or WILx5 metres

WILx2 kilometres

WILx20 kilometres

M (3)

Medium, or WILx10 metres

WILx3 kilometres

WILx30 kilometres

L (4)

Long, or WILx20 metres

WILx4 kilometres

WILx40 kilometres

XL (5)

X-Long, or WILx30 metres

WILx6 kilometres

WILx60 kilometres

XXL (6)

XX-Long, or WILx50 metres

WILx8 kilometres

WILx80 kilometres

XXXL (7)

XXX-Long, or WILx100 metres

WILx10 kilometres

WILx100 kilometres

+1

+WIL x50 metres

+WILx2 kilometres

+WILx20 kilometres

 

Targets

Ritual casting can sometimes extend the effect of a single-target power to an entire party. This can be particularly useful if the power can normally affect only the caster, but like most ritual options this one is only available with Narrator approval.

Ritualizing a power with multiple Targets can create an area effect. In order to obtain this, the number of targets must be at least triple the numeric value of range. The caster may opt to diminish Range in order to keep it within one third of the Targets attribute.

An area effect can affect a number of targets equal to its Targets attribute per time unit. If the power has the Overcome attribute, it will activate a Conflict against that number of targets in the area, starting with those with the lowest target characteristic. The targets must overcome the caster’s Will to resist, and the Challenge Rating is equal to his or her Concentration.

Example: An evil oni magician wishes to keep interlopers away from his grove. His allegiance with the Kami of Void allows him to learn Mass Demoralise with a maximum of seven targets, and a Range of Short (2 points). As the number of Targets is more than three times the Range, he can make this an area effect. The oni makes an Adventure Time Conflict against an opposition of 22 (Might 2 plus Range 2 plus Targets 7, multiplied by two for Adventure Time), and wins. A lesser yōkai could have voluntarily decreased the Range to Close and the number of Targets to three to reduce the opposition to 12, but our oni is magically strong and manages to win the Conflict even with such a formidable opposition. For the duration of the ritual any group entering the area will find up to seven of its members affected by fear, in a Conflict against the caster’s Will which requires them to make a roll each five minutes’ time. Targets which lose the conflict will be Demoralised, and probably flee, letting other intruders exposed to the effect within the next five minutes.

The oni can use such a ritual to repel a group of attackers whom he has already detected, taking less than one hour (Adventure Time) to perform the ritual and scare them away. In order to keep the effect active for several hours or even days (Narrative Time), allowing him to move away from his lair while leaving it protected, the creature must perform a Narrative Time ritual, which will increase the Value multiplier for duration. With the same range and number of targets, the ritual would now have a Value of 33, too much even for a yōkai magician. Unable to reduce Might below 2, the oni will have to decrease Range and Targets to keep the value beatable. He will then cast the ritual in Narrative Time with Might 2, Range Close and 3 Targets, for a total of (6 base x 3 for Narrative Time) 18 Value. Luckily, the Radius will in any case increase because of the higher Time Scale.

Enchanting

Enchantment and item creation are always treated as rituals, as they require a Conflict against their Value to make them permanent or semi-permanent, so the rules in this section apply in these cases. As specified, enchanting is the only case when you use ritual casting for the sole purposes of prolonging power duration: if you want to make a power effect permanent, you must perform a Downtime ritual, with each round of the Conflict representing one week’s time. With the Narrator’s approval, the length of rounds can be reduced to one day, but this will raise the Challenge Rating to 80%.

Example. Taro the Sōhei wants to create a magic yari with +2 damage. In order to enchant a spell permanently, he must beat its Value in a Conflict. He can touch the weapon (Range 0) in the process so he needs only count Target 1 and the Might he wishes to add, up to the limit of his Channelling, as he is a monk. A spear doing +2 damage is a Might 2 magic weapon, which gives us just three points of attributes. However the Time Scale for an enchantment is Downtime (4), so the Basic Value of 3 must be multiplied by 4 for a final Value of 12. Taro is confident that he can beat a 12-point Resolution Pool in a Conflict, so he goes on and begins the enchanting ritual, which will take several weeks.

 

 

Edited by RosenMcStern
Updated after Zit's observations
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It seems much better and structured. I have a couple of questions before I read the second half :

- why do you impose Concentration for the ritual ? Religious magic may require Allegiance. Magic considered as a "science" could use a knowledge skill. A smith enchanting a blade could use his craft skill. A Morris dancer his dance skill.

-... " and the Power itself is always considered an appropriate Trait ". I don't understand this sentence.

-  challenge rating 80 % if the Value of the power is more than double the power user’s starting Resolution Points : isn't it a "double punishment" ?

 

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duration :  what if you don't want to increase it but only increase the effect ? Is there any effect rules wise or is it just left to the caster ?

It still do not understand why you discourage using ritual casting for extending the duration.

range & Targets :

Quote

The power can affect a group of targets, or become an area effect

This could be understand as "either a group or an area". And if becoming an area effect, does it affect anyone coming into the area , which is in contradiction with the example in the Target section ?

Enhance range table : you mention range and then radius. Range is one dimensional, radius refers to an area or volume. Clarify.

Range :  the first example shows a power cast on an area. The second looks like a power cast directly on 3 targets, but you mention the radius, which implies an area.

When the enemies enter the protected area, they must make a conflict in the same time scale than the spell (every 5 minutes in the example). This leave them enough time to desecrate the place. And if the power had been cast in narrative time, they would have hours before they are demoralized. Shouldn't it be a Conflict in Combat time ? How can you chose it ? The conflict is against the caster's WIL using his Power rating, as if directly casting it ?

 

(BTW : you should write WIL instead of Will - I know, this is Word's autocorrection)

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On 6/29/2018 at 10:59 PM, Zit said:

- why do you impose Concentration for the ritual ? Religious magic may require Allegiance. Magic considered as a "science" could use a knowledge skill. A smith enchanting a blade could use his craft skill. A Morris dancer his dance skill.

Allegiance has another use in game. Allowing enchantments with Craft will make any crafter a magician, which is not true.

All in all, the ability to perform a ritual properly is based on your ability to meditate and concentrate, abstracting yourself from the mundane. All of these elements can constitute support bonuses, but I wish to make clear that rituals are for magic/psychic specialists.

Craft is indeed used in the creation of science gadgets, but that is not a ritual, although the process is the same.

Quote

-... " and the Power itself is always considered an appropriate Trait ". I don't understand this sentence.

Rephrasing is on the way.

Quote

-  challenge rating 80 % if the Value of the power is more than double the power user’s starting Resolution Points : isn't it a "double punishment" ?

At very high Concentrations scores it is not uncommon to knock down a 20-point opposition taking no losses. The double punishment is to avoid banalisation of powerful effects, or worse magic items.

On 7/1/2018 at 11:32 AM, Zit said:

duration :  what if you don't want to increase it but only increase the effect ? Is there any effect rules wise or is it just left to the caster ?

It still do not understand why you discourage using ritual casting for extending the duration.

The point of a ritual is that of obtaining an amplified, altered effect. Extended duration is just one component of it, or a side effect. Just extending duration is a way of bypassing the Channelling rules and unbalancing the game without adding to fun.

Quote

range & Targets :

This could be understand as "either a group or an area". And if becoming an area effect, does it affect anyone coming into the area , which is in contradiction with the example in the Target section ?

The total number of targets is unlimited, but the number of targets affected per round (which may mean "per day" is limited. In the exemple, when the first three intruders are scared away, the oni's spell start attacking another group.This means that an area effect, unless cast by Sauron himself with WIL and Concentration skill not even worth recording, can repel a band of adventurers, not an army.

Quote

Enhance range table : you mention range and then radius. Range is one dimensional, radius refers to an area or volume. Clarify.

We will use Range in both cases to avoid confusion, then.

Quote

Range :  the first example shows a power cast on an area. The second looks like a power cast directly on 3 targets, but you mention the radius, which implies an area.

When the enemies enter the protected area, they must make a conflict in the same time scale than the spell (every 5 minutes in the example). This leave them enough time to desecrate the place. And if the power had been cast in narrative time, they would have hours before they are demoralized. Shouldn't it be a Conflict in Combat time ? How can you chose it ? The conflict is against the caster's WIL using his Power rating, as if directly casting it ?

Desecrating the place would require an adventure time conflict, parallel to the ritual effects. Do not forget that exploring a hostile environment is a conflict itself in RD100, so the presence of the effect is in any case triggering a conflict to explore the area. Keep in mind that a ritual is not "the same thing as you would obtain in combat, just bigger". The effect is altered, and more subtle. The Narrator could agree that the intruders are automatically Demoralised, and whoever loses the conflict flees. In any case the real purpose of the spell is to make the place spooky, the conflict is just to put a limit on disabling effects. Think of the drowsiness the hobbits experience when exploring the Old Forest or the Barrowland. That is the kind of effect an area ritual produces, rather than "xd6 damage to characteristic CHA". In time, a mechanical effect will appear, too, but this is secondary, and only a way of signifying that "going on ignoring the adverse conditions" is not automatic.

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4 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Allowing enchantments with Craft will make any crafter a magician, which is not true.

Smiths are magicians in many cultures. But I understand that this is not about making things better, but about making them in a special way which requires a long and intense attention, so Concentration makes sense.

4 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Desecrating the place would require an adventure time conflict, parallel to the ritual effects

I'm sure you can desecrate a place even faster 😛. Does this also mean that you cannot efficiently protect the place in a narrative time scale, except against actions carried on the narrative time scale, since the conflict has to be run in this time scale ?

What about enchantments ? At which Time scale the effects are effective ?

4 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

The point of a ritual is that of obtaining an amplified, altered effect. Extended duration is just one component of it, or a side effect. Just extending duration is a way of bypassing the Channelling rules and unbalancing the game without adding to fun.

If it is a question of balance, ok, but one can see the Channeling as a simplification of what could be mechanically solved with a ritual casting. I see here two ways to do the same, one of them being arbitrary forbidden by the game designer for game balance. Couldn't you bypass the Channeling anyway just by modifying one effect, even possibly decreasing it, just to be able to cast the spell beyond your channeling limit ?

 

Just trying to twist and dig into the mechanics to make them perfect and remove anything not clear.

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On 7/5/2018 at 8:13 PM, Zit said:

I'm sure you can desecrate a place even faster 😛. Does this also mean that you cannot efficiently protect the place in a narrative time scale, except against actions carried on the narrative time scale, since the conflict has to be run in this time scale ?

A ritual can always protect its area because it triggers a Conflict. You cannot then bypass the rounds in Adventure or Narrative Time by stating that you **** on the main altar in ten seconds when the length of a round is 5 minutes. In order to succeed in your purpose, you must beat the opposition. No workaround allowed. The Narrator should describe the intruders as scared or confused, unable to fulfill their intended actions until they beat the area defense. This is one of the most important reasons why you should always "freeform" the effects of a ritual: you need to abandon the "fail roll X, take Y points of HP or SAN damage" model that classic D&D or BRP use. A ritual is subtle, but nevertheless effective.

Quote

What about enchantments ? At which Time scale the effects are effective ?

Any. But if you make any of the above effects permanent, then they will take place at the most convenient time scale for action - usually combat or adventure time.

Quote

If it is a question of balance, ok, but one can see the Channeling as a simplification of what could be mechanically solved with a ritual casting. I see here two ways to do the same, one of them being arbitrary forbidden by the game designer for game balance.

You have a point here. We should then allow rituals to be used for this purpose. And pre-casting and Channelling should be described as simplified ways of resolving this without resorting to rituals (and risking Consequences).

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Updated to reflect Zit's observations. The updated text is in blue. If there is no other comment, this goes to editing tomorrow, together with the text of Rise of the Yokai Koku.

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I love it as well.

On 7/7/2018 at 12:18 PM, RosenMcStern said:

And pre-casting and Channelling should be described as simplified ways of resolving this without resorting to rituals (and risking Consequences).

Actually I like both rules and we could make then setting-dependant. If you allow rituals, you don't need to introduce channeling, but if you don't use rituals or are not a fan of free-form spells, channeling is an elegant and simple way to increase the powers duration.

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1 hour ago, Zit said:

I love it as well.

Actually I like both rules and we could make then setting-dependant. If you allow rituals, you don't need to introduce channeling, but if you don't use rituals or are not a fan of free-form spells, channeling is an elegant and simple way to increase the powers duration.

They are setting dependant. For instance, in Rise of the Yokai Koku you can ritualise cantrips if you are a monk. In other settings like the Shade Land which you played with me online a couple of years ago, cantrips cannot be used as the base of rituals, only arcane spells and blessings.

Channelling is necessary, however, as there are plenty of petty spells that you wish to have active when you are expecting trouble, and staging a conflict for a routine operation is highly disadvisable. it will become boring and make people disamoured with conflicts and rituals. Better provide a simple shortcut that only implies a minimal bookkeeping for handling "routine" casting of magic such as Protection and Second Sight.

2 hours ago, Archivist said:

Now I will have to buy this. i love ritual magic.

You will not be disappointed. There are several important plot points revolving around a ritual in the campaign, and as I said one playtest group managed to solve the final scenario with a well planned ritual.

Edited by RosenMcStern

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This looks good. Paolo stop forcing me to spend money, heh heh

 

 

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