Ritual Magic I: Sacrificial Magic
These notes deal with magic on a larger scale than players normally encounter, involving hours and hundreds of people rather than a hasty incantation to deal with an immediate threat. As such, they should be taken as something to happen as an extraordinary event, for a situation which can be dealt with mostly by NPCs. Alternatively, they should be seen as terrible events to be prevented at all costs, depending on who is performing them. Players will not normally take part in or organise them, due to the difficult requirements for officiating, and the great ease with which an enemy can learn of them and destroy the ceremony.
In other words, try to abuse these rules and then your enemies'll really start coming out of the woodwork.
That aside, this first note is based on the sacrifice rules presented in the Book of Vile Darkness, well worth a read, which gives good examples of the kind of DCs that effects demand. However, they will not only be broadened to all spellcasting classes, but also extended to all alignments.
Sacrificial ritual magic couldn't be simpler. Offer up a tribute of sufficient power and importance to gain a great reward. The greater the ceremony surrounding this, and the greater the power and importance of what you offer, the more magnificent the rewards. Sacrifice of a great enemy or of a powerful item are acceptable to any deity, and nature itself will respond to the respect shown by the ceremonial destruction of an enemy of the forest, or the offering of tribute for balance.
Generic Sacrifice Rules: All spells cast at caster level of deity, lasting 24 hours unless stated otherwise. Minimum casting time of 1 hour. Multiple items/people may be sacrificed simultaneously to make multiple checks, but only one can be carried through. No more than one sacrifice in any 24 hours (some gods may have harsher limits). Choice of spells is limited by DM.
Base DC for effect: 5 + (Spell Level *5) Group effect (1 per HD): +10 Celebrant is not suitable: +5-15 Appropriate vestments or equipment unavailable: +5
Generic Bonuses: Ceremony lasts more than 2 hours: +1 On an altar: +2 In desecrated/consecrated area: +1 In hallowed/unhallowed area: +2 In presence of favoured creature: +2 In presence of >10 followers: +1 In presence of >100 followers: +1 In presence of >1000 followers: +1 Sacrifice prepared for at least one day: +1 Sacrifice of opposite alignment: +1 Sacrifice is pure or exceptionally depraved: +1-3 Sacrifice's personal power: +(HD/5) Sacrifice is cleric of another god: +2 Sacrifice of hated type: +1-2 Sacrifice is willing: +3
Bonuses for Item Sacrifice: Minor magical item: +1 Medium magical item: +2 Major magical item: +3-4 Artifact: +5 or more (DM's disgression)
Item Crafting Rules: Sacrificial magic can give experience points and gold value towards creating magical items. In Lost Souls terms, a sacrifice can contribute as a catalyst for an item's creation. Only one sacrifice can go towards any one item, and the item must be finished during the ceremony, though not necessarily by the celebrant. Experience points: (Celebrant determined DC)*3 Gold piece value: (Celebrant determined DC)*5
"Calling" of Nature:
Favoured classes: Ranger, Adept and Druid, though any class can participate or officiate. Relevant Skills: Knowledge (nature) OR Relevant Level + Cha. Caster level: 20th. Additional Bonuses: Druids and Rangers gain double normal gold piece value for item creation. Ceremony in a pure/magical/druidic grove: +1-3 In presence of fey nobles (by importance): +1-5 Enemy defeated through forces of nature: +2 Enemy of non-neutral alignment: +1 Item created through destruction: +2
"Sacrifice" to a Power.
Favoured Classes: Cleric or Adept of relevant power, though any class can participate or officiate, unless they are an opposing cleric. Relevant skills: Knowledge (religion) OR Relevant Level + Cha. Caster Level: Varies, assume 20th. Additional Bonuses: Clerics of high rank can take 10 on this check inside an official temple. Each cleric of high rank attending: +1 Deity is present physically: +5 Cleric in unusually good favour: +2
There we have it. For all you arcane spellcasters, don't feel let down, your time will come very soon. Part II, coming soon, Discovered Arcana.