Question Concerning Ritual Costs, etc

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I'm simply wondering how you guys work ritual component cost, etc, so I have a few questions:


1. What is the difference in Component Cost for a ritual, and market Value?


2. How do you Roleplay this cost? If the PC's are in the middle of nowhere, and the wizard decides to do a ritual that has a 30gp component cost, it seems weird to me that you would simply subtract money out of his pocket to do the ritual.. or am I missing something?


3. I was toying with the idea of letting the wizard go to a herbalist, or something, and buying a set amount of components. It would be akin to having an amount of gold, but instead of 300gp, it would be 300 components... or something. That, or doing a skill challenge or something in order to find the necessary components themselves.


This also applies to how to charge for weapon enchanting, IE: Why would gold mysteriously dissappear from their pockets when an item is made?


I'm probably thinking too much on this, but any help is appreciated as always.             

1. Think of it like a cooking.  Market Value is buying the cookbook.  Component Cost is how much it costs to buy all the ingredients.

2. The cost is in Ritual Components.  You have to purchase them beforehand (to use the cooking analogy, you have to buy your ingredients, you don't just throw money in a pot).  Different types of rituals, as determined by key skill, use different types of components:
Arcana: Alchemical Reagents
Heal: Mystic Salves
Nature: Rare Herbs
Religion: Sanctified Incense

There's a fifth component, Residuum, but it is not typically available for sale; you either find it, or acquire it by Disenchanting magic items you no longer want or need.

3. That's exactly how it's supposed to work.  You spend 300gp, buy 300gp worth of ritual components, and expend them as you preform rituals.  The type of component you buy has to match the type of ritual you're using, however.
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Got it. Thanks alot for the help.
Salla has given an accurate and concise answer (as usual), but I'd like to expand on the point of Residuum.

If the party has occasion to do business with any kind of mage guild or the like, or conducts commerce in an unusually high-magic society, residuum should probably become directly exchangeable for cash (in fact, somewhere in the books it mentions that some societies might deal exclusively in residuum for their economy). This would allow the party's ritual caster to stock-up on components by simply buying residuum.

For example, the party in my campaign has a longstanding working relationship with the Wizards of the Secret Spire, the local mage guild. As such, whenever they stop into a city anywhere in their home country, the bard pretty much exchanges all of his money for residuum. This keeps him well-stocked on ritual components, and avoids the minor headache that would result from balancing several types of components.
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I could definately see that being benificial, especially in higher tiers of play or in the planes. I'll probably end up letting them buy components from alchemists, etc, but residuum will be much more difficult. Mystic salves I guess would be best bought from a temple or something.
In terms of #2, while I love the idea of having specific components I often find them too much of a pain to track (and causing the already under-appreciated rituals to suffer even further). As a result I have a "the gods of magic also take cash" policy, generally speaking. Precious metals are, for the most part, powerfully useful in religious iconography or in alchemy, after all, so I figure they make as good components as anything else. Just the treasury might be mad at you for destroying their coins if you don't tell them about it!
Specific components are generally only fun when they're special and unique. I also prefer regular components for most rituals (the ritual caster in my group has a few columns on her sheet for each type of component).

But occasionally I might give out something special, for a special kind of ritual. Is also a great way to limit certain powerful rituals a bit, by the way.
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In my games, I only use Residuum! I think it's enough "magic components" to run the game! Ritual need Residuum and your "inner power" will do the rest! Unless it's a really unique ritual!
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2. How do you Roleplay this cost? If the PC's are in the middle of nowhere, and the wizard decides to do a ritual that has a 30gp component cost, it seems weird to me that you would simply subtract money out of his pocket to do the ritual.. or am I missing something?


3. I was toying with the idea of letting the wizard go to a herbalist, or something, and buying a set amount of components. It would be akin to having an amount of gold, but instead of 300gp, it would be 300 components... or something. That, or doing a skill challenge or something in order to find the necessary components themselves.


This also applies to how to charge for weapon enchanting, IE: Why would gold mysteriously dissappear from their pockets when an item is made? 



I'm of the opinion that rituals are very underused by PCs in the games I've played. Which is a shame because most rituals I've seen are rife with good storytelling fodder. If you have noticed a similar trend in your games and want to see more rituals used, then your first step is to remove the barriers for ritual use - cost and tracking.

If your players aren't the type to abuse such a thing, try making rituals free to cast, within reason. You'll have to use your best judgment on this and urge your ritual caster players to do the same. But you should see an uptick in their usage and like as not a wider variety of rituals being used in your game. Ritual casters can sometimes be at a disadvantage in a standard game because they have to make a choice between buying rituals and components or the next enhancement bonus on their implement. In order to keep up with the curve, the latter is often the priority to the detriment of rituals.

As well, I really dislike inventory tracking and counting every gold piece or ritual component when I play or DM. I could honestly care less about that kind of stuff because it's not heroic and, if it were a movie, I'd go use the bathroom during the scene where the hero is carrying the one in his ledger. Though the gut reaction is to say as you did, "How does some gold just disappear from the PC's pocket when he casts a ritual...", it's simply a matter of one sentence of storytelling to explain that away. "I bought the appropriate stuff last time we were in town or the ranger helped me find it when we were gathering herbs for dinner." Wealth is just abstracted in this case. In fact, if you do as I do and don't require tracking of ritual components, then that leaves it open for you to ask the player to engage the story by asking what the component is (eye of newt you say?) and where he or she got it. You might be surprised at the cool things your player might say.

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In my group, the Wizard hasn't used a ritual yet (and he is lvl 7). However, recently he told me that he had browsed over the rituals in the PHB and thought they sounded good. He then admitted that he had never really paid attention to them and therefore never thought to cast one. That was why I was asking actually. So, i'm not sure if he will enjoy paying for them or not, but I could definately see certain rituals being free. Especially the cheaper ones that have good utility purposes.
So, i'm not sure if he will enjoy paying for them or not, but I could definately see certain rituals being free. Especially the cheaper ones that have good utility purposes.



In a standard game using standard 4e treasure guidelines, my guess is he'll be reluctant to pay for them because he'll need to buy other things to keep up with the game and other PCs, which is why I recommended they be free (within reason). Just give it the ol' eyeball and see if it might get out of hand, case-by-case, and work with the player on implementation. It's important that the player and you are on the same page with regard to expectations.

Pacing is another good way to balance it out. In some situations, finding an hour to cast a ritual or even 10 minutes just won't be feasible or at the very least improbable.

Whenever it's interesting and appropriate, be sure to write a scene in the adventure where one of the rituals the caster has is not only applicable, but actually quite awesome to use in context. Sometimes the DM needs to throw it slow and down the middle for players to knock it out of the park.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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I'm running a paragon tier game and being rather inexperienced overall I decided to save myself the overhead of worrying about minor things like this. Now that I think of it I don't believe I ever specified anything to the players, but they've essentially just used gold pieces as ritual components.

It's like tracking food and water. Sure you can do it because there are rules for it, but where's the fun? I figure if there's a plot-based reason to track something carefully, I'll warn the players beforehand and somehow make it interesting. Otherwise just let them at it.

I'm lucky enough to have a group that's fairly easy-going with its funds. During character creation everyone set aside an amount to contribute to the purchase of rituals, and when one is performed the component cost comes from the as-yet undistributed party funds. If I wasn't being so generous with loot I'd do as iserith suggested and make them free.