Gathering ritual components

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     Can a player character, if given the time, resources, and carrying capacity extract ritual components from creatures or the environment itself?  I've sent this question to Wizards of the Coast but they replied that there are no rules regarding this in the game and it is the DM's decision.  I'm looking for any feedback.  It seems that this practice gives an unfair advantage to player characters and unbalances the game, but I welcome any opinions on the matter.  Thank you.

 There are no game rules for gathering ritual components. It's entirely up to the individual DM whether they want to allow it in their game and how they implement it...
By the rules as written, anytime the party gains ritual components as part of their treasure you could just fluff it as them harvesting materials from the monsters they've killed or foraging for plants or whatever.

 "Unfair advantage"? Over who, or what?
     Since the DM controls if, how and when the characters can harvest the components, he's entirely in control of how this affects his game - if he or she decides that you have to kill six dragons in order to gather 1 gp worth of components, the effect on the game will be negligible and almost entirely unnoticable. They can also dictate which monsters may or may not have the capacity to yield usable components and which rituals they may be used for. For example, beholder eyes may only yield 10 gp worth of components per eye and may only be useful for divination or scrying rituals...

 Many people feel that the gp cost of casting rituals is too high as written, and tend to dissuade characters from using them with any regularity.
For me personally, if I DM a 4E game I either lower the casting cost of rituals by half (or more) or make sure to throw in additional ritual components above and beyond what they might recieve as part of their loot...

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 There are no game rules for gathering ritual components. It's entirely up to the individual DM whether they want to allow it in their game and how they implement it...
By the rules as written, anytime the party gains ritual components as part of their treasure you could just fluff it as them harvesting materials from the monsters they've killed or foraging for plants or whatever.

 "Unfair advantage"? Over who, or what?
     Since the DM controls if, how and when the characters can harvest the components, he's entirely in control of how this affects his game - if he or she decides that you have to kill six dragons in order to gather 1 gp worth of components, the effect on the game will be negligible and almost entirely unnoticable. They can also dictate which monsters may or may not have the capacity to yield usable components and which rituals they may be used for. For example, beholder eyes may only yield 10 gp worth of components per eye and may only be useful for divination or scrying rituals...

 Many people feel that the gp cost of casting rituals is too high as written, and tend to dissuade characters from using them with any regularity.
For me personally, if I DM a 4E game I either lower the casting cost of rituals by half (or more) or make sure to throw in additional ritual components above and beyond what they might recieve as part of their loot...


Thanks for the reply.  The unfair advantage I was referring to was that in essence, harvesting components is like mining precious metals.  It's treasure over and beyond what other characters receive.  But after reading your post and thinking it over, rituals benefit the party as a whole, so really it balances things out.

I absolutely agree with you that I am the final arbiter on the harvesting of components.  I was just hoping to read a couple of ideas on how other DMs do it.

I think the biggest problem with rituals is the casting time required.  You can really only use them in between encounters and some of them would be useful and fun to use during a combat.

Thanks again for your reply!
Another way to do it is to let them acquire/harvest/scavenge their ritual components, then simply deduct the value from their upcoming treasure acquisition.

Rituals are noncombat spells.  They aren't intended to use them during a pitched battle.  That's kind of the point.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

 In previous editions, a great number of the rituals present in 4E were actually spells available to spellcasters. The designers for 4E decided to split spells into combat and "utility" categories - powers and rituals. In addition to having to choose between filling their limited number of spell slots per day with combat spells (fireball, etc.) or what were mainly utility spells (knock, comprehend languages, etc.), many of those spells that are now rituals had the potential to wildly disrupt combat or even circumvent it completely - why bother fighting the monsters when you can stand by the top of the stairs leading down to their underground lair and drown them by firing off spells that create a huge flood of water or cast a spell that created some sort of poisonous gas and then use the move earth spell to seal off all exits to the room so they can't escape?

  If you feel that certain rituals would be fun to use in combat and wouldn't unduly disrupt the combat, then feel free to reduce the required casting time... Personally, I've toyed with the idea of changing some of the casting times from minutes to turns or even standard actions - it lets you use the ritual in combat, but at the cost of giving up more directly effective options. Even then, some of the casting times would still last longer than your average combat.
 (I suppose you could even do it oldschool style - in 1st and 2nd edition, you spent an entire round casting a spell and then it took effect at the beginning of the next round...)
Allowing rituals in combat does however require you to adjudicate and rule on the exact effects those rituals will have during the fight. Creating gallons of water on the floor of a room might create difficult terrain, for example...

In any event, choosing to use a ritual in combat will generally always be a much less optimal choice than simply using a regular attack power from the character's class.

Show

I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)

 

I am the Lawnmower Man.

(I AM GOD HERE!)

 

I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)

 

There are reasons they call me Mad...

Another way to do it is to let them acquire/harvest/scavenge their ritual components, then simply deduct the value from their upcoming treasure acquisition.

Rituals are noncombat spells.  They aren't intended to use them during a pitched battle.  That's kind of the point.

What you say about rituals is true; they are meant to be outside of combat.  However, with rituals like Discern Lies and Water Walk, they COULD be used in skill challenges or combat encounters.  I personally haven't made any house rules on the subject, but I find that rituals in my campaign are an afterthought and could have more of an impact on the game if a few of them were either made into utility powers or their casting times were changed.  I didn't make the change because I didn't want a ritual caster to have a more prominent role in the party.  I mean, 4e seems to be founded on making sure the classes are pretty balanced.

 In previous editions, a great number of the rituals present in 4E were actually spells available to spellcasters. The designers for 4E decided to split spells into combat and "utility" categories - powers and rituals. In addition to having to choose between filling their limited number of spell slots per day with combat spells (fireball, etc.) or what were mainly utility spells (knock, comprehend languages, etc.), many of those spells that are now rituals had the potential to wildly disrupt combat or even circumvent it completely - why bother fighting the monsters when you can stand by the top of the stairs leading down to their underground lair and drown them by firing off spells that create a huge flood of water or cast a spell that created some sort of poisonous gas and then use the move earth spell to seal off all exits to the room so they can't escape?

  If you feel that certain rituals would be fun to use in combat and wouldn't unduly disrupt the combat, then feel free to reduce the required casting time... Personally, I've toyed with the idea of changing some of the casting times from minutes to turns or even standard actions - it lets you use the ritual in combat, but at the cost of giving up more directly effective options. Even then, some of the casting times would still last longer than your average combat.
 (I suppose you could even do it oldschool style - in 1st and 2nd edition, you spent an entire round casting a spell and then it took effect at the beginning of the next round...)
Allowing rituals in combat does however require you to adjudicate and rule on the exact effects those rituals will have during the fight. Creating gallons of water on the floor of a room might create difficult terrain, for example...

In any event, choosing to use a ritual in combat will generally always be a much less optimal choice than simply using a regular attack power from the character's class.

     Disrupting or avoiding combat is not necessarily a bad thing sometimes.  We played eight hours Friday night and completed three combat encounters.  Fun as hell, mind you, with great tactics, one-liners, and visual flair, but time consuming.  Every once in awhile a DM longs to further the story, and you can't feasibly make the party's enemies flee every time you feel this emotion.
I think it's weird you referred to it giving player characters an "unfair advantage". So they choose to spend a week gathering a hundred gp (or whatever you decide) of ritual components instead of adventuring? How about if they spend six months gathering a few thousand gp worth? How about they get a job and you role-play them cobbling shoes and such for the next twenty years?

You are the DM and you control and direct the plot and the game. Even in very co-narrative games, that has to be true (unless you are doing some kind of experimental gaming where there is no DM. Which sounds cool, actually). If they seem like they're going to avoid all of your plot hooks as the weeks roll by while they painstakingly gather herbs, pause the game and have a talk with them about what they really want to get out of the campaign. Honestly, it should be more profitable for them to adventure and gain treasure and buy components rather than spend the time gathering them in the woods, which is a task that dirt-poor peasants probably spend their lives doing to earn a few coppers each week to eat. (I'm not talking about the ol' "Herbalist needs adventuring group to find rare component for his ritual" adventure hook, which is time-tested and fun, but rather the more conventional components for conventional rituals).
     Can a player character, if given the time, resources, and carrying capacity extract ritual components from creatures or the environment itself?  I've sent this question to Wizards of the Coast but they replied that there are no rules regarding this in the game and it is the DM's decision.  I'm looking for any feedback.  It seems that this practice gives an unfair advantage to player characters and unbalances the game, but I welcome any opinions on the matter.  Thank you.



It's not in the rules, similar to gaining stat benefits from going to the gym, or gaining gold from business deals. That's because it's not really a game to handed numerical benefits just from declaring an activity.

As DM you are free to say "yes" to the player wish in multiple ways. It helps to understand what's behind the player request. For instance, if this is just about the players wanting to gain a quick burst of power to match where they think they should be, it's fine to just say "Yes, you spend several months collecting items, and as a result you all get a level 5 item, and go up a level. Then, one dark night . . ." (i.e. kick off the next stage of the adventure to interrupt their new boring life as usual)

One thing to do is to create an adventure around collecting the goods. E.g. "Yes, you can gather lightning glowmoss from the nearby swamp, it is a highly valuable component. But watch out for the marsh hag . . ."

Other suggestions above are good - just try to balance out how things work so its fair to all players.


See our group doesn't really bother with ritual compenents.  We just kinda take from the beginning of the ritual section in the PH and just use gold instead.  Might not be exactly the best way in terms of role playing exactly but unless the ritual requires something specific we just pay for the ritual in whatever amount of gold it asks for.

But as others have said there are no rules for collecting ritual components and thus it's all up to the DM. 
See our group doesn't really bother with ritual compenents.  We just kinda take from the beginning of the ritual section in the PH and just use gold instead.  Might not be exactly the best way in terms of role playing exactly but unless the ritual requires something specific we just pay for the ritual in whatever amount of gold it asks for.

But as others have said there are no rules for collecting ritual components and thus it's all up to the DM. 

We've done it the same. We just mark off however much gold we need to spend for the ritual and say we bought it from traders or something.

Sometimes the DM gives us a modifier (say, 20% cheaper/more expensive). This happens if it's particularly difficult or easy to acquire the components required.
Although it is outside the rules, a DM can still handle it via the normal treasure rules.

A DM can create an adventure (or even just an encounter) related to gathering the components, and then just consider the GP value of the spell components as part of the reward (instead of normal GP).

Alternately, the DM could do this with his normally planned adventure: just convert some of the GP reward to component rewards, and/or design a quick skill challenge involving harvesting the components.

Also, ritual costs are considered a tad expensive, so a DM could be lenient here without worrying about balance. Indeed, there are new feats now which can eliminate the costs of many rituals.
I usually include a "this creature yelds components for said ritual." in an arcane/divine ex..knowledge roll. I only do this if a pc owns or has looked at a ritual. A short skill challenge to collect the materials usually follows if the material is hard to collect without damage. So it's not always hard.
I usually include a "this creature yelds components for said ritual." in an arcane/divine ex..knowledge roll. I only do this if a pc owns or has looked at a ritual. A short skill challenge to collect the materials usually follows if the material is hard to collect without damage. So it's not always hard.

That is a really good idea.  Thanks,  I may use that.
I use the treasure parcel system and as part of that I actually let players select their own magic items of X level or lower when I assign item levels to each PC at Lootmas.    Anyone who wants ritual components or alchemical components can opt to take any part or all of the gp value of their assigned magic item in components.  They can then also take the leftover value in gold or a lower level magic item, but still only one magic item.

This way the player has control over how much ritual components they get at any time.  Incidentally, there are also times when the plot dictates that a ritual needs to be used ... in those cases I just tell the ritual caster he can cast that ritual for free since it was my choice as the DM (they do a lot of teleporting in this campaign so if the plot requires them to use a teleport circle related ritual I don't charge them for that).

Don't forget that players can use the disenchant magic item ritual to convert old unused magic items to residuum and that can be used for rituals also.  (I'd let our alchemist do the same thing but he hasn't really asked for that or needed it yet).  So far in this campaign, at the end of both Heroic and Paragon tiers, as a "graduation present" they've had the chance to use a magic residuum furnace that allows them to convert old magic items to 100% value in residuum.  They know this will happen so they try to wait until the end of the tier to get the best value for their old items, but the downside is that they have to wait.  If they need residuum/components NOW, they have to break down old magic items right away or take some in place of a new magic item.

When it comes to harvesting components from dead monsters, I typically let them harvest a small amount rolled randomly, d100 per tier.  Just for the fun of it.  But that's not their main source of components since it provides very little.

Summary:  I've had no complaints about the availability of components OR magic items using this system, and in our campaign the Wizard and the Ranger (alchemist) use a LOT of components.

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