House Rule - Readied Rituals

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I'm thinking of including a new house rule which, hopefully, would make rituals a bit more useful. The idea is simple, to allow a readied ritual to be used as an encounter power (I guess really it would be a Daily since once it was used it would be used up, or like a potion or other consumable).

I've found my players shy away from rituals because of the time they take to cast, the short amount of time they are in effect, and the sheer amount of planning it seems to take to actually gain a benefit from a ritual. Some that gather information or create something make sense to use during down time, but others seem very focused on specific situations and the casting times/durations don't seem to work with those situations.

For example: Wizard's Escape, lvl 6 ritual, 10 min to cast, 10 min duration. Character and up to 8 allies can benefit from power. You can squeeze through really small spaces like a Tiny creature (under a door, though bars of a gate, etc) during the ritual's duration. So either you are standing outside of a place and doing the ritual (which means you have 10 min to stand there) or you are doing the ritual then racing to a place where you think you can squeeze through.

My thought: Make it a one use power, person chooses when it activates. You could even say the first use of the power activates the 10 min timer if you are out of combat, otherwise it is just an Encounter duration.

Anyone think this is a good idea, bad idea, etc? You could only have one readied ritual at a time. I do forsee my players using this to activate a magic ward or circle, or to summon phantom horses or something like that in the middle of a fight, but honestly that sounds pretty cool to me and more power to them. I much prefer wizards/spellcasters to have multipe "tricks" to gain slight advantages in a fight than just a bunch of firepower.
Many ritual effects were spells in past editions and could be prepared and cast exactly as you describe. This caused balance issues in some games, and despite their decreased utility many of these effects are easier for DMs to deal with as rituals. If you never had issues with the original way these effects worked, then go for it.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Good idea in my book.  You can break down the rituals too, at will, encounter and daily since rituals vary in their power.  ofcourse all regeant cost applied.  This means you have to know every ritual in detail to gauge your encounter setting so your players don't simply cheese it with a good mixture of ritual and daily powers to bulldoz through what you hoped to be challenging encounter.  
Sounds cool to me.

I think we're pretty much on the same wavelength with regard to this, but it bears mentioning. After I moved away from predetermined plots and stories and into increased collaboration with the players, I found that a marked increase in ritual use was a side effect. Rarely does an adventure go by now that the players don't find some really clever use of a ritual. It's part of that whole DM-creates-a-problem-but-not-a-solution thing. Rituals are often just what the doctor ordered.

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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You do realize that you've described Scrolls to some degree, yes?  

Creating a Ritual Scroll: You can create a ritual scroll by transcribing a ritual you have mastered. Creating a ritual scroll takes twice the amount of time as creating a ritual book but costs the same price.

Using a Ritual Scroll: A ritual scroll holds one use of a particular ritual. You can perform a scroll’s ritual even if you don’t have the Ritual Caster feat, regardless of the level of the ritual. You still have to expend the components and supply any focus required by the ritual, and you can enlist your allies’ assistance. Once you have finished performing the ritual on a scroll, the scroll turns to dust. If the ritual is interrupted, the scroll remains intact.

Time: Casting a ritual from a scroll takes half the time indicated in a ritual’s description, since the creation of the scroll has primed the magic.


So if you want to house rule that, instead of halving the time required, you reduce it to a single action?  Why not?

It's yours and your players' game.  If it works how you want it to, great; if it doesn't, adjust. 
Its funny.  When i play I find using rituals to be sooo useful and fun.  But the DM is the one who makes it unimportant and useless when I use them, giving it no meaning.  I still continue using them when ever I can regardless.  i like the practicality and they are useful to me.  Wonder if your players dont use them because you as dm unintentionally devalue its use.  Not saying that you are but normally player response to ignoring a tool is usually lack of dm response to making the tool matter.  Your idea to make it more dynamic by taking time to cast out is definitely a good thing!  Perhaps I will suggest same for our table, and use it "in your face" to our dm so he has to take notice, and respond.
Why is your DM making them unimportant and useless when you use them?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

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Why is your DM making them unimportant and useless when you use them?



I donno.  One of my favorite ritual is Affect Normal Fire...effect non magic fire 10 yards, 8 hour duration, make it brighter or dim it, even into darkness.  One would think that dimming all lights or almost snuffing it out should effect mechanical Aspect of hiding or npc reactions...none exist, so makes that ritual not matter.  Create Campsite is also uselful..but if dm don't give a shitzu whether one plops down on ground anywhere and sleeps or ritually create campsite..then that ritual also dont matter.  I carry ton of rituals with me, equal amount of residuum to do them...but if the dm don't create situations those things can be useful...then those thing dont matter...   Uninsightful dming i suppose.
I donno.  One of my favorite ritual is Affect Normal Fire...effect non magic fire 10 yards, 8 hour duration, make it brighter or dim it, even into darkness.  One would think that dimming all lights or almost snuffing it out should effect mechanical Aspect of hiding or npc reactions...none exist, so makes that ritual not matter.  Create Campsite is also uselful..but if dm don't give a shitzu whether one plops down on ground anywhere and sleeps or ritually create campsite..then that ritual also dont matter.  I carry ton of rituals with me, equal amount of residual to do them...but if the dm don't create situations those things can be useful...then those thing dont matter...   Uninsightful dming i suppose.



Perhaps he's not seeing what you're trying to gain from it. One thing I ask when players use rituals, regardless of the mechanics, is what the exact fictional goal is in casting the ritual so that I can be sure the character gets what he earns when he makes the check or incurs the cost. If you told me, for example, that you wanted to cast Affect Normal Fires because you think it will make you seem more impressive to an NPC later, I'd have a better idea of how to include that angle in the scene. So maybe if you're not already doing this, you can mention to your DM what you hope to achieve by way of the ritual outside of its base effect. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I donno.  One of my favorite ritual is Affect Normal Fire...effect non magic fire 10 yards, 8 hour duration, make it brighter or dim it, even into darkness.  One would think that dimming all lights or almost snuffing it out should effect mechanical Aspect of hiding or npc reactions...none exist, so makes that ritual not matter.  Create Campsite is also uselful..but if dm don't give a shitzu whether one plops down on ground anywhere and sleeps or ritually create campsite..then that ritual also dont matter.  I carry ton of rituals with me, equal amount of residual to do them...but if the dm don't create situations those things can be useful...then those thing dont matter...   Uninsightful dming i suppose.



Perhaps he's not seeing what you're trying to gain from it. One thing I ask when players use rituals, regardless of the mechanics, is what the exact fictional goal is in casting the ritual so that I can be sure the character gets what he earns when he makes the check or incurs the cost. If you told me, for example, that you wanted to cast Affect Normal Fires because you think it will make you seem more impressive to an NPC later, I'd have a better idea of how to include that angle in the scene. So maybe if you're not already doing this, you can mention to your DM what you hope to achieve by way of the ritual outside of its base effect. 


Tried making suggestions in past, but if it's not in-line with his idea, response is equally uninspiring...sometimes gets pissed even for mentioning something anywhere near critisim, & throws it in face demeaningly.  
So I stopped.  Problem is he played the longest, knows the rules the most, truly believes he is best dm, even though his dm style only works for few select players...or at least players who are willing to suck it up and silently go with his method regardless of enjoyment.  I just learn from it and make sure it don't happen to another player when I dm.  I find trying to make every attempt by the player, including rituals, no matter how I personally feel about it, have meaning in-game to a meaningful degree to the player is important.  
Any DM who don't stop to ask players.. What can I do more or shouldn't do to improve each players enjoyment?  What part do you like?  What part don't you like? is a poor dm.  Once I realized my friend is a poor dm and began to make changes to the game when I dm... game has gotten lot more fun.
But that takes a mind set that he/she isn't perfect and has room to improve or change depending on the players.  "I know it all and am the best" mind set.. those questions won't ever be asked.  Not much constructive discussion can occur.  Becomes personality issue so.  No sense try to change one's personality.   We just learn and move on.

No matter how much I know, I don't know enough, especially when I start to feel like I know it all... is when one must look at self and tell self, I know shitzu.  

Its funny.  When i play I find using rituals to be sooo useful and fun.  But the DM is the one who makes it unimportant and useless when I use them, giving it no meaning.  I still continue using them when ever I can regardless.  i like the practicality and they are useful to me.  Wonder if your players dont use them because you as dm unintentionally devalue its use.  Not saying that you are but normally player response to ignoring a tool is usually lack of dm response to making the tool matter.  Your idea to make it more dynamic by taking time to cast out is definitely a good thing!  Perhaps I will suggest same for our table, and use it "in your face" to our dm so he has to take notice, and respond.



The player at the table who has the most access to rituals is also the player who is most likely to follow the rules exactly. So I do feel a need to tell her "If you find a cool way to do this and it doesn't match the description, that's okay." My hope in part is this will prompt all of them to start looking at rituals in more broad sense.

For example, one of the players has the Invunerable Coat of Arhd. It is possessed of the spirit of the martyrd dwarf priest who first wore the coat. If a player were to use Speak with the Dead on the coat, I would be ecstatic! But, since the ritual goes to great lengths to specify a dead body, they just wouldn't think to do that.
You do realize that you've described Scrolls to some degree, yes?  

Creating a Ritual Scroll: You can create a ritual scroll by transcribing a ritual you have mastered. Creating a ritual scroll takes twice the amount of time as creating a ritual book but costs the same price.

Using a Ritual Scroll: A ritual scroll holds one use of a particular ritual. You can perform a scroll’s ritual even if you don’t have the Ritual Caster feat, regardless of the level of the ritual. You still have to expend the components and supply any focus required by the ritual, and you can enlist your allies’ assistance. Once you have finished performing the ritual on a scroll, the scroll turns to dust. If the ritual is interrupted, the scroll remains intact.

Time: Casting a ritual from a scroll takes half the time indicated in a ritual’s description, since the creation of the scroll has primed the magic.


So if you want to house rule that, instead of halving the time required, you reduce it to a single action?  Why not?

It's yours and your players' game.  If it works how you want it to, great; if it doesn't, adjust. 



I looked at scrolls. I am thinking more along the lines of potions or other consumables. Even spending 5 minutes in the middle of a fight casting something that would give you only a brief advantage wouldn't seem useful to the players.



So if you want to house rule that, instead of halving the time required, you reduce it to a single action?  Why not?

It's yours and your players' game.  If it works how you want it to, great; if it doesn't, adjust. 



I looked at scrolls. I am thinking more along the lines of potions or other consumables. Even spending 5 minutes in the middle of a fight casting something that would give you only a brief advantage wouldn't seem useful to the players.


I emphasized what I originally said, just to make sure that it was seen, but, to make sure I didn't confuse you...

Make a minor change to the Ritual Scroll rule:  Change "half the time indicated etc..." to "a single action."    Problem with potions is that they activate as a Minor action; while I can see making rituals Easier, I wouldn't make them too easy....

Or, here's another possibility: add it as an option to the "normal" ritual scrolls.  If you go check out Dragon 405, there's an article on Heroic Tier Rituals.  A handful of the rituals, in addition to the normal Ritual Scroll rules, have an additional option of being made into Ritual Scrolls that activate as a Standard Action.  In each case, the power of the spell — either duration or effectiveness or some other part of the ritual — has been reduced by making the "quick scroll," but it's still a viable ritual nonetheless.

Don't get me wrong:  I understand your reasoning for what you're doing, and may even consider doing it in my own games, to some degree or another.    As I said before, go for it.    I'm just laying down some slight variations on the theme, so if you're concerned about doing so — which clearly you are, or you wouldn't have bothered asking about it, I don't think — you might come up with some compromise position that encourages ritual usage without making you quite so uncomfortable about doing so.

So if you want to house rule that, instead of halving the time required, you reduce it to a single action?  Why not?

It's yours and your players' game.  If it works how you want it to, great; if it doesn't, adjust. 



I looked at scrolls. I am thinking more along the lines of potions or other consumables. Even spending 5 minutes in the middle of a fight casting something that would give you only a brief advantage wouldn't seem useful to the players.


I emphasized what I originally said, just to make sure that it was seen, but, to make sure I didn't confuse you...

Make a minor change to the Ritual Scroll rule:  Change "half the time indicated etc..." to "a single action."    Problem with potions is that they activate as a Minor action; while I can see making rituals Easier, I wouldn't make them too easy....

Or, here's another possibility: add it as an option to the "normal" ritual scrolls.  If you go check out Dragon 405, there's an article on Heroic Tier Rituals.  A handful of the rituals, in addition to the normal Ritual Scroll rules, have an additional option of being made into Ritual Scrolls that activate as a Standard Action.  In each case, the power of the spell — either duration or effectiveness or some other part of the ritual — has been reduced by making the "quick scroll," but it's still a viable ritual nonetheless.

Don't get me wrong:  I understand your reasoning for what you're doing, and may even consider doing it in my own games, to some degree or another.    As I said before, go for it.    I'm just laying down some slight variations on the theme, so if you're concerned about doing so — which clearly you are, or you wouldn't have bothered asking about it, I don't think — you might come up with some compromise position that encourages ritual usage without making you quite so uncomfortable about doing so.



Ah, yeah, I missed that part, thanks. I will talk with my players this weekend and see what they all think. Appreciate all the responses


 If you don't mind doing a bit of extra work (or even enlisting the players to help you tailor it to their needs) I'd personally go with a bit of a more modular system for rituals, somewhat similar to what other games like GURPS and crpgs like Morrowind do with their custom spells...
For example...

 - You can cast the full version, and it works as normal. But reduce both the original cost of purchase and the casting cost by at least half. Any sort of expensive focus or other materials still need to be paid for, though.

 - You can cast a reduced time/cost version that works with either a reduced duration or effect (or both), whichever applies. Cut the casting time either in half or to 1/4, and reduce the amount it cost to cast even further. Maybe even have a sliding scale where how long you spend on the casting determines cost and effect...

 - Or you can cast them quick and dirty, so they cast as a single action and only last either a turn or two or a single encounter... Cost to cast should be pocket change, but perhaps institute a limit on how many can be cast per day or something, maybe 1 per character level.

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