Useful Rituals

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What rituals does your group use most often, besides Raise Dead? Any interesting combinations of multiple rituals?

My group doesn't seem to be using rituals at all, so I'm trying to show them how usefull they can be. suggestions? 

-Will, Digital Artist

I see a LOT of Comrade's Succor. It is actually one that I like as a DM bc it lets you stretch adventuring days. As a player I flat out love Undead Servitor; we have had some hilarious times with that.

What you are going through is not uncommon. I wrote a blog about encouraging 4e ritual use, maybe it will give you some ideas.

frothsof4e.blogspot.com/2012/11/encourag...
The trick with encouraging ritual use is to make sure that the first few times the characters use a ritual you make sure it has a big effect. DM's are often afraid of rituals because of their ability to short cut around monsters, traps, and plot lines that the DM has invested a lot of time in creating. I've seen lots of DM's either give the ritual a weak effect or somehow punish the players for deviating from the DM's railroad.

For example, if the players figure out that "speak with dead" or "inquisitive's eyes" will tell them the secret identity of the arch villain, let them have it. Let that dramatic moment change the course of the campaign. It might mean you have to change the direction of the story from mystery to pursuit, but I see that as a good thing. It brings the story alive for the players and tells them they are in control of their destiny rather than playing through the DM's set script.

As a DM make sure you include ritual books as extra treasure, not in place of other treasure. Give them modest amounts of residuum as bonus treasure but don't give them too much. If they get too much they can spam the rituals which takes a lot of the charm out of them. Don't let them have free reign to buy whatever rituals they want, being able to purchase rituals easily cheapens the value of finding them or seeking them out. When they go to a major magic shop there might be 3 or 4 for sale and make sure different rituals are found in different places. I often have NPC's teach a ritual as a reward for friendship or service. This also encourages good roleplaying.

I found a great way of introducing rituals to a group was have them require a particular ritual to complete a quest and then give them a side quest to go get the ritual they need. ("legend has it that the magic you seek can be found on the long lost tablets of Rak'NoMah deep in the Caves of Chaos").  Once they finally get the ritual, make sure it has a spectacular result for them so they feel their quest was worth it and then they can keep the ritual for future use.

Don't be too quick to give out Raise Dead. It's such a powerful ritual (and highly sought after) that it makes for a great reward for defeating or major boss or a quest. Portal rituals add a lot of mobility to the game so make sure you are ready as a DM to give the players that degree of freedom.

The best advice I can give about rituals is to make them fun, exciting, and worthwhile. If the DM doesn't care about rituals, the players won't either.
 
What level is your group? Typically a party will frequently use rituals of caster level - 3. Rituals usually cost money, and rituals at or above level tend to be very expensive for the party to rely on. It really comes down to how creative your party is, and if they can remember what rituals they have. If you have DDI, you can print out a character Ritual Book, or you can make a Ritual Book at home with some flash cards.

I get traction from Comrad Succor, Water Walking, Tensers Floating Disk, Stone Shape, Phantom Steed, Enchant/Transfer Enchantment and Remove Affliction. Raise Dead is nice to have, but it is better to never need it. Portal Rituals are nice, if you plan of doing a lot of planeswalking, or if the party makes a fort.

EDIT: I use Tensers Floating Disk every game. The Warlord has dedicated himself to a life of never move, attacking, or using a skill. The player literally brings only a D20 to the game, he makes players roll for their own healing. He sits on a chair, on top of the Disk and floats wherever he pleases. In the event he needs to avoid the enemies, he teleports - from chair to chair. If there is no chair available, he sits on the ground. 

Stone Shape is nice because it lets me break doors, bars, and hindering terrain, in less then one minute. It enables us to usually have good positioning, and start a fight on our terms. 

Phantom Steed lets you charge up and down rivers, lakes, and swamps at about 34 mph. Might not sound that fast, but in heroic that can save a lot of time. Just make sure you have a floation device.
What level is your group? Typically a party will frequently use rituals of caster level - 3. Rituals usually cost money, and rituals at or above level tend to be very expensive for the party to rely on. It really comes down to how creative your party is, and if they can remember what rituals they have. If you have DDI, you can print out a character Ritual Book, or you can make a Ritual Book at home with some flash cards.

I get traction from Comrad Succor, Water Walking, Tensers Floating Disk, Stone Shape, Phantom Steed, Enchant/Transfer Enchantment and Remove Affliction. Raise Dead is nice to have, but it is better to never need it. Portal Rituals are nice, if you plan of doing a lot of planeswalking, or if the party makes a fort.

EDIT: I use Tensers Floating Disk every game. The Warlord has dedicated himself to a life of never move, attacking, or using a skill. The player literally brings only a D20 to the game, he makes players roll for their own healing. He sits on a chair, on top of the Disk and floats wherever he pleases. In the event he needs to avoid the enemies, he teleports - from chair to chair. If there is no chair available, he sits on the ground. 

Stone Shape is nice because it lets me break doors, bars, and hindering terrain, in less then one minute. It enables us to usually have good positioning, and start a fight on our terms. 

Phantom Steed lets you charge up and down rivers, lakes, and swamps at about 34 mph. Might not sound that fast, but in heroic that can save a lot of time. Just make sure you have a floation device.

Endure Elements, Shadow Passage, Linked Portal, Traveler's Camoflauge, Tenser's Disc, Undead Servitor/Unseen Servant, Circle of Protection, Phantom Steed, ...

I could go on for a long ways, my players have found that using rituals is quite useful and fun. As far as cost goes? I really don't talk about or emphasize anything like 'treasure parcels' in terms of game play, so there's little reason for the players to think that a gold piece spent is a gold piece lost, you're just likely to find that rituals let you do more interesting adventures that have higher rewards. 'Parcel Thinking' is the real disincentive to using rituals, just stop thinking in those terms. Parcels are the worst thing 4e ever did.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
'Parcel Thinking' is the real disincentive to using rituals, just stop thinking in those terms. Parcels are the worst thing 4e ever did.

I'd strongly agree with you on the first sentence, and strongly disagree with you on the second sentence.  I do like what you said though about  a gold piece spent not necessarily being a gold piece lost.  That's wisdom, right there, and I thank you for that.

Hand out parcels without regard to their monetary value.  Hand them out when it makes sense.  That's what I do and as a matter of fact, since my current Epic campaign has Teleport Circles as a major plot point, our Wizard gets a lot of use out of teleport-related rituals, as well as other travel-related rituals.  The catch is to supply him with the right amount of components so he can use rituals occasionally, but not continually.  For rituals that would forward the plot in our campaign, I don't even charge him the component cost ... and he has to tell me whether it's fair or not to charge him, depending on what the situation and plot is so far.  Then again, he's a pretty fair guy whom I've known for most of my life, so go figure, we don't have a problem.  ;) 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

'Parcel Thinking' is the real disincentive to using rituals, just stop thinking in those terms. Parcels are the worst thing 4e ever did.

I'd strongly agree with you on the first sentence, and strongly disagree with you on the second sentence.  I do like what you said though about  a gold piece spent not necessarily being a gold piece lost.  That's wisdom, right there, and I thank you for that.

Hand out parcels without regard to their monetary value.  Hand them out when it makes sense.  That's what I do and as a matter of fact, since my current Epic campaign has Teleport Circles as a major plot point, our Wizard gets a lot of use out of teleport-related rituals, as well as other travel-related rituals.  The catch is to supply him with the right amount of components so he can use rituals occasionally, but not continually.  For rituals that would forward the plot in our campaign, I don't even charge him the component cost ... and he has to tell me whether it's fair or not to charge him, depending on what the situation and plot is so far.  Then again, he's a pretty fair guy whom I've known for most of my life, so go figure, we don't have a problem.  ;) 


I do understand the sentiment behind parcels, but it was shallow thinking. The whole game is fundamentally about characters that loot 'dungeons' for treasure. When you remove all suspense or choice about how rich the treasure rewards are going to be then you have lobotomized the game in a very fundamental sense. Thus the whole concept that a PC would only get some certain treasures in a given sort of adventure is poisonous to one of the main sources of fun in the game.

Its not that I advocate giving out wildly varying amounts of treasure all of them time, but the parameters should be that treasure varies with risk. Instead of limiting teleports and giving out ingredients to pay for plot-required consumable use I'd do the opposite. You can go run around in the Plains of Blah, costs you nothing, or you can dive into the Lake of Suspense using your Water Breathing ritual, where there is RUMOURED to be a great treasure... Great risk, great expense, great reward. 4e by its design literally removes all of that. You get 10 parcels per level of treasures, no matter what you do. It just kills the whole treasure seeking element of D&D and IMHO was a major reason why consumables never caught on in most games even though they are QUITE useful and interesting.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
With regards to treasure parcels, I loved their simplicity at first because it made my DM'ing job a whole lot easier, but came to hate them when it became part of the big metagame. Players came to bank on the fact that they would be getting magic items and certain amounts of money. Despite the work involved in them, I began to mess around with random treasure tables but nothing really fit with the 4e system.

Then came 4e-Essentials and the random treasure system in the DM Kit. I decided to give it a try and havn't looked back. In the interest of comparison, for a year I kept accurate records of the treasure I was giving out and then compared it to what the parcel system would have given out and I was surprised to see that they were pretty close (close enough that over the length of a 10 level campaign there would be no real difference. The difference was that the random nature of rolling for treasure kept treasure fresh and exciting for both the players and the DM. Sometimes they'd get next to nothing, other times a big haul, often when they least expected it. This diversity was so much more fun than the steady doling out of wealth from the parcel system.
With regards to treasure parcels, I loved their simplicity at first because it made my DM'ing job a whole lot easier, but came to hate them when it became part of the big metagame. Players came to bank on the fact that they would be getting magic items and certain amounts of money. Despite the work involved in them, I began to mess around with random treasure tables but nothing really fit with the 4e system.

Then came 4e-Essentials and the random treasure system in the DM Kit. I decided to give it a try and havn't looked back. In the interest of comparison, for a year I kept accurate records of the treasure I was giving out and then compared it to what the parcel system would have given out and I was surprised to see that they were pretty close (close enough that over the length of a 10 level campaign there would be no real difference. The difference was that the random nature of rolling for treasure kept treasure fresh and exciting for both the players and the DM. Sometimes they'd get next to nothing, other times a big haul, often when they least expected it. This diversity was so much more fun than the steady doling out of wealth from the parcel system.

I just didn't see any difference really. The average value is the same and there isn't a huge variance. More critically in both the original and Essentials system treasure is awarded based on one variable, the level of the character receiving it. At best in the new system you might luck out and get as much treasure as a character a level or two ahead of you would on average. You really can't do any better than that and you could face level+5 monsters all over and still you wouldn't get more treasure.

Contrast this with the system in 1e where treasures are based on the power of the MONSTER, not the character, and there is a wide range of random variation such that its measurably possible you could stumble upon a fantastic magic item or extremely valuable gem or something at level 1. If you go after more difficult monsters, or certain types of monsters you can up those chances somewhat, though clearly at much greater risk to your character.

Any parcel system that lacks these characteristics is BASICALLY an 'allowance'. In 4e/Essentials treasure is really just an attribute of your level and you get fixed amounts. It sucks. In some ways it was the worst element of the game, though it certainly wasn't obvious at first. Essentials making the treasure a little bit random was sort of an improvement, but it was one of WotC's classically tepid responses to an issue.
That is not dead which may eternal lie