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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Your ritual is showing. (A quick twist on 5thEd ritual casting)

Ritual magic in  5thed D&D (201 to 202 PHB) is  a cool idea but I think it's execution is kind of bland. The idea of taking some time in the evening to set up  a ritual so that a spell can be cast sort of out side the  normal  spell slot structure speaks to me as useful, even utilitarian. (Why EVER waste a slot on the  Alarm spell?)
What I think was missed was the opportunity  to create variety through the  ritual. As in  some materials are better quality than others, the  wizard might draw the symbols just a bit more exactly this morning than other time. There are a myriad of details that might go into a magical ritual.

Lets play with this.

Before the game:
We will need a normal deck of cards.
separate the cards by suit into four piles

If the player decides to cast a ritual spell, the player draws one card off each pile face down on the table. Work the ritual as per the normal rules, once the ritual is complete flip over each card.

A player may spend inspiration to draw a new card if they  are upset with any single card, however the player must  use the second card drawn.

Each suit represents one aspect of ritual casting.
Diamond represent: Materials.
Clubs represent: The rituals form and lay out.
Spades represent: Inscription and symbols.
Hearts represent: verbal chanting and recitation.

The  lower the  value of the card the  worse the character did at that aspect of the ritual, for example a 2 of spades means the character was sloppy or when creating their ritual symbols. A value of  9 means the character was nearly perfect.
All face cards have a value of 10.

Add up the  values and  refer to the chart below:

Total value 
Perfect: the rituals duration is doubled as is the efficacy of its effect. A dove lands on the casters shoulder.
The spells effect is aft it were 3 slots higher than originally planned.
The caster also gains the effects of a protection from evil / good spell or the duration of the rituals effects.
The caster is so at peace with their work that they gain a bonus first level spell slot for the upcoming day.
The spells duration is doubled.
I’m SO GOOD! The character gains a point of inspiration.
The spells effects are as if it was cast at two slots higher than originally planned.
The rituals casting time is halved.
The spells effect is as if it were cast at one slot higher than originally planned.
The spell duration is at +1 (whatever the unit of measure for the chosen spell may be.)
20 - 30
No effect:  The spell goes off as planned, no positive or negative effects.
The spell duration is at -1 (whatever the unit of measure for the chosen spell may be.)
The spell is only half as effective as normal. (however this can be measured, as per spell)
The spell is cast as if it is one spell slot lower than intended.
This is so Frustrating!! If the character has a point of inspiration they lose it.
The caster gives off a foul odor, attracts flies and vermin for the rest of the day.
The caster must make a con save Vs a difficulty of 14 or pass out after the ritual.
The ritual takes twice as long to cast, no other ill effects.
The spells duration is only half normal.
The spell is cast as if it were cast in a level 1 slot, If this is not possible they the spell cast is a random level 1 spell focused on the caster. This costs the caster a level 1 spell slot.
Ritual fails: Spell fizzles pathetically.
Ritual fails: The caster must spend a spell slot at the level of the spell be cast or suffer 1d6 damage from magical feedback per spell level.
Ritual fails: the ritual erupts into flames; You now have a camp fire.  At least I hope you were outdoors.
Ritual fails: Any other magic users within a number of miles equal to the casters proficiency bonus are alerted to the casters presence.
Ritual fails: Backfire! roll a random spell of the same level as the one being cast is triggers at the casters level  focused on the caster
Ritual fails, Major Backfire! Something horrid happens to the caster mutations are a good way to go with this one, be creative....

Face Cards:
Are all worth  10 points.
Jacks: Jacks Represent doing it with style. The caster is so impressive  while performing the  ritual that he or she may give on point of inspiration to any other single character present.
Queens: Queens are a wrote: This wrote allows the  caster to bank the  queen, while not for points but to half the casting time the next time the  same spell is cast as a ritual. (only works once)
Kings: A King is a boon: The caster may describe a minor special effect that the  ritual imparts on the casting. Say a minor (1d6) healing effect, glowing light, soft music. Approval is up to the  GM naturally however the  possibility are unlimited.
Aces: Aces represent a wrote. This wrote allows the  caster to  bank that ace until they next time they cast the  same spell via ritual. The caster may  automatically use the ace (valued at 10) rather than drawing a new card.  (only works once.)
Jokers: Much like a king a joker represents a strange or unusual side effect (not necessarily negative) stemming from the ritual. This is completely up toe the GM and is an opportunity to inject a little weird into the  ritual process. **Jokers are worth  0 points**

As always: Thank you, for reading.
I hope you find some use for this.
While it might not all jive perfectly with whats written in the 5th ed Players Hand book or DMG, but  what ever that's kind of the point.

Please leave any questions or comments in the  box of rainbow barfing Koala bears below.

As a reader over on G+, Heiko Wiebe pointed out, I neglected to give any advantage to higher level Characters, which is  truly a major oversight.
Two suggestions:

Allow casters to redraw cards equal to their  proficiency bonus. 
Even simpler, after level three (to reserve the chance of catastrophic failures at low levels.) Add the character's proficiency bonus to the total value of the cards.
Sorry about the  misstep and  thank you, Heiko Wiebe.

** I forgot the add that back in after I ran through the  post the last time. Opps.