Posts Tagged ‘rituals’

On Thursday last week I posted about the idea of bringing complex rituals into Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition. These rituals are spells of immense power which consume time and expensive resources. They also put the caster and allies at risk. For more on the design ideas behind complex rituals and the way they work check out that blog post or the PDF at the end of this post.

In that post I only posted one complex ritual, conjure greater fiend. I promised more would be coming your way and I’m ready to make good on that promise. Below is the conjure greater celestial complex ritual.

Hey if you need a few more celestials to summon, check out my post on archons.

Sam about to get his summon on.

But First Some Changes…

After getting a lot of feedback, I made a few changes to the way complex rituals work. Anyone can lead a complex ritual, not just a spellcaster. As a result the spell slot consumption number and class and level prerequisites have been eliminated from the process. This should help simplify things. It also opens up the possibility for ANYONE with the right components to attempt to these rituals, which ultimately makes them more attractive to PCs and NPCs alike. After discussing it with folks on forums and Facebook, I think this change allows for some really cool and unique stories. Instead of lead spellcaster, the person leading the ritual’s title has been changed to ritual leader. So thanks so much for all that feedback!

I’ve made the updates to last week’s post and the PDF below. Ok! Onto the ritual.

Conjure Greater Celestial

Casting Time: 4 hours

Environmental Conditions: The ritual must take place after the sun has risen and before it completely sets.

Focuses: A headdress of angel feathers worn by the ritual leader (worth 4000 gp), a brazier made of a pure silver blessed by a celestial being (worth 4000 gp), a decanter carved from a single piece of jade (worth 1000 gp), the horn of a unicorn (worth 1000 gp), and the written holy incantation for this ritual (worth 5000 gp)

Sacrifices: 4 dragontree logs carved with holy symbols (worth 300 gp each), a brick of incense made from ghost orchid flowers (worth 2700 gp), a cask of holy water blessed by a unicorn (worth 1000 gp), and a creature with the fiend type

Recipe
  1. The ritual leader begins chanting the incantation and name of the celestial being conjured. If the ritual leader does not know the celestial’s name, instead the name of a specific type of celestial (e.g. deva) is chanted. This celestial must have a challenge rating 10 or lower.
  2. Light the dragontree logs in the brazier to make a fire.
  3. Pour the holy water into the decanter and place the decanter over the fire.
  4. When the water is boiling pull the decanter off the flames and pour it over the fiend.
  5. Put the holy incense on the fire.
  6. Kill the fiend with the unicorn horn.
  7. Using the fiend’s blood, draw the sacred symbols indicated in the incantation upon the ground. The creature drawing the symbols must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence (Religion) check or the ritual does not work.
  8. Continue to chant. At the end of four hours of total chanting the ritual leader communes with the celestial before it appears and must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check in order to call the being forth. If this check fails the ritual does not work. If it succeeds, the celestial appears under the ritual leader’s control.
Effect

Once the ritual is complete, the celestial is friendly to the ritual leader and its companions. Roll for initiative for the celestial, is has its own turns. It obeys any verbal commands the ritual leader issues to it (no action required by the lead caster) as long as they don’t violate its alignment. If the ritual leader issues no commands to the celestial, it defends itself from hostile creatures, but otherwise takes no action.

As an action the ritual leader can release the celestial from its control and return the celestial to the place from which it was summoned.

Every 24 hours the celestial is under the ritual leader’s control, the ritual leader must make a Constitution check (DC 10 + the number of days since the ritual was completed). Failing this Constitution check means the ritual leader suffers one level of exhaustion, which cannot be restored in any way until the celestial is no longer under its control.

If the caster dies before dismissing the celestial, the celestial does might return to the place from where it was summoned, or, depending on what it observed and was made to do during its time of servitude, the DM might decide the creature becomes hostile toward the ritual leader’s allies (and the ritual if returned to life).

Greater Effects

Using this complex ritual you can summon a celestial with a challenge rating higher than 10 up to 20. For every number of the challenge rating higher than 10, add another dragontree log and fiend consumed by the ritual. The DCs for the Intelligence (Religion) and Charisma (Persuasion) checks made during the casting of the ritual increase by 1 for every number of the creature’s challenge rating higher than 10.

PDF

If you’d like a PDF which outlines the basic rules of using complex rituals, contains the ritual above, and contains the conjure greater fiend ritual, simply click on the link below.

Complex Rituals

You can pick up that PDF whenever you like over in the Free Game Resources section of this site. If you go there feel free to also explore the backgroundsmagic itemsmonstersD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more I have made for fifth edition D&D.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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Big time summoning rituals are part of many Dungeons and Dragons games. I’m not talking about the conjure elemental and conjure celestial spells in the Player’s Handbook. Nor am I talking about the summoning spells I created for fifth edition D&D. I’m talking about the magic we read about in novels which bring pit fiends, balors, and more into the Material Plane. This magic is costly, rare, dangerous, and time-consuming. Unfortunately complex rituals like this don’t have rules players can use in fifth edition… until now! These rituals don’t just summon powerful creatures. They could also be used to raise undead armies, grow castles from the earth, or create a frosty, horrible Winter for an entire region of a country.

Why give PCs access to such powerful magic? Well for one thing it gives them a way to spend some of the gold they seem to accidentally stock pile in fifth edition. For another it allows them to go questing for specific ritual ingredients. Most importantly this magic invites players to gain a significant amount of power but only by risking life and limb. I like bringing those kinds of high risk, high reward mechanics into my games.

PCs and NPCs alike can access these complex rituals, but they must have all the components in exactly the right place. This isn’t the kind of spell they can cast each and every day. That’s by design. The rituals are meant to be fun, but not completely break the game.

So without further adieu here’s the rules for the complex fiend summoning ritual in my game. More of these rituals will follow. Stay tuned!

Complex Rituals

Certain magic spells are too powerful to be cast in the normal way. Summoning creatures of great power, raising undead armies, and calling forth castles from the earth are examples of magic that goes beyond a simple spell. This magic is known as a complex ritual.

All complex rituals require certain components, described below.

Casting Time

Most rituals have a casting time of 1 hour or longer. The ritual leader must maintain concentration during this time. If the ritual leader’s concentration is broken, the spell fails and any spent sacrifices at the time of broken concentration are consumed.

Environmental Conditions

Each complex ritual requires specific environmental conditions. These could include time of day, weather, phases of the moon, and location. For instance a ritual to raise an army of the dead might have to take place after the sun goes down in a graveyard during a full moon.

Focuses

Focuses are material items needed to cast the ritual which are not consumed during the process of casting.

Sacrifices

Sacrifices are materials needed to cast the ritual which are consumed during the process of casting.

Recipe

This recipe outlines the specific steps taken to cast the ritual. Any ability checks related to the ritual are mentioned here. It is recommended that the DM make the character’s ability checks for them and keep the result secret.

Effect

The complex ritual’s effects are listed along with its duration. Most rituals have a variable duration.

Greater Effects

Some complex rituals can be cast to greater effect – summoning more powerful creatures, raising larger numbers of undead, etc. Achieving these greater effects often requires more cost and more risk.

Conjure Greater Fiend

Casting Time: 4 hours

Environmental Conditions: The ritual must take place after the sun has completely set and finish being cast before the sun rises.

Focuses: A fiendish mask made of animal bones and gems worn by the ritual leader (worth 4000 gp), a brazier made of a pure gold washed in the blood of fiends (worth 4000 gp), a set of unholy handbells forge from cold iron and rubies (worth 1000 gp), an unholy dagger carved from the bone of a fiend (worth 1000 gp), and the written unholy incantation for this ritual (worth 5000 gp)

Sacrifices: 13 candles made from wax mixed with fiend blood (worth 100 gp each), 13 sticks of incense made from corpse flowers (worth 200 gp each), a cask of celestial blood (worth 1000 gp), and a goat, pig or similar animal

Spell Slot Consumption Number: 10

Recipe
  1. The ritual leader begins chanting the incantation and name of the fiend being called forth. If the ritual leader does not know the fiend’s name, instead the name of a specific type of fiend (e.g. yochlol) is chanted. This fiend must have a challenge rating 10 or lower.
  2. Light and begin burning all the unholy candles in a 30-foot-radius circle. These must burn during the entire ritual or it fails.
  3. Light the incense in the unholy brazier. The incense must burn during the entire ritual or it fails.
  4. In the circle of candles, draw the unholy symbol indicated in the incantation using the celestial blood. The creature who does this must succeed on a DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check. If the creature fails this check the fiend summoned as normal in step 7, but can escape the circle and is not under the ritual leader’s control. The fiend is hostile toward the ritual leader and its allies.
  5. Ring the unholy handbells in the exact sequence indicated by the incantation. The creature ringing the bells must succeed on a DC 10 Charisma (Performance) check. If the creature fails this check, it can try again one more time. A second failure means the ritual fails.
  6. Inside the circle, kill the animal using the unholy dagger. Leave its body there and the ritual leader should continue to chant.
  7. After three hours of chanting, if the other steps were completed correctly, the fiend should appear in the circle. If the circle of celestial blood was made properly, the fiend cannot leave the circle of candles. The ritual leader must continue to chant the incantation for one more hour. If something disrupts the caster’s concentration, the circle of celestial blood, the candles, or the incense during this final hour, the fiend is able to leave the circle and is not under the ritual leader’s control. The fiend is hostile toward the ritual leader and its allies.
Effect

Once the ritual is complete, the fiend is friendly to the ritual leader and its companions. Roll for initiative for the fiend, is has its own turns. It obeys any verbal commands the ritual leader issues to it (no action required by the lead caster) as long as they don’t violate its alignment. If the ritual leader issues no commands to the fiend, it defends itself from hostile creatures, but otherwise takes no action.

As an action the ritual leader can release the fiend from its control and return the fiend to the place from which it was summoned.

Every 24 hours the fiend is under the ritual leader’s control, the ritual leader must make a Constitution check (DC 10 + the number of days since the ritual was completed). Failing this Constitution check means the ritual leader suffers one level of exhaustion, which cannot be restored in any way until the fiend is no longer under its control.

If the ritual leader dies before dismissing the fiend, the fiend does not return to the place from where it was summoned and becomes hostile toward the ritual leader’s allies (and the ritual leader if returned to life).

Greater Effects

Using this complex ritual you can summon a fiend with a challenge rating higher than 10 up to 20. For every number of the challenge rating higher than 10, add another candle, stick of incense, cask of celestial blood, and animal consumed by the ritual. The DCs for the Intelligence (Arcana) and Charisma (Performance) checks made during the casting of the ritual increase by 1 for every number of the creature’s challenge rating higher than 10.

PDF

If you’ve been following this blog, you knew this was coming. Take the rules for complex rituals and conjure greater fiend  with you wherever you go in the handy PDF below.

Complex Rituals

You can pick up that PDF whenever you like over in the Free Game Resources section of this site. If you go there feel free to also explore the backgroundsmagic itemsmonstersD&D fifth edition rules modulesspellsadventures, and more I have made for fifth edition D&D.

Feedback please!

What do you think of these complex ritual rules? Do you want to see more of them? What would you change? Sound off in the comments below! I hope to show off more of these at a future date.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

UPDATE: If you’d like the traps originally offered in this post you can now grab them in an edited, better formatted, art included PDF over at the DMs Guild as a Pay What You Want product.

If it hasn’t been made clear by yet, I love fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons. It’s really wonderful in all of its streamlined, versatile storytelling glory. So don’t think me harsh when I say the latest Dungeon Master’s Guide is lacking in the number sample traps to drop into your campaign. I totally understand why. This amazing tome is jam-packed with so many subjects, it’s difficult to give a lot of attention to one area without cheating another (though I could have used less detailed description Forgotten Realms coinage and more traps, but that’s me).

Anyway rather than sitting around and complaining about the lack of traps in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, I decided maybe I should provide some traps of my own. Take a gander at the traps below and feel free to steal ’em for your game. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a PDF and if you feel so inclined, please share it around.

Traps

Many of these traps are found in older editions of the Dungeon Master’s Guide and were updated by me, a few are of my own creation, and one was stolen from Ewoks. Don’t tell me Ewoks aren’t scary. They eat people. Enjoy!

Abyssal Gate

Magic trap

This trap requires a spellcaster to carve a specific sequence of Abyssal runes into a doorframe using demon blood and diamond dust. The person who carves the runes chooses a passphrase in Abyssal. When the passphrase is spoken aloud (whispering counts) within 15 feet of the door, the trap is rendered inert for 1 minute. When the final rune is carved, the sequence fades into the woodwork, metal, or stone. The runes can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check, but a character can feel the runes if it runs its hand along the frame and succeeds on a DC 10 Intelligence (Investigation) check. A character who knows Abyssal can determine the passphrase with a DC 15 Intelligence check, though sometimes the passphrase is more difficult to discover and a clever carver may hide it in a riddle within the runes. Dealing 50 damage to the door’s frame renders the trap inert until it is repaired. The AC for the doorframe depends on the material of which it is made (wood AC 15, stone AC 17, metal AC 19).

Any non-fiend creature who walks through the door triggers the trap. The creature is transported into a random area of the Abyss and witnesses unspeakable horror. That creature must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save it takes 55 (10d10) psychic damage. On a success it takes half damage. The creature returns on the side of the doorframe from which it entered at the end of its next turn.

Acidic Fall

Mechanical trap

Suspended above a 10-foot-square of thin stone ceiling is an acid-filled container. Any weight of more than 20 pounds placed on a hidden pressure plate in the floor beneath this area triggers the trap. The pressure plate can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. A character studying the area can determine the pressure plate is a slightly different color than the rest of the floor with a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check. Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating.

When the trap is triggered the container holding the acid opens, pouring it onto the ceiling. Immediately stone and acid rain down upon any creatures standing beneath. Creatures in the area must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. Creatures who fail take 11 (2d10) acid and 11 (2d10) bludgeoning damage. Creatures who succeed take half damage.

Crushing Room

Mechanical trap

Stone walls at opposite ends of the room are rigged to move toward one another, crushing and compacting anything in the room until they touch. Any weight of more than 20 pounds placed on a hidden pressure plate at the center of the room triggers the trap. The pressure plate can be spotted with a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check. A character studying the area can determine the pressure plate is a slightly different color than the rest of the floor with a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check. Wedging an iron spike or other object under the pressure plate prevents the trap from activating. A character can notice that the floor, ceiling, and walls have many scrapes on their surfaces with a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check.

When the trap is triggered, all doors to the room immediately close and lock. The doors are iron (AC 19, 27 hit points) and any character with thieves’ tools can pick the lock with a DC 20 Dexterity check. A character without thieves tools’ can attempt this check with disadvantage using a hair pin, wire, or other thin, metal tool.

The traps acts at the start of every round, each wall moving toward the center of the room at a pace of 5 feet per round. Characters can attempted to slow the walls by bracing a sturdy object (such as an iron pole) between the two walls. If characters do this these objects break at the start of the round, but the walls do not move that round.

A character who is adjacent to a wall can try to delay one wall from moving by making a DC 20 Strength check. The creature must remain adjacent to the wall until the start of the next round. On a successful check the wall does not move forward at the start of the next round.

As the walls move toward one another, the room shrinks pushing creatures and objects toward the center. At the start of the round when the room becomes too narrow for a creature (once the walls are touching for Medium and smaller creatures) that creature is restrained and it must make a DC 17 Strength saving throw. Creatures who fail take 55 (10d10) bludgeoning damage and creatures who succeed take half damage. Once the walls touch they grind against each other for two rounds and the walls slide back to their original position at the start of a round at a rate of 5 feet per round.

Sometimes the designer of this trip will put a hidden kill switch somewhere within the room in case the trap is triggered by accident. Such a kill switch is usually well hidden beneath a stone in the floor or wall and requires a DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check to find. Pressing the switch causes the walls to slide back into their original position at a rate of 5 feet per round on the start of the round. Once the walls are back into their original position, the doors unlock.

Need MORE Traps?

If you want even more traps, check out my man David Gibson‘s designs. Devious! His entire website is awesome.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcasts on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!