Monday, August 18, 2008

Speaking of rituals

The Ritually Speaking article in the current Dragon issue was nicely packed with usable information.

I really like the ideas of rituals, and was happy that they provided a whole bunch of them from the start. Getting another batch of them so soon was a pleasant surprise, as I expected to see only a few here and there until the Player's Handbook II came out.

The time taken to cast certain rituals, however, still seems a bit off. I understand (as mentioned by readers in their comments) that these are meant to be different from spells, that rituals are not encounter-based and not meant to be an off-the-cuff effect. The Battlefield Elocution ritual should be a bit quicker, I think - by the time you finish casting the ritual, you could have walked around the battlefield and talked to everyone personally. By the time you finish Preserve Flame, it might need to be renamed Preserve Embers for what's left of your campfire. And let's hope the enemy is patient while you cast Earthen Ramparts to defend against them.

But these are just nitpicks - it seems like 10 minutes is the minimum time we're going to see on any ritual, and I'll just have to accept that. Anything that really needs to be finished faster will have to be considered for the role of Power. Well, except that Signal of Pursuit breaks that rule, being a 1 minute ritual - it has that sense of immediacy that I'm referring to. Is there a reason why some of these other rituals can't have a shorter casting time? Would it be too powerful if I could preserve MANY flames quickly?

Some of my favorite new rituals include Explorer's Fire, which can confound many a random encounter by hiding the characters' camp; Memory Seal, which has a variety of uses against PCs and NPCs, cast by PCs or NPCs; Tenser's Binding obviates the need for the party to carry rope or shackles to bind foes, and Mordenkainen's Ascent removes the need for rope or a ladder for climbing.

And the silliest one: Fastidiousness. In the next installment: Hair Mussing Immunity!

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