jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

This is a feat for the Pathfinder roleplaying game, inspired by the Ritual Casting feat from D&D 4e. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license and uses Open Gaming Content from the Pathfinder Reference Document. A D&D 3e / 3.5e conversion is also available.

Ritual Casting

You are trained in the use of rituals, which are versions of common spells that can be cast at-will, provided you have enough time and expensive reagents.

Prerequisites: 1 skill rank in Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Heal, or Perform (any).

Benefit: You obtain a basic ritual book (which has the same weight and game statistics as a common spellbook), which has two 1st-level rituals scribed in it.

You know how to inscribe new rituals into your ritual book, and how to cast rituals from it.

Scribing new rituals

A ritual may be inscribed into a ritual book from any spellbook or scroll, provided it does not deal Hit Point damage. To do so, use the same rules and skill check DCs for adding Wizard spells to your spellbook, but substitute one of your ritual casting skills for the Spellcraft checks as follows:

Spell ListRequired Skill
BardPerform (any)
ClericKnowledge (religion)
DruidKnowledge (nature)
Sorcerer / WizardKnowledge (arcana)

Spells which cure Hit Point damage are an exception. Use a Heal skill check for them instead.

Spells from spell lists other than those listed above cannot be cast as rituals.

Casting rituals

At any time, you may roll a skill check as appropriate for the ritual (see "Scribing new rituals," above) to cast a ritual from either your ritual book or a scroll containing a spell which could be inscribed into one. If cast from a scroll, the act of ritual casting erases the text, just as casting a spell from it does.

The DC for casting a ritual is equal to 20 + caster level if cast from a scroll, or 15 + caster level if cast from your ritual book. (You may choose what caster level to use if you are casting it from your ritual book, up to a maximum of the number of ranks you have in the required skill.) To cast rituals from a scroll or from someone else's ritual book, roll a skill check as appropriate for the ritual to decipher it first, as with Wizard spells.

If you are casting the ritual version of a spell which would normally require expensive material or focus components, you must have those components on hand when casting it from a ritual book.

Casting a spell as a ritual takes considerably longer than casting spells normally does:

1 standard action1 minute
1 full round10 minutes
1 minute1 hour
10 minutes1 hour
1 hour1 hour

Spells with other casting times, such as a free or immediate action, cannot be cast as rituals.

If you fail the skill check required to cast a ritual, you do not cast that ritual, and any consumable items required to cast it (including the scroll if you are casting from one) are lost.

To cast a ritual, you must have the required reagents on hand. These cost as much as the material components required to scribe a scroll of that spell, and take on a form appropriate to the skill required to cast the ritual:

Required skillReagent Type
HealEither rare herbs or incense
Knowledge (arcana)Arcane dust
Knowledge (nature)Rare herbs
Knowledge (religion)Incense
Perform (any)Arcane dust

You may also use residuum, which is a form of distilled magical essence obtained by disenchanting a magic item. To disenchant an item, a character with the appropriate item creation feat and a caster level equal to the item's must spend as long as it would take to create that item (maximum 8 hours). The amount of residuum obtained by disenchanting a magic item is equal in value to the gold piece cost required to create that item. Artifacts cannot be disenchanted.

Reagents other than residuum can be purchased at temples, magic item shops, specialty shops catering to adventurers, and from druids or rangers who are open to dealing with outsiders. A character may also roll Spellcraft or Survival to gather reagents, with one check representing one day's work and providing an amount equal to the gold piece value that would be added to an item with that Craft check result. The DM / GM may rule that you cannot roll this check if you don't have access to an appropriate node of magic or source of raw materials.

Converting to D&D 3e / 3.5e

Increase the number of skill ranks required to take the feat from 1 to 4, and reduce the maximum caster level when casting rituals from a ritual book from "equal to your number of skill ranks" to "equal to your number of skill ranks -3."

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

An adaptation of the Vile Scholar theme from the Book of Vile Darkness, with inspiration for powers and abilities taken from a variety of other existing themes.

Called of Cthulhu

"Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!"

There are things mortals were not meant to know. And you dream about them every night! Because a funny-looking green guy with an octopus for a head keeps showing up in your dreams and telling you them, in a language that sounds like the slapping of cold, briny tentacles.

Maybe he tells you to go to a sunken city, filled with the chants of fish-people and cultists. Maybe he says humanoids are delicious, and you really should find out yourself. Who knows! The people you tell about your dreams tend to go mad, and not in the fun way, either.

Starting Feature

The language and mindset of squamous, otherworldly horrors no longer seem otherworldly or horrifying to you. And when you describe your dreams to other people, it does unpleasant things to their minds and bodies.

Benefit: You are fluent in Deep Speech. In addition, you gain a +2 bonus to Dungeoneering checks, and to Bluff checks, Diplomacy checks, and Intimidate checks made while interacting with Aberrant creatures. You also gain the call of Cthulhu power.

Call of Cthulhu -- Called of Cthulhu Attack

The nightmares brought to mind by your utterings drive your opponent into a screaming, panicked frenzy.
Encounter * Fear, Implement, Shadow
Standard Action
Ranged 5
Target: One creature that can hear you
Attack: Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma vs. Fortitude, Reflex, and Will. You make a single attack roll and use it against each defense.
Hit (Fortitude): The target falls prone.
Hit (Reflex): You push the target up to its speed.
Hit (Will): The target grants combat advantage until the end of your next turn.

Additional Features

Level 5 Feature

Your memories of the sunken city make underground ruins seem safe and cozy to you. Slimy Underdark dwellers show up in your dreams often, and you know their names as well as their powers.

Benefit: When you make a Dungeoneering check, you can roll twice and use either result.

Level 10 Feature

Most people would have nervous breakdowns if they were to suddenly sprout tentacles. Fortunately, yours are helpful and friendly, and they go away when you don't need them.

Benefit: Once per round, you can retrieve or store an item as a free action instead of a minor action. You can also use one of your tentacles to hold an item (like a lantern), to open doors, or to do things that don't require fine manipulation, but you cannot make attacks or roll skill checks using it.

Optional Powers

Level 2 Utility Power

If you want to visit that sunken city from your dreams, it might help to bring your friends along ... and to be able to breathe underwater. Fortunately, you've got that covered. Just make sure to tell them first, or they might be caught by surprise!

Deep One Transformation -- Called of Cthulhu Utility 2

Your skin becomes slimy and scaly, and cold, pulsating gill slits appear on your neck. Everyone nearby is affected as well, and the unprepared are REALLY affected.
Daily * Shadow, Implement, Stance
Minor Action
Close burst 1
Target: Every creature in the burst
Attack: Highest mental ability score vs. Fortitude
Hit: 1d6 + Highest mental ability modifier damage, and the target takes ongoing 5 damage as long as it's not underwater (save ends).
Special: Allies in the burst do not take damage from this power. Instead, they assume the deep one stance. Until the stance ends, they can breathe underwater and have cold resist 5, but are unable to breathe air. You may choose to assume this stance as well.

Level 6 Utility Power

You understand the geometry of madness well enough to plunge into the depths of your dreams, and interact with the nightmares therein. Sometimes they tell you something useful, but other times their answers leave you shaken, and you wake up in a cold sweat.

Dreams of Madness - Called of Cthulhu Utility 6

You ask questions of one of your nightmares, and hope that you can withstand the answers.
Daily * Shadow
Standard Action
Requirement: You must use this power during an extended rest.
Effect: You may ask up to three questions of Cthulhu or another Far Realm aberration. For each question, make a check with a bonus of 5 + one-half your level + your highest ability modifier, against a DC your DM secretly sets.
On a successful check, the nightmare gives a useful (or at least harmless) answer, which you remember when you wake up. If the check fails, you instead lose a healing surge, which is deducted from your total when you wake up the next day.

Level 10 Utility Power

The tentacles you sprout are friendly to you and your allies, but they don't care for your enemies much at all.

Squamous Tentacle -- Called of Cthulhu Utility 10

You know how to fight with your cephalopod appendages just as well as with your bony limbs.
Encounter * Shadow
Minor Action
Effect: Until the end of your next turn, your reach increases by 1, and you gain a +2 power bonus to melee damage rolls.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Just some quick impressions of a D&D book I picked up earlier, for use with an at-home campaign.

The Review

Heroes of the Feywild is what I've heard people call a "Core +1" book. The idea being that you buy the core RPG books (preferably the Essentials ones) to know how to play the game, then you pick up a Core +1 book and now you have a setting and flavour and lore.

HotF has all those in spades. A quick glance suggests that it's mostly a "crunch" book, packed with new races, classes, themes, and so on; the "Welcome to the Feywild" section, which describes the world of Faerie, is barely a dozen pages. But everything in the book is steeped in lore, and it feels more like reading a storybook than a textbook.

Every few pages, a sidebar starts with "Once upon a time" and tells you a story to set the mood. The artwork, including numerous full-page illustrations, is some of the best that I've ever seen. And a lot of the powers and things are whimsical. Like, there are spells to change your opponents into helpless scurrying animals, and bards that are welcome almost anywhere and tell stories with magical effects, and flowers you can bear on your person that keep mischievous fey from trying to trick you.‏

One of the coolest features is the Choose Your Own Adventure at the back of the book, to help you come up with your character's backstory. They even have you roll dice to see how well you did at key points in your storyline, and suggest what happened as a result. You can pick up a skill for your character that their class doesn't normally get, because of their backstory, and it helps draw you into the world.

The Upshot

I thought 4th Edition D&D was just numbers and crunch when I first saw it. But HotF is awesome, and it works because behind the combat engine 4e's actually really loose and freeform. Too bad they're discontinuing the system!

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

This is the character that we've been playing in Encounters. >_>b We finalized the design after reading a bunch of Dragon Magazine articles and pulling the concepts we liked most.

Content note: Fantasy violence.

Just one minute ago, the Aurilite shaman had been presiding over the death by exposure of his counterpart, from the weaker tribe in the valley. But before the bundle of rags in the snow before him had even stopped writhing, the outsiders had charged in like a winter storm, shouting and swinging their weapons. Literally throwing themselves at his warriors, as one towering Goliath picked up a hammer-wielding Dwarf and tossed him into the fray.

For a moment, he thought he saw shimmering wings bear up one of the younger outsiders, and wondered if a higher Power than Auril had somehow sent them to test him.

The next few seconds were a blur. The small, white-robed girl behind the winged warrior vanished like a candle in the wind, only to reappear an instant later much closer to the shaman's allies. Holding out one arm towards them, as a terrific storm surge blasted sparkling snow into their faces, leaving them choking and blinded. One man fell over backward and impaled himself on a tent stake, and the outsiders rushed forward as his allies coughed and sputtered.

The shaman watched from beneath his fur cloak as the girl strode towards him casually, her glassy eyes shining like moonstones. Snow swirled around the crystal orb around her neck as she held it out towards him. "Do you want to live to serve your goddess?" she asked. And though he had more than a foot of height on her, he suddenly felt very small.

"The Frostmaiden will return," he managed to get out, mesmerized by the display.

The girl looked down at the twitching sack of bones at his feet. When she glanced back up, her ears were more pointed, and the hand that held on to her orb had grown claws. "Perhaps," she said, grinning and revealing her fangs. "But where is she NOW?"

Character profile behind cut )

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

So the session of D&D Encounters (the official organized play programme) that we attended this evening went pretty well! We played Skye, an Eladrin Mage, inspired by this artwork.

Mini Ari by ErraticRhapsody on deviantART

Skye carried a staff, and wore a fluffy white winter robe over a pink dress, but had a similar "elf mage girl" thing going on. (We'd probably also give her earmuffs.)

What it's like when [personal profile] jewelfox plays 4e

We're glad we decided to play an Eladrin at the last second. Because we were going into a building where a local official was being held hostage, and our brilliant plan was to split up the party into a group sneaking in by the balcony and a group that was going to crash down the front door. We were in the latter group, and when we realized that

  1. the ground floor was empty, and

  2. our DM was insisting it took twelve squares of movement (basically a whole turn) just to go up the stairwell,

we instead ran around the side and used Fey Step to teleport up onto the balcony. Then we spent an Action Point and used one of our illusion mage powers to make it look like the ceiling crashed down on the bad guys' heads, which dazed them for a turn.

It was pretty funny when we got to the "crash the door down" part of the plan, because the Barbarian who was supposed to do that rolled like a 3 on his Strength check and just hurt his shoulder on it. Then he tried the doorknob and it turned out to be unlocked. ^.^;

Meanwhile, upstairs our Goliath Fighter did this "Xena yell" and charged in from the balcony, only to get tripped up on the curtains and land in a tangled heap next to the wererat boss. Natural 1 on the attack roll FTW! Fortunately, most of us had better luck in the rest of the session.

We cast Fountain of Flame before our illusion even dissipated, so while the thugs were still trying to pull themselves out of illusory rubble it suddenly exploded in their faces, as a column of fire shot up to the sky. The wererat ran outside of it and crawled up the Fighter's clothes in rat form (!?), but she grabbed him and stuck him back into the fire, which only affected our enemies. After that, the Deva Cleric played Whack-a-Mole with a silver morningstar, and from that point it was just cleanup.

Trying to follow the plot

We're not really sure what's going on in this season of Encounters! Apparently this evil dood is, like, trying to usurp the post of Speaker for the town of Bryn Shander, as well as the rest of the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale. So after we saved the Speaker of B.S. from the thugs (this is what the DM called her :P ) we raced across to the town hall, where evil dood was doing some speechifying.

The Speaker was all "you won't get away with this" and evil dood was like "yes I will, because I am awesome and can be in all ten towns at once! Somehow! And you'll never stop me! Ha ha!" and then teleported out.

And I was like "Well, he's got my vote! :D "

But then I had Skye roll Arcana to see if she could tell what kind of teleport spell the dood used, and she went o_o and was like "GUYS HE'S WITHIN 100 FEET OF HERE EVERYONE SPREAD OUT AND LOOK FOR HIM!" Unfortunately, we only caught a glimpse of his backside as he was taking off down the road through a crowd. Maybe next time we should station our catgirl sniper across the street on a rooftop or something.

OMG free stuff

They had some spares left over, so we got this nice poster map thing and a flyer for this season of Encounters! These were originally given out at the start of this season.

A photo of a small poster map of the Icewind Dale area, and a flyer for the Legacy of the Crystal Shard season of D&D Encounters, on top of Jewelfox's laptop.
Evil dood is the second one from the left.

On top of that, we still had the "Enchanted Heirloom" card that we won in a drawing the very first time we went to Encounters, which lets us reroll an attack once per session. We also brought our Fortune Cards, which are like an optional CCG deck where you draw a card each turn and can use its (highly conditional) power if you want.

Back in the day we earned several promos and bought like a pack every week, just because they were fun to play with. As it turns out, they stopped using them in Encounters, which is probably because of the backlash they got for adding a collectible card element to the game. >_< But the DM let us use them, because everyone else in the group had character themes and backgrounds and we didn't.

We're considering going back and redoing our character, since they seem to be allowing stuff other than in the Essentials core books. Even Hengeyokai, which are animal shapeshifters with an anthro form.

Why 4e all of a sudden?

Because we love D&D 4th Edition. ^.^;; Not the original so much as the post-Essentials 4e, which we feel has much more distinct class design and better monster statistics. It was also made after Wizards of the Coast realized the recession was cutting into their sales, so the Essentials products offer much better value in some ways; for the price of a hardcover rulebook you would get a huge boxed set, with a book, a published adventure, several sheets of tokens, and a map.

We love having so many things to fiddle with, and we also love how freeform so much of 4e is. Your options in combat are clearly laid out, but 4e doesn't try to put game stats for everything your character can do the way Pathfinder does, and a lot of stuff comes down to roleplayingness. Each skill even has an "Improvising with ____" section, which suggests possible uses for them instead of defining the only allowed ones.

It's easier to make a fun (or furry) character to play in 4e than in Pathfinder, IOO, and it's much easier as a DM to put together a balanced encounter. I don't know how much time we put into balancing, writing, and rewriting stuff for Pathfinder. Maybe we will again later -- we don't hate it or anything -- but the biggest reasons we started playing it instead of 4e were technical problems with DMing 4e online, and our open-source everything obsession. Neither are factors anymore.

We'll keep you posted on how Encounters turns out!

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
The Cleric in our D&D Encounters party has a weapon with a truncated name. He doesn't remember what its actual name was, and may never find out again!

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

It's like the freaking WordPress of tabletop RPGs.‏

Everyone uses it. Everyone knows how to extend it. Everyone knows how to break it. Nobody cares that it's broken.‏

The people who love it most are the ones who make money off of selling stuff for it so you don't have to write your own.

It wasn't as bad in the 3.5 days. 3.5 classes were as bare-bones as you can get. Some of the rules were really messed up (how the heck does polymorph work, anyway!?), and Pathfinder fixed some of those and clarified some things that were ambiguous.‏

But the biggest thing Pathfinder added was options. Loads of options. Tons of options. Lots more system complexity. Lots more moving parts bolted on, until it was like a blinged-out drag racer with fins and chrome hubcaps and flashing police lights.

Ranting and explanation )

I'm trying to think how to take the good parts from both 3.5 and Pathfinder. Here's what I'm thinking of so far:

From D&D 3.5

  • The basic core mechanics. How most spells work. How most classes work. Cleric domains. Each class should be only a page or two long in description. Psionic stuff's probably okay as optional add-ons.

From Unearthed Arcana

  • Action Points, ideally as the only secondary resource for most classes. Being able to add a +1d6 bonus to any roll you make really makes level 1 characters feel more heroic, and takes the frustration out of missing your attacks and skill checks.

  • Spell Points instead of spells per day. Clerics, Druids, and Wizards still prepare spells each day, but they cast them with Spell Points, which makes it feel more worthwhile to experiment with interesting spells because it's not as much of a waste if you never cast them. Plus everyone gets the concept of "mana" or "MP" more readily.

  • Certain optional class archetypes. Monk fighting styles aren't much more complicated than Wizard schools. Paladins shouldn't have to be Lawful Good to begin with. Whirling Frenzy is a neat Rage variant. So long as they don't add too many moving parts to keep track of, I'm cool with thematic abilities.

From Pathfinder

  • Advanced Race Guide rules for creating a species, but trimmed waaaay the heck down to stuff that'd be useful for anthros.

  • Certain bloodlines, mysteries, and the like could be simulated using feats, maybe. It'd be sort of like 4e multiclassing: You gain a class skill and a cool ability, maybe one for your familiar too if you have one. Higher-tier abilities depend on the lower-tier feats. Don't have enough feats? Take an Unearthed Arcana weakness, why don't you.

  • Clarifications on some spells, like polymorph.

  • Character traits, just as options. If you want you can take another feat instead. Could probably make these a lot simpler than Pathfinder has it, anyway, especially since most of the traits seem like reprints of each other (+1 to a combat stat, +1 to a skill and it's now a class skill).

Jury's still out on whether Combat Manoeuvres are an improvement on how 3.5 handles it. I think that they're doable as long as we make them an optional system, and stuff all the "fancy tricks you do in combat" into it.

We're open to suggestions and stuff.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)
Can't write, can't get to sleep. Gonna ramble on Dreamwidth instead.

Here's the essay on Wizards of the Coast's site that led me to this conclusion. It's part of a long series of things just like it. In a nutshell, WotC's "D&D Next" thing where they're designing 5e has consisted of ... not designing 5e. Instead, they keep posting rambling things about game design and then asking people poll questions. When they do talk about what the game will be like, they say things like "modular" and how it'll basically be all things to all people.

This leads me to one of two conclusions.
  1. They have no freaking clue what they're doing and have given up trying to create their own things.

  2. They know exactly what they want to do for 5e and are giving players the illusion of choice.
Either one is a Very Bad Sign.

Read more... )

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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