Friday, March 23, 2012

Rituals and Old School D&D

First off, if any of you know me or have read the blog, you know I'm not a fan of 4E.  However, a fellow blogger, Untimately, wrote something up that has been buzzing around in my skull for a bit.  I have since gone back to the Type IV PHB, all three of them, and looked at these rituals again.

The thing that gets my creative juices flowing is looking at some of the rituals and thinking, "Ok, that makes sense."  Other, like Forbiddance, I think back to the older edition and think that the old school idea is better.  So, what to do?  Well, hack it to my own needs of course!

Since I brought it up, let's look at Forbiddance:

The ritual basically keeps an area warded from scrying.  Depending upon the roll, it could be a big area or a smaller area.

Nice trick, but let's look at the old 2E handbook:

It seals the area from teleportation, plane shifting and ethereal creatures.  PLUS, it does damage, 2d6 for a different alignment along the law-chaos axis and 4d6 for a difference in the good-evil axis.

To me, the second option sounds like something I want to have as a ritual.  Something very big that will help the players, or the NPCs.  Which is something I would want.  NPCs should have access to the same things as the players.

These rituals, in my opinion, miss the mark the same way feats missed the mark in 3E.  Feats were an interesting way to distinguish one fighter from another.  Yet, most players I know would always take the same ones over and over again.  And, the word "feat," at least IMO, means something extraordinary.  Not something everyone gets at when they have survived for a certain amount of time, i.e. go up a level.  (I know I have probably ranted about feats before, so I apologize if this is old hat.)

Looking at the two versions of Forbiddance, yes I'm trying to get back to a point, I think there is nothing wrong with merging the two together.  Making this ritual a priest spell only works for me as well.  I'm not sold on letting anyone "master" a ritual.  There are some I could see letting several classes have access to them, yet most I think are for the druid, the wizard or cleric only, even the bard ones have some merit to them.

Now, let us go to the cost of it.  The ritual from Type IV is 5,000 gp and 5 healing surges. Casting time is 30 minutes and it is up for 24 hours.
2E is the priest's holy symbol, a 1,000 gp of "rare" incense per 60 ft. cube.  If there is a password that is to be added, the incense must be worth 5,000 gp. Casting time is six rounds and it is permanent.

Now, I have always balked at the idea of hand waving certain things.  One thing I do balk at is something that happened in many of the later editions.  "Give x amount of gold and you get 'needed' items for the potion/item/etc."  I am someone who wants to come up with a list of stuff.  You need the glands of a basilisk to help make that scroll of protection from petrification.  You could buy it, but how is that fun?  Go out and adventure and find one of those nasty things.  The needed material for the Forbiddance ritual in my game would be incense, yet this is something that needs to be found or created.  Yes, this might put more work in my hands, since I have to come up with that stuff.  But, it is part of the fun of being a DM.  And, the casting time and duration are interesting.  the old school version is about a minute, and it lasts forever.  The 4E one casting time is a half hour and it only lasts twenty-four hours.

Also, the deal with the healing surges.  I kinda like that.  I might make it so that the spell takes away a few points of CON, or maybe it sucks away hit points, since I dislike the idea of healing surges--at least the way that 4E uses them.

Heck, two things that just came to me for the material for this ritual.  Incense infused with either the tear of an angel or the blood of a demon, depending upon what the alignment is of the priest casting the spell.  Both of those would work well for this spell.

Granted, I suppose there could be a less powerful ritual that would keep scrying away, one that is mobile or only lasts so long.  That would be something that would a much lower money sink that the big uber spell above.  Something more like the 4E variant.

The point of this long ramble is that even I have found a few things about 4E that I like and can hack into my older school games.  Anyone else?

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