Unique Rituals

Unique rituals are story-driven magic that has an impact on the story line and may or may not use powers from the Savage Worlds rules; an item that does damage specifically to target an enemy’s weaknesses, defensive magic designed to counter specific powers, or investigative magic that will uncover aspects of the story line.  Unique rituals always require some story appropriate materials, such as a strand of the enemy monster’s hair, a few drops of blood from a victim, or something important to their target.

Unique rituals can grant temporary edges or powers as the GM decides.  To create a Unique Ritual a character must have access to a magical grimoire, an arcane library or similar resource of occult lore.  Creating a Unique Ritual requires 2d6 (this roll can Ace!) hours of research time and a Knowledge (Arcana) skill roll at the end of that time.  Failure means the character was unable to find a comparable ritual as a foundation.  Critical failure means the character discovered something horrible; perhaps causing a Sanity check?  Or, maybe worse, is convinced that they found what they need, when the GM knows otherwise…

For Savage Worlds, treat Unique Rituals as a dramatic task with a modifier based on how useful the narrator decides the information or ability is in overcoming the challenges of the story.  Since Unique Rituals are always a significantly different use of the Ritualism skill, the modifier starts at -2 (Familiarization, Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition, Page 93).

Every time that a character fails a roll during a Unique Ritual, they take Magic Fatigue.  The Ritual fails if they are to fatigued to finish it.   If a character wants to use Essence during a ritual the Essence must be Activated (see Channeling) and available at the start of the ritual.  Activated essence does not cause a penalty to Ritualism rolls for a ritual.  Activated essence can be used to negate magic fatigue or to enhance rolls during the ritual. Unique rituals require five successful actions to complete, each action taking about 10-15 (roll 3d6 or choose) minutes of ritual work.  Raises count as an additional success and may help complete the ritual more quickly.  Players may divide actions up among pieces of a Unique Ritual to make for a more interesting narrative play.

For example, say Gypcie is a chaos-magic witch who uses coin-manipulation, chanting and milling (turning/grating in a circle) for her methods.  Gypcie and her friends have been chasing after a child who is demon-possessed to try and free the boy.  He is elusive.  Gypcie has a wrist-watch that the boy’s parents gave him for his last birthday.  Gypcie wants to craft a locator spell that will help her locate the boy.  She turns to her grandmother’s grimoire and researches possibilities for such a spell.  A few hours later, Gypcie is making a pentacle in coins across the floor (Coin Manipulation, 2 Actions), singing an old nursery rhyme (Chanting, 1 Action) and grinding the watch in a mortar and pestle (Milling, 2 Actions) as a Unique Ritual to find the boy.

Gypcie rolls her Ritualism skill.    On her first roll, she gets a raise, succeeding on two of her required actions: 15 minutes has passed and she has already set-up the coin pentacle.  On Gypcie’s second roll, she fails, starting the nursery rhyme, she feels the wind drain out of her into the pentacle and takes a level of magic fatigue: her modifier for her remaining rolls is -3 and 30 minutes have passed.  For her third roll, Gypcie makes a channeling check, consuming some of her Essence and adding +2 to her roll to gain a raise.  The chant takes hold and she even begins to grind the watch (3 total successes): 45 Minutes have passed and Gypcie is down a fatigue level and an essence.  On her final check, Gypcie fails, but uses a Benny on the roll, and re-rolls to score a raise!  The ritual is done.  Gypcie has made a satchel of the broken watch that when she grabs hold of it and concentrates grants her a vision (as per the visions edge in the horror companion) that reveals information about the child.  Because she scored 1 more success than needed (her last raise), the GM decides that the satchel will also pulse when the child is within a quarter of a mile.

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