Multicaster Rituals

ZenBear

Villager
For the next session I want to have the enemies cast Control Weather to darken the skies so the Skaven don’t suffer from Sunlight Sensitivity, but I also don’t want to throw a 16th level spellcasters at the party. Is there any precedence in game for multiple low level casters performing a shared ritual to cast a higher level spell? I know as the DM I can just fiat this, but I’m curious if, when and how it’s been done before. I also know I can just have the combat happen at night, but that’s what my players are expecting and I intend to catch them off guard.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
There are IIRC no formal rules in 5e for ritual casting of groups and such.

i consider it a lack.

in its stead, i would use a site/item type of effects where you have what amounts to a stationary magic items with "if x numbers of spellcasters" type requirements.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
There was a third party supplement for 3e that greatly expanded on the use of multicater rituals. My players in one session used it to raise the level of a river to block an enemy from advancing on a village. However, I don't believe that there are any formal official rules for any edition.

But looking at the spell you can see it is a concentration up to 8 hours, which gives a fairly good hook for having multiple casters in the ritual. Also, you could have use that as an excuse to extend the radius as well.

Because they aren't 16th level, you probably should have a tome of forbidden knowledge as their focus and they probably have to remain focused on the ritual for the planned duration. You would also have to decided how many are needed for the ritual and what the effects might be if broken.

So, basically all DM plot production. There isn't really a need for formalized rules unless you think your players will want to try it. But generally, these types of things don't work that well for players as they are seldom playing enough of the same class to warrant it.

In my example, my party had a couple of casters and a few lower level NPC casters from the village so they could pull it off and even then there were only 6 in the ritual circle.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
Just because there isn't a rule for it doesn't mean you can't do it. Perhaps the enemy has figured out how to perform a ritual with multiple lower level casters. It might even be common, just not something the PCs have ever partaken of.

There are other easy methods as well. The enemy might have a spell scroll that they successfully use (my favorite). The enemy might have a favor from a powerful caster that they call in. The enemy might have a charmed/dominated caster that they've tricked into casting it for them.

Also, not everything revolves around the PCs. An NPC caster may be in the general area (the spell has a 5 mile radius) controlling the weather for his own ends that are irrelevant to the conflict, but the enemy takes advantage of it. The PCs could then try to find the NPC and convince him to end the spell.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Agree with the above. In my next game, that's st the point of ready for chargen, I am working with much more lay-magic and world of wonder vibe and less traditional.

As such I am developing rites and ceremonies for essentially a form of occult or hedge magic... and learning some of those or getting necessary fetishes for those will be a sort of "magic item" stand-in.

So, instead of finding a +1 sword you might uncover a rite which gives a weapon a prolonged enchantment but with costs associated with it.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
The closest thing that I can recall is the Hag from 3E (and possibly other editions), which gained extra abilities when in a group of three. Most Hags weren't really spellcasters, by default, but a ritual group of Hags could cast some more powerful spells, including animate dead and control weather.
 

aco175

Explorer
I have used something like this a few times in the past. Mostly like in the movies where Indiana Jones tries to save the kids being lowered into the lava. The PCs walk in just when the ritual is about finished and has several more rounds until the portal opens to the lower planes. The PCs can see the several chanters around the portal and each round that goes by breaks one of the chains holding the stones. They can try to kill the chanters before they finish, but need to go through the guards and such.
 

the Jester

Legend
Yes, there are precedents for things like this, but not from 5e.

1e had a cleric spell called combine in the book Unearthed Arcana that allowed multiple casters to use it together and then have one of their number cast extra powerful spells.

2e had a supplement called Tome of Magic, which had spells that used multiple casters to create extra powerful effects. (It also had combine in its PH, if I remember right.)

3e's Epic Level Handbook had epic spells, which were custom built and had various factors that increased their power/difficulty to cast and mitigating factors that reduced the difficulty to cast them. One possible mitigating factor was additional spellcasters expending slots of certain levels.

So there's a lot of history backing the idea up; just because it hasn't appeared in 5e yet doesn't mean it can't.
 
There is precedent in 5e, I believe. Hags, in a coven, are effectively a higher caster level.

Shared Spellcasting (Coven Only): While all three members of a hag coven are within 30 feet of one another, they can each cast the following Spells from the wizard's spell list but must share the Spell Slots among themselves:

• 1st level (4 slots): Identify, Ray of Sickness
• 2nd level (3 slots): Hold Person, Locate Object
• 3rd level (3 slots): Bestow Curse, Counterspell, Lightning Bolt
• 4th level (3 slots): Phantasmal Killer, Polymorph
• 5th level (2 slots): Contact Other Plane, Scrying
• 6th level (1 slot): eye bite

For casting these Spells, each hag is a 12th-level spellcaster that uses Intelligence as her Spellcasting ability. The spell save DC is 12+the hag's Intelligence modifier, and the spell Attack bonus is 4+the hag's Intelligence modifier.



So, your spellcasters could be in a coven. They could have access to a few extra spells (Control Weather plus any that are thematically appropriate for their coven and your adventure) that they don't normally have and they can cast them as 15th level casters. The advantage of doing it this way is it allows you to customize which spells they can actually cast (maybe they can only cast 2!). Also, casting any of these more powerful spells will drain their spell slots collectively, making them less powerful as a group when the PCs encounter them.

Additionally, you could say that any concentration spells cast this way must take up each casters concentration simultaneously. So, to break the effects of the spell, they only need ruin the concentration of one spellcaster.
 
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For the next session I want to have the enemies cast Control Weather to darken the skies so the Skaven don’t suffer from Sunlight Sensitivity, but I also don’t want to throw a 16th level spellcasters at the party. Is there any precedence in game for multiple low level casters performing a shared ritual to cast a higher level spell? I know as the DM I can just fiat this, but I’m curious if, when and how it’s been done before. I also know I can just have the combat happen at night, but that’s what my players are expecting and I intend to catch them off guard.
A scroll can be used by lower level casters, or have an ad-hoc magic item.
 

Eltab

Villager
Forgotten Realms 3e had 'ring magic' where several casters focused power and spell slots on one individual so he could cast a very powerful spell. I don't remember what sourcebooks to find this in, but the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and Unapproachable East might be places to start.

As noted above, you don't have to write rules for a Plot Device, you can just describe it happening.
 

Alexemplar

Villager
They're Skaven, right?

They have a machine- magical or otherwise- that can do this. Yes this is a big deal because this is the first time they've ever sone this. How? What else could they do? How can the party stop them?
 

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