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D&D 5E Ritual expansion

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Because of the what you like about each edition thread I started thinking about 4E a bit. One thing I miss is the expanded ritual list. Basically anything not meant to be cast in combat is a ritual. The 5E rituals are kinda neat, but limited. So I was thinking of expanding the list. The easiest way to do it would be make anything with a casting time more than an action into a ritual. Going through the PHB there’s nothing particularly broken or class defining that would suddenly be open to more people. Anyone have constructive criticism or advice on how to implement this?
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Just to make sure I understand correctly - any spell with a casting time longer than an action becomes a ritual. You need to be capable of casting rituals to cast any such spell, but they don’t use up a spell slot when cast? Is that right?

If so, I like the idea generally. I do wonder what then happens to spells that are currently rituals but have a casting time of only 1 action (detect magic, for example). Do their casting times just become 10 minutes, or can you still use a spell slot to cast them with only an action? I think I prefer the former option, but I’d have to go through and make sure there weren’t any ritual spells that seem important to preserve the option of casting in combat.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Just to make sure I understand correctly - any spell with a casting time longer than an action becomes a ritual. You need to be capable of casting rituals to cast any such spell, but they don’t use up a spell slot when cast? Is that right?
Sort of. All you do is add the ritual tag to the spell.
If so, I like the idea generally. I do wonder what then happens to spells that are currently rituals but have a casting time of only 1 action (detect magic, for example). Do their casting times just become 10 minutes, or can you still use a spell slot to cast them with only an action? I think I prefer the former option, but I’d have to go through and make sure there weren’t any ritual spells that seem important to preserve the option of casting in combat.
Nothing happens. You can cast it as a ritual and have +10 minute casting time but don’t burn a slot, or cast it as an action and burn the slot.

Take raise dead as an example. It’s a one hour casting time but it not a ritual RAW. This house rule would give it the ritual tag, so it could then be cast as a ritual using the ritual rules, like +10 minute casting time, doesn’t burn a slot, etc.

I wouldn’t want to change the casting times of current ritual spells or make them strictly non-combat spells. That’s too much work. The simpler the better.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Sort of. All you do is add the ritual tav to the spell.

Nothing happens. You can cast it as a ritual and have +10 minute casting time but don’t burn a slot, or cast it as an action and burn the slot.

Take raise dead as an example. It’s a one hour casting time but it not a ritual RAW. This house rule would give it the ritual tag, so it could then be cast as a ritual using the ritual rules, like +10 minute casting time, doesn’t burn a slot, etc.

I wouldn’t want to change the casting times of current ritual spells or make them strictly non-combat spells. That’s too much work. The simpler the better.
I see. I’m less keen on that personally, as all it seems to do is allow you to cast spells that you already aren’t going to be casting in combat, without expending a spell slot, for the usually pretty negligible cost of 10 minutes. What specific goals are you trying to achieve with this change?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I see. I’m less keen on that personally, as all it seems to do is allow you to cast spells that you already aren’t going to be casting in combat, without expending a spell slot, for the usually pretty negligible cost of 10 minutes. What specific goals are you trying to achieve with this change?
Make ritual casting of things like raise dead and various divination spells possible. Not to save casters slots, but to allow non-casters with the ritual caster feat access to more useful spells. To my mind, making more spells available to non-casters helps with utility and ever so fractionally with the LFQW problem. Also solves the cleric’s dead, how do we raise the cleric problem. You could then give everyone ritual caster for free and emulate a high magic setting even easier. But that’s just madness.
 

cbwjm

Hero
Your idea works as a basic enhancement for more rituals, I'd probably want more nuance, but in a pinch this would do it. 4e rituals were also one of my favourite things about the edition.

I've been thinking of expanding rituals so that anyone with ritual casting has a ritual book and is able to enter any spell with the ritual tag to their ritual book. It frees up certain classes from having to prepare/know ritual spells.

I saw something on the dyson logos site about elementals and how different methods of summoning (staff, device, spell slot, ritual) would summon elementals of different power. I'm thinking if introducing this to 5e and maybe also require ritual implements, something that has a gold piece value which is needed by rituals, maybe even specific items like an emerald for a ritual for summoning elementals.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
The only spell that I ever thought should have the ritual tag but doesn't is magic circle, but I really like this idea. And I like it or the same reason you describe: it allows more goodies for non-casters, and particularly helps in low-magic campaigns where casting classes are limited or banned (I may have run such campaigns a time or six).

In fact, magic circle came up when I was playing a character based on John Constantine/Harry D'Amour etc in a Ravenloft Adventurer's League game. The character was a Thief with the Ritual Caster feat, which worked great, but magic circle is such a perfect spell for that setup I was very sad it wasn't available.

Anyway, I like your idea and I'd love to see it's final version/implementation if you write something up.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I have found there certainly is a push-pull with my players who have played spellcasters when it comes to non-combat spellcasting. There often is resistance in using those spells and thus losing those slots for the day, when they believe they might "need" those slots if they get into combat later on. Cast Comprehend Languages now, even though I might need a Shield later? That kind of thing.

And it is something I have wrestled with... whether the Warlock style of casting is actually kind of better-- where a spellcaster has 2-3 "combat spell slots" that they can use during an encounter (and which will usually refresh after it), and then a handful of at-will non-combat spells (IE Invocations) that can let the caster do cool effects without needing to worry about hamstringing themselves in a combat later in the day.

So what is being proposed is something I have thought about myself-- any spell with a casting time longer than 1 Action being able to be cast as a Ritual. I find it an intriguing idea. The only reason I haven't actually tried implementing it yet is because as I look through the entirety of the spell lists, I realize that there are a LOT of spells that only cost 1 Action that are non-combat and thus I'd WANT a caster to be able to use out of combat. But then I'd have to go through and check off which ones are "combat" spells and which ones are "non-combat" spells... and the whole process becomes much bigger than I had intended.

And at that point, my brain says to me "If I make this small change (turn longer than 1 Action spells into Rituals), will the result still feel unsatisfactory and not completely solve my issues with it?" And if the answer is 'Yes'... I just don't bother and go with what I and my players already know.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Well, just from the PHB and a couple other books, you would have the following spells as Rituals:

LevelSpellSchoolCasting Time
0MendingTransmutation1 Minute
1SnareAbjuration1 Minute
2Find SteedConjuration10 Minutes
2Prayer of HealingEvocation10 Minutes
3Animate DeadNecromancy1 Minute
3ClairvoyanceDivination10 Minutes
3Glyph of WardingAbjuration1 Hour
3Magic CircleAbjuration1 Minute
3Tiny ServantTransmutation1 Minute
4Conjure Minor ElementalsConjuration1 Minute
4FabricateTransmutation10 Minutes
4Find Greater SteedConjuration10 Minutes
4Hallucinatory TerrainIllusion10 Minutes
4Mordenkainen’s Private SanctumAbjuration10 Minutes
5AwakenTransmutation8 Hours
5Conjure ElementalConjuration1 Minute
5CreationIllusion1 Minute
5DreamIllusion1 Minute
5GeasEnchantment1 Minute
5HallowEvocation24 Hours
5Infernal CallingConjuration1 Minute
5Legend LoreDivination10 Minutes
5Planar BindingAbjuration1 Hour
5Raise DeadNecromancy1 Hour
5ReincarnateTransmutation1 Hour
5ScryingDivination10 Minutes
5Teleportation CircleConjuration1 Minute
6Conjure FeyConjuration1 Minute
6ContingencyEvocation10 Minutes
6Create HomunculusTransmutation1 Hour
6Create UndeadNecromancy1 Minute
6Druid GroveAbjuration10 Minutes
6Find the PathDivination1 Minute
6Guards and WardsAbjuration10 Minutes
6Heroes’ FeastConjuration10 Minutes
6Magic JarNecromancy1 Minute
6Planar AllyConjuration10 Minutes
6Wind WalkTransmutation1 Minute
7Conjure CelestialConjuration1 Minute
7Mirage ArcaneIllusion10 Minutes
7Mordenkainen’s Magnificent MansionConjuration1 Minute
7RegenerateTransmutation1 Minute
7ResurrectionNecromancy1 Hour
7SimulacrumIllusion12 Hours
7SymbolAbjuration1 Minute
7Temple of the GodsConjuration1 Hour
8Antipathy/SympathyEnchantment1 Hour
8CloneNecromancy1 Hour
8Control WeatherTransmutation10 Minutes
8Mighty FortressConjuration1 Minute
8TsunamiConjuration1 Minute
9Astral ProjectionNecromancy1 Hour
9ForesightDivination1 Minute
9ImprisonmentAbjuration1 Minute
9True ResurrectionNecromancy1 Hour

As you can see, these are mostly level 5 and greater. Many of these spells don't have the ritual tag because of the power they have and the impact they can have on the game even when they cost a spell slot to cast.

Make ritual casting of things like raise dead and various divination spells possible. Not to save casters slots, but to allow non-casters with the ritual caster feat access to more useful spells. To my mind, making more spells available to non-casters helps with utility and ever so fractionally with the LFQW problem. Also solves the cleric’s dead, how do we raise the cleric problem. You could then give everyone ritual caster for free and emulate a high magic setting even easier. But that’s just madness.
Look at the list above there aren't many divination spells IMO. shrug (at least at lower levels at all)

Many (about 40%) of the divination spells are already rituals and there are over 30 ritual spells in the game.

But I see your point. To address this we went a different route. We removed the "one list" restriction from ritual caster. A ritual caster can add any spell with the ritual tag to their ritual spell book (Cleric, Wizard, whatever...). So, instead of having maybe 10-20 spells available, the PC can (if they find them) have over 30 spells.

Second, I added a feature to Wizards in particular called Spellbook Rituals. It allows Wizards to cast spells "directly from their spellbook" (using it as a spellcasting focus) as rituals even if they don't have the ritual tag. But the casting time is 10 minutes PER spell level of the spell and you can't upcast them, just the base level.

As to the cleric death issue, well that is why they should get the best armors and protection IMO and IME. ;)
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
There are some important differences in the way rituals were designed between 4e and 5e.

In 4e, rituals were completely different and separated from other "spells" (i.e. powers). So rituals in 4e didn't appear on the list if combat-oriented powers, and vice versa. They were like an add-on for those characters who had this class feature, or took the appropriate feat. Note that rituals in 4e were classified into arcane, divine, and nature (and another I cannot recall at the moment) so classes not associated with a particular power could not access those rituals that would seem inappropriate.

In 5e, however, rituals are just spells you could cast at-will just by taking more time to do so, or cast them more quickly for the cost of one of your available spell slots per day.

D&D has traditionally categorized all magic abilities as "spells" just to make things easy. Being able to cast spells as rituals is now part of the description of the particular spell rather than a class feature or character option. If you wish to make a distinction between the two (which I wholeheartedly approve), there will not likely be a simple solution. It may take some work. Good luck!
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
But I see your point. To address this we went a different route. We removed the "one list" restriction from ritual caster. A ritual caster can add any spell with the ritual tag to their ritual spell book (Cleric, Wizard, whatever...). So, instead of having maybe 10-20 spells available, the PC can (if they find them) have over 30 spells.
Yeah, that would be step two. Add the ritual tag to longer casting time spells and remove the restriction on class-based rituals. I’d keep the casting ability based on the list the ritual actually comes from, though. So if you get a warlock ritual, it’s CHA, for example.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Yeah, that would be step two. Add the ritual tag to longer casting time spells and remove the restriction on class-based rituals. I’d keep the casting ability based on the list the ritual actually comes from, though. So if you get a warlock ritual, it’s CHA, for example.
Yes, we keep the spellcasting ability modifier based on the spell list as well. But, IIRC, no ritual actually needed them so it became immaterial.
 

Arvok

Explorer
The biggest problem I see with this is that a Warlock with the Pact of the Tome and Book of Shadows invocation would have access to all kinds of spells (see 6ENow!'s chart above). I have a Tome/Book of Shadows warlock and it makes my DM's life tough RAW. With this change, he would probably just kill my character out of spite.
 

…broken or class defining that would suddenly be open to more people. Anyone have constructive criticism or advice on how to implement this?
Do you consider lots of undead to be broken? :)

With this idea, a caster can spend half a day casting and have 65 zombies under their control. Three hours each day will maintain control over all of them.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Do you consider lots of undead to be broken? :)

With this idea, a caster can spend half a day casting and have 65 zombies under their control. Three hours each day will maintain control over all of them.
They can only do that if they have all the required components. Digging up 65 bodies from a cemetery isn't going to go unnoticed. Casting into a grave and hoping the animated undead can claw their way out is not a great option. I'm not much for white room theorycrafting. Something that is theoretically possible doesn't mean it's guaranteed to happen in game. That's also a lot of time the caster can be interrupted. And a lot of really pissed off families, friends, and loved ones to deal with.
 

cbwjm

Hero
They can only do that if they have all the required components. Digging up 65 bodies from a cemetery isn't going to go unnoticed. Casting into a grave and hoping the animated undead can claw their way out is not a great option. I'm not much for white room theorycrafting. Something that is theoretically possible doesn't mean it's guaranteed to happen in game. That's also a lot of time the caster can be interrupted. And a lot of really pissed off families, friends, and loved ones to deal with.
Not only that, but the heroes arriving in the nick of time to disrupt a ritual which is going to animate the dead is great for story telling. Of course, that extra short rest might mean that they arrive slightly too late and now have to fight a horde of zombies and skeletons which is also cool.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
There are some important differences in the way rituals were designed between 4e and 5e.

In 4e, rituals were completely different and separated from other "spells" (i.e. powers). So rituals in 4e didn't appear on the list if combat-oriented powers, and vice versa. They were like an add-on for those characters who had this class feature, or took the appropriate feat. Note that rituals in 4e were classified into arcane, divine, and nature (and another I cannot recall at the moment) so classes not associated with a particular power could not access those rituals that would seem inappropriate.
I think you've pointed out a vital difference. Porting this into 5e, the slot cost and the spells known/prepared opportunity cost of 4e-style rituals were not taken from the same pool of resources as combat, so we had different pillars having their own parts. That said, it did throttle them with expensive, consumed material components (to use 5e parlance), which doesn't translate as directly to a game without strong wealth-per-level guidelines.
 

Horwath

Hero
@6ENow! nice list,

But maybe all spells could have ritual casting.

Fireball; 1 minute casting? Why not? If you cannot interrupt a spellcaster in 10 rounds while he is standing in one spot and chanting, getting 8d6 damage your way is the least of your problems...

But any healing/adventuring spells should have 1hr casting time atleast. one cast of healing extra during short rest is no big deal and giving someone climbing/flying/swimming/burrowing speed during short rest seems like a good interpretation of on-the-run preparation for next obstacle.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
@6ENow! nice list,
Thanks. :)

But maybe all spells could have ritual casting.
We given that feature to wizards only via their spellbooks:
Second, I added a feature to Wizards in particular called Spellbook Rituals. It allows Wizards to cast spells "directly from their spellbook" (using it as a spellcasting focus) as rituals even if they don't have the ritual tag. But the casting time is 10 minutes PER spell level of the spell and you can't upcast them, just the base level.
In response to every other class now having complete access to their entire spell list daily (thanks to Tasha :rolleyes: ). shrug

But, the purpose of spell slots is to limit how much magic a PC has access during the day and force them to make decisions about what is important. Allowing full ritual spells goes against that because as we all know time outside of combat isn't usually a big factor.
 


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