D&D 5E Rituals in 5e

Arctic Wolf

First Post
I scanned the title threads and haven't seen anything in particular focusing on how rituals would be done. As we all know the gold and time aspect of rituals are annoying and seemingly unneeded. I know that my DM just lets us use rituals by doing skill checks since it is easier to do. What I was thinking that we take away the Ritual Caster feat and just make it so everyone can use rituals, but we can limit it by having a new resource to use.
I would start by breaking rituals into three different types: Arcane, Divine, and Martial (I think that the martial practices are interesting but may just be me). Then depending on the class and race they choose, they get a certain number of arcane, divine, and martial ritual points to use for rituals, which will have point values, and they are determind in a similar way we do for healing surges.
That way any person can use them and its more expensive, in terms of points, for characters of a different source to use ones outside of it like a cleric trying to use an arcane ritual or a mage trying to use a martial one. Hybrids of 2 different types would be a bit above average in terms of the 2 but not as focused as one who is of 2 of the same sources, which would be like a normal class, and multiclass would only get a bonus if they decided to mutliclass into a different power source to avoid them improving the power source better then a normal class. As you level you could decrease the cost of of rituals below a certain level so that way you wouldn't need to worry about increasing them through leveling, but you could do that also, so whatever floats your boat.

So what do you all think?

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I agree.

Keep them. Remove the "Ritual Caster" feat, although individual rituals should still have prerequisites. Reduce the costs generally (but leave some cost so that PCs don't just spam them - perhaps a Healing Surge or equivalent to reflect the idea that using magic is exhausting?).

Dividing them by power source is a good idea (if 5e keeps power sources as such). May I suggest adding Primal rituals, though - the system seems tailor-made for primitive tribes to use!


First Post
I think that rituals, as they exist in 4th edition are not worth it.

However, I think that rituals are a good idea. They were just among the many things I found to be extremely poorly implemented in 4e.

Firstly, what should be a ritual?

The idea that 4e had seemed to be that every spell that had no direct bearing on combat should be a ritual. And for some spells, I would agree. Turning something like Raise Dead, or Teleportation, or Scry that can have a major impact on the game play in to a ritual makes a great deal of sense. Some of them were effectively rituals anyway with casting times of up to an hour.
However, a spell such as Comprehend Languages, or Hold Portal - spells that are needed here and now, not in 10 minutes time, should not be. I feel it would be better for these to have simply been classed as Utility Spells for a wizard. It's rather difficult to persuade the orcish horde to wait 10 minutes while you bar the passage between yourself and them.

Secondly, the components:
Rituals needing components to cast is fine. Making them have a cost means that players will think twice about using them in case they need them later. However, make that cost unique to each ritual. Don't simply say "This needs X amount of gp". Most of the ritualistic spells of earlier editions had component costs to them, but those components had a bearing on the spell - they made it seem a little more individual and, if the GM felt like it, they could send the players on a quest for the items needed. In comparison chucking a few gold pieces in to the ritual circle is dull and, effectively, meaningless.

Elf Witch

First Post
I dislike the way rituals were done in 4E. I do like the idea of rituals. I think certain spells like teleport or scry are perfect for rituals.

I don't think turn undead should be a ritual by the time the cleric has done it the undead have killed and eaten the party.

I don't think rituals work for things like that because of time factor.


Registered User
The problem is that rituals as introduced in 4e specify a certain game/campaign style that likely would not be appreciated by a sizable portion of the intended audience.


First Post
As we all know the gold and time aspect of rituals are annoying and seemingly unneeded.
Really? I didn't know that. (Honestly I don't know 4e mechanics to that level of detail so I can't agree or disagree with that statement).

I think the 3e Unearthed Arcana Incantations were handled better than the 4e rituals. The underlying concept is strong; but the costs and requirements need to be balanced and appropriate. A feat is not an appropriate cost (the whole point of rituals is that character can access a magic effect without spending their life learning it). A series of skill checks is (magic shouldn't be easy).

I also agree that rituals are only appropriate for things that aren't appropriate as spells (or at least that spellcasters should be able to cast the full range of spells that A D&D player expects of them, and that rituals are separate).


First Post
What were they like?
No need to use past tense; thanks to the magic of the SRD they're right here.

It was an option in Unearthed Arcana and thus not fully developed, but in principle, it had a lot of good elements.

Besides the skill checks being more appropriate than feats, Incantations are individually limited and generally flavorful, and they offer a variety of costs (multiple participants, harm to the caster, material costs), drawbacks, and penalties for failing the skill checks (consequences are always good).

The ideas offered by the system are solid, and address some individuals' concerns in this thread about the more fully implemented 4e rituals.

combine wizard spells and rituals. Allow most spells to be cast as a ritual/incantation or let them be memorized. This way the system is very flexible. Some spells should have casting times of more than a standard action, even when memorized!


First Post
My main problem with rituals is that their casting times mean that they very rarely could be used in a fight. They took elements of pre 4E spells and made them into rituals which restricted how you used them.

In previous editions, it was left up to the players to decide how and when to use their spells and to come up with creative ways to use those spells to overcome the challenges they face (like a fight).

So I don't really like rituals that do the same things as pre 4E spells but then decide in advance which ones can't be used in a fight rather than letting the players be creative with it.

And i utterly detest gold as a form of XP that you spend to get items and then having to use that to fuel the use of rituals. I also really disliked 3.x item creation rules for much the same reason.


Mike Mearls should also consider looking at how rituals and ceremonies were done in the old Arcana Unearthed supplement Mystic Secrets written by this great guy named Mike Mearls. (I wonder if they're related?)


First Post
though recently in dragon they put out some cool new rituals that when made int oscrolls could be used as standard actions. it got me thinking that im going to revisit some of the lesser power rituals and conver them for my games.


I like the idea of rituals, they were just handled poorly. I think Rituals should be split into 3 types.

Long Rituals: Spells that take too long to cast in combat but can be casted over and over with little change of breaking the game. The hard part is the skill check
Animal Messenger, Instant Summons, Phantom Steed, Make Whole

Draining Rituals: Quick rituals that could be used in combat but drains healing surges to discourage spamming.
Hold Portal, Fly, Feather Fall, Disguise Self, Knock, Remove Disease

Costly Rituals: Rituals that create or return resources to the target.
Raise Dead, Brew Potion, Heroes Feast, Enchant Item, Observe Creature


First Post
I would still separate Combat and "Utility" spells, if only in presentation.
I find that distinction artificial. Feather Fall may not be a combat spell, but if you're bull-rushed off a cliff it becomes one. Disintegrate may be a combat spell until you come upon a door you can't open. Creative use of spells is a hallmark of D&D.

I think the spell/ritual distinction is useful because it's valuable to separate things functionally; some that take time and effort to do (like raising the dead, various divinations, involved illusions, creating portals, etc.) are rituals, and some that you can do in six seconds or less are spells.

Minigiant said:
Long Rituals: ...Instant Summons,...
Huh? I'm sure that wasn't intentional, it just seems like a non-sequitur.


First Post
I would like to see all rituals have:

Multiple casting tiems, longer being cheaper in otehr costs
Non-gold costs, like healing surges. This would change based on casting time.
Be tied to skill checks. (5E has skmills, if not another check)

Be very broad and multi-use.


Rituals are such a compelling idea, I really hope we get a better implementation this time.

Within the game's narrative I consider spells and rituals as basically unified. Most spells probably began life as someone's imperfect tinkering, trying to get all the magical pieces to come out properly. Eventually this was refined to the point that many of these "rituals" could be internalized and performed very quickly. I figure the first fireball ever cast (by mortal mages anyway) is more likely to have been cast slowly during a siege than quickly while fighting some kobolds. A good analogy might be mathematical proofs. Original proofs are often far longer than necessary, but eventually very elegant forms are found for some. Or it might be like algorithms in computing. Sorting algorithms like bubble sort get the job done, for example, but there is hardly any reason to use it if quicksort or its brethren are available. Of course, there is a reason bubble sort came first. Similarly, rituals are closer to the original forms while spells are the refined and elegant ones (when it is possible).

I think a lot could be done by with casting classes and rituals by emphasizing this continuity. I might give most casters a unique method for limited ritual access in combat (or other short time scales). For example, a wizard could perform most of a ritual (say long-range teleport) beforehand by expending the time and components, and keep it prepared in a spell slot like a spell. This might take a more precious character resource as well, so a character can't have 10 rituals on call. A cleric might be able to perform small miracles. The druid might be able to tap into "ambient magic" to quickly perform some kinds of rituals in appropriate terrain. A sorcerer might be able to give up something really significant (like a class ability) to master a ritual it can cast spontaneously (at reduced cost), or slowly (at greatly reduced cost). In all these examples the ritual can be cast like a spell, but the special efforts and requirements emphasize that it has not been refined to the same degree as one.

Yes to rituals.

You know those spells that adventurers never learn/memorize because they aren't useful when fighting monsters and are only cast in between battles/during cut scenes when time isn't a huge factor to the story?

Make those spells rituals.

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