Making Ritual Levels More Useful

Ezri

Knight
HQ Staff
Scott brought this up in the other thread, but rather than muddy the magic item discussion with this I though I'd make a new topic.

Casters with ritual levels: how can they be made cooler/more useful in combat?

It seems to be a concensus among a lot of players (not all) that casters need a little something extra - especially celestial casters. The proliferation of magic items adds to the disparity, but that's the other discussion.

Things casters can currently do with their ritual levels:

1. Cast rituals (of course) which does not happen very often. If you have a lot of levels you can make the big uber items on occasion, and might be called upon to cast a ritual of importance to the plotline, but are there any casters out there who can honestly say they do this every weekend?

2. Spellcrafting. Like mini-rituals, the use of reagents to make less powerful, temporary versions of ritual effects. Kinda nifty, and if you only have a few levels this is probably what you use it for. Very often casters do this for profit, or as a resource to their team. Either way the caster does not get much use of it themselves, and doesn't get any of the coolness factor of it happening in combat (Lauroc's triage circles notwithstanding).

3. Add points to your Arcane Armor usage. Assuming you can get a hold of this scroll (or gobby an NPC item) you might be lucky enough to be able to wear a few points higher than the standard "scholar 12" armor. While a handy skill indeed, again, it doesn't really give the caster that "cool" moment in combat. Maybe if you have a ton of rits and can wear a 30 point it makes a big impact, but still - Arcane can't even be seen.

4. For celestial casters - get bigger usage out of a wand. Combat useful yes, but first you have to get your hands on the scroll.

Rituals are supposed to be sort of the quintessential skill for casters. Yet unlike an eviscerate or a dodge there's little of that cool factor in combat that can be gained from them. Add to that the fact that any coolness gained, even outside of combat, for a ritual caster is reliant on stuff, more than build. I can have 50 levels of rituals but without the right scrolls and sticks I can't do squat.

To that end I ask - what would be some possible combat application that would make ritual levels useful and casters feel cool, without being overpowering?

<-- Not an owner, or ARC member, but thinking of putting together a proposal. Idea coming soon when I can get it worded more solidly.
 

jpariury

Duke
#4 is likely to either go away or become negligible with the next edition of the rules.

I don't believe that formal magic skill should be made into a direct combat skill. That would run counter to the original intention of the skill. If you have a large body of formalists that feel their skill is under used, then I believe a good plot team could resolve this by creating lesser versions of the formal scrolls that would be usable for spellcrafting only or non-magic item-making effects (Vision, Whispering Wind, Warder Glyph, Lesser/Greater CoP, etc), and put out more components that are usable for spellcrafting only.

The purpose of the treasure policy as it relates to formal scrolls and component distribution is to limit how many magic items other chapters have to deal with from your own. If the local plot team wants to run a high-magic game ala Greyhawk, there are numerous effects that never leave a chapter. I would suggest that they could easily bulk up their policy with a number of these effects.
 

Hoyce

Artisan
It seems to me that the biggest disparity with ritual levels as opposed to other build expenditures is that it requires a comparatively inordinate amount of treasure to use. Fighters can use eviscerate with the same equipment that they start with, rogues don’t need any equipment for their dodges, ect. Ritualists, however, require rare and highly sought after scrolls and components. From a genre/flavor perspective, this is as it should be, but from a game play perspective is another weakness to a class that already has several. The powers that be are on the right track with the Arcane Armor rule and with the wands, but both still require treasure in order to take advantage of.

I think a viable solution is to give ritualists some powers or based on their ritual levels purchased, but that requires little or no treasure. Maybe at five levels of rits you can acquire an extra spell slot of 3rd level or less at 10 any one of 5th level or less…15 you can get a single resist magic, at 20 maybe an extra spell of 8th level or lower maybe at 25 a resist or cloak or something against a type of magic, immunity to a single at spell 30 at 35 immunity to a spell group…ect.

Caldaria did something similar to this for a plot arc and it was pretty spiffy.

These ideas aren’t fully fleshed out or considered from all aspects of the game, but a little something where ritualists can get a boon for all that build spent on Rits that isn’t treasure dependant and actually gives the feeling/style of having untapped primal secrets of the universe that allow for something a little more formidable than making stuff for friends.

Hmmm…assuming this doesn’t get shredded to bits on the board with flaws I failed to take into account perhaps I’ll write this up for ARC or something…
 

Ezri

Knight
HQ Staff
JP,

I'm not looking to add more magic items to the game or make ritual casting different/easier etc. I realize that ritual casting in and of itself is not intended to be combat oriented. I was thinking more along the lines of some other skill that had rit levels as a pre-req... So maybe I'm going about this the wrong way.

Is there perhaps another skill we could add to the scholar's arsenal that would be build-oriented (rather than treasure oriented) and would provide a bit more combat effectiveness, but which would not be able to be replicated by items.

I don't think anybody so far has disagreed with the concept that people should trump stuff. A character with build should be more valuable than a pouch of plastic jewelry with numbers engraved on them. Yes you can put a single eviscerate, dodge, or other combat skill into an item, but that's it. You cannot replace a combat-oriented character with stuff. You can however almost completely replace the need for a caster of either variety if you have enough toys.

Maybe as a scholar there should be two ways you can specialize once you have your tree - rituals or combat. Perhaps rather than find a new use for ritual levels, there should be something that is build-equivalent that allows for more combat spec instead.

Just some thoughts...
 

Jezebel

Scholar
One thing that Ohio does that I love is that instead of the typical magic items for npcing, they have scrolls that can gobbied (effects stay in that chapter only, ie if you make a DA sword, it doesn't travel). Granted, I've only been 3-4 times, but I've always cast a rit when I go. Gives that poor sob that sunk 75 build something to do and npcs still that that cool item they wanted. :)

The arcane armor rule I personally love. I loved it before I was lucky enough to come across the scroll and on a whim cast it. It def gives you that I'm cool in battle feeling. I've caused a few holds now because I took a 50 slay and was still standing. As a caster, that's cool.

I hate to say this, but when I spent build on rits, I honestly wasn't expecting to get any benifit in battle. I was seeing it more as a "I get to do some cool stuff every once and a while", but day to day, it's pretty much rp build. I accepted that when I built the character; however, I wouldn't argue getting some boons because let's face it, those "I feel cool" moments are very few and far between. Not to mention when you're casting something like a mark it can still be stressful because with 25+ levels of rit, I still have the same chances of backlashing from bad rolling as that person that bought their first level of rit last event. If anything I'd say something that would give you one reroll or something like that for bigger rit casters is something I'd love to see added.

Ramblings brought to you by Jen
 

Quinn

Squire
I concur with Jen- the LCO NPC scrolls in Ohio have allowed me to either cast rituals or spellcraft at every event I attend and PC. And other NPCs look for ritual casters IG to turn out their NPC items for them when they get the scrolls they want ready.

The fact that components, scrolls and catalysts are often only gained through combat is a cruel twist when you sink all your build in basically non-combat skills... forcing you to rely on others to BRING you stuff to make (generally).

Maybe if Ritual levels also functioned as "production" levels for LCO components... like for every 5 rit levels you get 1 random LCO component (explained however you want- created in a lab or found in the woods or whatever) for X silver... then these could be used to create either LCO items or spellcrafting. If that seems too much maybe they could be created to expire in only a day so that ritual casters can't save them and therefore have to use them in an event...

In Ohio if ANY component (scroll, catalyst or reagent) says LCO on it then the finished product is ALWAYS LCO- no double tags (restricted and LCO) and so forth--

Just a thought. I love my Ritual Levels because when I do get to do something, even as small as spellcrafting a +0 damage aura, i feel good about that. I'd just like to be a BETTER Ritualist because I have a class and Build which are both NOT good in combat... and like it or not Alliance is a Combat Game- its where you get treasure, what treasure is FOR ... etc. :mrgreen: Whether I like it or not I see "Scholar" as a secondary class-- a support class- for the melee types. I'd like to see some rituals be Caster only and some items that require Ritual Levels to operate them.

Of course, as Plot in Ohio... I'm in a position to possibly make some such LCO effect plotlines....... :D
 

jpariury

Duke
I'm pretty much in agreement that formal levels should be seen as less-used skills with potentially cool effects. (Heck, golems is really the way to go as a Celestialist). Personally, I wish it were so explicitly stated in the rulebook, so that players know what they're getting in to.

I think that some of the new changes will make casters more "combat worthy" already, so I don't know that formalling needs much of a boost. The only thing I could see being viable is having formals as a prereq for using most magic items. That would take most of them out of the hands of "utili-mages" and into actual casters, but then, it's not as big of an issue out here.
 

Hoyce

Artisan
jpariury said:
I'm pretty much in agreement that formal levels should be seen as less-used skills with potentially cool effects. (Heck, golems is really the way to go as a Celestialist). Personally, I wish it were so explicitly stated in the rulebook, so that players know what they're getting in to.
Yea the last thing we should be doing is finding some way to reward players who take a class for style over IG power. [/sarcasm]

jpariury said:
I think that some of the new changes will make casters more "combat worthy" already, so I don't know that formalling needs much of a boost.
They are still all treasure dependant though.

jpariury said:
The only thing I could see being viable is having formals as a prereq for using most magic items. That would take most of them out of the hands of "utili-mages" and into actual casters, but then, it's not as big of an issue out here.
This I'd support, as it creates some benifit to being a formalist. I doubt it'll ever happen because too many people love their toys and will complain though.

As I implied in my last post it just seems to me that characters who spend time unlocking the secrets of the universe to manipulate physics to their whim should have, at least once in a while, a little something more that some chump with a sword. This is currently not the case.
 

jpariury

Duke
Hoyce said:
Yea the last thing we should be doing is finding some way to reward players who take a class for style over IG power. [/sarcasm]
If they didn't take the class for IG power, why would you give them IG power? That's not what they wanted. Are you suggesting we give formalists some fashion tips?

They are still all treasure dependant though.
The few silver you spend on a couple of wands will easily be worth the price paid for combat effectiveness.
 

Hoyce

Artisan
jpariury said:
Hoyce said:
Yea the last thing we should be doing is finding some way to reward players who take a class for style over IG power. [/sarcasm]
If they didn't take the class for IG power, why would you give them IG power? That's not what they wanted. Are you suggesting we give formalists some fashion tips?
A) You yourself state that it is not a well described fact that scholars are an underpowered class B) because the game is SUPPOSED to have the classes balanced and C) I'm saying we give them SOMETHING and, unfortunately, combat ability and/or treasure are pretty much the only tangable benifit to a game rules wise.

jpariury said:
The few silver you spend on a couple of wands will easily be worth the price paid for combat effectiveness.
Is there a rule change on wands that has been passed that I missed? At last check it required a full fledged ritual to make one.
 

Lurin

Duke
Theres alot of Passed/failed information on the Seattle boards, one of the rules marked passed makes wands much easier to obtain/use
 

doverman

Spellsword
Just a quick note to anyone coming to the Seattle boards for reading up on these proposals and pass/fail information

Please note that these rules will NOT GO INTO EFFECT until the new rulebook is completed and the Alliance leadership gives the final date they are in effect.

Also, there will not be any new proposals posted to the public sections of the boards in an effort to comply with the requests of ARC, some owners, Mike V and the Alliance Chair that these things not be subject to public scrutiny before they are discussed and voted on by the owners.
 

jpariury

Duke
Hoyce said:
A) You yourself state that it is not a well described fact that scholars are an underpowered class
That was not my statement. My statement is that it should explicitly stated that formal magic is not something players should or can reasonably expect to be able to do every event ("formal levels should be seen as less-used skills with potentially cool effects"). My apologies that you drew a different interpretation.
B) because the game is SUPPOSED to have the classes balanced
I believe that would largely depend on the local plot team. Some plotsters like low magic games, both item and caster-wise (Diana's NW chapter was a good example of this) and design their plots to flow in that direction, some like high magic games and put out lots of LCO items (Seattle, for example) and some try to find a happy medium. I don't know that the classes should or need to be balanced.
C) I'm saying we give them SOMETHING and, unfortunately, combat ability and/or treasure are pretty much the only tangable benifit to a game rules wise.
Treasure is not a "rules-reward", so I'm not sure I take your meaning. I don't believe that formal casters should be given a combat bonus, any more than Craftsmen, Legerdemainers, Trap Creators, Potion Makers, Blacksmiths or the like are. Some skills are designed to boost combat, some are designed to add flavor and style to the character. Some are designed to have near-universal usage, some are situational.

Is there a rule change on wands that has been passed that I missed?
Not this edition, but yes.
 

Hoyce

Artisan
I do not follow Seattle's boards considering I don't play there and can't envision a time when I ever will (the several thousand mile ride is rather a deterrent.)

I'll have to check it out though.

jpariury said:
C) I'm saying we give them SOMETHING and, unfortunately, combat ability and/or treasure are pretty much the only tangable benifit to a game rules wise.
Treasure is not a "rules-reward", so I'm not sure I take your meaning.
I meant that any tangible measures of power from an OOG perspective are combat ability and treasure.

jpariury said:
I don't believe that formal casters should be given a combat bonus.
I disagree.
 

Alavatar

Baron
As a formal caster with 30 levels of Celestial formal, I agree with WCJP.

If I wanted to be more valuable in combat I would have gotten another 3 columns of spells. But, I wanted to be able to cast cool rituals that very few people could do so I got a ton of Formal levels. I don't expect to cast a big ookie ritual every event, but if a ritual is needed more often then not I will be the one they call on. That's what I wanted. :)
 
I don't think there is anything to be lost by making ritual levels more uselful. Alliance is a combat game, whether or not we'd like to admit it. When I planned my ritualist character I understood that she wouldn't be very effective in combat, would be shunned from any sane mod team, and would only get to do "ookie" rituals every once and a while. Am I okay with that? Yes. Do I think the scholar class is unbalanced? Yes. Would I like to see ritual casters made a bit more balanced in the way of combat? Yes. I like Hoyce's idea of a progressive extra-skill-building system. Maybe with a certain number of ritual levels, one could buy a "phase" ability or something. *ducks flying objects from critics*
 

Lurin

Duke
This is what I think would be a fun, reasonably balanced idea, but I'd like to see a 'spell catch' type ability if you had levels of ritual caster that you did not plan to use.

IE. Fred has 24 ranks of Ritual casting, and plans to cast no rituals today.

At logistics Fred can 'Spend' 20 ranks (in bulks of 4 or 5, or even less, more then 1 though) to get 4 'levels' of spell catching. He would have to choose to have 1 4th level slot, 4 1st level slots, or 1 2nd level and 2 1st level slots etc. so the total number of levels added up to 4/5 whatever the limit was. Each spell catch slot could only be used a single time, but could catch (and then cast) any spell of that level. These spells and 'catching' slots would expire at logistics so you could not 'store up' a mega column of spells.

So depending on the level required it would take 18,27,or 36 ranks of formal to catch a 9th level spell, more then a fair price at any level (since 18 ranks is 54 BP of missing spells, or 2 columns) I'd suggest that 2 ranks of formal per slot would be reasonable.

The skill itself would be a once-ever buy skill costing 3/5/8/10 (Scholar/templar/artisan/fighter).

Overall I think it would give that occasional 'cool' factor, could be used creatively (Celestial caster 'hides' a lightning storm in the ritual earth scholar etc.) and would not unbalance the game.
 

Alavatar

Baron
Personally, I think "Phase" should be a Ritual Scroll available to the player-base.

And celestial scholars will get a bit of beefing up with the new rules. Check out this threadat the Alliance Seattle forums.

To me, Formal is essentially a really cool production system that requires scrolls and reagents instead of coin.

Lurin, what you described is very similar to the Spell Store ritual effect, except Spell Store requires touch-cast to absorb and it has to be of the same school. Improved Spell Store (I think) allows you to get hit by a spell and absorb it, but that is NPC only. (I think)
 

jpariury

Duke
Alavatar said:
Lurin, what you described is very similar to the Spell Store ritual effect, except Spell Store requires touch-cast to absorb and it has to be of the same school. Improved Spell Store (I think) allows you to get hit by a spell and absorb it, but that is NPC only. (I think)
True on both counts.

I could whip out the old man rocking chair and talk about how, back in my day, we had a Capture Magic spell that would let you absorb a 6th level or lower spell... but why make myself feel older than I need to? (Someone pointed out the other day that I've been playing longer than they are old. "Ouch" doesn't even cover it.)
 

Arkade

Scholar
Charlottesville Staff
It would be cool if you could do like combat rituals. Rituals that are combat specific, they would be like stored on a caster's spell book (Putting a tag in spell book) caster opens spell book, reads incant and vowala! Caster's target is now immune to fire for 10min! Coll **** like that. :D
 
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