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Occult Rituals

It’s a common belief that only those initiated in the rites and practices of arcane, divine, or psychic magic can cast spells, but this is not strictly true. Hidden within dusty libraries and amid the ramblings of lunatics lie the mysteries of another form of spellcasting—occult ritual magic. These spells are rare, coveted by both those eager to gain their power and those wishing to hide their existence. Most traditional spellcasters consider these rituals dangerous and uncontrollable, something to be avoided or used as a last resort. They fear the power these ceremonies grant to the uninitiated, as the rituals allow those with only a glimmering of understanding the ability to interact with the underlying fabric of magic.

While anyone can attempt to cast occult rituals, the process is fraught with peril. The strange and intricate incantations are often challenging to perform with precision, and failure can weaken the casters or even unleash horrors upon the world. Even when successfully performed, each occult ritual has a price—a backlash that affects at least the caster leading the ritual, and often those assisting in its performance.

Casting Occult Rituals

Before performing an occult ritual, the primary caster must assemble and ready all the components needed as well as any secondary casters. Some occult rituals require the casting to occur at a specific time or place; attempting to cast such rituals at a different time or a substandard location is nearly impossible.

Casting an occult ritual requires at least 10 minutes per ritual level and sometimes as long as 1 hour per ritual level. One of the casters—either the primary caster or a secondary caster who the primary caster specifies— attempts one of the skill checks required by the ritual every 10 minutes of the casting, unless the ritual takes 1 hour per caster level, in which case the caster attempts the check every hour of the ritual. These checks cannot benefit from the aid another action, and the caster attempting the check can’t take 10 or take 20, even if she has an ability that would normally allow her to do so when threatened or distracted.

Furthermore, because of the specific procedures of ritual casting, mundane equipment that grants bonuses on skill checks can’t usually increase the caster’s bonus on the checks required by the ritual, unless the GM allows it. Bonuses on the skill checks required for the ritual that are granted by feats, spells (with enough duration to last throughout the casting), traits, and magic items usually apply, at the GM’s discretion. The primary caster decides the order in which the various skill checks are attempted, but the GM rolls for the checks and tracks the progress of the ritual casting in secret. Once a ritual casting begins, it must be performed to its completion unless it’s disrupted by outside influences or fails.

The primary caster leads a ritual’s casting, often with the aid of a number of secondary casters. Secondary casters can be indispensable to the ritual’s casting even when they’re not taking an active role in ensuring its success. Unless stated otherwise in the ritual description, secondary casters must be within 100 feet and line of effect of the primary caster and each other during the entirety of a ritual’s casting.

If a ritual allows the participation of secondary casters, in such cases, the ritual’s Components line includes SC (secondary casters) as an entry, immediately followed by a parenthetical that details any maximum or minimum number of secondary casters required to cast the ritual.

If a ritual description has no secondary caster entry, that ritual does not permit the assistance of secondary casters.

While secondary casters can help by attempting the skill checks the primary caster assigns them, their chief purpose is to aid in the ritual’s casting. If a ritual’s casting is aided by at least four secondary casters, all casters gain a +1 bonus on all skill checks attempted as part of casting the occult ritual. This bonus increases by 1 for every four secondary casters beyond four (up to a maximum bonus of +5 for 20 or more secondary casters).

To cast an occult ritual, the primary caster must learn the ritual’s secrets (see Discovering Occult Rituals). Secondary casters can assist in the casting without fully understanding the intricacies of the ritual.

Since it is possible for those lacking the ability to cast arcane, divine, or psychic spells to cast rituals, variables that would normally rely on caster level (such as range and spell resistance) use the character level or total Hit Dice of the primary caster instead. This is the case even for a ritual caster who has the ability to cast spells. Characters with a caster level gain a +1 bonus on skill checks to cast a ritual, and this bonus increases by 1 for every 5 caster levels they possess (to a maximum of +5 at caster level 20th) as their understanding of the fundamentals of magic grows.

It’s difficult to disrupt a ritual. Casting a ritual does not provoke attacks of opportunity, and the casters can pause the ritual to engage in combat or take other actions though not without consequences. For each round an occult ritual is paused in this way, the DC of all the ritual’s subsequent skill checks increases by 1. For practical purposes, a ritual is successfully disrupted when its casting is paused for more than 1 minute or any of the casters are incapacitated, killed, or moved more than 100 feet from (or out of line of effect of ) all other casters.

If more than half the skill checks for an occult ritual are successful, the ritual succeeds, and the primary caster (and the secondary casters if specified) experiences the ritual’s backlash before the ritual’s effect occurs. The DC for a saving throw against a ritual’s effects (if applicable) is equal to 10 + the ritual level + the primary caster’s Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma bonus (whichever is highest).

If the casters fail half of the skill checks required for an occult ritual (rounded down), the ritual ends, the casters also experience the ritual’s backlash, and the failure consequences occur. The consequences of failure are detailed in each ritual’s description.

Tapping into Ley Lines

A primary ritual caster with the ability to cast spells or use spell-like abilities can tap into a ley line within 30 feet by performing a simple ritual that takes 1 hour per 2 caster levels of the ley line. At the end of the ritual, the primary caster must succeed at a Spellcraft check (DC = 15 + the ley line’s caster level) to attune herself with the ley line. If she fails, she can try the attunement ritual anew. On a successful check, the primary caster and any secondary casters gain a +1 bonus on skill checks to cast an occult ritual using the ley line, provided they remain within 30 feet of the ley line. This bonus increases by 1 for every 5 caster levels of the ley line, to a maximum of +5.

This form of attunement can be broken in the standard ways described in Using Ley Lines.

Discovering Occult Rituals

The mysteries of occult rituals are jealously guarded secrets, often painstakingly obscured by a ritual’s originators or those who stumbled upon the obscure formulae detailing it.

The particulars of casting occult rituals are hidden within coded tomes, concealed in puzzles, or referenced only through allusions woven into esoteric tales. Recovering the casting method of an occult ritual can be an adventure within itself, something revealed by hallucinatory visions, coerced from an occult practitioner, or passed on by a true initiate hovering at death’s door and wishing for his genius to live beyond his mortal existence.

If an occult ritual is taught or its secrets are explained directly, it takes at least 1 day per ritual level to learn the method of its casting. Learning a ritual from hidden clues or from scratch takes a week or a month per ritual level (GM’s discretion). At the end of this period of study and contemplation, the person attempting to learn the ritual must succeed at an Intelligence check (DC = 15 + the ritual level if learning from clues or a coerced teacher, or DC = 10 + the ritual level if learning from an instructor eager to teach). Failing the check means the secrets of the ritual elude the learner’s understanding, though she can start the process anew at the same rate of potential discovery.

Creating Occult Rituals

While the occult rituals provided in this book give you numerous options with which to dabble, eventually you may want to create your own rituals. Creating a new occult ritual has five main steps.

Table: Modifying Occult Rituals
Casting Time Check DC Modifier or Modification
Casting time is restricted —4 (such as “only during a full moon”)
Casting time is severely restricted —8 (such as “only during a lunar eclipse”)
Focus and Material Components Check DC Modifier or Modification
Expensive material component (500 gp) —1
Expensive material component (5,000 gp) —2
Expensive material component (25,000 gp) —4
Expensive focus (5,000 gp) —1
Expensive focus (25,000 gp) —2
Range Check DC Modifier or Modification
Greater range than normal +1 to +6
Shorter range than normal —1 to —4
Area Check DC Modifier or Modification
Larger area than normal +1 to +6
Smaller area than normal —1 to —4
Target Check DC Modifier or Modification
Unwilling target must be helpless —2
Limited targets (by HD, creature type, and so on) —3
Single target to multiple targets +4
Duration Check DC Modifier or Modification
Greater duration than normal +1 to +6
Shorter duration than normal —1 to —4
One year or more Casting time in increments of 1 hour/level instead of 10 minutes/level
Backlash Check DC Modifier or Modification
Per 2d6 points of damage —1
Caster is exhausted —2
Per temporary negative level caster gains —2
Per permanent negative level caster gains —4
Caster reduced to —1 hp —3
Caster infected with disease —4
Caster suffers curse effects —4
Backlash affects secondary casters too —1

Step 1—Concept: As when creating any rules component, You should begin by deciding what you want the ritual to do. Rituals are often an interesting way to introduce unusually powerful magical effects into your game in a limited or controlled way. They can also introduce these effects in a manner that is more specific than similar higher-level spell effects. The ritual’s purpose should influence subsequent design decisions.

Step 2—Determine School: Once you have the concept for the ritual, next determine which school best suits the ritual’s effect, just as if it were any other type of spell. If you’re unsure which school is most appropriate, compare the effects with existing spells. If a ritual could have one or more possible schools, determine which is the most relevant school and use that one.

Step 3—Determine Ritual Level: This step involves setting the level of the occult ritual. Occult rituals are always equivalent to at least 4th-level spells. Often the best way to determine a ritual level is to compare it to other spells in the game. The ritual level determines how many total successes are required to cast the ritual, the DCs for the skill checks needed to complete the ritual, the save DC for the ritual’s effect (if applicable), and indirectly determines the ritual’s range and duration. The number of skill checks the ritual requires is equal to the level of the ritual, and the base DC of the skill checks needed to complete a ritual is 28 + the ritual level.

Any saving throw DCs of the ritual (including any DC to remove a temporary negative level gained by the backlash or by failing the ritual) are equal to 10 + the ritual level + the primary caster’s Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma bonus (whichever is highest).

In general, the spell a ritual is based on will give guidelines on the range, targets, area, effect, duration, and any saving throw or spell resistance that applies. If you are unsure or are creating a new effect for your ritual, You can use the suggestions in the Ritual Benchmarks Based on School sidebar.

While the ritual’s school or the spell it’s based on gives you a starting point for the ritual’s details, you may want to deviate from those examples when determining the particulars. Doing so to a greater or lesser degree can and should affect the skill check DCs for casting a ritual, and can also affect the casting time of a ritual. Table: Modifying Occult Rituals (at right) gives some examples of how to modify DCs and casting times.

Step 4—Determine Ritual’s Skills: This step involves determining the skills required to cast the ritual. The chosen skills should have a connection to the concept or the effect of the ritual. While a number of Knowledge skills are obvious choices (especially Knowledge [arcana] and Knowledge [religion]), more interesting rituals may feature other skills. Often these other skills allow secondary casters to play a more active role in the casting or make the ritual more interesting and challenging.

In all cases, you should require checks from two or more skills.

Step 5—Create Backlash and Failure Effects: The last step is to figure out the effects of the ritual’s backlash and what happens to the casters if the ritual fails. Like modifying the base spell or deviating from the baselines of the ritual’s school, the backlash and its severity can affect the DCs of the skill checks made to cast the ritual (see Table: Modifying Occult Rituals at right). Backlashes should be minor debilitations rather than severe punishments, and you need to decide whether they affect just the primary caster or all the casters.

Failure effects should be much more severe and should not invalidate or overlap with the effects of the backlash (since the backlash occurs whether or not the ritual succeeds). They should always represent the cost associated with the casting of uncontrolled magic, and they can be very debilitating to the casters, and could even harm those not associated with the ritual (especially for high-level rituals).

Horror and Ritual Failures

The standard rules are extremely lenient on how many skill checks a caster of an occult ritual can fail and still succeed. In a game where horror and tension are paramount, GMs may consider making it so that each failure on a skill check results in a weaker final effect or detrimental side effect. A simpler, more suspenseful solution is to have an occult ritual fail if a caster fails one skill check, regardless of how many checks the ritual requires.

The caster prepares a ritual site no more than 100 feet long by 100 feet wide by 20 feet high, including sigils that prevent souls from escaping the perimeter. At the culmination of the ritual, the caster forces two spiritually close humanoid creatures experiencing a transitional state of their lives into ritual combat to the death. Among most humanoids, only teenage twins (fraternal or identical) young enough that they haven’t gained a level in a PC class can be targets of this ritual; other pairings work only at the GM’s discretion. One of the targets must slay the other with the ceremonial dagger focus for the ritual to succeed; even if all the checks succeed, if either target leaves the area while the other lives, or if someone else slays one of the targets, the ritual counts as a failure, and the primary caster suffers the failure effects.

If the ritual succeeds, the soul of the creature slain by the ritual dagger is trapped within the ritual site. The surviving target has a choice either to allow the soul into her body, or to bar it from doing so. If the surviving target allows the soul inside her, she becomes a spiritualist, with the slain target as her phantom. If the surviving target chooses not to allow the spirit entry, it instead becomes an unfettered phantom and eventually a malevolent ghost, haunting the ritual site. This ghost cannot directly attack the surviving target, but in order to overcome its rejuvenation, someone must provide proof of the surviving target’s death (false evidence is not sufficient; that target must actually be dead).

Occult Ritual Benchmarks by School

Each summary below specifies the range, target, duration, and other aspects of an occult ritual associated with a particular school.

Abjuration: Range close; Target one or more creatures, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart; Duration minutes; Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes.

Conjuration: Range close; Target one creature; Duration hours (instantaneous for teleportation subschool); Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless).

Divination: Range long; Target personal; Duration minutes; Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no.

Enchantment: Range close; Target one living creature; Duration minutes; Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes.

Evocation: Range medium; Area 5-ft.-wide bolt or 20-ft.-radius burst; Duration instantaneous; Saving Throw Reflex half; Spell Resistance yes.

Illusion: Range touch; Target one living creature or 20 cu. ft. of matter; Duration minutes; Saving Throw Will disbelief; Spell Resistance no.

Necromancy: Range close; Target one or more creatures or corpses; Duration instantaneous; Saving throw none; Spell Resistance no.

Transmutation: Range medium; Target one creature or 20 cu. ft. of matter; Duration rounds; Saving Throw Fortitude half (or harmless); Spell Resistance yes.

Sample Occult Rituals

The following are a selection of occult rituals. Occult rituals are formatted in a similar manner as spells, but also feature a backlash and failure entry.

Activate Elf Gate

Source PCS:OR

School conjuration (calling); Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, M (a diamond-tipped stone chisel worth at least 500 gp), SC (up to 4)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 29, 3 successes; Knowledge (geography) DC 29, 3 successes
Range touch
Target one inactive elf gate
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster is exhausted.
Failure The portal creates a temporary one-way link with a random location, immediately delivering a hostile creature as though via summon monster VI. At the GM’s discretion, the creature may be accompanied by 1d3 creatures of the same kind from the 5th-level summon monster list, or 1d4+1 creatures of the same type from a lower-level list.

EFFECT

By repairing damaged magical runes and realigning the energies based on the gate’s planetary position, the caster reactivates a dormant elf gate. A reactivated gate automatically reconnects with its linked twin, acting as a two-way gate (as per the gate spell) between the locations. The caster knows the gate’s password—which might be anything from an Elven phrase to a song’s refrain to a spell—from the research required to learn this ritual. All other creatures who use this gate must also know the password to access the gate’s magic after it has been reactivated.

Created using ancient elven knowledge, this system of magical portals is placed throughout the solar system. Also known as “elf gates”—a term elves consider vulgar—these portals come in two distinct models: linked gates and hubs. Linked gateways connect two gates together, while hubs allow a single location access to multiple sites.

The art of crafting new gates is now lost to the elves, but occult rituals for activating most existing linked gates persist.

Activate Elf Hub Gate

Source PCS:OR

School conjuration (calling); Level 7;
Casting Time 70 minutes;
Components add F (a rare gem worth at least 5,000 gp);

Skill Checks add 1 Knowledge (history) success
Failure same effect, except the hostile creature comes from the summon monster VII list (and potential additional creatures come from the 6th-level list or lower-level lists).

The ritual for reconnecting a hub gate to all its affiliated gates is modified from the above ritual as follows:

Analytical Congress

Source PCS:OR

School transmutation; Level 4
Casting Time 40 minutes
Components V, S, M (a spool of copper wire and incense worth 500 gp), SC (at least 2, up to 8)

Skill Checks Diplomacy DC 31, 1 success; Perception DC 31, 2 successes; Sense Motive DC 31, 1 success
Range touch
Target primary and secondary casters
Duration 1 day (D)
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

Backlash The primary caster and all secondary casters take 1 point of Dexterity and Strength damage.
Failure The primary caster takes 2d6 points of Intelligence damage and Wisdom damage; all secondary casters take 1d6 points of Intelligence damage and of Wisdom damage.

EFFECT

The analytical congress ritual was first created to help groups focus on conducting research. The ritual relies on the resolve of a study group’s mentor to form a cohesive team, allowing the order to both include less intelligent allies in research tasks and boost learned allies’ ability to assist in study.

Through a process of reaching mutual understanding and agreeing on a shared goal, the casters of this ritual are joined in the pursuit of knowledge. Each secondary caster holds on to a section of long copper wire, while the primary caster questions them. Only when assured of the purity of joint purpose among all casters does the primary caster permit the other casters to let go of the wire, successfully completing the ritual. Failure by the primary caster to conduct this purpose-driven interrogation, or by the secondary casters to withstand it, can lead to severe mental trauma for all involved.

While devoting the remainder of the day to research and study, each caster can choose one of the following bonuses after the ritual’s completion.

  • Decrease the time necessary to attempt an untrained Knowledge check by using a library (as per the Knowledge skill) to 1 hour.
  • Gain a +5 insight bonus on all Knowledge checks of one type for the remainder of the day.
  • While using a library or similar research resource, replace a required Knowledge check with a Perception check at a –5 penalty.
  • Reroll any one Knowledge check attempted over the course of the day.

Avoidance Ward

School enchantment (compulsion); Level 4
Casting Time 40 minutes
Components V, M (a piece of rowan wood charcoal), F (a small silver mirror worth 50 gp)

Skill Checks Knowledge (dungeoneering) DC 30, 3 successes; Spellcraft DC 30, 1 success
Range touch
Target one dungeon door
Duration 8 hours
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless, object); Spell Resistance yes (harmless, object)

Backlash The caster takes 4d6 points of damage.
Failure The target door swings open and cannot be closed by the caster by any means short of a limited wish for 24 hours.

EFFECT

The caster begins by placing a mirror on one side of the door and writing occult symbols on the other side of the door that conform to one type or subtype of creature on the ranger’s favored enemy list. Upon completion of the ritual, creatures of the chosen type or subtype cannot open, touch, or even magically manipulate the door by any means (with no save or spell resistance applicable). A dungeon door can have only one avoidance ward at a time.

Breach the Veil of Dreams

School conjuration (creation); Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, M (incenses burned in a bowl filled with grave earth, a bottle of wormwood wine for each caster), F (an ornate silver and mithral key worth 5,000 gp), SC (up to the Intelligence modifier of the primary caster)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 32, 3 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 32, 3 successes
Range touch
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster takes 2d6 points of damage and becomes exhausted.
Failure An animate dream appears at the site of the ritual and attacks the casters. At the GM’s discretion, the animate dream may have the advanced template, be accompanied by fellow animate dreams, or both.

EFFECT

This ritual must be cast at night on the Material Plane. The casters drink the wormwood wine and begin chanting the incantation as the incense burns. The casters mix the ashes with the grave earth and use the mixture to draw a threshold with a keyhole. They then insert the key into this door as the incantation is completed.

Success indicates the casters pass through the portal and enter a random location on the Dimension of Dreams.

If the casters wish to return to the Material Plane from the Dimension of Dreams, each must succeed at a DC 35 concentration check to do so. This is a full-round action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. The DC of this check is reduced by 1 for every 2d6 points of damage the traveler willingly takes from psychic and physical trauma as part of the full-round action (this damage can’t be reduced in any way). If successful, the caster is transported back to the site of the ritual’s casting of the Material Plane. The casters can try again if they fail their concentration checks. A caster can use her character level + her Charisma modifier as her bonus on the concentration check if she isn’t a spellcaster or if that value is higher than her usual concentration bonus.

Call Beyond the Veil

School conjuration (calling); Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, F (either an object once possessed by the spirit or entity called, or the name of the spirit or entity called), SC (up to 8)

Skill Checks Diplomacy DC 31, 2 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 33, 3 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 33, 1 success
Range primary caster
Effect call on the spirit of a single deceased creature or a psychic entity
Duration concentration of the primary caster
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance no

Backlash All casters become exhausted and gain 1 temporary negative level (DC = 16 + primary caster’s Charisma bonus to remove after the first day).
Failure All casters gain 1 permanent negative level and are exhausted until that negative level is removed.

EFFECT

The primary caster attempts to compel the spirit of a specific individual or a psychic entity to manifest from its final rest or extraplanar location. Unwilling spirits or entities can resist the summons by succeeding at a Will save. If a spirit or entity succeeds at the saving throw, it doesn’t manifest, but the ritual is still considered a success. Spirits or entities that fail or forgo this save are summoned into the primary caster’s body, where they speak by way of the caster’s voice, which takes on an otherworldly timbre. Though the spirit or entity speaks through the primary caster, it has no further control of that caster’s mind or body, and can’t use any spells, spell-like abilities, or even purely mental supernatural abilities it may have. It must leave the primary caster when that caster ends his concentration. While the spirit is speaking through the primary caster, the secondary casters can ask it questions at a maximum rate of 1 question per round (regardless of the number of secondary casters). The spirit or entity speaks in a language it knows or knew while it was alive, and can refuse to answer questions or attempt to deceive its questioners and the primary caster using Bluff. It is not otherwise beholden to the ritual casters.

Call the Darkness

Source PCS:IST

School conjuration (creation or calling); Level 9

CASTING

Casting Time 90 minutes
Components V, S, M (black diamond dust worth 10,000 gp), SC (at least 8, up to 16)
Skill Checks Knowledge (geography) DC 36, 2 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 36, 3 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 36, 2 successes; Spellcraft DC 36, 2 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Effect up to 20′ 10-ft. cubes/character level of the primary caster
Duration 10 minutes/character level of the primary caster (D); see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
Backlash The primary caster takes 1 permanent negative level.
Failure All casters must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 19 + primary caster’s Charisma modifier) or be transported to a random location on the Shadow Plane, as per plane shift.

EFFECT

This ritual must be cast on the Material Plane. The primary caster begins the ritual by delineating the boundaries of the area to be affected using the black diamond dust. The casters link hands and chant. Upon the ritual’s completion, magical darkness fills the designated area as the Material Plane and Shadow Plane blend together there. The affected area thereafter exists simultaneously on both planes, becoming an amalgam of the two. A thin layer of impenetrable darkness surrounds the affected area, so it is impossible to see beyond the area’s boundaries into either plane. Colors appear faded in the area, but not completely black and white as on the Shadow Plane.

The area has the enhanced magic and impeded magic traits of the Shadow Plane, but all other planar traits correspond to those of the Material Plane. As long as the primary caster remains within range of the designated area, this effect lasts for up to 10 minutes per character level of the primary caster, but if the primary caster ever moves beyond the range, the effect immediately ends.

Any creature that enters the affected area remains on the same plane as before but can interact with creatures on the other plane as though they were on the same plane. While casting this ritual, the primary caster can set a condition that allows creatures to cross over from the Shadow Plane to the Material Plane or vice versa. This condition can be a password, a specific action that a creature must take (such as stepping through a mirror), or a specific type of item that a creature must carry in order to cross over. Alternatively, the primary caster can grant a creature passage between the two planes as a standard action. If the primary caster does not set a condition or grant passage, creatures cannot cross between the two planes.

Dance of the Dervish

Source PCS:IST

School transmutation; Level 8

CASTING

Casting Time 80 minutes
Components V, M (a flask of blessed sunflower seed oil worth 100 gp for each caster and a potion of cat’s grace), F (a masterwork scimitar made from rose gold worth 5,000 gp), SC (at least 1, up to the Charisma modifier of the primary caster)
Skill Checks Acrobatics DC 30, 3 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 30, 2 successes; Perform (dance) DC 30, 3 successes
Range touch
Target primary and secondary casters
Duration 1 day (D)
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); SR yes (harmless)
Backlash The primary caster takes 2d6 points of damage and all casters are exhausted.
Failure All casters cannot be targeted by any beneficial spells from the conjuration (healing) school (such as cure light wounds) and cannot touch a scimitar for 1 year (this is a curse effect, and can be removed with remove curse or similar effects).

EFFECT

This ritual must be cast at dawn beneath the open sky on the Material Plane. The ritual must be performed at a site of worship that has hosted active worship services for at least 52 consecutive weeks. The primary caster holds aloft the rose-gold scimitar, and the secondary casters stand around him and begin spinning in place. The primary caster recites verses a holy text, taking a sip from the potion of cat’s grace between each stanza. After the last verse is completed, the secondary casters whirl around the primary caster, each anointing the rose-gold scimitar with blessed sunflower seed oil. Upon the successful completion of the ritual, all the casters are filled with the spirits of dervish heroes, becoming faster, stronger, tougher, and more skilled in combat.

Each caster gains a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution; a +2 dodge bonus to AC; and a +2 sacred bonus on all saving throws. The caster’s base attack bonus is equal his character level (which may give the caster multiple attacks). If the caster’s base attack bonus is already equal to his character level, he gains one additional attack at his highest base attack bonus when making a full-attack action.

In addition, any scimitar wielded by a caster is treated as if it has the keen weapon special ability. In exchange, each caster temporarily loses his ability to cast spells, save for those from the conjuration (healing) school.

Finally, once during the duration of the ritual, each caster can activate a whirling dance on the battlefield as a standard action.

While dancing, the caster gains the effects of a displacement spell and can use the Spring Attack and Whirlwind Attack feats as if he possessed them without meeting their prerequisites.

This dance is a supernatural effect and lasts a number of rounds equal to the primary caster’s character level.

Each caster of the ritual can individually choose to dismiss the ritual’s effects for himself.

Earthbound Ward

Source PPC:HHH

School abjuration; Level 5
Casting Time 10 minutes per 10-ft.-cube affected by the ritual (minimum of 50 minutes)
Components V, S, M (materials worth 500 gp per 10-ft.-cube of the ritual’s area), SC (up to 8)

Skill Checks Knowledge (planes or religion) DC 35, 2 successes; Spellcraft DC 35, 3 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Area one 10-ft. cube/2 character levels of the primary caster (S)
Duration 24 hours
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash All casters become fatigued for twice the ritual’s casting time.
Failure All casters take a –4 penalty on saving throws against effects used by creatures that the earthbound ward was intended to affect for 24 hours.

EFFECT

The primary caster marks an enclosed space upon the ground with a material that is anathema to a specific type of creature that the caster wishes to keep at bay; typically, this ritual is used against specific outsider subtypes and undead creatures. Typical materials (and a list of creatures affected by those materials) include cold iron powder (daemons, demons, and fey), mithral or silver powder (devils and lycanthropes), oil mixed with sulfur (agathions, angels, archons, and azatas), and salt (undead and outsiders with the incorporeal subtype). At the GM’s decision, additional materials may be available for use against other creatures. The area to be affected must be enclosed, with no gaps in the material’s outline.

If the ritual is successful, creatures to whom the used material is anathema cannot enter or exit the warded area, much as if the area were under the effects of an outward facing magic circle effect against those creatures. Those creatures cannot cross the area’s boundaries or exit it by any means, including via extradimensional travel (astral projection, blink, dimension door, etherealness, gate, plane shift, shadow walk, teleport, wind walk, or similar means), and they cannot reach across the area’s boundaries with melee attacks (even those with greater than 5 feet of reach). Incorporeal creatures cannot enter or pass through solid objects into or out of a warded area. An affected creature can make physical ranged attacks at targets within the earthbound ward, but the ward blocks line of effect (but not line of sight) for spells. Flight allows a creature to pass over earthbound wards, but it cannot approach closer than 10 feet off the ground within the area outlined by the ward. A flying creature that falls or otherwise attempts to land in the area is instead shunted to the closest available area just outside of the earthbound ward’s area of effect and is knocked prone.

If the markings used to create an earthbound ward are disturbed or defaced, the effects of the ritual immediately cease. Physical efforts (such as scratching, erasing, or otherwise breaking or damaging the materials), spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities used by a creature for whom the material is anathema cannot target the markings. Such creatures can damage the markings as a consequence of those abilities, so long as the markings aren’t directly targeted. For example, such a creature can use earthquake to disturb an earthbound ward set against it because the spell targets an area, not the markings itself. The ritual’s magic prevents minor effects from disrupting the wards, although severe or stronger winds can do so.

Ensnaring Circle

School abjuration [variable; see text]; Level 4
Casting Time 40 minutes
Components V, S, M (powdered silver), F (a stylus made of mithral and diamond worth 5,000 gp), SC (up to 8)

Skill Checks Knowledge (planes) DC 30, 2 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 30, 1 success; Linguistics DC 30, 1 success
Range 10 ft.
Effect a 20-foot-radius magic circle
Duration 1 day/character level of the primary caster
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance no, see text

Backlash The primary caster takes 2d6 points of damage.
Failure The casters believe their work was successful, though when they attempt to use the circle, nothing occurs.

EFFECT

This ritual requires the casters to create a large magic circle outlined with the silver powder and shaped with the focus stylus. The circle must be painstakingly molded to attune it to the alignment targeted (chaos, evil, good, or law), which is chosen during the time of creation. The ritual gains the descriptor of the alignment selected. Once the circle is complete, it becomes invisible to all but the casters of the ritual or to creatures with see invisibility, true seeing, or some other method of seeing invisible objects.

Once the circle is complete, it can be used to trap an outsider whose subtype matches the chosen alignment, as if it were an inward-focused magic circle spell of the appropriate type (thus, an ensnaring circle attuned to evil acts like an inward-focused magic circle against evil). For an outsider to be trapped in this manner, the entire space of the outsider must be within the circle, at which point the primary caster can activate the circle as an immediate action. The primary caster must be within 100 feet of the circle and be able to see it and the outsider he wishes to trap in order to activate the circle. It is possible to trap multiple outsiders of the appropriate subtype in the circle if more than one are in the circle when it is activated. However, if any such outsider is not completely within the circle, it is not caught within the circle’s confines and is free to disrupt the circle as described in the magic circle against evil spell description.

As with a magic circle, the trapped outsider cannot cross the circle’s boundaries or reach over or beyond the boundaries, nor can it disrupt the circle either directly or indirectly, though it can make ranged attacks beyond the circle’s boundaries. If the outsider has spell resistance, it can test the trap once per day. If the primary caster fails to overcome the outsider’s spell resistance, the circle is disrupted and the outsider is freed from the circle’s restraints.

An outsider capable of any form of dimensional travel can simply leave the circle using such an ability.

Unlike with a magic circle, you cannot create a special diagram when creating the circle to make the ensnaring circle more secure.

Eternal Apotheosis

Source PCS:OR

School necromancy [evil]; Level 9
Casting Time 9 hours
Components V, S, M (incense made from ground-up bits of undead creatures), F (phylactery worth at least 120,000 gp), SC (at least 1, up to 21; see text)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 34, 3 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 34, 3 successes; Spellcraft DC 34, 3 successes
Range primary caster
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash All secondary casters take 20d6 points of damage. Those slain are reduced to dust.
Failure The primary caster becomes a forsaken lich, doomed to inevitable destruction in 1d10 days.

EFFECT

The depraved path to becoming a lich is a deeply personal experience for those who dare tread it. All spellcasters seeking such a goal must spend months, and more frequently years, gathering eldritch knowledge and conducting fell experiments to research the myriad routes to undeath. Even then, it is exceedingly rare for two liches to have achieved immortality in the exact same way, although their motivations—incredible power without the limitations of a mortal body—are often quite similar.

This ritual represents just one way some liches have transferred their souls into phylacteries. Other rituals tied to lichdom involve bargains or liaisons with evil outsiders, caster-created alchemical tinctures infused with the energy of loved ones’ souls, and other such trying necessities. Although heinously evil, the eternal apotheosis occult ritual is perhaps the most direct way to achieve lichdom.

The primary caster must begin this incantation at dusk.

The ritual must be performed in a place of significance to the caster and is typically the site where she began her descent into evil, or a site where she committed a great atrocity. Unlike other occult rituals, the secondary casters are simply fodder for the necromantic energies unleashed by the aspiring lich; they do not contribute to the ritual beyond taking the damage of the ritual’s backlash. Unlike with normal occult rituals, these secondary casters do not need to be willing participants, but they do need to be within close range (25 feet + 2 feet per character level of the primary caster) of the primary caster for the duration of the ritual. For every seven secondary casters, the ritual’s level is reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 6th level), the casting time is reduced by 1 hour, and the number of skill checks required decreases by one.

When reducing the ritual’s level in this manner, the primary caster can choose which check or checks are eliminated. The primary caster also receives a +1 bonus on the required skill checks for every four secondary casters, as normal.

Casting this ritual funnels raw and very painful necromantic energy through the primary caster, possibly eviscerating all of the secondary casters in the process. Successful completion of the ritual allows the primary caster to transfer her soul into the phylactery, forever sealing it within the magical receptacle and turning her into a full-fledged lich.

Ethereal Rip

School evocation; Level 5
Casting Time 50 minutes
Components V, S, M (a dollop of ectoplasm and paste extracted from ground lotus root worth 500 gp), F (an obsidian dagger with at least a +2 enhancement bonus and the ghost touch special weapon ability, worth at least 18,301 gp)

Skill Checks Knowledge (planes) DC 29, 3 successes; Knowledge (geography) DC 29, 2 successes
Range touch
Effect a rip between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane
Duration 1 hour/primary caster’s character level and instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw Reflex negates; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The caster takes 4d6 points of damage.
Failure The caster gains the incorporeal subtype and is confused for 24 hours.

EFFECT

Upon this ritual’s completion, the focus dagger is imbued with the power to cut a momentary rift between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane, though only if the caster adheres to the restrictions of the ritual.

At the ritual’s start, the caster must find the perfect spot for such an incision: a place where the features of the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane are closely aligned (the exact spot is determined by the GM). Then, after mumbling an incantation that weakens the borders of those two planes at that location, the caster must evenly coat the entire focus blade with a mixture of the material components. When that is compete, the ritual is successful and the backlash occurs, but the ritual’s true effect can be delayed. As long as the caster does not move from her space, and does not stop holding the focus dagger, she can use the dagger to cut into the weakened border between the two planes as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, but she must do so within 1 hour per character level after successfully completing the ritual and taking the backlash.

Doing so has an immediate and dramatic effect—the rip attempts to suck all creatures and unattended objects within 30 feet of the caster’s space that weigh less than 200 pounds into either the Ethereal Plane (if the rip is made on the Material Plane) or the Material Plane (if the rip is made on the Ethereal Plane). With a successful Reflex save, a creature avoids the rip’s pull. Creatures and objects pulled into the rift land in a corresponding space on the other plane. The ritual caster can choose whether she wants to be sucked through the rift or stay on the plane where she cast the ritual.

Exorcise Haunt

Source PPC:HHH

School necromancy; Level 4
Casting Time 40 minutes
Components V, S, M (a glass of wine, nine candles, and rare incense worth 500 gp), F (a lexicon on the exorcism of spirits worth 750 gp).

Skill Checks Diplomacy DC 31, 1 success; Knowledge (religion) DC 31, 2 successes; Sense Motive, DC 31, 1 success
Range touch
Target one persistent vaporous haunt
Duration 1 minute/character level of the primary caster
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Backlash The primary caster becomes helpless for the ritual’s duration and the target haunt’s hit points are fully healed to its total maximum. If the target haunt has been neutralized, it immediately reactivates.
Failure The primary caster takes 2d6 points of Wisdom drain. A caster whose Wisdom drain equals or exceeds her Wisdom score dies, her spirit becoming conjoined with that of the haunt to create a more powerful haunt (subject to GM discretion but typically increasing the haunt’s CR by 1).

EFFECT

The caster reads aloud from her chosen lexicon while standing amid a circle of candles, reciting passages that fill her with dedication and conviction. Upon the completion of the ritual’s casting time, she steps into the target haunt’s area, causing her to forge a psychic connection with the haunt that pulls her mind into a binary mindscape of the haunt’s creation and that is strongly reminiscent of the haunt’s anguish and themed along the lines of the haunt’s destruction method.

This ritual allows the caster to instigate a psychic duel with the target haunt, functioning like instigate psychic duel. Unlike with instigating a duel with another creature, a haunt remains responsive in the real world during the psychic duel; it is able to act during its normal initiative. The haunt counts as a psychic spellcaster with a caster level equal to the haunt’s caster level for all purposes and can generate an unlimited number of manifestation points, though it can spend only a number of manifestation points equal to 1/2 its caster level (minimum 1st) per psychic manifestation. In the mindscape, the haunt’s saving throw bonuses are equal to its CR + 2, and its melee and ranged attack bonuses are equal to 1-1/2 its CR + 2. In addition, the haunt has an amount of temporary hit points equal to its normal hit point total. If these temporary hit points are reduced to 0, the haunt is destroyed as if its specific destruction action had been performed.

Fiendish Transformation

Source PCS:OR

School transmutation [evil]; Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, M (powdered obsidian, vial of unholy water), F (the severed head of a good-aligned outsider whose CR was 10 or higher)

Skill Checks Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate (choose one) DC 31, 3 successes; Knowledge (arcana) DC 31, 2 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 31, 1 success
Range primary caster
Duration 1 week
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The caster takes a –4 penalty on Will saves for the next 24 hours.
Failure The caster gains 1 permanent negative level and must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 16 + caster’s Charisma bonus) or be transported to a random location in Abaddon, the Abyss, or Hell (based on the ritual), as per plane shift.

EFFECT

Wicked ceremonies and rites offer myriad means for humanoids to meld with fiendish entities. Each ritual contains information regarding its fiendish subject’s boons. One specific, four-part ritual can result in a mortal transforming into a demon. This painstaking process, however, takes at least several years, and not all who want to harness fiendish power wish to fully transform.

Described here is one of the more rudimentary rituals for fiendish transformation. By contacting an evil-aligned plane, the ritual caster entreats a powerful force (typically a fiend of CR 20 or higher) to temporarily imbue him with fiendish powers. Such ritual negotiations are fraught with danger and can lead to the caster being pulled from his reality and into nightmarish realms. Still, the allure of such temporary power is strong for those seeking a quick means of achieving greater success.

A solitary ritual, the rite of fiendish transformation must take place in an area bereft of light, save for that of a single candle. The candle is centered on a circular sigil crafted out of powdered obsidian and lined with unholy water. As the ritual commences, the caster holds aloft the severed head of a good outsider, through which a fiendish patron speaks. The circle channels the patron into the head without summoning its full presence, and the primary caster can choose which evil plane the creature comes from (Abaddon, the Abyss, or Hell).

A grueling negotiation determines whether the ritual succeeds or fails. Success imparts the half-fiend template to the primary caster for 1 week, while simultaneously damning the soul of the primary caster to the plane he has contacted.

Freeing the Beast

Source PCS:OR

School conjuration (calling); Level 9
Casting Time 9 hours
Components V, S, F (a piece of the beast’s body), SC (at least 4, up to 12)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 35, 2 successes; Knowledge (dungeoneering) DC 35, 2 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 35, 5 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Target one helpless or willing creature with at least 11 HD
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster and all secondary casters each take 1d4 points of Intelligence damage.
Failure The primary caster is immediately killed. No means can locate the primary caster’s remains or return her to life.

EFFECT

Some groups are obsessed with freeing a horrifically powerful creature from a hidden prison.

The primary caster begins the ritual by placing the focus in a pool of water that measures at least 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 50 feet deep. After this is done, the secondary casters surround the pool and perform ceremonial chants and wild supplications. The ritual casters then place the target inside the pool.

If the ritual succeeds, a vast and alien mind overwhelms the target. The freed monster immediately and hideously transforms the target’s body and irrevocably destroys it, replacing the gory remains with it’s own writhing form, now freed from its prison and unleashed to wreak the destruction it craved so hungrily, and for so long, in its unknown prison. The target is annihilated and can be restored to life only with a miracle or wish spell.

Fugue of Oblivion

Source PRG:HA

School enchantment (compulsion); Level 6
Casting Time 6 hours
Components V, S, F (a receptacle urn worth at least 1,000 gp per level to be stolen; see below), SC (up to 4)

Skill Checks Bluff DC 35, 3 successes; Heal DC 35, 3 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Target one living creature
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Backlash The primary caster can’t form short-term memories for the next 24 hours.
Failure The primary caster must succeed at a Will save or suffer the effects of the amnesia greater madness.

EFFECT

The amnesia lasts until removed, but can’t be removed, even by magic, until 2d6 days have passed.

The casters weave the target’s name into a chant of nonsense rhyming stories for 6 hours, as they slowly extract the target’s memories into the urn as a purple mist. The target loses all but the first class level she ever gained (if any; this ritual doesn’t affect racial hit dice), immediately reducing or removing all level-dependent abilities as if the target were a 1st-level character. In addition to the loss of her class levels, the target suffers from total amnesia of the time in which she accrued those levels. The target can gain experience and accrue new levels, though she must adhere to all the same decisions she made previously with her missing levels (class, archetype, skills, feats, and so on), even if she can’t explain why she now makes such decisions. In some cases, she might do so without meeting the requirements, such as if her amnesia blocked an alignment change and she gained levels in a class with an alignment restriction she no longer met; in this case, she would gain the abilities but retain only those she would have as an ex-member of the class. The rule that she must adhere to all previous decisions has one exception: if the target is a psychic, she can gain the amnesiac archetype, as long as she could otherwise take it.

Destroying the receptacle instantly returns the lost levels to the target and reverses any amnesia. If the target became an amnesiac psychic, she loses the archetype as normal.

Harvest the Defiled Soul

Source PPC:HHH

School necromancy [evil]; Level 5
Casting Time 5 hours; see text
Components V, S, M (one candle worth 10 gp per 5 feet of the area’s perimeter), F (special alchemist’s lab whose components have handles made from bone), SC (up to the Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier of the primary caster [whichever is highest])

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana or religion) DC 29, 5 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Area 100 square ft. + 10 square ft./character level of the primary caster
Duration 1 hour/character level of the primary caster
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash All casters take 1d6 points of Constitution damage.
Failure All casters take 1d6 points of Constitution drain.

EFFECT

Formulated and perfected by the Whispering Way’s most twisted minds, this ritual allows the caster to perform a number of fell rites that thoroughly defile the metaphysical soul of a specific haunt or incorporeal creature, causing its essence to coalesce into a refined ectoplasmic material that can be used to craft especially powerful magic items and artifacts. Before she can begin casting this ritual, the primary caster must draw necromantic sigils around the area to be affected and adorn them with candles, a 12-hour process. Each secondary caster participating in the ritual reduces this time by 1 hour, to a minimum of 1 hour. During the ritual, one specific incorporeal undead creature or haunt must be present within the affected area for its entire casting time. Upon completing the ritual, the primary caster can harvest material components from the specific creature or haunt as if she had the Haunt Scavenger feat, though the creature or haunt need not be destroyed or neutralized. If she already has this feat, she gains a +20 competence bonus on skill checks to harvest material components from the specific creature or haunt and the gp value of those components doubles. This process doesn’t destroy or neutralize the creature or haunt, and can be used on a specific creature or haunt only once per month.

Haunted Communion

School necromancy; Level 7
Casting Time 70 minutes
Components V, S, M (special paints and a small, salted pastry), F (silver bell worth 500 gp), SC (up to 18)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 31, 3 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 31, 3 successes, Linguistics DC 31, 1 success
Range touch
Target one haunt within 60 feet
Duration 1 hour and 10 rounds (D); see text
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Backlash The primary caster is exhausted.
Failure The casters take 1 permanent negative level and a —4 penalty on all skill and ability checks for as long as the negative level persists.

EFFECT

This ritual must be performed within 60 feet of a haunt. The primary caster rings the silver bell using an object associated with the haunt’s origin or source of power. Once this is done, the primary caster draws an intricate circle adorned with occult symbols around a plate bearing the small, salted pastry.

If the incantation is successful, the haunt’s spirit enters into the pastry (making the haunt inert for the duration of the ritual) and one of the casters must eat the pastry before the next hour or the ritual ends. Failure to do so allows the haunt to go free and increases any DCs of the haunt’s effects by 4 and grants a +4 bonus on attack rolls made by the haunt for 24 hours. Once a caster eats the pastry, the spirit of the haunt speaks through the individual who ate the pastry, and is required to truthfully answer 10 questions (1 question per round) before departing, though since the haunt is an emotional echo, the answers may be brief, cryptic, or repetitive, as with speak with dead. Once the 10 questions are answered or the spell is dismissed, the haunt can manifest as normal.

Hungering of Shadows

Source PRG:HA

School evocation; Level 9
Casting Time 1 day
Components V, S, M (lavender and green ioun stone split into 6 shards), F (an onyx throne worth at least 40,000 gp), SC (6)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 47, 4 successes; Knowledge (geography) DC 47, 2 successes; Knowledge (nature) 47, 1 success; Spellcraft DC 47, 2 successes
Range 10 miles/character level of primary caster
Area 1 mile radius/character level of primary caster
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster gains 2 permanent negative levels, and all secondary casters are permanently blinded and deafened. None of these effects can be removed by any means unless the ritual is reversed.
Failure The primary caster and all secondary casters are immediately transported to different locations on the Negative Energy Plane or Shadow Plane (50% for either plane, roll separately for each caster). The secondary casters remain catatonic for 1 hour upon arriving.

EFFECT

The primary caster sits upon the onyx throne, invoking ancient rites blaspheming against the light of the sun. The secondary casters offer up prayers to the gods of darkness. In turn, each of the secondary casters consumes one of the ioun stone shards, which induces a state of catatonia for 1 hour. Throughout the ritual’s casting, a localized partial solar eclipse marks the location of the throne with an obvious pillar of darkness from above, easily noticed by creatures throughout the ritual’s area.

If the ritual is successful, the area is draped in a curtain of eternal darkness, removing sunlight from the area. Illumination in the area can never be brighter than dim light, and only a miracle or wish can even temporarily alleviate this restriction (though direct intervention of a deity can end the ritual’s effect). Any light beyond dim light that would touch the area is instead transported into the ioun stone shards consumed by the secondary casters, making the secondary casters’ entire bodies glow. Any object with a light spell having its light thus dimmed by the ritual counts as a part of the secondary casters’ bodies for the purpose of a connection for spells like scrying. Collecting these ioun stone shards then piecing them back together while within the affected area ends the effects of this ritual.

Opening the Third Eye

School transmutation; Level 5
Casting Time 50 minutes
Components V, S, M (incense), SC (up to 12)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 34, 3 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 34, 1 success; Perception DC 34, 1 success
Range touch Target primary and secondary casters
Duration 1 day (D)
Saving Throw Fort negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

Backlash All casters take 2d6 points of damage.
Failure All casters gain a temporary negative level (DC = 16 + primary caster’s Charisma bonus to remove after the first day), and the primary caster is afflicted with a more potent version of the mindfire disease (DC 17; 2 saves; 1d4 Int; 1/day).

EFFECT

Through a ceremony of meditation and recitation, the casters of this ritual become psychically attuned. Casters who don’t have levels in an occult class gain the following benefits.

  • Each caster can choose one knack from the psychic class’s spell list and an additional knack for every 5 character levels that caster possesses (to a maximum of 5 knacks at 20th level). The casters can cast these knacks at will.
  • If a caster is trained in a skill with an occult skill unlock, she can use that skill’s occult unlock. Casters who do have levels in an occult base class gain the following benefits.
  • If a caster is trained in a skill with an occult skill unlock, she gains a +4 insight bonus on checks with that skill when using its occult skill unlock.
  • If a caster is untrained in a skill with an occult skill unlock, she can still use that skill’s occult unlock.

Each of the ritual’s casters can choose to dismiss this ritual’s effects for themselves individually.

Ouroboros Blood Ritual

Source PRG:B6

School conjuration (healing); Level 9

CASTING

Casting Time 90 minutes
Components V, S, M (a gallon of blood harvested from an ouroboros within the previous month), SC (up to 8)

Skill Checks Heal DC 34, 4 successes; Knowledge (arcana) DC 34, 3 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 34, 2 successes
Range touch
Target one dead creature
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; SR no

Backlash The caster and secondary casters become exhausted.
Failure All casters are affected by the ouroboros’s ruinous blood special attack. The dead body can’t be the target of the ouroboros blood ritual in the future.

EFFECT

The caster uses the ouroboros blood to paint complex mathematical equations on the ground surrounding a dead body (or if lacking a body, in the area where the body was slain).

Upon the ritual’s completion, the dead body is restored to life, as per true resurrection. Unlike that spell’s limitation, there is no limit as to how long the body has been dead before it can be restored to life in this manner, but bodies whose souls have been judged and sent on to the afterlife (GM’s discretion) cannot be restored to life via this ritual. A creature can be restored to life via an ouroboros blood ritual only once through all time.

Paired Suffering

Source PRG:HA

School necromancy; Level 6
Casting Time 6 hours
Components V, S, F (an ornate ceremonial dagger worth at least 1,000 gp)

Skill Checks Knowledge (planes) DC 30, 2 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 30, 4 successes
Range touch; see text
Target two creatures; see text
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster is staggered for the next 24 hours.
Failure The primary caster is affected by slay living (using the ritual’s save DC and caster level).

EFFECT

The caster prepares a ritual site no more than 100 feet long by 100 feet wide by 20 feet high, including sigils that prevent souls from escaping the perimeter. At the culmination of the ritual, the caster forces two spiritually close humanoid creatures experiencing a transitional state of their lives into ritual combat to the death. Among most humanoids, only teenage twins (fraternal or identical) young enough that they haven’t gained a level in a PC class can be targets of this ritual; other pairings work only at the GM’s discretion. One of the targets must slay the other with the ceremonial dagger focus for the ritual to succeed; even if all the checks succeed, if either target leaves the area while the other lives, or if someone else slays one of the targets, the ritual counts as a failure, and the primary caster suffers the failure effects.

If the ritual succeeds, the soul of the creature slain by the ritual dagger is trapped within the ritual site. The surviving target has a choice either to allow the soul into her body, or to bar it from doing so. If the surviving target allows the soul inside her, she becomes a spiritualist, with the slain target as her phantom. If the surviving target chooses not to allow the spirit entry, it instead becomes an unfettered phantomB5 and eventually a malevolent ghost, haunting the ritual site. This ghost cannot directly attack the surviving target, but in order to overcome its rejuvenation, someone must provide proof of the surviving target’s death (false evidence is not sufficient; that target must actually be dead).

Psychic Shielding

School abjuration; Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, M (diamond dust worth 500 gp), F (mithral mirrors worth a total of 10,000 gp and a lit lantern)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 33, 3 successes; Spellcraft DC 33, 3 successes
Range touch
Target one creature
Duration 1 day/character level of the caster
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

Backlash The caster takes 2d6 points of damage and is exhausted.
Failure The caster takes 1 permanent negative level.

EFFECT

The caster must begin this incantation at dusk or dawn, in a windowless room with the intended target (if it is not the caster), surrounded by mithral mirrors pointed inward. As the ritual concludes, the caster blows out a lantern using the diamond dust, leaving her and the target in the darkened room.

While in the darkness, the caster must touch the ritual’s target before exiting the room. Then, for a number of days equal to the caster’s character level, the target gains a +4 bonus on saving throws against psychic spells and abilities, but can’t use any psychic magic abilities, can’t cast psychic spells or use psychic magic, and can’t be engaged or engage in a psychic duel.

Reconsecrate Altar

Source PCS:OR

School evocation [chaotic, evil, good, or lawful; see text]; Level 5
Casting Time 50 minutes
Components V, S, M (holy or unholy water), F (a holy symbol of the altar’s deity worth at least 300 gp), SC (up to 4)

Skill Checks Knowledge (planes) DC 27, 2 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 27, 3 successes
Range touch
Target broken altar
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster is exhausted.
Failure For a period of 1 month, none of the casters can be targeted by divine magic that draws its power from the deity previously tied to the altar. (This is a curse effect, and can be removed with remove curse and similar effects.)

EFFECT

Most altars spend some time as mundane edifices of metal, stone, or wood before being blessed with the attention of the deities they honor. Once invested with power from their deities, the altars become magic items that can grant temporary blessings to faithful who pray at them.

Through neglect or vandalism, altars can lose their deific connections, becoming useless beyond displaying the faintest of magical auras. Such damaged altars must be reconsecrated by faithful worshipers of the altar’s patron deity. A ritual for reconsecrating altars revitalizes such damaged magical fonts with holy (or unholy) purpose.

This ritual works only on inoperative divine altars, rendered powerless through damage or other ways, and must be performed on a holy day of the deity to which the altar is dedicated. In order to repair a broken altar, the primary caster and all secondary casters must be worshipers of that same deity. The exact process of revitalizing altars varies by religion, but such rituals require a dose of holy or unholy water when dealing with good- or evil-aligned deities, as well as a masterfully wrought holy symbol regardless of the deity’s alignment. By speaking numerous prayers and conducting the required religious ceremonies, the primary caster can restore the altar to its previous function, effectively restoring its capabilities as a magical item.

A reconsecrate altar ritual has the chaotic, evil, good, or lawful descriptors depending on the alignment of the altar’s deity. For instance, a reconsecrate altar ritual performed to restore the altar of a lawful good deity has the lawful and good descriptors. A ritual tied to a nonlawful, nonchaotic neutral deity has no descriptor.

Ritual Exorcism

School abjuration; Level 4
Casting Time 40 minutes
Components V, S, M (vial of holy water), F (silver holy symbol), SC (up to 12)

Skill Checks Knowledge (religion) DC 28, 2 successes; Spellcraft DC 28, 2 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Target one helpless possessed creature or a restrained possessed object
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Backlash All casters become exhausted.
Failure All casters gain 1 temporary negative level (DC = 16 + primary caster’s Charisma bonus to remove after the first day), and the primary caster takes 4d6 points of damage.

EFFECT

You force the life force of a possessing creature to leave its host. Upon the completion of this ritual, the possessing creature attempts a Will saving throw. If it fails the save, the possessor is expelled, as if the duration of the spell or effect it used to possess the target had expired. If the possessing creature succeeds at the save, it continues to stay within the host creature or object, though the ritual can be attempted anew as long as the possessed creature is helpless or the object restrained.

Ritual of Benediction

Source PPC:HotHC

School transmutation; Level 4

CASTING

Casting Time 40 minutes
Components V, S, M (enough green tea leaves of exceptional quality to brew a pot of tea), F (a tea ceremony set worth at least 150 gp), SC (at least 1 and up to 4)

Skill Checks Diplomacy DC 30, 2 successes; Knowledge (nobility) DC 30, 2 successes
Range touch
Duration 24 hours; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster takes a –4 penalty to Strength and Dexterity for 24 hours.
Failure All casters can’t benefit from morale bonuses for 1 week.

EFFECT

The primary caster brews a pot of tea and serves it to the secondary casters in a formal ceremony. Everything, from the amount poured into each cup to the tea’s temperature, must be precise. During this time, the casters can either remain silent or speak politely to one another, but never of anything crude. If the tea ceremony is interrupted in any way, the ritual fails, no matter how many successes the casters have accrued. When the casters have finished drinking the tea and successfully completed the ritual, they are filled with a sense of serenity.

Each caster receives a +4 morale bonus on saving throws against fear effects for the next 24 hours.

Any caster can dismiss the ritual’s effect for herself as an immediate action and gain one of the following benefits.

  • The caster gains 2d10+4 temporary hit points that last for 4 hours.
  • The caster is immediately cured of a single poison affecting her.
  • The caster can reroll a failed Will saving throw, taking the better result. If this saving throw is against a fear effect, the caster still gains the +4 morale bonus on the reroll.
  • The caster can cast a single spell of 3rd level or lower as if it were a silent and still spell.

Scarlet Vigil

Source PCS:OR

School necromancy; Level 7
Casting Time 7 hours
Components V, S, M (a giant mantis claw), SC (at least 2, up to 4)

Skill Checks Heal DC 30, 2 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 30, 3 successes; Perception DC 30, 2 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Target one corpse and secondary casters; see text
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash All secondary casters take 2d6 points of damage.
Failure The primary caster is stunned for 1d6 rounds (no save). The targeted corpse is immediately revived, as if via the spell resurrection.

EFFECT

This ritual serves as an advanced initiation rite for the novices who are deemed worthy to participate. The neophytes who partake in this vigil are tasked with ensuring that the target never returns to life—a holy mission that takes priority above all other assignments. By participating in this ritual, these novices also get a glimpse into the resurrection sense ability that they will learn should they continue to survive and advance in their training.

This ritual requires the intact corpse of a target slain by the primary caster, who must possess at least 5 levels in the crimson assassin prestige class. Each of the secondary casters must possess exactly 1 level in the crimson assassin prestige class. During the ritual, the primary caster reveals meticulous details about the victim’s demise to the secondary casters, describing in anatomical detail the damage done to the individual and pointing out visual cues on the corpse, all while connecting the methods of execution to the teachings of the mantis god, patron of the crimson assassin order. During the ritual, the secondary casters must use a giant mantis claw to draw blood from themselves in a place where the corpse was damaged; in the case of poisons and similar effects, the location can be symbolic.

If the corpse took damage in many different locations, the secondary casters must draw blood from themselves in the place where the victim sustained the most damage.

If the ritual is successful, the secondary casters gain an intrinsic link to the deceased individual; from that moment on, the secondary casters know if the assassinated creature is returned to life, as per the crimson assassin resurrection sense class ability. An assassinated body used in a failed scarlet vigil occult ritual cannot subsequently be used in another such ritual. Since failing to correctly perform this ritual unravels the primary caster’s assassination and puts all casters at risk, high-level members choose their secondary casters carefully, sometimes watching them for months to determine whether they are worthy of participating, as well as seeking guidance from senior leadership concerning which novices are the best choices.

Second Sight

Source PRG:HA

School divination; Level 4
Casting Time 40 minutes
Components V, S, M (an eyedropper filled with water from the Elemental Planes of Water), SC (at least 2, up to 6)

Skill Checks Heal DC 32, 1 success; Knowledge (arcana) DC 32, 1 success; Perception DC 32, 2 successes
Range long (400 ft. + 40 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Target one living humanoid of the same size as the primary caster
Duration 10 minutes/character level of the primary caster
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster’s movement speeds are all reduced by 15 feet, to a minimum of 5 feet, for the next 24 hours.
Failure The target and primary caster have their vision permanently reversed, so the primary caster sees only what the target sees and vice versa. This effect can be removed only by greater restoration, limited wish, miracle, or wish.

EFFECT

The primary caster carefully applies specially prepared water to the target’s eyes. Following this application, one or more secondary casters paint the primary caster’s closed eyes, creating lifelike eyes overtop of the closed eyelids.

When the primary caster’s eyes are closed, she sees through the eyes of the target. This vision only works while the target is within range of the primary caster, and only if the ritual is successful. While seeing through the target’s eyes, the primary caster is susceptible to gaze attacks, patterns, and other sight-based and visual attacks as if she were the target.

Seeded Doom

Source PRG:HA

School transmutation [evil]; Level 8
Casting Time 8 hours
Components V, S, M (internal organs of an aberration), F (the crystallized brain of an aberration worth at least 7,500 gp and a book, painting, or section of sheet music), SC (up to 12)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana or history) DC 37, 2 successes; Knowledge (planes or religion) DC 37, 2 successes; Spellcraft DC 37, 4 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 character levels of the primary caster)
Target one object
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw see text; Spell Resistance see text

Backlash The primary caster is reduced to –1 hit point and is exhausted, and all secondary casters are exhausted.
Failure The ritual fails to affect the object, and all casters are afflicted by the seed’s effect with no saving throw.

EFFECT

The casters grind the organs into paste and use it to paint their lips and tongue. Anointed by madness, they chant profane blasphemies into the focus brain, causing it to throb and glow. The primary caster releases this energy as a foul sludge, which trickles onto the other focus before seeping into the paper or paint. A successful ritual corrupts the targeted piece of art, planting a metaphysical seed into it, which propagates itself into any copies of the work later created based on the corrupted original; this includes book copies or matched painting duplicates, but not art, literature, or music that is merely derivative. A living creature subjected to the seeded piece of art, typically by hearing or seeing it, must succeed at a Will save or be afflicted by the seed (SR applies).

By default, the seed causes insanity or a madness, but numerous types of seeds exist, from different variants on this ritual with slightly different components, foci, and ritual DC. A few examples include becoming blind or deaf, contracting a disease, or rising as a zombie after death.

Seek Astral Insights

School divination; Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, M (a number of candles made of pure beeswax equal to the number of wandering stars in conjunction when the ritual is attempted), F (a mithral chain worth 5,000 gp), SC (up to 8)

Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana) DC 31, 3 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 31, 3 successes
Range primary caster
Duration 1 hour/character level of the primary caster

Backlash The primary caster is rendered speechless for 1 week (if the ritual fails, this duration begins after the end of the feeblemind effect).
Failure The primary caster’s Intelligence and Charisma scores drop to 1 and she gains the other effects of a feeblemind spell for 24 hours.

EFFECT

This ritual can be cast only at midnight on a night when no fewer than three wandering stars (planets) are in conjunction and within view of the casters. The ritual must be performed at the top of a hill, mountain, or other natural vantage point.

The primary caster is first wrapped in the focus chains, and the candles are lit in the pattern of the stars in conjunction. The primary caster must sit in complete silence, concentrating on the light of the candles, while the secondary casters circle, chanting the occult incantation. If the ritual is successfully completed, the primary caster’s mind is allowed to wander the Astral Plane unhindered, and she can ask one question each hour her mind wanders. The spirits of the Astral Plane answer the caster truthfully, though there is usually only a 60% chance that they will have the answer the primary caster seeks (the chance may be higher or lower at the GM’s discretion, depending on the nature of the information sought). If they don’t have the answer, the spirits admit that they lack the knowledge the caster seeks rather than trying to deceive her.

Trial of the Sixteenth Step

Source PCS:OR

School necromancy [evil]; Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, F (a ring or amulet worth at least 5,000 gp), SC (up to 4)

Skill Checks Bluff DC 29, 3 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 29, 3 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Target one creature; see text
Duration 1 week; see text
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster takes 2d6 points of damage.
Failure The primary caster takes 2d6 points of force damage for each use of channeled energy being siphoned. All secondary casters take 1d6 points of force damage per use of channeled energy being siphoned.

EFFECT

Outwardly, the trial is described as a grueling ordeal wherein the faithful earn the ability to channel divine power. The reality is far more mundane: the “clerics” undertaking the trial are kept hidden in luxurious surroundings for several days and then are provided with a focus, typically in the form of an extravagant amulet or ring, which the ritual charges with magical energies.

The true ritual is performed in hidden compounds and prisons. The divine connections of imprisoned worshipers of outside faiths are subverted, siphoning the worshipers holy power into the foci provided to those deemed worthy of undergoing the false trial. Through this perversion of faith, the clergy are able to channel small, stolen acts of divine healing.

In order to enact this ritual, the primary caster must interact with at least one creature capable of channeling positive energy to heal living creatures. This subject must have at least one use of channel energy remaining for the day. The primary caster then engages in a ritual of deception, eroding the subject’s faith and siphoning it away into the focus item.

This requires equal amounts of subterfuge and religious knowledge on the part of the primary caster, who ensures the subject willingly concedes matters of faith without entirely forsaking her deity.

If the ritual is successful, the subject loses a number of uses of channel energy equal to the primary caster’s Charisma modifier. These charges are stored in the focus for up to 1 week. The wearer of the focus can release the channeled energy as a standard action to heal living creatures in a 30-foot burst centered on the wearer. The amount of damage each use of channeled heals is equal to the amount it would have healed if coming from the target creature.

Utterings of the Wendo

Source PCS:OR

School conjuration (calling); Level 6
Casting Time 60 minutes
Components V, S, M (crushed animal bones and two smooth stones), SC (up to 8)

Skill Checks Diplomacy DC 31, 2 successes; Knowledge (nature) DC 31, 3 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 28, 1 success
Range primary caster
Duration concentration of the primary caster
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance no

Backlash All casters are exhausted and gain 1 temporary negative level (DC = 16 + the primary caster’s Charisma bonus to remove the condition after the first day).
Failure The primary caster is immediately afflicted with malaria with no onset time (disease—save DC 18; frequency 1/day; effect 1d3 Str and 1d3 Con/day plus fatigue; cure 2 saves). At the GM’s discretion, a particularly powerful hostile wendo may possess the primary caster (as per possession). This persists for the following 24 hours.

EFFECT

This ritual allows a supplicant to become a temporary vessel for a specific wendo, who speaks through the petitioner.

By using finely crushed animal bones to mark her own skin with symbols associated with a specific wendo, the primary caster readies herself for possession by that wendo. After lying prostrate and placing smooth stones over her eyes, the primary caster negotiates with the wendo to convince it to inhabit her body.

An unwilling wendo can resist the summons by succeeding at a Will saving throw. If the wendo succeeds at the saving throw, it doesn’t enter the primary caster, but the ritual is still considered a success. A wendo that fails or forgoes this save is summoned into the primary caster’s body, where it speaks by way of the caster’s voice, which takes on elements associated with that wendo (a gravelly quality for a wendo tied to the earth, for example). The wendo has no further control of the caster’s mind or body, and it must leave the primary caster when that caster ceases to concentrate. While the wendo speaks through the caster, secondary casters can ask it questions, at a maximum rate of 1 question per round (regardless of the number of secondary casters). The wendo speaks in a language the primary caster knows and can refuse to answer questions, can answer them cryptically, or can lie using Bluff with a +16 bonus on the attempt. The wendo is not otherwise beholden to the ritual casters.

Veil Structure

School illusion (glamer); Level 8
Casting Time 80 minutes
Components V, S, M (a half-gallon of water from a fresh spring and a potion of invisibility), F (a pair of mithral pitchers and two golden aspergillums, worth 25,000 gp total), SC (at least 4 and up to 12)

Skill Checks Knowledge (nature or local; see below) DC 32, 4 successes; Spellcraft DC 32, 2 successes; Sleight of Hand DC 32, 2 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./character level of the primary caster)
Area one 20-ft. cube/character level of primary caster
Duration permanent (D)
Saving Throw Will disbelief (if interacted with); Spell Resistance no

Backlash The primary caster takes 1 permanent negative level.
Failure All casters cannot be targeted by any beneficial glamer effects (such as invisibility) for 1 year (this is a curse effect, and can be removed with remove curse and similar effects).

EFFECT

The primary caster starts this ritual by placing the fresh spring water in one of the mithral pitchers and the potion of invisibility within the other. The caster then mixes the components of the two pitchers by pouring the water into the pitcher that holds the potion and then transferring the mixed contents back into the pitcher that initially held the water. She then repeats this transference between pitchers six more times, before handing one of the pitchers to one of the secondary casters. In complete silence, the primary caster and the chosen secondary caster use the aspergillums to splash the mixture on a building or structure they wish to veil, which must be no larger than the ritual’s area.

If the building or structure is in a natural environment, the casters must attempt Knowledge (nature) checks for the ritual. If the building or structure is in an urban environment, they must attempt Knowledge (local) checks.

Upon the successful completion of the ritual, the building is veiled, and it appears as if the area were devoid of anything but its natural or urban setting. All of the ritual casters are still able to see the faintest outline of the building and interact with it normally. The primary caster also gains the ability to grant up to 10 creatures per day that she touches the ability to see the faintest outline of the building for a 24-hour period.

Voice of the Damned

Source PPC:HHH

School necromancy; Level 4
Casting Time 30 minutes
Components V, S, M (a blade worth 150 gp and a parchment), SC (up to the Intelligence modifier of the primary caster)

Skill Checks Diplomacy DC 31, 2 successes; Intimidate DC 31, 2 successes
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one neutralized haunt
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance no

Backlash All casters take 1d6 points of Constitution damage.
Failure All casters take 1d6 points of Constitution drain.

EFFECT

The caster rouses the lingering consciousness of a neutralized haunt. Upon the ritual’s completion, a spirit resembling the entity that empowered the haunt manifests before the caster and scrawls a message of 25 words or less onto the provided parchment, using the caster’s blood. This message provides a cryptic clue regarding how to permanently destroy the haunt, acting much like the information granted by a divination spell, except that there is no chance that the information will be incorrect because the haunt hopes to end its suffering.

Welcome The Blighted Soul

Source PRG:B6

School necromancy [evil]; Level 9

Casting Time 9 hours (only during a new moon)
Components V, S, F (ring of standing stones empowered with necromancy that cost 25,000 gp to create via Craft Wondrous Item), sacrifice (18 living intelligent beings of the same type as the caster, sacrificed every 30 minutes during the ritual’s casting time)

Skill Checks Intimidate DC 31, 2 successes; Knowledge (nature) DC 31, 3 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 31, 4 successes
Range touch
Target caster
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; SR no

Backlash The caster is reduced to –1 hp.
Failure The caster is immediately slain.

EFFECT

After sacrificing 18 lives (traditionally, these lives are those of unwilling druids who would have tried to stand against the blasphemy the caster is attempting), the caster sacrifices himself and immediately rises from death as a siabrae.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: John Bennett, Logan Bonner, Robert Brookes, Jason Bulmahn, Ross Byers, John Compton, Adam Daigle, Jim Groves, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Brandon Hodge, Ben McFarland, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Thomas M. Reid, Alex Riggs, Robert Schwalb, Mark Seifter, Russ Taylor, and Steve Townshend.