Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Am I the only person who uses rituals?

I know that rituals have some design issues.  In fact, I have blogged about them in the past.  Despite these issues, I like rituals.  They are necessary to give the “primary spell-casters” an old-school feel. 

The first character I played in 4E D&D was a 16th level Divine Oracle Cleric.  He was a converted 3E character, so I loaded him up with as many rituals I could afford.  While I only got to play a few sessions with him, he gained a reputation as a regular ritual user.

I also recently had an opportunity to play a 2nd level Wizard.  While my choices were far more limited, I chose my rituals carefully and made sure I had enough reagents on hand to cast them as necessary.

Our current 4E game at the Lords of Tyr is the Scales of War game.  Our group contains a wizard, a cleric, a druid, and a bard.  All of these classes get the Ritual Caster feat and some rituals for free.  A couple of them, namely the druid and the bard, even get to cast some rituals without expending the component cost.

No one has cast a ritual in the game yet.

I find this fascinating because I was always looking for the opportunity to use my rituals.   Granted, the game is pretty low level still, with the group just having reached 2nd level last session.  Nevertheless, I would have expected someone to cast at least one ritual by now!

From what I have read, underutilization of rituals seems pretty common in 4E D&D games.  So how common is ritual use in your games?  Do you use any house rules to encourage their use?  Do you agree that rituals are a useful part of the 4E rules, or do you feel they are just tacked on garbage?

I would love to hear your opinion.

PS – To my fellow Lords (and Lady) of Tyr:  Vala, Niles, Tuldil’el, and Hurricane.  What rituals do your characters currently have?  Have there ever been any points where you have considered casting them in the game so far?  Do you have the proper components to cast them?  Or do you have to wait till we cash in at town?  Just curious.

8 comments:

Wyatt said...

I allow anyone with the Ritual Caster class feature to cast a ritual at half its normal casting time once per day. I also give ritual components as separate from treasure and Wealth-Per-Level but don't allow them to be sold.

As a DM I encourage their use. As a player, I try to use them as often as possible. The ritual-using cleric is one of my favorite characters to play, especially in my Spirits of Eden campaign setting or any other highly religious setting. Something about the ceremony and chant to complete a magic spell of that kind just captures my imagination.

But mechanically, they are kinda left behind. Even Mike Mearls admits this, apparently.

Josh said...

I feel your pain. Although I haven't played a character with the ritual casting feat, I'm always looking to make use of every ability my character has, so I think I would use them extensively.

Unfortunately, in the campaign that I DM, I've only seen a ritual used ONCE despite any encouragement from me.

Swordgleam said...

My group uses rituals fairly often. They're level 6 right now, so nothing earth-shaking, but they generally make their campfires less visible with rituals, and they've used Tenser's Floating Disk to carry heavy things. Plus, Comprehend Language is handy.

I played a paragon tier oneshot with a wizard, a warlock who had rituals, and a cleric. We abused rituals so much - we all had flying phantom steeds, the high-dex wizard cast Tenser's Disk and then the rest of us sat on it while he crossed the rickety bridge, etc. Rituals are awesome.

Bronz said...

As the player of Tuldil-el, I can say I have used rituals once. It was part of the character introduction, utilizing Make Whole to fix a few things at cost. I also look for any excuse to use a ritual, however the only other ritual that character has is Gentle Repose, which of course fits a cleric of the Raven Queen pretty perfectly, but is hardly a ritual that would get a lot of use in game.

John said...

I'm DM'ing a 4e game. I have been throwing ritual scrolls and components as treasure at my PCs left and right... they still have not cast one. Hopefully that changes. I think it has to do with the group dynamics (they are not prone to sitting down and taking inventory of what they have) and also, they are all very used to 3e, and I don't think they entirely "get it" yet.

Rob said...

Now that you mention it Bronz, I recall the use of Make Whole. Sorry about that.

I am still hoping we see expanded ritual use up at the Lords of Tyr. I am hopeful that our recently acquired booty will encourage a few ritual related purchases (either new rituals or components) when we get back to town.

Bronz said...

Now that you mention it, I think I should put something along the ritual lines up on the wish list. But since we're only 2nd level, and newly 2nd at that, not sure how useful that would be.

Todd said...

Speaking as one of the Lords of Tyr not mentioned (but sort of a fixture in your comments area anyway) I have always liked rituals. I admit that they feel a little tacked on, not unlike hedge magic of 3.x ed which I also liked in theme. The rituals themselves are largely leveled well, and tend to be somewhat useful but not over powered, which endears them to me more than a little. My concerns about their price, in my estimation a bit high in most cases, and the issue of funding this kind of activity with party funds, has been well covered in other entries... but over all, I am glad to see them in the game. In practice, though, I have some trouble reconciling my own lack of use of them. I think that part of it might be my perceived lack of value, correct or not. I have determined to attempt to make a gish style character by taking ritual casting feat as opposed to an arcane power source class at some time in the future. I have long wanted to do another plate wearing magi, and that looks like the best way to do so in 4e.

As to Chad's Scales of War game, I highly doubt my rogue will be doing any rituals any time soon, but she wasn't on the list, so I suppose that might be forgiven?

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