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> Ritual Magic, What is it used for?
Smirnov
post Sep 16 2010, 01:14 PM
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I want to apologise in advance if this topic was already discussed - I used the search function and didn't get the answer.

So, the question is what use is ritual magic?
There are no special ritual spells, you cast your regular spells.
You need a Lodge Force of desired Force of the spell being cast/number of participants.
You get only as many participants as the lowest Ritual Spellcasting skill in the group.
Ritual needs a spotter, who must astrally percieve the target for the whole duration of the ritual. If he loses the target, the ritual fails.
Force of the spell is limited by the Magic of ritual leader. No additional power, regular limitations.
Ritual goes for 12-Leader's Magic hours.
Ritual can be spotted and countered.
After the spell is cast, all participants suffer the same drain.

So, for example, we want to cast an epic fireball. There are five of us, all having Ritual Spekkcasting at 5 (otherwise we won't be able to cast). The teamleader has Magic of 5, so we can cast a spell of maximum Force 10 (as per Force rules on p. 182). That would take us 7 hours of casting with one bound spirit watching the target. Assuming he doesn't notice us, we cast our spell. Let's assume we get all those 10 hits, of which some are negated by target's Body. But let's take the maximum effect. Oour target is hit by a major fireball with DV of 20. That being fire damage means he's pretty much dead. But then comes the drain of 10, which leave us crippled at best. And if the target has some defence, he may yet still survive the assault. And he can notice the mana building around and track us (and we still stand and cast our juju not to suffer the drain). And, what's more, a much lesser dpell or a shot from rocket launcher would do the job just fine.

So, what's the trick? I'm a bit new to Shadowrun, so I'm surely missing some points of Ritual Spellcasting. What is it used for?
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Abschalten
post Sep 16 2010, 01:24 PM
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I'll give you the example I like to show to people who don't understand the usefulness of Ritual Spellcasting.

In fact, even in this example, my PC only had a Ritual Spellcasting of 2. At the time, I considered it one of those skills you could semi-safely skimp on.

It was one of the old Shadowrun Missions modules. Our team was to kidnap some little girl who lived in a nice, big mansion. Magical security was pretty lax, but she had some serious mundane back-up: a retired ex-runner was her personal bodyguard, and the premises had some pretty tight security. We could grab her at a few other places (school, among them) but we decided against those courses of action since many of them were too public.

We decided we'd get her from the house at night, in the middle of her posh neighborhood. Rather than go inside to get her, we decided to make her come outside to us!

My magician retired to his lodge, set up in his apartment, and initiated the ritual, using a bound spirit as a spotter (totally legal to do this, it's in the core rules). We timed it so that it would get done at 4 in the morning (it would take 7 hours.)

Most of the team sat near the mansion in a van. One of them, a very sneaky adept, got close to the girl's bedroom window about the time the ritual was to complete.

The ritual goes off, and it's an Influence spell. Suggestion, "Hey, I heard something outside my bedroom window. Let me go check it out!" Girl unlocks and opens the window, adept slaps a tranq patch on her, and she gets bundled up in the van and the team drives off with her.

In retrospect I probably could've done a Control Thoughts on her and forced her to climb out the window, but I wasn't sure how easily you could give commands to somebody when you aren't there to see what they're seeing.

In any case, ritual spellcasting can be quite awesome if used correctly. Magical assassinations are pretty high on the list, if you ask me.
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CanRay
post Sep 16 2010, 01:41 PM
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The traditional usage of Ritual Magic is tracking someone from something they've left behind. Usually blood or other bodily items, but can also be something they've had for a long time and loved.

Example: Street the Psychotic Samurai has just gunned down a dozen Lone Star officers and a few dozen citizens as a "Distraction", but was clipped by Lone Star while doing it. Lone Star's P-CSI (Paranormal Crime Scene Investigation) finds Street's blood, and uses a part of it to ritually trace his location, giving that to an Fast Response Team. Street, not being the brightest of fellows, doesn't hide in the Deepest, Darkest Barrens, but in the low-rent district of Tacoma. FRT "knocks" on his door with shotguns and raids the place, finding Street and the rest of his crew.

Example 2: Little Suzy Q. Wageslave is missing. Her parents, in a dither, have found the FBI unable to respond (Due to lack of funding), and hire an Occult Private Investigator. He goes into Little Suzy's room, and tries to find something to use in the ritual, eventually finding an old shirt that she almost never took off. It's a harder cast, and he eventually hits a magical barrier, which tells him that things are a lot more complex than thought before...
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Makki
post Sep 16 2010, 01:59 PM
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QUOTE (Abschalten @ Sep 16 2010, 03:24 PM) *
Magical assassinations are pretty high on the list, if you ask me.

that's what i wanna do sometime. ritual cast control actions/thoughts on the bodyguard of my wetwork target
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Smirnov
post Sep 16 2010, 03:16 PM
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So, we are basically talking about extending range of the spell over LoS limit? Because in all other aspects ritual spells are just normal spells with a bit more chance of getting maximun net hits?


QUOTE (CanRay @ Sep 16 2010, 05:41 PM) *
The traditional usage of Ritual Magic is tracking someone from something they've left behind. Usually blood or other bodily items, but can also be something they've had for a long time and loved.

What spell do you use to track by blood?
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CanRay
post Sep 16 2010, 03:36 PM
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QUOTE (Smirnov @ Sep 16 2010, 10:16 AM) *
What spell do you use to track by blood?

I'd say "Detect Individual" (SR4A, page 206), using the Blood (Or any other part of their body, or any other Material Link) as a connection rather than knowledge of them or their name, and at a much longer distance. (Material Links are in Street Magic, page 28).

Clairvoyance and Clairaudience can also be used, but are much more limited. (They can see/hear what the target does.).
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Smirnov
post Sep 16 2010, 03:42 PM
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Hm.. But how would a ritual enhance said spells? Detection spells are mostly buffs - you cast then on yourself, so how would having a material focus help you detect a person who is out of basic spell range? As far as I understand, ritual won't extend spell range (other then being cast with higher Force)
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Summerstorm
post Sep 16 2010, 04:07 PM
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Ah... as most applications of magic, ritual casting gets good only after metamagics.

Great Ritual for example allows you to just stack up magic-values of memebrs. Just add them... total insanity (Also the drain-backlash also gets insane too).

And like most people mentioned: Sympathetic link is absolutly vital for good rituals.

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Neraph
post Sep 16 2010, 05:13 PM
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I don't think there ever is a time where it is acceptable to get more than one person involved in Ritual Spellcasting. If a standard mage is able to be dangerous enough with Spellcasting, than he can easily be equally dangerous alone with Ritual Spellcasting. Adding someone else for possibly an extra 4 dice (1 success) while giving them the same drain is simply silly, especially since the best secrets are those that nobody else knows.
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CanRay
post Sep 16 2010, 11:56 PM
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QUOTE (Smirnov @ Sep 16 2010, 10:42 AM) *
Hm.. But how would a ritual enhance said spells? Detection spells are mostly buffs - you cast then on yourself, so how would having a material focus help you detect a person who is out of basic spell range? As far as I understand, ritual won't extend spell range (other then being cast with higher Force)

Simple, it allows you to cast the spell for a target that's out of your range. Or for targets you can't normally target.

OK, let's go back to Little Suzy. Magnum, OPI has the Extended Detect Individual Spell. First, he has never met Little Suzy, so can't cast the spell normally (Read the spell description). The Ritual Magic and Material Link (Not a Focus, but a Link. There's a difference, and it's more than calling a Magazine a Clip!) will allow Magnum to work the spell in the first place.

Secondly, say he did know Little Suzy. Possible that her parents are connections of his, and he's met the kid a few times. So, he casts the spell normally, rather than wasting time with the Ritual. That gets him a total range of Force * Magic * 10 metres. Let's say he's fraggin' good at his job, and has a Magic score of 5, and doesn't overcast. That's 5 * 5 * 10 = 250 metres. A quarter of a kilometre. That might get him to the Stuffer Shack on the corner.

Ritual Magic is pretty much limited by... Well, how much of a problem there is magically. A Background Count of significant number, a Mana Barrier, Magical Lodge, Ward, and so on... Of them all, only Background Count would be passive. The rest indicate a magical presence (Rather than just a knowledge of magical practices. Like the kidnappers knowing about Magnum, OPI, and what he'd do for Little Suzy.).
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jakephillips
post Sep 17 2010, 01:32 AM
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Yep ritual magic can be very dangerous. Fireball the driver of your very important target and kill him and everyone in the car with him.
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Summerstorm
post Sep 17 2010, 03:27 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Sep 16 2010, 07:13 PM) *
I don't think there ever is a time where it is acceptable to get more than one person involved in Ritual Spellcasting. If a standard mage is able to be dangerous enough with Spellcasting, than he can easily be equally dangerous alone with Ritual Spellcasting. Adding someone else for possibly an extra 4 dice (1 success) while giving them the same drain is simply silly, especially since the best secrets are those that nobody else knows.


Ah, but it totally IS. The extra dice/extra force make the difference between "Phew, lucky we counterspelled it in time" and "HOLY shit... WE CAN DO NOTHING... we have 4 hours to find the ritual and disrupt it OR YOU WILL BE DEAD"

Also you have to be clever about it: For example i THINK (Yeah, may not be possible, GM call?) you can have someone bury the magical link in the metaplanes for additional safety just after your ritual starts, so the other side has to find and send out some meta-travelers to find you in the first place.

I have made a slight experiment with ritual magic. See:

THE RITUAL:
For example. Let us assume a highpowered ritual group. (Low powered rituals, i give, are pretty limited)

We have 5 Mages: 1 Leader (Skill 6, Magic (IMG:style_emoticons/default/cool.gif) and 5 Supporters (Magic 6, Skill 5) The leader has Sympathatic Link and two of the supporters have Great Ritual as metamagics.

Ok.. so first they set up the ritual: They all buff their drain attributes, get their spirits together, set up their emergency medical team etc. No pressure.

Now they take out the favourite old watch of Damien Knight, which was switched by runners in a dangerous mission and begin to build the link. (Quickly after that, one might do a metaquest to hide the connection.)

Two People add their magic rating to the maximum force of the spell (+12). (Deathtouch Human) (F/2-3 drain), the other three throw successes. (Say they have 13 dice = ~4 hits)

The Leader now begins casting a force 28 Deathtouch human spell (Ok, totally overkill, as if 18 or so wasn't high enough) and edges the successes... : Say he has 32 (6 skill + 8 Mag + 4 Fokus +2 Spec + 12 Ritual helpers) dice and throws about 18 successes.

Damien Knights mages now have 4 hours (because on that force it is immidiatly discovered) to find and stop this ritual or he will be hit by a instant death attack, where he needs 18 counterspelling hits to live.

Every mage will face a drain of 11 physical. For a prepared highlevel mage totally possible to get that down to maybe five or so actual boxes with ease.

IF you use the optional rule of hits=extra drain DV for direct spell, Which i do, indirect spells are of course the tool of choice.
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Neurosis
post Sep 17 2010, 04:47 AM
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Allow me to answer the question posed in the topic title.

Ritual Magic is useful for killing/controlling people you CAN'T EVEN SEE.

QUOTE
Ritual needs a spotter, who must astrally percieve the target for the whole duration of the ritual. If he loses the target, the ritual fails.


You are forgetting two important things, mein herr. Material Link, and Sympathetic Link. For a magician competent with Ritual Sorcery, having someone's toe-nail clippings or a lock of their hair, properly preserved, is as good as having a cortex bomb in their head with your hand on the trigger.

I agree it sees very little use in my campaign. To me, that makes it no less awesome.
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Neraph
post Sep 17 2010, 05:24 AM
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QUOTE (Summerstorm @ Sep 16 2010, 09:27 PM) *
Two People add their magic rating to the maximum force of the spell (+12).

Where is that from? My book tells me otherwise.
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Summerstorm
post Sep 17 2010, 06:50 AM
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QUOTE (Neraph @ Sep 17 2010, 07:24 AM) *
Where is that from? My book tells me otherwise.


That is the "Great-Ritual" metamagic technique. Street Magic page... umm... let me see... 57.

Like i said, just like ALL forms of magic, rituals benefit greatly from metamagics. (Flux is totally sweet for it too...)
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Smirnov
post Sep 17 2010, 04:56 PM
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QUOTE (CanRay @ Sep 17 2010, 03:56 AM) *
Secondly, say he did know Little Suzy. Possible that her parents are connections of his, and he's met the kid a few times. So, he casts the spell normally, rather than wasting time with the Ritual. That gets him a total range of Force * Magic * 10 metres. Let's say he's fraggin' good at his job, and has a Magic score of 5, and doesn't overcast. That's 5 * 5 * 10 = 250 metres. A quarter of a kilometre. That might get him to the Stuffer Shack on the corner.

But with Ritual Magic you won't get more then Force 10 spell anyway. So it won't matter, whether it's ritual or not.

QUOTE (Summerstorm @ Sep 17 2010, 07:27 AM) *
Ah, but it totally IS. The extra dice/extra force make the difference between "Phew, lucky we counterspelled it in time" and "HOLY shit... WE CAN DO NOTHING... we have 4 hours to find the ritual and disrupt it OR YOU WILL BE DEAD"

All you have to do is kill the spotter...

QUOTE (Neurosis @ Sep 17 2010, 08:47 AM) *
You are forgetting two important things, mein herr. Material Link, and Sympathetic Link. For a magician competent with Ritual Sorcery, having someone's toe-nail clippings or a lock of their hair, properly preserved, is as good as having a cortex bomb in their head with your hand on the trigger.

Yeah, seem like truth. If we can negate this 'look at the target all the time or fail' trouble, rituals are viable at least for longer range spells. Thanks.

This post has been edited by Smirnov: Sep 17 2010, 04:56 PM
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Smirnov
post Sep 17 2010, 04:56 PM
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double

This post has been edited by Smirnov: Sep 17 2010, 04:56 PM
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Summerstorm
post Sep 17 2010, 05:01 PM
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QUOTE (Smirnov @ Sep 17 2010, 06:56 PM) *
But with Ritual Magic you won't get more then Force 10 spell anyway. So it won't matter, whether it's ritual or not.

All you have to do is kill the spotter...


Like i wrote: add with Greater Ritual as high as you want or CAN go (and if your people are willing to die you can just have them cast a ultra-high force spell and just explode... implode? whatever)



Also: Nobody uses a ritual with a spotter... It would only be worth it if the target has NO magical security but high physical one.
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Matsci
post Sep 17 2010, 05:08 PM
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My players love using a microdrone, like a dragonfly, to steal a small bit of building they are going into, then using ritual magic to map it out.
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Badmoodguy88
post Sep 17 2010, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE
My players love using a microdrone, like a dragonfly, to steal a small bit of building they are going into, then using ritual magic to map it out.

Reminds me of the model of Chicago Harry Dresden made in his basement. He spent months taking chips of stone and wood from every building and tree within the city. He used it to spy on people a few times and on time to send out confusing reading for a search spell (the pendent being tracked kept appearing and disappearing all over the city.

Having a huge stock pile of ritual links to buildings would be useful I suppose but I don't know how useful it would be to have it in a model form other than it looks cool and organize the samples. Any quickened spells would probably just affect the model or maybe the building but the spell would still be removable by dispelling it on the building as normal.
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Neraph
post Sep 17 2010, 06:05 PM
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QUOTE (Summerstorm @ Sep 17 2010, 01:50 AM) *
That is the "Great-Ritual" metamagic technique. Street Magic page... umm... let me see... 57.

Like i said, just like ALL forms of magic, rituals benefit greatly from metamagics. (Flux is totally sweet for it too...)

Ahh. That'd make it better alright, but I prefer to use magic that doesn't need to be made better.

I will go look at Great Ritual again though. Knowing what I know with the magic system, I think I can make it even scarier now.

EDIT: But yes, without Great Ritual, there's virtually no need for Ritual Magic altogether. In fact, it doesn't even get good without at least two Initiations devoted purely to it. Those same two Metamagics can be downright deadly if applied to other things.
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CanRay
post Sep 17 2010, 06:10 PM
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QUOTE (Badmoodguy88 @ Sep 17 2010, 12:31 PM) *
Reminds me of the model of Chicago Harry Dresden made in his basement.

Amazing the number of things you can steal from The Dresden Files for Shadowrun, isn't it?
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Mongoose
post Sep 18 2010, 04:48 AM
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One thing I don't see mentioned above is ritual casting when the target is physically present (and typically co-operating) at the ritual site. That's nice for buffing or healing spells where you want to max out the casting dice- handy when you'd have casting penalties because of the targets low essence or some such. Also handy when you'll be quickening the spell, so you can be certain to have maximum effect.

You don't often see ritual magic used that way, though. The ability to target folks using an astral spotter / ritual link is much sexier, and lets you chuck roughly the same number of dice around, so casting when the target is present at the ritual is understandably overlooked. To address this, I'd suggest that such situations can easily result in a background count, aspected to aid the spellcasting; it just makes sense, really.

Plus (as I recall) any member of the casting team can sustain the spell- which implies they could even hand it off from one to the next, or that several could sustain it in case any one of them drops it accidentally.
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Saint Sithney
post Sep 19 2010, 04:42 AM
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I love Ignite as a Ritual spell.

The target just starts to smolder, then bursts into flames and burns and burns until dead.
So nasty.
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Machiavelli
post Sep 19 2010, 07:46 AM
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Most of the time i donīt have a use for this skill. I also prefer to be "on spot" because this way i can react if the shit hits the fan. But if i want to find somebody that i really donīt have the slightest clue where he could be, ritual spellcasting it the weapon of choice.^^
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