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Ieatelves
2011-04-09, 10:10 AM
Hello y'all!

I'm an experienced 3.5 player and I'll be DMing a 4.0 game very shortly. In my party, there we be an artificier goin' 'round throwing potions and whatnot and I've looked the documents again and again without finding a vital answer:

On what do I base myself for the DC of each ritual/alchemy checks?

I see some spells have tables in which you can see the effect depending on the check you make (higher it is, better it works!) but those with no such description must have some sort of DC.

Thanks for the help, it's greatly appreciated!

Surrealistik
2011-04-09, 10:18 AM
Hello y'all!

I'm an experienced 3.5 player and I'll be DMing a 4.0 game very shortly. In my party, there we be an artificier goin' 'round throwing potions and whatnot and I've looked the documents again and again without finding a vital answer:

On what do I base myself for the DC of each ritual/alchemy checks?

I see some spells have tables in which you can see the effect depending on the check you make (higher it is, better it works!) but those with no such description must have some sort of DC.

Thanks for the help, it's greatly appreciated!

Many Rituals actually automatically succeed without any sort of skill check.

evirus
2011-04-09, 10:20 AM
Many rituals don't require DCs because they don't require checks, they just cost components and time.

If there is a check required, the success thresholds are listed as tables within the description of each ritual (Ex: Animal Messenger PHB1 p300)

However it is important to remember that you can only master (perform) rituals that are your level or lower.

Ieatelves
2011-04-09, 01:34 PM
Ahyes, excellent, I think I see it now. The rituals with (No checks) added in description d'ont have a table to list the DC of each effect, while those who do have tables don't have the (No check) in the description.

The key skill (If I understand this correctly) is the skill required to perform the said ritual or alchemical spell. If not trainned, you cannot execute it!

Simple, surprisingly!

Reluctance
2011-04-09, 01:42 PM
Key skill also denotes the components required.

As a heads up, rituals are often considered wastes of money and time compared to what skills can do. Alchemical items tend to be inferior to powers. (They're about as good as waker powers, except they don't benefit from weapons/implements or feats, and they cost money.) They're interesting and you'd be a nice DM to hand out extra cash/components to keep the player happy, but they're in no way optimal.

Ieatelves
2011-04-09, 03:40 PM
Well I could build up a budget for each player, and those who use alchemy/rituals would have an increased budge of about 10-30% (without their notice, mostly beeing because the said increase would be in materials and reagents and not bare cash). Any thoughts on this idea?

evirus
2011-04-09, 03:52 PM
Well I could build up a budget for each player, and those who use alchemy/rituals would have an increased budge of about 10-30% (without their notice, mostly beeing because the said increase would be in materials and reagents and not bare cash). Any thoughts on this idea?

I don't understand what you are getting at. Are you trying to limit the use of rituals? They would already have paid for the ability to make them via a feat or via a class feature.

Also, can't just use cash/gold. They need to buy the regents so they can preform said rituals. If you are looking to limit their use of them, simply limit the access they have to purchase regents (Oh, sorry we're all out of sanctified oils at the moment...).

If your artificer wants to make alchemical items (which all have to be his level or lower), let him. The effects of these items are varied and can be useful, but overall less effective than his class powers.

Jokes
2011-04-15, 10:42 AM
If not trainned, you cannot execute it!

Actually, you don't need to be trained in the key skill to use a ritual. The Ritual Caster feat and the appropriate level are the only two things you need to master a ritual and you only need to use the skill if it requires a skill check.


I don't understand what you are getting at. Are you trying to limit the use of rituals? They would already have paid for the ability to make them via a feat or via a class feature.

He's trying to let people actually use rituals by adding more components (not just GP) to treasure.

The big problem with rituals is the casting time. 10 minutes for something that in 3.5 would normally be done in a standard action is a bit of a drag. If you have a horde of orcs chasing you, you aren't going to stop for ten minutes (or an hour if you want those beatsticks to survive too) to cast Water Walk to escape across the river.

In some ways it stops magic being the solution to every problem, but it also means that if there's another way other than a ritual, then the other way wins. So rituals just fall to the wayside.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 11:03 AM
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=188861

This is probably the best solution for making Rituals consistently viable and attractive.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-15, 11:44 AM
This is probably the best solution for making Rituals consistently viable and attractive.
The almost total absence of feedback on that thread should be a good indication that it's really not the "best" anything.

The problem isn't that rituals cost money and ten minutes. The problem is that (almost) everything that can be solved with a ritual, can also be solved faster and more effectively with a skill check. Changing the ritual cost to five minutes and a healing surge does absolutely nothing to alleviate that. The end result is still, as Jokes points out, that "if there's another way other than a ritual, then the other way wins. So rituals just fall to the wayside."

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 11:51 AM
The almost total absence of feedback on that thread should be a good indication that it's really not the "best" anything.

Or that no one saw fault with it, and found no need to post, to say nothing of the fact that there's a positive post and exactly 0 negative ones.


The problem isn't that rituals cost money and ten minutes. The problem is that (almost) everything that can be solved with a ritual, can also be solved faster and more effectively with a skill check. Changing the ritual cost to five minutes and a healing surge does absolutely nothing to alleviate that. The end result is still, as Jokes points out, that "if there's another way other than a ritual, then the other way wins. So rituals just fall to the wayside."

Scrying, teleportation, object repair, creation of impenetrable barriers, creation of hovering disks that carry ungodly amounts of weight, nigh impenetrable concealment of camp grounds, redistribution of healing surges, removing permanent afflictions, raising the dead, creating magical wards, transfering enchantments, illusory walls and objects, creating masses of false gold, creating nigh-impenetrable selective locks, essentially autofinding hidden doors, walking on water, speaking with the dead, etc.

Yeah, skill checks sure can do 'almost anything faster and more effectively' than rituals.

Daftendirekt
2011-04-15, 11:54 AM
The word "Almost" is a very important part of that statement. Yes, there are some rituals that are extremely useful like teleportation, raising of the dead, and such. However, he is right that most of the rituals just aren't worth it in the slightest.

evirus
2011-04-15, 11:55 AM
The problem isn't that rituals cost money and ten minutes. The problem is that (almost) everything that can be solved with a ritual, can also be solved faster and more effectively with a skill check.

The upside to most rituals is no rolls to succeed, that has to be weighed against the speed on a skill challenge you can fail at.

However, unless as a GM, you include situations where using rituals are more viable than skill checks (swimming accross rapids is likely something the invoker will fail at) you won't see the players use them often.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 11:58 AM
The word "Almost" is a very important part of that statement. Yes, there are some rituals that are extremely useful like teleportation, raising of the dead, and such. However, he is right that most of the rituals just aren't worth it in the slightest.

But it's not even 'almost'; that huge, sprawling list demonstrates that, and I really can go on. Yes, rituals aren't worth it (for the most part) when you're dinged typically for 10 minutes _minimum_ and gold every last time you want to use one; the gold expense for even a half CL ritual is still significant, especially when used repeatedly, to say nothing of component availability, and the ambiguity of the amount you'll need to purchase. This is precisely why I suggested that fix, alleviating most of the problems of ritual casting without allowing them to essentially wreck campaigns ala 3.5 magic.

evirus
2011-04-15, 12:03 PM
But it's not even 'almost'; that huge, sprawling list demonstrates that, and I really can go on.

I don't think the point is the % of rituals that can't be replaced by skills. It's the fact that those than CAN be replaced by skills automatically are and those that can't, take to long to be used under duress. Which means unless your DM goes out of his way to set up ways or scenarios to use them... most players won't.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 12:07 PM
I don't think the point is the % of rituals that can't be replaed by skills. It's the fact that those than CAN be replaced by skills automatically are and those that can't, take to long to be used under duress. Which means unless your DM goes out of his way to set up ways or scenarios to use them... most players won't.

I'm sure a central point of his argument is in fact contingent on the % given his mention of it, and it being a fundamental basis of his dismissal. Yes, there are rituals that can be replaced by skills, but even in those cases, rituals tend to be better (Knock for example) assuming you have the prep time (and the cost isn't prohibitive of course), and you usually do when you attempt these sorts of skill checks, so the substitution is not exactly automatic.

In short, the problem with Rituals is not that skills by and large replace them (because they don't), it's that they're too cumbersome and costly.

evirus
2011-04-15, 12:15 PM
In short, the problem with Rituals is not that skills by and large replace them (because they don't), it's that they're too cumbersome and costly.

Exactly, you have a swiss army knife and a problem. You can either use your knife to try to solve your problem now or stop, drive to the store, buy the right tool, drive back and then fix your problem. The 2nd solution is much better, however isn't available if a horde of goblins is chasing you down or if you are in the middle of a fight.

Again, unless the GM makes room in the campaing (time with no or little duress) for rituals, players won't use them.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 12:20 PM
Exactly, you have a swiss army knife and a problem. You can either use your knife to try to solve your problem now or stop, drive to the store, buy the right tool, drive back and then fix your problem. The 2nd solution is much better, however isn't available if a horde of goblins is chasing you down or if you are in the middle of a fight.

Again, unless the GM makes room in the campaing (time with no or little duress) for rituals, players won't use them.

How often do you try to open locked doors, disarm traps, or search for hidden passages while being engaged in combat, or otherwise under immediate duress? It happens, absolutely, and that skills can be used under duress is a point in their favour, but that's the exception, not the rule. I mean, you get time to short rest right? Under my system, you can use rituals in that same time frame without needing components; it eliminates the overlong duration rituals and the expense, which are the two main things that impede rituals, particularly when it comes to niche use vis a vis skills.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-15, 12:38 PM
The word "Almost" is a very important part of that statement. Yes, there are some rituals that are extremely useful like teleportation, raising of the dead, and such. However, he is right that most of the rituals just aren't worth it in the slightest.
Agreed.


However, unless as a GM, you include situations where using rituals are more viable than skill checks (swimming accross rapids is likely something the invoker will fail at) you won't see the players use them often.
Whether this is a group check or a skill challenge, in both cases other party members can make up for the invoker's lack of athletics skill. In other words, the DM has to make up some very contrived situations in order for most rituals to become practical.


Exactly, you have a swiss army knife and a problem. You can either use your knife to try to solve your problem now or stop, drive to the store, buy the right tool, drive back and then fix your problem.
Also a good point. Most rituals are extremely situational, so they require a substantial prior investment for a situation of which you don't know if it will come up.

evirus
2011-04-15, 12:42 PM
How It happens, absolutely, and that skills can be used under duress is a point in their favour, but that's the exception, not the rule. I mean, you get time to short rest right? Under my system, you can use rituals in that same time frame without needing components;

If you can take a short rest, you can almost always take 2.

That leaves your rule handling components only and most house rules allow you to use GP instead of components. However, handing out components as part of parcels is just as valid a method of handling that.

I've found as a player and as a GM when charcters want to use rituals the most (at low levels which is what your fix is mostly for), they often can't due to duress. That's why I often include ritual use within many Skill Challenge encounters. It makes my players feel like they get to use their rituals.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 12:45 PM
Agreed.

Except as stated in the rebutting post, 'almost' is untrue.


Whether this is a group check or a skill challenge, in both cases other party members can make up for the invoker's lack of athletics skill. In other words, the DM has to make up some very contrived situations in order for most rituals to become practical.

Rituals don't suffer for a lack opportunities (as a whole, yes, individual Rituals obviously tend to be circumstantial), so much as the resources required to employ them; this much is obvious. There are plenty of situations that do not feature duress where Rituals are blatantly preferable, assuming you can afford to employ them.


Also a good point. Most rituals are extremely situational, so they require a substantial prior investment for a situation of which you don't know if it will come up.

This is true, and I've acknowledged as much; this is also something my fix explicitly addresses.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-15, 12:47 PM
If you can take a short rest, you can almost always take 2.
Indeed, you often do take two in order to use Healing Words on the party.

The issue isn't how many minutes it takes; the issue is characters that, while the wizard is casting Water Walk, simply get impatient and start swimming.


I've found as a player and as a GM when charcters want to use rituals the most (at low levels which is what your fix is mostly for), they often can't due to duress.
I concur. A viable fix for rituals that I've seen is to have a caster pick three rituals after an extended rest (or 1 per int mod, or 1 per tier), and be able to cast each of those once as a standard action. Most rituals still aren't particularly good with this rule, but at least they're no longer that bad.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 12:55 PM
Indeed, you often do take two in order to use Healing Words on the party.

The issue isn't how many minutes it takes; the issue is characters that, while the wizard is casting Water Walk, simply get impatient and start swimming.

Given the existence of narrative time how does this happen? I mean, I can understand more impulsive characters doing this ICly but to cite this as a legitimate issue goes a bit far.


I concur. A viable fix for rituals that I've seen is to have a caster pick three rituals after an extended rest (or 1 per int mod, or 1 per tier), and be able to cast each of those once as a standard action. Most rituals still aren't particularly good with this rule, but at least they're no longer that bad.

Easily breakable; there are many rituals that are too powerful to be allowable as a Standard Action. For example, Fantastic Recuperation, Arcane Barrier, Magic Circle, many teleportation rituals, Raise Dead, Tenser's Lift, Rope Trick, etc...


If you can take a short rest, you can almost always take 2.

That leaves your rule handling components only

That simply isn't true as many powerful rituals have cast times greater than 10 minutes; 10 minutes just happens to be the most common cast time.

Second, the difference between 5 and 10 minutes can remain substantial; many DMs will make an allowance for single short rests in-between consecutive encounters for example, but probably won't give you a full ten, though I do acknowledge that yes, you can usually afford the full ten in cases where you can take a short rest. My point is that the difference cannot be dismissed.


and most house rules allow you to use GP instead of components. However, handing out components as part of parcels is just as valid a method of handling that.

These aren't good fixes because

A: Casting rituals still comes at a substantial and permanent opportunity cost. This is a significant (perhaps even the biggest) part of their problem.

B: In the case of handing out components, it's difficult for even the DM to gauge just how much the PCs need or would benefit from them (short of the most contrived and pre-envisioned uses). It is in general hard to determine the number of components to purchase/hand out.


I've found as a player and as a GM when charcters want to use rituals the most (at low levels which is what your fix is mostly for), they often can't due to duress. That's why I often include ritual use within many Skill Challenge encounters. It makes my players feel like they get to use their rituals.

Really? I find there's plenty of time to use rituals in between combats, or prior to danger in the event of lasting rituals like Tenser's Floating Disk. Sure, you can't use rituals in combat, but that's very much intentional, and a good idea in general so that skills aren't essentially replaced (and broken uses of rituals can be avoided).

I do like the idea of permitting Ritual use in skill challenges though; I think I will integrate that as a feature of mastered rituals (I am concerned about the impact this would have on skills though).

DeltaEmil
2011-04-15, 01:21 PM
Rituals shouldn't have an activation time short enough to be used during combat, else, we return to the same problem of 3rd edition where magic was always the superior option to the skill check.
Having skill checks be used as the default is the intended goal of the increased time that rituals need. Now, if they might take 1 hour, 10 minutes, 5 minutes or 3 minutes might be worth looking into for balancing reason (they're meant to be used too, after all). That's the problem. Make them too bad (because they take too long or cost too much, although cost starts becoming negligible and is less of a problem with gaming groups that don't level up that fast), and nobody uses them. Make them too good, and they'll always be used, and those with skills are side-lined.

Insofar, I consider it to be a feature (for now - my opinion might perhaps change in a few years) that rituals can't be effectively used during stress-situations like combat.

Lordsmoothe
2011-04-15, 01:23 PM
Scrying, teleportation, object repair, creation of impenetrable barriers, creation of hovering disks that carry ungodly amounts of weight, nigh impenetrable concealment of camp grounds, redistribution of healing surges, removing permanent afflictions, raising the dead, creating magical wards, transfering enchantments, illusory walls and objects, creating masses of false gold, creating nigh-impenetrable selective locks, essentially autofinding hidden doors, walking on water, speaking with the dead, etc.

Yeah, skill checks sure can do 'almost anything faster and more effectively' than rituals.
Here's the thing. When determining how frequently rituals are effective, we're not determining how often rituals fulfill the specific parameters they fulfill better than mundane alternatives, we're determining how often rituals fulfill the parameters of the situation at hand better than mundane alternatives.


When the situation calls for some information gathering, it's almost always cheaper, easier, and faster to use stealth, perception, and streeteise.
When you need to get from point A to point B, it's almost always easier to walk.
When something breaks, it's usually easier to just find/buy a new one. Depending on the availability of reagents, this may be cheaper too.
When you need to block off an area, how often does the barricade need to be "impenetrable?"
When you need to carry stuff, you usually just carry stuff. Ungulates are also usually quite serviceable in this regard.
Concealing your campsite is generally the purview of the nature skill, mostly because it costs nothing and works all the time, 99% of the time.
I honestly have never been in a situation where I needed to redistribute healing surges. You've got me on this one.
Most afflictions are easily handled with endurance and heal rolls.
PC deaths are usually handled by not dying, but maybe that's just me.
Real walls usually work as often as illusory ones.
Few locks need be nigh-impenetrable, most doors can be found with perception checks, and crossing bodies of water is usually more conveniently handled with boats and/or athletics checks


There are, yes, times when the specific parameters lend themselves to rituals.

When you need a floating disk.
When the only key to a vault has been broken and cannot be replaced.
When some moron in the party dies.
When the guy with the singular piece of knowledge you need is dead.
When the GM tells you "that affliction is incurable" or any other variant of "mundane options are being explicitly denied in this situation."


Rituals are great when the situation calls for them, but situations rarely do. (Magic circle, though, is OP and always worth the investment).

Kurald Galain
2011-04-15, 01:45 PM
Rituals shouldn't have an activation time short enough to be used during combat, else, we return to the same problem of 3rd edition where magic was always the superior option to the skill check.
That's not true as long as rituals (1) cost money, and (2) have many limitations that skill checks do not.


Make them too bad ... and nobody uses them. Make them too good, and they'll always be used, and those with skills are side-lined.
Yes, that is a problem. WOTC has clearly overcompensated towards "bad" when designing 4E. (regarding the power level of rituals, that is)



When you need to block off an area, how often does the barricade need to be "impenetrable?"
Few locks need be nigh-impenetrable,
And just for the record - barriers or locks created by rituals are not impenetrable in the first place: any creature that is actually a threat to you can take them down much faster than you can put them up (with the exception of, as you state, Magic Circle).

Tenser's Floating Disc, however, is awesome.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 01:48 PM
Here's the thing. When determining how frequently rituals are effective, we're not determining how often rituals fulfill the specific parameters they fulfill better than mundane alternatives, we're determining how often rituals fulfill the parameters of the situation at hand better than mundane alternatives.


When the situation calls for some information gathering, it's almost always cheaper, easier, and faster to use stealth, perception, and streeteise.
When you need to get from point A to point B, it's almost always easier to walk.
When something breaks, it's usually easier to just find/buy a new one. Depending on the availability of reagents, this may be cheaper too.
When you need to block off an area, how often does the barricade need to be "impenetrable?"
When you need to carry stuff, you usually just carry stuff. Ungulates are also usually quite serviceable in this regard.
Concealing your campsite is generally the purview of the nature skill, mostly because it costs nothing and works all the time, 99% of the time.
I honestly have never been in a situation where I needed to redistribute healing surges. You've got me on this one.
Most afflictions are easily handled with endurance and heal rolls.
PC deaths are usually handled by not dying, but maybe that's just me.
Real walls usually work as often as illusory ones.
Few locks need be nigh-impenetrable, most doors can be found with perception checks, and crossing bodies of water is usually more conveniently handled with boats and/or athletics checks


First of all, I've already acknowledged the point (repeatedly actually) that rituals as is need overhauling with respect to monetary costs. That said, to address your individual points:

Scrying can obviously do things and gather information well and vastly beyond the purview of any skill. If nothing else, it will do it infinitely easier and faster.
Vis a vis ritual sponsored teleportation/flying? There's really no contest.
Depending on the size and object, Make Whole can fix things substantially faster and more cheaply than skill checks. It will also do so perfectly, and without need for replacement parts and other such considerations that are indivisible from mundane solutions. There are also elements you simply can't just go out and get a replacement for (and even if you could, this is an added inconvenience that generally takes a lot longer than 10 minutes when adventuring, and may not even be possible/tenable); a broken mechanism that allows you to proceed to the next area in a dungeon for example.
Obviously an impenetrable, _selective_ barrier is a lot more useful than an easily defeatable mundane, non-selective barricade which you may or may not have the materials to erect.
Ungulates can't follow you in nearly as many environments, have upkeeps, are susceptible to fear, incapacitation and death, and your disks have greater weight capacity besides, in addition to secondary benefits given that they hover and are virtually indestructible. PCs have also very limited carrying capacities by comparison.
Concealing whole campsites with Nature or any other skill alone is complete DM ad-hoc. Furthermore, if you're taking an Extended Rest, time is not an object with respect to this ritual.
You mean your low surge controllers/strikers have never, ever found themselves tapped out of surges while your surge heavy strikers still have plenty? That's incredibly fortunate. While this doesn't come up all the time, it certainly happens enough for Comrade's Succor to be consistently useful.
Not all permanent afflictions permit removal or resistance in this way, and even if they do there is the possibility of failure (not to mention it generally takes longer to shake off such an affliction).
PC deaths tend to happen eventually in any adequately challenging campaign, given that sooner or later, the dice sometimes work against you. Death is rare but it occurs. There is a reason Raise Dead is looked upon as an essential ritual.
How do you plan to make a 'real wall' exactly where you need it with a duration longer than 5 minutes, short of yet another ritual?
There are locks/doors that Thievery simply can't open, either because the skill modifier isn't high enough, or because it's secured in such a way that a Thievery check simply can't work (inaccessible bolts/bars). Further, Passwall enables you to breach pretty much any door (or impassable wall) in a way no mundane method can hope to replicate.
Detect Secret Doors Arcana result + your Perception check = autofind any doors without problems, because that is an overwhelmingly huge bonus. It will easily detect things even someone with Perception trained and maxed out will miss most (if not all) of the time. Further, it will find _everything_ in Line of Sight.
Boats are cumbersome, heavy, cost money (significantly more than Water Walk's component cost), and are hardly always accessible. Not everyone can do Athletic checks, and even if you could, there are often bodies of water you simply do not want to swim in.


Rituals are great when the situation calls for them, but situations rarely do. (Magic circle, though, is OP and always worth the investment).

Not the case at all. Individually most rituals are situational (though there are gems that are consistently applicable), collectively, you can almost always find a use for your ritual book assuming you picked out your rituals intelligently.


And just for the record - barriers or locks created by rituals are not impenetrable in the first place: any creature that is actually a threat to you can take them down much faster than you can put them up (with the exception of, as you state, Magic Circle).

Practically impenetrable for the vast majority of CL to CL +5 enemies; how many mobs have a high enough Arcana/Thievery to sunder the barrier/door (nevermind the Knock ritual)? How many have the ridiculous Strength needed to beat your pumped up, twinked out Arcana check? Very few, if any.

JysusCryst
2011-04-15, 03:26 PM
The original point of this thread was a 3.5 player asking how to handle 4e rituals in regards to one of his PC using Brew Potion to throw little magical Molotov Cocktails. It's not really a question as to what's more useful, but the PC play choice. This was easily handled by handing out component with the treasure, making the components easily available, or letting the PC magically turn his gold coins into "Eye of Newt" on the spot during the ritual.

On the use of rituals though, it's a time vs. chance of fail basis. Rituals take time, but most are auto-success. Skill checks take much less time, but can fail and have negative consequences. Also, in the campaign I'm playing now, we don't have a rogue/thief in the party, and none of us are trained in thievery, so Knock is the only feasible way to open locked/barred doors. We'd have to make sure we have time and resources to do it, but if we kill all the baddies first, it's easily possible.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-15, 03:38 PM
Rituals take time, but most are auto-success.
Well, actually, they're not. Looking over the PHB, most of them require skill rolls and will indeed not do what you want them to if you roll too low. For example? Comprehend Languages requires a DC 35 check to be able to speak or write it. Arcane Lock requires a roll to determine the DC to open it; if you roll low on that, your lock won't hold. Roll too low for Detect Object, and you can only find something within 5 or 10 squares. Botch a Remove Condition check and your subject dies.


Also, in the campaign I'm playing now, we don't have a rogue/thief in the party, and none of us are trained in thievery, so Knock is the only feasible way to open locked/barred doors.
No it isn't - either keep making thievery checks until you get a 20 (which is explicitly allowed by RAW, and is still faster than Knock) or just use a battle axe.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 03:50 PM
Roughly half the total # of rituals don't require a skill check. That said though, the real advantage of rituals is that they either allow you to do things that skills simply cannot, or they are flat out superior in terms of impact or results relative to an equivalent basic skill check.


No it isn't - either keep making thievery checks until you get a 20 (which is explicitly allowed by RAW, and is still faster than Knock) or just use a battle axe.

Completely false; Natural 1s and 20s do not apply to skill checks. If you're stating that doing this will on average net you a better result than 1 Arcana check with a +5 before the ritual's cast time concludes, fair enough. Granted about breaking down a door, but that's not always an option, or at least a smart idea.

Further, barred doors are impossible to open with Thievery, (they're not locked) but can be opened discreetly with Knock.

Of course, there's always Passwall which has no mundane equivalence short of hacking and hewing a literal hole.

Reluctance
2011-04-15, 04:26 PM
#1: Kurald is talking about the fact that rolling a skill check until you get a 20 is less investment than casting a ritual until you do. The average for a ritual beats the average for a roll, granted, but the ability to reroll tends to come out ahead.

#2: Nobody's saying that you can't find situations where rituals are superior to the mundane option, even when you factor in the costs. (Although I'm at a loss as to how standing in front of a door waving for ten minutes is "discreet".) The question is, how often is it worth the opportunity cost of paying the ritual's market price? Even classes with free rituals don't get that many (the wizard tops out at 13), which means you'll have to decide which rituals are worth the up-front cost. Most aren't.

Lordsmoothe
2011-04-15, 04:33 PM
Interestingly, wizards may be at that perfect point where the number of rituals they get "for free" and the number of rituals that are worth knowing are roughly equal.

JysusCryst
2011-04-15, 04:34 PM
I got ninja'd thanks to really REALLY slow internets.

I thought about breaking down the door after I hit post, but yes, 'tis an option we could use. Also, as Surrealistik said, barred doors can't be lock-picked.


Completely false; Natural 1s and 20s do not apply to skill checks.

I believe he means just keep rolling till you get a 20 and add your thievery skill. If that's not enough, then it's not enough, you can't pick the lock. (In this case, the DM should tell you it's impossible anyway, but meh.)

I didn't have my PHB out when I wrote that last post, but looking at it now, yeah, a lot of rituals do use checks. However, many do auto-succeed, they just use a check to see how WELL they succeed. You still Comprehend Language if you roll below a 35, you just can't speak/write it. Arcane Lock is still locked, maybe not very good at all, but it's locked. Detect Object still lets you find it, it just has to be close. And Remove Condition...well, it'll be bad if you botch it and the character dies, but he is no longer diseased! Reading Raise Dead, it says they still suffer permanent effects suffered when he died. So diseases would stay, even if the character dies from it, or something else and is risen. So even if Remove Condition does kill the character, just Gentle Repose and truck him to the nearest temple, or try to Raise him yourself.

EDIT:Thanks to some faulty wiring and aforementioned bad internets in general, this post came WAY later than I tried posting it. I'm surprised it posted at all actually.

Surrealistik
2011-04-15, 04:48 PM
#1: Kurald is talking about the fact that rolling a skill check until you get a 20 is less investment than casting a ritual until you do. The average for a ritual beats the average for a roll, granted, but the ability to reroll tends to come out ahead.

Yes, I caught that, and explicitly mentioned the possibility in my post. That said, Knock will still permit you to pick locks even an effective Thievery 'take 20' cannot. It also defeats magical barriers.


#2: Nobody's saying that you can't find situations where rituals are superior to the mundane option, even when you factor in the costs.

I'm not saying anyone is.


(Although I'm at a loss as to how standing in front of a door waving for ten minutes is "discreet".)

As compared to straight up attempting to bash it in? Absolutely. You don't actually make any noise when you do a Ritual (unless explicitly stated).


The question is, how often is it worth the opportunity cost of paying the ritual's market price? Even classes with free rituals don't get that many (the wizard tops out at 13), which means you'll have to decide which rituals are worth the up-front cost. Most aren't.

Upfront costs are generally negligible, as they're one time expenditures, especially amongst the heroic-early/mid paragon tier rituals; it's the recurring costs to use them, as well as the cast times that can really be prohibitive. But that said, I do agree though that there are quite a few Rituals which simply aren't worth their opportunity cost (though probably not the vast majority), and they should have their prices downgraded accordingly.



Interestingly, wizards may be at that perfect point where the number of rituals they get "for free" and the number of rituals that are worth knowing are roughly equal.

Definitely not. There are far more useful rituals than the Wizard has free slots.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-15, 07:00 PM
#1: Kurald is talking about the fact that rolling a skill check until you get a 20 is less investment than casting a ritual until you do.
Correct. Most skills explicitly can be retried as often as you like. On average, within 20 rounds you'll eventually roll a 20, whereas casting the average ritual takes at least 100 rounds.


(Although I'm at a loss as to how standing in front of a door waving for ten minutes is "discreet".)
Indeed. It is a common misconception that the Knock ritual can somehow be performed silently. The rules posit no such thing.


Also, as Surrealistik said, barred doors can't be lock-picked.
Irrelevant, as they can still be bashed down; 4E has no hardness rules. In other words, it requires deliberately ignoring parts of RAW to make certain rituals useful.


I didn't have my PHB out when I wrote that last post, but looking at it now, yeah, a lot of rituals do use checks. However, many do auto-succeed, they just use a check to see how WELL they succeed.
That's not the point. Many skill checks also auto-succeed, because they allow infinite retries. The whole point of Arcane Lock hinges on the question, does it take you less time to put up (100 rounds) than it takes your pursuers to open it (around 4 rounds probably).

It doesn't matter whether the text contains the word "failure", it matters whether you accomplish your task. If your task is trying to converse with a group of orcs, then Comprehend Languages won't actually do that unless you have epic-level arcana skill; whereas a simple diplomacy check will actually work, while also being cheaper and faster.

JysusCryst
2011-04-15, 07:41 PM
That's not the point. Many skill checks also auto-succeed, because they allow infinite retries. The whole point of Arcane Lock hinges on the question, does it take you less time to put up (100 rounds) than it takes your pursuers to open it (around 4 rounds probably).

No one in their right mind would try to cast a ritual in combat, or any other time were time is of the essence. No one is arguing that a skill check is faster. Knock isn't the best ritual, because you can take 20 on a thievery check (with time), or attempt to just brute-force your way through a door. However, Passwall, Raise Dead, Cure Disease, Remove Affliction, Enchant Magic Item, the portal rituals, and some others are all very much worth their time and cost when need arises.

Rituals are time consuming, costly, and can be very situational, but the are very useful when you actually use them. Besides, they also add flavor. We are talking about a Role-Playing Game, after all. Not everything needs to be optimized.

EDIT: And beside, while the wizard is busy waving his army around trying to unlock the door, I go take an OOC smoke-break. :smallbiggrin:

Reverent-One
2011-04-15, 07:46 PM
It doesn't matter whether the text contains the word "failure", it matters whether you accomplish your task. If your task is trying to converse with a group of orcs, then Comprehend Languages won't actually do that unless you have epic-level arcana skill; whereas a simple diplomacy check will actually work, while also being cheaper and faster.

Uh, no, a diplomacy check isn't doing anything if you can't speak the orc's language.

Telok
2011-04-15, 10:18 PM
Uh, no, a diplomacy check isn't doing anything if you can't speak the orc's language.

A diplomacy check can plausibly let you succeed at charades and will definitely keep the orcs from becoming hostile. Casting a spell on the orc chieftain without asking can lead to being attacked.

But the real weakness of the language ritual is that orcs and almost everything else with a language speaks common or is telepathic. The weakness of the scrying rituals is that they take more than an hour to cast, only last a maximum of 5 rounds (30 seconds), and have a very small viewing radius.

And remember, to copy a ritual into your ritual book takes 8 hours per tier of the ritual and costs reagents equal to the purchase price of the ritual. Plus the 8 hours to master the ritual before you can cast it. These costs are per ritual.

If you want ritual use in your game beyond the ten or so overpowered and required ones then you give out scrolls. Or make contrived situations to force the use of a ritual, after giving it to the players and hoping they don't just sell it.

Jokes
2011-04-15, 10:23 PM
Uh, no, a diplomacy check isn't doing anything if you can't speak the orc's language.

Not really, it says nothing about language in the skill description, so one could make non-verbal diplomacy checks. Besides, Comprehend Languages only lets you understand a language that you've seen or heard, so it's no use unless you roll a 35+. More likely you will just be making Insight and Diplomacy checks.

JysusCryst
2011-04-15, 10:35 PM
Still, a diplomacy check without knowing the language SHOULD get a -10 to your roll. If you can understand the language, even if you can't speak it, should only bring it down -5. There is no RAW on this, but I'd houserule the negatives into it in less than a heartbeat.

The DMG says:

Fundamentally, language never has to be an issue in the game - unless you want it to be.

Reverent-One
2011-04-15, 10:54 PM
Not really, it says nothing about language in the skill description, so one could make non-verbal diplomacy checks.

One can if the DM allows, but assuming that to be the case is not a good idea. Coming up with a sign language to communicate with someone who doesn't speak your language is a bit beyond the purpose of Diplomacy.


Besides, Comprehend Languages only lets you understand a language that you've seen or heard, so it's no use unless you roll a 35+. More likely you will just be making Insight and Diplomacy checks.

It's more likely you'll be either speaking in common or not speaking at all until you can hit the 35 DC really.

Jokes
2011-04-15, 11:19 PM
One can if the DM allows, but assuming that to be the case is not a good idea. Coming up with a sign language to communicate with someone who doesn't speak your language is a bit beyond the purpose of Diplomacy.

Simple non-threatening cues (palms out, arms open) can say a lot.


It's more likely you'll be either speaking in common or not speaking at all until you can hit the 35 DC really.

A Command Circlet is a level 5 item and gives telepathy, which negates any need for language. For any wary creatures that may not like someone speaking in their heads, Gems of Colloquy are level 2 magic items. You'll be able to afford these before you can reliably hit DC35.

Edit: Ok, Command Circlet is for warforged only, we always have one in our party so I oft overlook that :smalltongue: In that case, False Blood Amulets are level 7 and can change their language daily.

Surrealistik
2011-04-16, 12:03 AM
Indeed. It is a common misconception that the Knock ritual can somehow be performed silently. The rules posit no such thing.

Nor do they state that it cannot. What is explicitly true however, is that bashing a door down is blatantly noisy.


Irrelevant, as they can still be bashed down; 4E has no hardness rules. In other words, it requires deliberately ignoring parts of RAW to make certain rituals useful.

Of course you can; that's explicitly why I mentioned that Knock remains beneficial for being stealthy as compared to bashing the door in.

Further, the Rules Compendium explicitly spells out that DMs are within their rights to rule that certain materials possess innate resistances.

Third, Knock counteracts magical barriers such as Arcane Barrier, which is something no skill alone can do.


That's not the point. Many skill checks also auto-succeed, because they allow infinite retries. The whole point of Arcane Lock hinges on the question, does it take you less time to put up (100 rounds) than it takes your pursuers to open it (around 4 rounds probably).


That is a grossly inaccurate way of gauging the value of Arcane Lock.

First of all, you apply the ritual when there is little to no time pressure, and thus action/time economy is relatively unimportant.

Secondly, you can buff up your Arcana check with Aid Another (and other temp benefits) so that it is basically impossible for your lock to be beaten short of outright destroying the door. It may take a monster a couple of rounds to figure this out in the first place unless you have a Cheater DM.

Third, you take advantage of Arcane Lock when time pressures exist, and action/time economy _is_ important (like combat).

A classic use of this ritual is to fortify and Arcane Lock one or more strategic doors, and lure enemies into your prepared area. Tactical exploitation of the doors can result in monsters wasting actions and turns manoeuvring themselves into disadvantageous positions for basically no payoff whatsoever, thinking they could access a door or hallway to advance, take cover or flank while under fire for example, only to find that it is inaccessible. Alternatively, you could use the ritual to trap enemies in a room (either by doing it surreptitiously while they're inside or luring them in there after the ritual is cast), effectively divvying up an encounter; these are only a few possibilities.


On the point of the Diplomacy skill, the DM clearly has room to rule that language barriers adversely impact the skill check; this would fall under the category of temporary/circumstantial modifiers as defined in Diplomacy's entry (which would be appropriately huge).

Kurald Galain
2011-04-16, 04:47 AM
A diplomacy check can plausibly let you succeed at charades and will definitely keep the orcs from becoming hostile.
Precisely; that's about the "saying yes" nature of 4E. If the party encounters a group of orcs they can't understand, then of course they're going to try diplo checks, bluff checks, stealth checks, religion checks, and whatever else they can think of. This has no reason not to work, unless the DM is arbitrarily declaring that the situation may only be resolved with the Comprehend Languages ritual. And unless he does so, the encouter is dealt with easier and more cheaply without the ritual.


A Command Circlet is a level 5 item and gives telepathy, which negates any need for language.
Reading Spectacles are a level 2 item that lets you read every language, in case you'd need to. But yes, it's a very good point that practically everything you're going to meet will speak Common anyway.

Surrealistik
2011-04-16, 10:50 AM
Precisely; that's about the "saying yes" nature of 4E. If the party encounters a group of orcs they can't understand, then of course they're going to try diplo checks, bluff checks, stealth checks, religion checks, and whatever else they can think of. This has no reason not to work, unless the DM is arbitrarily declaring that the situation may only be resolved with the Comprehend Languages ritual. And unless he does so, the encouter is dealt with easier and more cheaply without the ritual.

I know you're doing your best to ignore me Kurald, but that doesn't dismiss the fact that by the RAW, the DM is within his rights to make such a Diplomacy check difficult if not impossible by invoking the temporary/circumstantial modifier clause.

Leolo
2011-04-16, 12:42 PM
The point is that comprehend languages is not meant for such situations, but for situations where you find a text that you don't understand (maybe "attention: The trap is on the right side of the corridor" or the riddle to solve the quest.)

Diplomacy might indeed help if you want to talk to someone you don't understand. At least a little bit. But it does not help if you are standing in front of the secret door and don't know that you should say "friend" to get in. Reading spectacles could do this, too - but then again there are other situations when those are useless compared to comprehend languages. And it is not clear if you would have them.

Also the DC 35 skill check is not nearly "epic". A ritual focussed level 2 wizard could break it actually even without it's comrades assisting. Until level 10-14 most wizards that are interested in it will break this DC easily. The others will simple say: It is better to use diplomacy and understand what the opponent is saying than to use it and not understand it. Its simple a question of "how much will you invest in better understanding?".

And of course...its just one of many rituals. You will not solve tasks only with them, because this would be inflexible and boring. But you might solve tasks faster, better and safer with them.

Leolo
2011-04-16, 12:48 PM
Indeed. It is a common misconception that the Knock ritual can somehow be performed silently. The rules posit no such thing.

The rules explicitly states that you can perform rituals silent. The ritual caster chooses the type of actions he is doing to make the ritual work, and gestures count as such.

Performing a Ritual: To perform a ritual that you have mastered, you spend a certain amount of time (specified in the ritual description) performing various actions appropriate to the ritual. The actions might include reading long passages out of the ritual book, scribing complex diagrams on the ground, burning special incense or sprinkling mystic reagents at appropriate times, or performing a long set of meticulous gestures. The specific activities required aren’t described in most ritual descriptions; they’re left to your imagination.

Nonah_Me
2011-04-26, 02:25 PM
I'm of the opinion that if a character has rituals available to him (such as a wizard or bard, or a character who specifically chose the ritual caster feat) then you should know what rituals they have and create ways that rituals would be of use.

For Comprehend Languages, I'd create some tome that was written in code or alternating languages, say Draconic Text with Dwarven Syntax, or the equivalent of D&D Leet Speek. The characters could figure out some or most of the tome or message with a skill challenge, but comprehend languages would allow you to get the information in a quicker, more reliable manner.

Kurald Galain
2011-04-26, 03:00 PM
The characters could figure out some or most of the tome or message with a skill challenge, but comprehend languages would allow you to get the information in a quicker, more reliable manner.
The thing is that 100 rounds of ritual casting is slower, by RAW, than getting half a dozen successes in a skill challenge of "no action" knowledge checks.


I'm of the opinion that if a character has rituals available to him (such as a wizard or bard, or a character who specifically chose the ritual caster feat) then you should know what rituals they have and create ways that rituals would be of use.
Thereotically, yes. In practice, for most rituals you have to make up extremely convoluted and unlikely circumstances.

For example, quoting Saph on the Knock ritual, "And you don't have a Warlock either? Or a Ranger with the Rogue multiclass feat? Or any other class with the Thievery skill? Or anyone who's taken skill training or a multiclass feat to pick it up? And you can't find the key or go around it? And you can't take a Strength check to bash it down? And you can't just destroy the door with a weapon?

Then yes, if all of that is true and you have a ritualist who's bought the Knock ritual and who's level 4+ and who has the gold to spare and who's willing to expend a healing surge and if the door's important enough to be worth the effort in the first place and if you also have ten minutes to spare standing around chanting the ritual . . . then yes, if every one of those conditions is fulfilled, then Knock is useful."

evirus
2011-04-26, 03:03 PM
"And you don't have a Warlock either? Or a Ranger with the Rogue multiclass feat? Or any other class with the Thievery skill? Or anyone who's taken skill training or a multiclass feat to pick it up? And you can't find the key or go around it? And you can't take a Strength check to bash it down? And you can't just destroy the door with a weapon?

Then yes, if all of that is true and you have a ritualist who's bought the Knock ritual and who's level 4+ and who has the gold to spare and who's willing to expend a healing surge and if the door's important enough to be worth the effort in the first place and if you also have ten minutes to spare standing around chanting the ritual . . . then yes, if every one of those conditions is fulfilled, then Knock is useful."

If they have gold to spare they still need to go get the regeants. That requires a trip so add some more time :smalltongue:

Nonah_Me
2011-04-26, 03:40 PM
Admittedly, things like Knock are less than useful. And by RAW, things would be faster to do knowledge checks that require no real action.

Personally, I wouldn't take rituals like Knock as a player. I would take the Hand of Fate ritual, or Remove Affliction (only if I have it trained) for those circumstances where it would be a viable option. Things like Knock or Silence or Arcane Lock may be less useful (but perhaps more flavorful.)

Then again, I don't necessarily play by RAW. I wouldn't allow someone to make more than one Knowledge check on the fly, in the dungeon. I'd allow them to take a rubbing or spend some time to copy it, and then bring the rubbing or copy to the library for another knowledge check.

Reluctance
2011-04-27, 11:32 AM
Knock is the archetypal skill-replacement ritual. Skill-replacement rituals universally suck. I wonder what would happen if you turned them into skill-enhancement rituals (roll ritual check, add that as a bonus to the skill check), but I doubt it entirely makes up for the time/gold cost.

It'd be nice if ritual discussion acknowledged that skill-replacers were pretty much made of suck by their nature, and other rituals were the focus of the discussion. Scrying could be done well, if it didn't take one hour of ritual for, at most, thirty seconds of viewing.