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View Full Version : Pathfinder Ritual: The Taboo Ritual (possibly needing a better name, PEACH)



inuyasha
2016-02-23, 10:52 PM
I love the idea behind the ritual system, no matter how vague it may be, so I thought it would be nice to give the ritual system some love here on the forums. I loved the 3.5 version and I just made something experimenting with the Pathfinder version, so let me know what can be changed about this, or if you like it.

Taboo Ritual
Necromancy; Level 5
Casting Time: 50 minutes (only during a full moon)
Components: V, S, M (An infusion of mercury, water, and gold worth 500 GP)
Skill Checks: Knowledge (The Planes) DC 19 3 successes; Knowledge (Arcana) DC 19 2 successes
Range: Touch
Target: 1 humanoid corpse
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None; Spell Resistance: None
Backlash: 2d6 damage, caster is exhausted, one temporary negative level
Failure: The ritual fails, leaving a rotted husk moaning in a pool of blood, unfit for raising or resurrection of any kind. The caster suffers 2d6 points of additional bleed damage as his wounds fester and bleed profusely.

The taboo ritual knows no other name, but to those desperate enough to bring back the dead, it usually spells their doom.The ritual is performed on a night of the full moon by the caster spilling his blood (the 2d6 damage) and consuming the infusion in some way. This must be done on the night of a full moon, and a corpse placed in an intricate diagram is required to cast it. The ritual works by snatching the soul in question from it's resting place and essentially shoving it back into it's body, and a small portion of the caster's soul is left behind so that the gods do not realize the "snatched soul" is missing, resulting in an exhausting and painful experience for the caster (which causes them to be exhausted and gain one temporary negative level)

After the ritual is succeeded, the corpse becomes a ghoul that appears and acts completely as it did in life, with no rotted or deathly appearance (a DC 30 perception check is required to reveal something "off" about the ghoul). The ghoul itself doesn't even know of it's own undead state, though this could be revealed normally. A will save (DC 1) must be made by the ghoul one year after the ritual is performed, and this must be repeated every year thereafter (each time a save is prompted, the DC increases by 1). Success indicates nothing unusual happens, failure indicates that the ghoul's alignment shifts to chaotic evil and begins to rot as if time had affected it normally. This is a process that occurs over 1d4+1 days of violent, odd, and insane behavior as the soul leaves the body, leaving it in a feral and evil state. By the end of the process, the ghoul is permanently and irrevocably a chaotic evil monster bent on killing it's creator, but otherwise exists as a normal ghoul.


Again, let me know if you like it or have an idea for a change (or more importantly, if I made a terrible error while making this).

inuyasha
2016-02-24, 10:02 PM
BUMP

Does anyone have anything to say about this?

TheYell
2016-02-25, 01:22 AM
Why would you do this instead of resurrection? Savings in cost? Does the ghoul get any benefits like immunity to disease or poison? If the ghoul is destroyed can it be targeted with a straight resurrection?

Xuldarinar
2016-02-25, 06:35 AM
Why would you do this instead of resurrection? Savings in cost? Does the ghoul get any benefits like immunity to disease or poison? If the ghoul is destroyed can it be targeted with a straight resurrection?


Raised dead is a 5th level spell, but you are limited on how long they have been dead and if circumstances aren't conducive then you are out of luck.

Resurrection is a 7th level spell, meaning that this can be used at a lower level.



This is a cheaper, easier solution with few drawbacks. And by that I mean theres a flavorful repercussion that can occur and the simple fact of the matter is, they aren't alive technically. They may look it, think it, and feel it.. But they aren't.

Suppose you have lost someone and you uncover this ritual. Its a taboo resurrection spell. No one or thing says why it is Taboo, only that it is. Perhaps its because it defies death itself, who knows.? You proceed from there. Curiously, healing magics don't work on them, but rather hurt them. But they look alive.. You'd swear it. Time goes on, years later things are going normally when that fateful day occurs that it comes back to bite. Maybe you are still adventuring when the repercussions for your actions occur, or maybe they have gone home and settled down. Then, we have a plot hook to the next generation of adventurers. An old veteran adventurer going mad, consuming friends and family, and terrorizing the village in which they settled down.

inuyasha
2016-02-25, 09:44 AM
Why would you do this instead of resurrection? Savings in cost? Does the ghoul get any benefits like immunity to disease or poison? If the ghoul is destroyed can it be targeted with a straight resurrection?

Xuldarinar is absolutely right, and this could very well be more of a tool for NPC use than PC use. But another important factor is that with rituals, I believe anybody can perform them (I may be wrong about that...)! What if you lose the party cleric and you can't afford a resurrection? Have the party wizard try something out! Even a barbarian could do this, perhaps a specific orc in the wilderness sees his tribe in chaos after the chief has died from an illness, but in the tribe's shaman's notes he finds this strange ritual.

But yes, the ghoul gains all the benefits and qualities of being undead, and may be resurrected as normal if killed. However, this effect of being a target of the ritual should not be known by the target, or perhaps even by the caster, making it all the more insidious.

The original idea that I had behind this was having an NPC, perhaps a mid-level commoner or expert, try to bring back his wife out of a kind and loving gesture, going through a hellish ritual to bring back a loved one after realizing he can't live alone with himself.

Are there any issues with the ritual that need to be addressed?

johnbragg
2016-02-27, 12:22 PM
The idea of rituals is that anyone who can make the skill checks can cast them.

TheYell
2016-02-29, 12:05 PM
It has a definite usefulness then. It seems balanced but I'd prefer a clean resurrection to being a ghoul. What happens if you raise a paladin with this, he'd probably have to atone for his undeath!

Taboo Ritual is a good name.

TheYell
2016-02-29, 11:44 PM
Noticed the Duration is instantaneous. I believe this is really permanent.

johnbragg
2016-03-01, 03:05 AM
Noticed the Duration is instantaneous. I believe this is really permanent.

No, animate dead spells are instantaneous. Otherwise they can be dispelled, like baleful polymorph.

TheYell
2016-03-01, 04:53 AM
That Seems a sound basis for instantaneous even though it has a recurring effect.

Debihuman
2016-03-01, 09:50 AM
I haven't dealt with rituals much (other than the witch rituals from Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks.

Here's the difference between Instantaneous and Permanent (from 3.5 SRD but I imagine Pathfinder rules are similar)

Instantaneous
The spell energy comes and goes the instant the spell is cast, though the consequences might be long-lasting.

Permanent
The energy remains as long as the effect does. This means the spell is vulnerable to dispel magic.

Animate Dead has the Evil Descriptor in both Pathfinder and the 3.5. A dead paladin that has this cast on him has already had his soul sent to the great beyond (presumably where lawful good souls go) and so has no concern for his body which is being used by someone else. I'm not sure he'd have to atone since it's not like he gave permission to have his body used in this manner and this does violate the body (which could have been buried).

Note: You can resurrect someone killed by a death effect or someone who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed. You cannot resurrect someone who has died of old age. Constructs, elementals, outsiders, and undead creatures canít be resurrected. I find it disconcerting that if the ritual fails the party doesn't even then have the option of using resurrection. Not a fan of that. actually.

To be blunt it would be far easier to just resurrect a dead body than turn it into a ghoul, kill it and then resurrect anyway. Because that's what you would need to do unless there is a way to stop the ritual from turning Bob the Paladin into a permanent ghoul.

I'm not a fan of making new creature types. This reminds me of the deathless in many ways. Not really alive but not dead or undead.

Pardon me for being presumptuous, but you could just kill the ghoul and then resurrect the paladin normally. The paladin could also just can stay until the 10,000 gp can be earned. The resurrection spell works on bodies for 10 years per CL so Bob the Paladin can stay dead while his friends and family scramble to get the monies together or they could fill out an IOU and make Bob pay on the loan once he's resurrected. Maybe his paladin order will pay for a resurrection (which he then has to pay back twofold because such Orders need to make some cash too). There are lots of ways to resurrect a poor character. Indentured servitude works.

Debby

johnbragg
2016-03-01, 09:54 AM
It has a definite usefulness then. It seems balanced but I'd prefer a clean resurrection to being a ghoul. What happens if you raise a paladin with this, he'd probably have to atone for his undeath!

Taboo Ritual is a good name.

Well, your loved ones would have preferred that you left them with enough ready cash to buy 5000 gp worth of diamonds and a real 9th level caster. Unfortunately, all they could afford was....this.

OP: I never really looked at the numbers here before. If the idea is that this is the poor man's alternative to raise dead, then I think you want to reduce the numbers. Drop the price of the infusion--go with cheaper but more thematic things, grave earth, blood from a birth or from a newly-born animal. Things that are a bother to get, but that the average villager could get ahold of.

The problem with this ritual is that it's really hard. If no failures are allowed on the checks, then a caster with maxxed ranks in K-Arcana and K-Planes:
A 3rd level Int 15 caster has a +10 bonus on the checks. That's a 60% chance to make the first check, and an 8% chance to make all 5.
A 5th level Int 16 caster has +13, so a 75% chance for the first check, a 24% chance to make all of the checks.
An 8th level Int 17 caster has +16, a 90% chance on the first check, a 60% chance of success on all 5.

At that point, you might as well find a 9th level caster and be sure.

Maybe stat the ritual as a 3rd level spell-equivalent, so 3 checks? 22% at 3rd level, 43% at 5th level?

That puts it in play for E6 campaigns as a dark option, actually. NICE.

inuyasha
2016-03-01, 11:25 AM
Well, your loved ones would have preferred that you left them with enough ready cash to buy 5000 gp worth of diamonds and a real 9th level caster. Unfortunately, all they could afford was....this.

OP: I never really looked at the numbers here before. If the idea is that this is the poor man's alternative to raise dead, then I think you want to reduce the numbers. Drop the price of the infusion--go with cheaper but more thematic things, grave earth, blood from a birth or from a newly-born animal. Things that are a bother to get, but that the average villager could get ahold of.

The problem with this ritual is that it's really hard. If no failures are allowed on the checks, then a caster with maxxed ranks in K-Arcana and K-Planes:
A 3rd level Int 15 caster has a +10 bonus on the checks. That's a 60% chance to make the first check, and an 8% chance to make all 5.
A 5th level Int 16 caster has +13, so a 75% chance for the first check, a 24% chance to make all of the checks.
An 8th level Int 17 caster has +16, a 90% chance on the first check, a 60% chance of success on all 5.

At that point, you might as well find a 9th level caster and be sure.

Maybe stat the ritual as a 3rd level spell-equivalent, so 3 checks? 22% at 3rd level, 43% at 5th level?

That puts it in play for E6 campaigns as a dark option, actually. NICE.

I may remove the material cost, but that will raise the DCs according to the rules (unless I add something to balance it out like more damage to the caster, or inflicting them with a disease or something). The checks don't need to all succeed, I think that these rules just require that you succeed at least half of the total number of checks, so in this case that would be two successes.

If I do remove the material cost (I'm AFB right now, so the following numbers may be wrong) the DCs will be 20. For every temporary negative level the caster gains I think the DC is reduced by 2, if the caster gets a disease the DC is reduced by 4, and for every 2d6 damage the caster takes the DC is reduced by 1. Do you think a disease component would be a good idea here? Like maybe cackle fever or something to represent going insane after doing this?

johnbragg
2016-03-01, 12:05 PM
I may remove the material cost, but that will raise the DCs according to the rules (unless I add something to balance it out like more damage to the caster, or inflicting them with a disease or something). The checks don't need to all succeed, I think that these rules just require that you succeed at least half of the total number of checks, so in this case that would be two successes.

If I do remove the material cost (I'm AFB right now, so the following numbers may be wrong) the DCs will be 20. For every temporary negative level the caster gains I think the DC is reduced by 2, if the caster gets a disease the DC is reduced by 4, and for every 2d6 damage the caster takes the DC is reduced by 1. Do you think a disease component would be a good idea here? Like maybe cackle fever or something to represent going insane after doing this?

Ahh, it's two failed checks in a row that mean failure. So my math is all kinds of off.

EDIT: Wait, and you can take 10 if you're not distracted.

So a 4th level Int-based caster with Elite array stats and max ranks in the needed Knowledges can pull off DC 20 with no chance of failure (barring dramatic intervention). (7 ranks, +3 Int). Drop the material component--this is the poor man's Raise Dead, cast by adepts with dark reputations and priests of foul, dark gods.