Whoops! It’s a third post, as if it is some sort of bonus post, or perhaps as if I am trying to get rid of drafts that won’t be applicable in a week or so.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s an excerpt up about Rituals.

I like the theory behind what I’m reading here. D&D had a lot of iconic and interesting spells that were nearly impossible to use. It’s not that they were complicated. It’s that the choice between Magic Missile or Mend wasn’t really a choice. 3e mitigated this somewhat by putting a lot of minor spells into the 0th level category. Still, many higher level spells that were potentially interesting lost out to their more versatile or widely applicable counterparts. 4e is trying to change that.

Rituals, in theory, let you cast those spells without having to give up other abilities. Since they require either a hard copy of the ritual or a scroll, the only requirement seems to be having the skill and the ability to cast rituals. I’d be surprised if the latter weren’t achievable through a feat, multiclass or otherwise.

I notice that they also managed to preserve the notion of a scroll this way, too. While rituals can be performed from a book, which a character can do any number of times, a character can also perform them from a scroll, which is single use but cuts the casting time in half.

Some of the abilities they’ve picked for scrolls are old favorites or sound like spells I would’ve liked to have seen PCs use more: Magic Mouth, Traveler’s Feast, Speak with Dead, or Comprehend Language. Granted, a wizard with a reasonably large spellbook in 3e would’ve made this practical with the Scribe Scroll feat. Heck, maybe I’m missing out by not playing a wizard who scribes the crap out of scrolls.

I also like the idea that some of these are skill checks. For instance, Cure Disease offers a chance of death if you try to cure a disease that outclasses your skill. Interesting! I’d be disinclined to inflict this on the players unless they were consciously gambling with a PC or NPC’s life. (More on this sort of thing in another post.) That doesn’t mean I can’t, for instance, have stories where an NPC in over his head screws up and someone dies for it.

That’s all I have for now. I’m really looking forward to leaving some scrolls in front of the PCs and seeing what they do with them.