Examples of Solo Rituals

I find planning solo rituals a bit daunting. For the benefit of new players like me, would some experienced ritualists please describe what an onlooker watching your favourite solo ritual might see?

I’ll kick this off with one I am working on. If you have any advice I’d appreciate it:

The Volhov in the pointed black hat walked slowly around the regio, dragging her foot on the ground in a rough circle. At three points around the circle, she paused, crouched, placed a small wooden rune and waved a small fetish over it. She called the name of each rune as she did so, then glanced quickly about, as though perceiving things in the air about her for the first time.

“Wyr! Rune of Mystery!”

“Lann! Rune of Bargains!”

“Ull! Rune of Chance!”

Coming back to the start of the circle, the Volhov knelt again and pulled a bottle and small cup out of her backpack. She called;

“Spirits of the earth, spirits of the sky, come and take hospitality! Come and share your secrets! Grant me a glimpse of the future!”

She filled the small cup, tilted it to pour a bit to the ground then flicked a drop to the sky with her finger.

The Volhov lifted the drink to each of the cardinal directions, drank it, then grimaced. She pressed her hand to her eyes and paused.

A moment later, she looked at me. “Up you get, cousin! We’ve got a mystery to investigate now, and no mistake…”

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My Dawnish character did a short one last (game) year, when an Eternal was offering shinies. Unusually, this needed no Realm Lore :stuck_out_tongue: Some inspiration taken from Elric of Melnibone…

Rhion stepped into the Regio. The first shadows of night were growing in behind the long stones, and the tent-city of Anvil was quiet, momentarily, around him. He strode to the center, and opened a bottle of wine. Pouring some into an ornate goblet, he lifted it to the skies and declaimed:

“Sadouga, I call to you!
Brother of Wizards, hear me from the shadows…”

Stepping over to one side of the circle, he poured a little wine to the ground.

“I call to you as a friend, for we have a greivance in common!
The Druj have insulted us both, and deserve a right good beating:
I reach out my hand to you, wearing your rune as if a Favour, and name you my friend in this hour!”

Other hand punching the air, inked with the rune of Diras, he walked slowly around the circle in measured steps, sprinkling wine every now and then.

“I ask for your boon, O Toad King, to grant power to my maghics and pain to the Druj!”

Walking, he came round full circle, and paused.

“Aid a young brother now, O Globberslotch, and I shall bring you the screams of our enemies!”

Empting the last of the wine, he returned to the center, refilled the goblet and raised it high.

“A toast, to Sadouga, my friend!”

Draining the goblet and raising it high in salute, he stepped out of the Regio…

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Very atmospheric, thank you.

Lots of drinking in ritual magic apparently! I guess it’s true in real life ritual contexts too.

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Lots of Highguard Hearth magic for mine.

Start off with the washing of hands, mine and the target. Declare who I am, what I am doing and who my target is. Describe the effects of the ritual. Warn the target of making bargains with the Autumn realm, and that they should resist the side effects. Ask them if they feel the magic, what they hope to achieve with it. Declare who I am, what it is I’ve just done and who I did it to, then dismiss the magic.

They tend to end up a bit like a sermon, even though I am not a priest, but that is the Highborn way!

If in doubt repetition looks good, 3 times is a good number. And if stuck ask your target to tell you why they want the magic, or what they’re going to do with it. 2 mins isn’t all that long when you get moving.

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Thank you, lots of solo-able rituals target a character and I see how asking them for input both involves them in the ritual and gives everybody RP opportunities. I’ll definitely use these tips.

I thought of how a hypnotist operates, or The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, kind-of that advertising voice. Smooth deep voice, fairly continuous tone, keep talking, ask the target for their identity and consent, ask them to visualise the desired effect. Draw before them the runeword I am going to use (Feresh Rhyv, or what have you, two runes should be sufficient for nearly any solo ritual) and talk a little bit about what it means, then produce the mana. If you can do a little stage magic with it, well, so much the better - I can’t. I mime charging myself up with the mana, then draw again before them the runes, still using the conman/advertiser/hypnotist voice as I describe what I’m doing. Describe the effect I want the runes to have, so they know what ritual I’m actually casting :slight_smile: - then say that it has taken effect, and finish with some kind of ceremonial behaviour, “We are done: we are done: we are done.”

That usually takes me 2-3 minutes.

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as a solo ritualist I have found some events I do not do any and other times I can end up doing loads sometimes at very short notice. I came into empire as not being confident in doing rituals and not something I actually like doing so had alot of worry about doing rituals especially in front of people so here are my top tips.

  1. Do not worry if you are putting on a good show for others.

I mean having said this it is more fun for everyone involved if it is entertaining but you are not going to fail a ritual if it is dull so do not worry it can go wrong.

  1. Develop a style

I talk quickly I started off writing rituals and then found I said everything very quickly and ran out of things to do for the length of the ritual. I also worried about hitting the correct timings.

I am a higborn Day mage so I dived into the look and feel as well as heath magic of my nation. I now do my rituals in a slow chant as it allows me to take time to think stay calm and means I say less.

I ring bells and have pauses where I may just ring bells or roleplay other aspects.

I have set phrases I have worked out and fall back to mid ritual especially if I am doing it on the fly and need time to think. For me these are
'I call upon the realm of day… ’
‘Let sulars light guide your way’

  1. If your ritual has a target and if you can get them involved

Ask their name, ask their virtue, find out important stuff you can interpret into the style of the ritual. This can be done as part of your ritual. If you are do want specfic stuff from people then let them know first as part of the ritual planning.

For example if I cast sulars promise a ritual to allow someone to trade better I will if I can give them something to eat and drink and get them to talk about clarity. Ask the name of the ship (which they may or may not know) ask them where they go to trade (which they may or may not know)

Sometimes this is not possible (forcefully casting a calming ritual on someone who is under a curse) but then sometimes you can get help from people around you

  1. Watch your timing.

Now I use an glass egg timer for this which is 2 minutes. If you are doing the ritual solo awat from the ritual circle but if you are at the ritual circle and there are people waiting try to not overrun to much.
OTOH no one is likely to have a stopwatch on you for your ritual to check if it is a few seconds short.

  1. Check what your target is happy with.

If you are casting the ritual on another player check before hand what you can and can not do. If you plan to use fake blood are they okay with this.

If you want to touch them as part of the ritual check they are okay with this.

Not everyone is as comfortable as each other with certain aspects so best to check it also can be part of the telling them what is going to happen.

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It can help to have a prop or short set of lines associated with a given ritual to flavour it. I have a small wooden box full of things like half burned wood, phials of earth, candles, a rune chart, a map of the Empire, etc.

Brother Martin knelt close to the young man, looking down. “Sssso, the bad news is you’re cursed. The detect magic tasted like Balanced Blade would show more. The good news is we might be able to do something about it. Or at least help with sssome of the mind-meddling bits”
Martin drew a knife from his belt, jabbed it into the ball of his left thumb, then cleaned it and put it back.
“Tell me how it feels.”
Confusing, like I’m angry or sad all the time. Ever since I got back from the Plateau."
Martin nodded, taking a deep breath and extending his hand. Small drops of blood slapped into the grass inside the community hall.
“Winter’s breath, blackened tendrils, painful answers now I seek. Winter’s breath, blackened tendrils, show me what makes this one weak.”.

When doing this, I palm one of those single serving soy sauce bottles from a sushi pack, between my first finger and thumb. And I drip the fake blood out that. (I have disturbed people OC with how effective such a cheap trick can look)

Useful tips:

  • Involve the target, you can get them to bring more than just mana. When I did farm rituals I had them bring a piece of produce that represented something they grew on the farm. Then I asked the target to tell me how they wanted the power of Spring to make their crops even more productive.
  • Look at your nation’s hearth magic page and lace your roleplay with it. For example, I can make a simple poppet out of string in 2 min. Or draw a chalk design on the table in front of my target (if the owner of the table is OK with that).
  • If you need a filler for 2 minutes, a song or a poem in the back of your notebook works wonders. As does a 30s refrain you can repeat four times.
  • Buy one of those tiny sand glasses sold as “tooth brushing timers”. Paint the end caps metallic or paint them over so they don’t look plastic. Ask the target to hold it, or put it nearby…
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Also if you have some ideas try them out at home with a timer so you get a feel for pacing it will give you an idea if you have enough or too much for the time required.
I have an addition to my previous one as well

  1. Have some default props

So I carry a Bell, A crystal, a lightstone and a lens on me at all times so are my default props for most rituals.

Props I often use are a bowl and water or glass with water. These fit for alot of the rituals but do not carry these on me unless I know I am off to do that ritual and want it specifically.

Manipluating props can take time and be part of your rituals.

One of my ideas for a ritual for when we go back (as highborn now have diaries as part of their heath magic) is to simply talk to someone and make notes in my journal as part of the ritual so recording their story. Though I do plan to make it magical before we do it in someway but a chunk of it writing and making notes.

I have no idea if this is going to work as a fun thing or not but I want to have a go

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I’m a League street dramaturgist, but the general principle of my Ritual spiel (give the target a chance to talk about Cool Things About Their Character, involve bystanders, use the Ritual language that speaks to you) are probably applicable across the board.

As an example: my most cast Ritual as a member of the Anvil Hospital is Blood of the Hydra.

I’ll begin by explaining what Dramaturgy is in very simple terms (“This is a story we tell the universe, that’s so compelling it can’t help but shift to match it”).

I’ll then use the Ritual language to inform what that story is. In this example, I use the Witch (healing and renewal) holding the Cup (transformation, especially when held by the Witch) in either the Forest or the Garden (locations with a strong Spring Magic resonance) - I’ll ask the target which location they feel more drawn to, as the first bit of involving them. If the target can’t speak (for example, because I’m regrowing their tongue) I’ll instead ask one of their friends.

Each time I come to a thing, I’ll ask the target (or their friend, or if I have a big audience - Academy students are great for this - I’ll ask “who knows a person/place/thing like this?” and pick a volunteer) to describe something they know that fits the characteristics the thing embodies. In this example, it’s a forest/garden, a person they’d trust with their secrets, and their favourite drink.

After each description, I’ll ask (ideally) 2 bystanders “can you picture/hear/taste/smell (etcetera) the person/place/thing?”. If I get 2 yes’es, I’ll rejoice, declare we have our Forest/Witch/Cup, and move on. If they say no, I’ll prompt the person to give more detail.

Once I have all the elements, I’ll declare “and as you stand in [place], [character] hands you [thing]”, direct them in how to use the prop, and as they do describe what effect the Ritual should be having on them. Here, I’ll describe how the drink invigorates them, talk about new green growth and the vibrant energy of Spring. This is good to give the target an idea of what they should be experiencing, so they can react accordingly.

Once that’s do I thank my cast, tell my audience they’ve been wonderful, and take a bow.

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Best tips are covered above tbh but the main things:

  1. 2 minutes is quicker than you think, timers and practice are good.
  2. Props are awesome, i have too many tbh but variety is also good. Check your magical style and national hearth magic.
  3. Having a couple of stock elements like drawing up the magic, purging taint or sermonising are good time fillers.
  4. Involve targets/participants, some questions and response, dire warnings or explaining the rituals effects are all good.
  5. Dont be afraid to look a bit silly, its the nature of larp and its better to commit! :slight_smile:
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Freeborn Autumn over here. All my magic whether solo or coven is based on singing (which is a nice timing method; other traditions could feature a recitation)
Solo casting Winged Messenger - getting them to write the ‘address’ with quill (magic of contracts) then singing the correct song to send it away (I’ll fly away from o brother where art thou)
Mantle of the Golden Orator, borrowing from ideas of OC preaching, singing with you a ‘hymn’ to teach to your congregation - ‘people remember the song and hence the sermon’
Oh, and even if its being done for a family member or part of another deal, beginning or ending by demanding a coin, because magic is valuable.
Because hearth magic of family, occasionally have help with the singing (esp if our Smol Wizard is about) - it doesnt use a coven slot because only one of you is MAGICALLY contributing, any number can help with the performance. This is our way of including the newbs in casting - they dont even need magician, but they are helping.
It suits for our hearth magic to do a very joining in kinda thing; appreciate that it doesnt work for every style, but inclusion is good. Getting the target to echo a key phrase helps, we generally give themsome kind of instrument - tamborine works well for Orator becouse of the OC resonance with Southern Baptist type worship (see blues brothers movies for example)

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Thought i would post this up as it is a pictuure I took of the stuff I carry roung with me in my bag some are ritual props some are other stuff but this is what I have on me at any one time. Feel free to ask what things are if you care

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