Ritual Theory

Please imagine the mental image of a slightly hyperactive Labrador gleefully fielding a thrown stick: the stick in question being profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Ritual_theory.

cheering

First impressions:
Fundamental limits to magic. Excellent.
Experimentally derived laws for magic. Also excellent.
‘You can’t cross the streams’ isn’t in there explicitly, but may have been thought to be obvious; it’s certainly a logical consequence of various of the principles.
This is an excellent stick with which to provide consequences to experimental magicians determined to beat their heads against the laws of metaphysics until something breaks - and more than that, it’s a decent map to what is and isn’t possible.

Magical research is R&D, not bluesky research. You’re prototyping something that uses existing rules in a unique fashion, seeing if people will buy it, then getting investment and commercialising it. Here are the existing rules. There are some glaring things that these rules allow that don’t exist, and there’s plenty of room for market share. If you really like, I’ll provide 20 rituals I want, but most of them will look extremely boring :slight_smile:

PRINCIPLES:
Intent: what you wanted to do back when you wrote the ritual is important. If you push the bacon button, you get bacon. You cannot push it in a funny manner to get vegetarian bacon.
Presence: no action at a distance except as detailed below. No specific wording on whether a part of a thing is sufficient to enchant the whole thing, whether you can enchant someone if all you have is their severed hand or something, but this is a decent area to research.
Dominion: If you have the person in charge of something, that counts as Presence for that ‘something’. This is how the Anvil Regio works; this is how resource and army enchants work. Magic armies have a hack, and it’s a hack I really like: the general’s in charge of the army, and the army can fool the world into believing it’s in charge of the territory, so targeting the general hits the territory. Corrollary: I expect there to be rituals out there that require an Emperor/Empress.
Bonds: Magic spreads across bonds. Not usually strongly enough to count as Presence, but there are exceptions such as Crystalline Focus of Aesh.
Scale: There’s a sweet spot for any given effect in magnitude terms. Going with that sweet spot, if you can, gives you the most bang for your buck (except see below: more bang is possible). There’s a lower limit which I’m going to guess is 10-20% lower. Cheap plastic effects are cheap and plastic and you’re usually better off paying an extra mana for the proper version, but also it’s really really not worth going above that sweet spot unless you’ve got buckets of mana and you’re trying to enchant people with a rare set of abilities. Nothing we didn’t know already, but nice to confirm.
Transience: The sweet spot for enchantments is a season. Power falls off rapidly below that and magnitude less rapidly.
Synergy: The thinner you spread your buck, the more bang it produces. We knew this already: army and territory enchants are twice as good (or more) as small-unit and single-resource enchants, small combat buffs are twice as good as large ones. It’s a principle.
Boundaries: lines on maps mean something, not because of the line on the map, but because the people who drew the map put the line on the most meaningful boundary around there and THAT means something. This is why territory enchants hit just a territory.
Essence: magic that is more like something’s essential nature is easier; meanwhile the Hermetic Limit of Essential Nature from Ars Magica is right here. You can’t make something do something it can’t do, merely something it doesn’t have the strength to. The more unnatural your magic is, the harder it is - each Realm interprets ‘unnatural’ differently, see the Realm pages. You can overlap the material realm and one of the Eternal Realms to provide something significantly unnatural, but then that has its own essential nature to contend with.

LIMITS:
These things are impossible:
Restoring Life to the Dead
Immunity to the Actions of Others
Overthrowing the Will of Others
Conjuring and Compelling Appearance
The Teleportation of the Body
Invisibility
The Enchantment of the Three Fundamental Materials (I really need a better name than Bourse Resources)
The Limit of Essential Nature (I think that perhaps the ‘supernatural effects’ and ‘Essence’ limit and principle are better the other way around, so I’ve basically just included them both twice)
The Limits of Divination - lumped together into one, this looks like the shadow of a very thoroughly explored space. There are things divination can’t tell you. Look it up if you’re a diviner :slight_smile:

BUT
Eternals can help you reach just that little bit further than you otherwise could. You can create rituals with their help: they are bound to them when they agree to them. My hunch is that they are exerting their will to mess with what the realm considers ‘unnatural’ to make these rituals exist.

ALSO ONE OTHER BIG CHANGE:
Eternal communication is now via prearranged channels only. This is an IC change. There’s something about most of the Eternals of a realm that are interested in business with the Empire going and talking to the Archmage of the realm and giving them a batphone with a certain amount of pre-paid credit. We’ll see what that amounts to in play, but my immediate guess is “If you are not getting your share of Eternal plot, BUG YOUR ARCHMAGE”.

You missed off the picture. I like the picture. https://scontent-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/11084295_10153135082306215_3492466935975409660_n.jpg?oh=751887dd7790416f79e023c7233bc43f&oe=55826F8F

It shows four old archmagi, with the fifth holding the camera and one of them having sulked off to take a secret selfie - and when you learn which one it’ll blow your mind!

Varushkan Autumn with Contract, Spring with Venom wand, Highborn Winter with Death Scythe and I think Day?

Just when I thought I’d finished the first draft of my ritual book, they go and add all sorts of interesting ideas, and underlying principals. Now I have a desire to go though an adding in references to the law of boundaries and similar.

Still this is amazing, and even though I’m probably very unlikely to make any rituals, with this character, it facilitates me having interesting discussions about magic.

Summer, Spring, Autumn, Day. Bronze-coloured clothing and a physical representation of Hirmok, Rune of Dominion.

Also: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I need to work some more “wow that’s tiring” into my ritual RP, and also use Autumn magic to facilitate powerful warrior-kings and feel smug about how clever I am. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, Autumn having a representation of a harvest tool seems very in keeping with the themes!

Whereas I saw it and went “Devestating Scythe of Anguish and Loss”

This paragraph in Winter has me confused. Is The last line contradicting the rest when it says the rituals have The user self-sacrificing for the benefit of others whilst the rest of the paragraph seems to be more taking power from others?

The realm is also hungry, a hunger that can manifest in the form of rituals that prey on other people or on binding ravenous spirits into mortal flesh. Stealing someone’s youth to prolong your own life, or consuming their power to gain a little of it yourself both resonate with Winter. These rituals are never an even trade – a large portion of whatever energy they deal with is bled off into winter – and they often come with other dreadful downsides (they might be addictive, for example, or need to repeated regularly to avoid a painful and messy death). There is often a sacrifice with winter magic - but it is the sacrifice of the self for others not the sacrifice of others for the self.

Also, I want to throw out a massive thank you to the writing team for putting this up. This sort of page really increases the sense of a consistent world with believable, coherent magical physics. More of this, please!

We’ve got a bit more to do - we decided to sacrifice all elements that were not to do with ritual magic because we consider it vital, given the changes to spontaneous magic, that the players have a good set of tools with which to design spontaneous effects.

Hopefully before E2 we will finish this job properly with reference to “What is magicians?” and “How are mana, anyway?” and “What’s the deal with Hearth Magic?” and also hopefully “Here’s a list of things artificers, alchemists and priests do that ritual magicians can’t do - number four will astound you!”

we’ll also probably tidy up the resonances and dissonances texts - matt and I were writing some of those down at very late hours indeed and so some of the words got a little squirrly.

But for now … AAAAAAAAAAH the event starts any moment AAAAAAAAAAAH

This is probably the number one most headache-inducing question I get IC at every event. Second is “What is the Hall of Worlds anyway and why do we hold meetings there if Heralds can just turn up and eavesdrop on us?”

[quote=“Dre”]

This is probably the number one most headache-inducing question I get IC at every event. Second is “What is the Hall of Worlds anyway and why do we hold meetings there if Heralds can just turn up and eavesdrop on us?”[/quote]

The answer to the second question is ‘Wizard stuff, and because we are fucking awesome wizards dickhead!’ followed by pointing at things and exploding them. Bzzzzap. WIZARDS!!!

I thought the answer to two is we’re not hiding from the Eternals we’re hiding from the mundanes, and especially that pesky synod.

Says the conclave and synod member who never gets to conclave…

[quote=“Ricohard”]I thought the answer to two is we’re not hiding from the Eternals we’re hiding from the mundanes, and especially that pesky synod.

Says the conclave and synod member who never gets to conclave…[/quote]

Hiding? Wizards are too awesome to hide; we are saving the mundanes from being confused and dazzled by our sparkly brilliance.

[quote=“SteveC”]

This is probably the number one most headache-inducing question I get IC at every event. Second is “What is the Hall of Worlds anyway and why do we hold meetings there if Heralds can just turn up and eavesdrop on us?”

The answer to the second question is ‘Wizard stuff, and because we are fucking awesome wizards dickhead!’ followed by pointing at things and exploding them. Bzzzzap. WIZARDS!!![/quote]

You are Meraud, and I claim my five Summer mana?

[quote=“Andy Raff”]You missed off the picture. I like the picture. https://scontent-lhr.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/11084295_10153135082306215_3492466935975409660_n.jpg?oh=751887dd7790416f79e023c7233bc43f&oe=55826F8F

It shows four old archmagi, with the fifth holding the camera and one of them having sulked off to take a secret selfie - and when you learn which one it’ll blow your mind![/quote]

My guess is Summer, Spring, Winter, and Day. Autumn is taking the picture because he is ‘too mature’ to want to be in them and Night is the secret selfie.

Top stuff. Thanks muchly for the changes and clarifications. The major bonus is that none of it contradicts anything in the definitive work on experimental ritual magic for prospective citizens, “Please Don’t Explode My Grandmother”.

Please tell me that such a publication actual exists :slight_smile:.

Of course it does. there are even copies “out in the wild” so to speak. It’s got pictures that you could colour in, if you were so minded.