So how do you ritual?

With my new character being a ritualist I’ve been reading through the wiki on the subject but I’m still undecided as to the actual practicalities. Both Rune Magic and Astronomancy seem to fit, Dramaturgy being cool but not so Highguard, but apart from what’s on the wiki I’m still a bit unclear as how you actually perform rituals in these traditions?

How do you conduct Rune Magic and Astronomancy rituals in game? Any tips for keeping track of time or remembering your ‘script’? How do you bring the cool into your rituals?

A number of members of our coven, lacked … confidence, so we invented “Transactionalism”, based on a merge of Dramaturgy and Rune Magic. One member plays the part of an eternal and another models a transaction between the coven and that eternal, framed by an appropriate set of runes, where the eternal would be asked to perform the effect of that ritual in return for some mana. There were other parts, one for the person who was carrying the runestones, one for the person carrying the mana, etc., and all roles were scripted. If you’d like more details you can ask me in the field for a copy of “Transactionalism - An Introduction” (which includes a sample script that would work for any Autumn resource-buffing ritual), but - as I won’t be on the field until next year, there should be copies in the Academy Library, the Raptor Library and I think that the Compangnia di Rossi still have a couple of copies

Transactionalism is reliable, but it’s not very spectacular. So, next year, myself and a like-minded friend are going to be attempting some rituals in the style of a comedy double-act (“Listen mush, I’m invoking the right runes - just not necessarily for the right ritual!”)

So my astronomancy, which I use for large rituals, goes as follows -

Call the attention of the coven together, call for focus, call for the invocation of the coven bond. Witnesses are asked to bear witness etc.

The sign we are to invoke is laid out and described, impressed into the area we’re using to cast / the regio. Usually a casting leader asks questions of the contributors to describe the sign in Socratic fashion.

The mana is brought into the sign and used to empower it.

The sign is raised to the heavens, usually by chant: AS WE HAVE ORDERED THE EARTH, SO LET THE HEAVENS BE ORDERED.

The regio or casting area is then made into a symbolic representation of the area to be targeted. Usually this involves a map: it also involves a symbolic permission from the owners of the area, for example a formal invitation from Varushkans.

Then the sign is called down upon the regio, usually by chant: AS THE HEAVENS ARE ORDERED, SO LET THE EARTH ORDERED BE.

This having been done, the coven come together: they acknowledge that they have seen the thing, that it has been witnessed, that it has been done. A formal question is asked: ARE WE DONE HERE? And the formal answer is given: IT IS DONE.

Then we break, step quickly out of the circle, and check one another immediately for injuries, curses, tulpa or other signs of fail.

If anything comes in to fuck the ritual up, we have a defined emergency procedure whereby the primary caster attempts to close the ritual up and stop doom from descending while the other casters gtfo and someone calls a medic. (OC, a failed ritual is an excellent bit of fun and I wanted to have a defined procedure for signalling to a ref that we’d fucked up and wanted some trauma cards to go with our magic.)

I’m trying something very like this right now - actually writing notes so I ever do any of the rituals my character has mastered. So far I have an outline for runes, which is pretty much:

I call on name, the epithet, the Rune of whatever. With this rune I action, with this rune I other action, that desired outcome.
Optionally a bit more here.
WIth my will I work this. So let it be spoken, so let it be done.
(Repeat as needed for 4-6 runes.)

and then 4-6 runes and some appropriate blurb for why they’re appropriate for that ritual.

And I liked the idea of having a standard opening and closing one so I am planning on shoehorning Ophis in there for everything, including the Night rituals, because it’s basically Urizen Hearth Magic in rune form. :slight_smile:

Two minutes seemed pretty daunting with no ideas of what to do, but when it’s basically “twenty seconds per rune” it’s doable. I am not expecting it to be interesting, but doing these rituals would be the first time in a long while I’ve done something like that at LARP, so simple if dull is good.

(Am planning on also doing astronomantic and dramaturgic versions when I’ve got the rune ones done. Is fun practice!)

I usually use runes, I walk round the circle drawing them and saying stuff about the meaning of the rune and how it achieves the desired outcome of the ritual. Most of my rituals have a target person present, so I’ll generally make them participate and tell me what the rune is to them. I was especially proud of using all four Night runes in a Twilight Masquerade ritual last event and in a sequence which told the story of the transformation.

I tend toward astronomancy, but use the same basic layout for all my rituals - that said this probably doesn’t work for dramaturgy.

First - close the circle. walk around the space and make a show of sealing the edges, big staves waved dramatically are great here.

Next - invoke power. This is where I introduce the realm, any constellations and runes and talk about any eternals the ritual is relevant to. If it’s a 10 minute ritual I get every contributor to state their name and coven and individually add their power to the ritual, this adds about 2 minutes of easy RP to the ritual time :smiley:

Now - state the intentions. Spiel about what the ritual is intended to do, and some fluff about how it does it. Callback to invoked elements as necessary. For a 2 minute ritual this section lasts about a minute, for a 10 minute it’s 7 so needs a lot more planning.

finally, close the ritual. I usually end the active section with a shout of “It is over, it is done!” and bang a staff on the ground if I have a suitable prop (hit safe ones usually don’t make suitable thuds), and then the ritual continues with a close sequence, dispelling any remaining power, thanking contributors and assorted powers and finally opening the circle back up.

The opening, gathering power and close take about a minute for a 2 minute ritual, but can be bulked out if you want the more impressive version for a 10 minute ritual.

I use ritual scripts in a book, but once you’ve done the same ritual enough times you can mostly adlib around the key structures. My Clarity ritual goes close circle, gather power, individual contributors, let general grandstand, spiel about the web, gird the general (don’t rush!), close

The “create ritual space, state intent, symbolically enact, close ritual space” model is a pretty useful basis to work from, I think; it’s the one I’ve used in other games, although this coming season will be the first one I’ve ritual’ed in Empire.

Specific to Dramaturgy (which I know you weren’t asking about Mark, but in answer to Ariadne’s comment about the structure not working for it) I think you just dress it up differently - creating and closing the ritual space becomes something more like the Chorus in some of the Shakespearian plays (“Let us… on your imaginary forces work; suppose within the girdle of [this regio] is contained [whatever Throne I am intending to use]” to open, for example, although ideally much less directly derivative :wink: ) , and the symbolic enactment becomes much less clearly explained as the choice of characters, props and locations communicates that and deliberately calling it out would be Terribly Gauche :wink:

As highborn and mostly doing lower level autumn my casting is usually very simple.

Wash hands, mine, any other casters, the subjects, or sprinkle circle if using.

Declare what I am doing and call upon the magical realm.

Describe to the participants what the effects will be, using whichever relevant virtues, and if possible getting a paragon or exemplar in there too.

Declare what I am doing again.

Ring a bell if I have one and it seems appropriate

Call it done, close circle, dismiss magic etc.

Took me a few goes to get the 2 mins timing correct, but a sand timer is also a cool prop, and Tiger do them in Highguard colours if you have a shop near you! :slight_smile:

Not that Raven’s Watch do it very often, but we tend to plain chant or sing something we’ve worked out, and add some physical elements depending on the ritual in question.