Saturday, December 8, 2012

Magic Medieval City using D&D 4E Rituals

Image a city in D&D 4E where rituals are used freely.
A place where casters are leading the city with magic guilds and temples.
Cleric and wizard class abilities are used where necessary.

This magical setting is meant for an experienced 4E group due to its complexity.
Picking only low-level rituals for a magical city reduces complexity.

My inspiration for this post came from Magic in the City, an article which also discusses magic use in a city, but without specific rituals.

Casting Cost

sunset over waterfall
"Sunset over Iguazu" by SF Brit on Flickr
Casting rituals costs a lot of gold in the form of component costs.
Ritual usage in a city should be believable:
  • If rituals are powered on healing surges a city filled with magic is completely possible. 
  • The city is extremely wealthy, due to a gold mine, tribute from surrounding villages or a devil pact.
  • It's possible to house rule a halved costs of rituals.
  • The daily Arcana utility 6 from Player's Handbook 3 called Experienced Arcana halves the cost for casting an Arcana ritual.
I use rituals from the Player's Handbook 1 and 2.
More rituals exist but using too many rituals increases complexity.

City Defence

A magical city is best located near water or even partly underwater.
Most enemies cannot breathe underwater making this a good option.
The Water Breathing and Water Walk rituals make it easier to defend a city located in or near water.
All buildings and defences can be made out of wood and reinforced by the Ironwood ritual.

The Control Weather ritual provides cover or alters the weather in favour of the defending city.
Control weather also provides water for higher altitudes.
Many rituals allow travel (see below), so a city on a high altitude is also easier to defend.

The Hallucinatory Creature ritual can also assist in city defence, mimicking summons or other creatures.

Wizards and clerics summoned creatures are used for city defence.
The inhabitants of the city don't go into battle, they fight by proxy.

Some wizard familiars like homunculus patrol the skies.

City Travel and Communication

People communicate using the Animal Messenger or Sending rituals.
Major city locations all have teleportation circles for the Linked Portal ritual.
These portals have Arcane Locks to prevent outsiders from using them.
If someone breaks an Arcane lock, the caster instantly knows it.

Another way to travel is to use the Phantom Steed Ritual, allowing riders to reach higher places.

The Floating Disk, Secret Chest and Phantom Steed rituals transport goods over the city:
  • Floating Disk has the largest carrying capacity and is used for heavy things that aren't needed urgently like building materials or food.
  • Secret Chest only transports small things, but can easily get these things to a higher altitude.
  • Phantom Steeds are ideal for transporting people.

Wizard and cleric summons lift heavy things around.

City Justice

The Detect Object ritual counters thefts and Speak with Dead counters murders.
Speak with Dead can be countered by
  • removing/destroying the head or body.
  • attacking from behind.
Suspects are interrogated with the Discern Lies ritual.

Eye of Alarm and Eye of Warning are used to augment security.
Arcane Locks are placed on most buildings by different casters to increase security.

Non-casters are held in regular cells, casters have their hands, feet, mouth and eyes bound to prevent escape.

City Public Services

Hospitals and temples offer Cure Disease, Remove Afflication and  Raise Dead.
A morgue offers the Gentle Repose ritual. All corpses are destroyed after a while to prevent undead rising.
Only the skull is preserved to use Speak with Dead if necessary.

Raise Dead is countered by removing/destroying the body.

Libraries are common, with subjects focused on knowledge skills.
The books are ancient and being constantly fixed by the Make whole ritual.

The Wizard's Prestidigitation cantrip results in:
  • clean city
  • heated water for bathing
Garbage is thrown in holes where it is eaten by otyughs.

City Economy

The Traveler's Feast ritual provides food for people.
As a city is near water, a lot of non-magical food will be fish and water-based plants.
Construction is done by wizards using grasping hands powers.
Repairs are done by the Make Whole ritual.

Entertainment is provided by Hallucinatory Creature and pyrotechnics rituals.

Do you know of other rituals to use in a city?
Have I overlooked ways in which rituals can be used?

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