Ritual Magic

Ritual magic involves channeling a lot of power over time, from minutes to hours; it costs both mental and wealth stress. Ritual workings can last beyond the time of their casting. Some rituals can be performed by anyone capable of astral perception; others require sorcery, conjuring, or enchanting.

The primary contributors to ritual magic are magicians, but large numbers of dedicated laypeople can also contribute. (Forbidden Arcana p42)

The leader of the ritual needs to have extensive rehearsal, with effort equivalent to that for learning spells. Their astral signature will flavor all the effects of the ritual. Rituals can incorporate multiple traditions, but that requires extra design difficulty to integrate them.

Rituals must be performed in a magical lodge big enough to hold all the participants. Once the ritual has started, no one can leave the lodge until it’s complete unless they’re a spotter for the working.

Ritual ingredients must be used up in the cast; this is usually represented as an attack of twice the ritual’s Force against the Scrounge+Magic of the ritual leader, or someone backing them. Spending extra materials can reduce Drain; for each shift added to the Force for this test, reduce Drain by one.

Each full participant other than the leader rolls Focus+Magic against the Force of the ritual (+1 if they are not of the same tradition as the leader), and their shifts are pooled together, up to the Focus+Magic of the leader; every 60/(leader’s Schmooze+Magic) unAwakened participants add 1 shift. The leader makes the ritual roll of Focus+Magic against a difficulty of twice the Force of the ritual, adding the shifts from the participants.

For Drain, the GM rolls a single Force×2 attack against the Focus+Magic of every ritual participant. If the Force×2 is less than or equal to a participant’s Focus+Magic, the stress is mental; if greater, the stress is physical and skips the Winded and Weary conditions. Extreme consequences such as Withered Arm are possible, and because they’re caused by Drain, they can’t be healed or regenerated through magic.

There are several common keywords describing rituals:

Unless otherwise noted, rituals require (Force) hours to perform and any time they affect a circle or sphere, the radius is the number of their Magic upgrade milestones (e.g. 6m at +2, 10m at +3).

NameKeywordsEffect
Alarm Ward Anchored A subtle ward that only alerts its creators when an astral form crosses it. The Force is the difficulty of fooling it and noticing it. (Street Grimoire p122)
Aspect Mana Line Mana Requires Geomancy and building a permanent magical lodge on the mana line. The Force of the ritual is twice the Force of the mana line, plus the Magic Edge of any opposing geomancer being challenged. The aspecting becomes permanent after the ritual has been performed, monthly, a number of times equal to the Force of the mana line. Aspects the mana line toward the geomancer’s tradition for 20×radius. (Street Grimoire p122)
Astral Doppelganger Spotter, Material Link Alters the astral signature of at least one ritual participant to match that of someone the leader has assensed. The Force required of the ritual is half the number of people being disguised, rounded down. The change lasts for twice the success shifts in hours. It can stymie astral tracking and fool wards. (Street Grimoire p122)
Astral Gateway Anchored The leader must be an initiate capable of projecting to the target metaplane, or have a spirit or creature from that plane participating. With this ritual, all ritual participants meet the Dweller on the Threshold and travel together to the metaplane targeted by the leader. The Force of the ritual is the level of metaphysical risk and reward, and the participants remain in metabolic hibernation for the duration of the quest, whose objective time is the shifts from the ritual roll in days. (Average (1): introducing someone to a spirit who wants to make deals. Fair (2): learning a borrowed sense from an animal spirit.) (Slip Streams p140)
Atonement Contractual Makes amends with the spirits for bad astral reputation. (Street Grimoire p123)
Attune Animal Adept Creates a mystical bond with a mundane, nonsapient animal that is already comfortable with the adept. The Force must be equal to the animal’s Focus. At the completion of the ritual, the adept spends karma equal to the animal’s highest skill and gains a Sense Link with it. Attuned animals qualify as material links to the adept. Attuned animals can be further empowered. (Street Grimoire p123)
Attune Item Adept Creates a mystical bond with a mundane object with which the adept is thoroughly familiar, either from creating it or working with it extensively. The Force must be equal to the Object Resistance. At the end of the ritual, spend karma equal to the Object Resistance to make the bond permanent. The attuned item serves as a material link to the adept, the adept can track the item with Recon+Magic, and they will know if it is heavily damaged or destroyed. Attuned items can be further imbued. (Street Grimoire p123)
Blood Sight Organic Link Requires Necromancy. Learns details about the source of a fresh (less than 24 hours old) blood sample. Requires (Force) minutes. (Street Grimoire p125)
Calling [Spirit Type] Contractual Summons a spirit from outside the caster’s tradition. Each such ritual must be researched separately for the spirit type (e.g. fae, ghosts). The spirit is obligated to materialize and negotiate, but does not owe favors. (Street Grimoire p126)
Circle of Cleansing Anchored, Mana Requires Cleansing. Reduces background count in a sphere by 1, lasting for 1 hour per shift. (Street Grimoire p127)
Circle of Healing Anchored, Spell Spreads a cast of a health spell over an entire sphere. Everyone in the sphere experiences the health spell as if cast at ritual’s Force with the number of shifts from the ritual roll. It lasts for (Force) days as long as at least one ritual participant is within the circle. (SR5 p298)
Circle of Protection Anchored Creates a physical and mana barrier that lasts, in hours, twice the number of shifts of success on the ritual roll. Anything exiting the circle from the inside ends the effect early. (SR5 p298)
Charged Ward Anchored Requires Reflection. The electric fence of the astral plane, hitting anyone who touches it with its Force as a mana bolt; also reflects spells back at the caster at half the original Force. A Good roll on a Spot+Magic test can distinguish a charged ward from a regular one. It can be pressed through with Schmooze+Magic, but the net shifts on the ritual roll are added to the Force of the attack. (Street Grimoire p127)
Curse Material Link, Spell Casts an illusion spell on the target through the material link. (SR5 p297)
Dispersion Circle Anchored Requires Enchanting. Applies the effect of a preparation uniformly throughout a sphere. (Street Grimoire p127)
Divination Material Link Requires the Divination metamagic. Gathers information through augury, sortilege, automatic writing, traversing a memory palace and so on. The reagents required are usually an offering of incense or liquor. The Force of the ritual is based on the specificity of the information sought, and the shifts can be allocated to clarity, detail, and confidence. This ritual is highly intuitive and is cast with Heart+Magic instead of Focus+Magic. The ritual requires (Force) minutes to complete. Additional attempts on the same subject add +1 difficulty each time. (Street Grimoire p124)
Door Ward Anchored Wards that protect a doorway, anchored in a horseshoe, mezuzah, etc. Active foci crossing the ward are deactivated if the owner’s Focus+Magic is less than the Force of the ward, and sustained spells lose the ward’s Force in shifts. The ward lasts (Force) days. (Street Grimoire p127)
Empower Adept With the expenditure of karma equal to the adept’s Magic, they can temporarily transfer one of their own feats to an attuned animal. They can also buy feats for the animal as qi foci. (Street Grimoire p128)
Far Sensing Spotter Requires Sensing. Observes magical background count and other phenomena without opening to the astral plane, in an area of Force × 100 × (sum of participants’ Magic upgrades)m radius. (Street Grimoire p133)
Geopathic Connection Spotter, Mana Requires Home Advantage. The ritual can control the domain influenced by a mana line, causing an Accident to the target. (Parageology p31)
Grave Binding Anchored, Organic Link Requires Necromancy. Wards a body after interment. Any spirit that wishes to possess or inhabit the warded body must have Force greater than twice that of the ritual. Lasts (Force) weeks, or permanent with expenditure of karma equal to the Force. Takes (Force) minutes to complete. (Street Grimoire p129)
Group Bond Contractual Forms a magical group, usually for initiatory purposes. Members of the group can assense membership and whether they have violated any strictures. This is also used in criminal organizations, often using tattoos; with Quickening and Anchoring and karma expenditure, spells can go off when strictures are violated. (Street Grimoire p129)
Homunculus Minion (2074) Animates a prepared form at most Force×10 kg in mass; the Object Resistance is added to the ritual’s difficulty. Its Bod and Move are equal to its Force, and other skills to half its Force, rounded up; it lacks creative problem-solving ability but can handle routine tasks. It lasts a number of days equal to twice its Force multiplied by the number of shifts from the ritual roll. It is present on the astral plane. (SR5 p298) In the Vodou and Obeah traditions, a version of this that animates a body to become a corps cadavre is already available by 2050. (Hard Targets p128–9)
Imbue Item Adept An attuned item can be further imbued with magical traits; these are subtle things, much like the metaphysical intention in the Crafted with Passion feat. (Street Grimoire p133)
Leeching Mana Requires Geomancy. Leeches mana from an abundant area for short-term gain. (Street Grimoire p133)
Ley Sight Mana Requires Geomancy. Allows seeing and hearing from any point in the aspected domain of a ley line. Requires (Force) minutes to complete. (Street Grimoire p134, Parageology p31)
Light of Dharma Anchored Requires Centering. Projects calm into the ritual space, reducing environmental factors like noise and wind by the Force of the ritual. The magician is the anchor, and can only engage in speaking and perception while it continues. It lasts shifts × 20 minutes as long as the ritual leader continues to anchor it. (Street Grimoire p134)
Living Vessel Preparation Organic Link Requires Channeling. Prepares a living host for a spirit. (Street Grimoire p135)
Manifest Sha Anchored, Mana Requires Geomancy. Temporarily disrupts the power of a mana line or aspected background count. (Street Grimoire p135, Parageology p31)
Masking Ward Anchored Requires Masking. The ward appears transparent, but magical activity less than its Force appears mundane from the outside. A Good Spot+Magic check will notice the ward exists, and must beat the Force of the ward to pierce the illusion. On failure to pierce the illusion, the assensor takes mental stress equal to twice the number of shifts from the ritual roll, straight to consequences like Headache and Migraine. (Street Grimoire p135)
Obfuscating Ward Anchored Requires Masking. A ward as subtle as the Alarm Ward, but detection spells must have Force greater than twice the Force of the ward to penetrate it; otherwise they fail without feedback to the caster. (Street Grimoire p135)
Polarized Ward Anchored A one-way version of a regular ward. Requires a Good Spot+Magic roll to notice it from the transparent side. (Street Grimoire p136)
Prodigal Spell Spell, Spotter Casts an combat spell on the target. (SR5 p297)
Regrow Limb Requires sorcery, Quickening, and the art of Health to perform. This is a triumph of Haven magical research. Over the course of a year, the subject grows back a missing limb, complete with growing pains. The subject is required to take care of an axolotl for a year, and avoid crossing a ward that would dispel the ritual. The reagents required are almost as expensive as a cyberlimb. While it was hailed as a theoretical breakthrough, its utility was a damp squib in the demands of the 2050 world. This ritual turns a Missing Limb extreme consequence into variations on Limb Growing Back.

Goblinization could happen in minutes, with no magical preparation whatsoever, so it ought to be possible to regrow limbs faster. Ethical research on this matter is difficult to perform, however.

Remote Sensing Spell, Spotter Casts a detection spell on the target, with vastly greater range. (SR5 p297)
Renascence Anchored, Spell Sustains an area manipulation with a duration of 1 hour, ×4 for each extra shift from the ritual roll. (SR5 p298)
Smudging Mana, Material Link Requires Cleansing. Removes psychic imprints left on places and objects; usually involves burning herbal reagents appropriate to the tradition. Such imprints can attract unpleasant spirits. It is also used by fences to make it harder to trace stolen goods. (Street Grimoire p136)
Spirit Pact Contractual Formalizes a pact between an incarnate character and a Free Spirit. Spirit pacts are big deals and require, at the very least, a character aspect that reflects them. (Street Grimoire p136, 7)
Summon Great Form Spirit Minion Requires Invocation. Empowers a spirit that has already been contracted. A Great Form spirit has expanded powers in its own domain (such as the Storm or Quake power for elemental spirits), and does not suffer penalties when outside its own domain unless they do something flagrant (like a fire elemental trying to materialize underwater). (Street Grimoire p136)
Trap Ward Anchored Requires Anchoring. Like an alarm ward, but solidifies into a regular form when an astral being (not a spell) crosses the boundary. (Street Grimoire p137)
Vault of Ages Requires enchanting to perform. Wards a container or area to preserve alchemical preparations so they do not lose potency. An enchanter’s demesne may be full of magical traps.
Ward Anchored Requires astral perception to perform, and most commonly uses salt as a reagent. Creates an astral ward. It can encompass 50 m3 per upgrade milestone of Magic participating in the ritual. Anyone with astral perception who participated in the ritual knows if the ward is attacked or destroyed, and there are entire magical security companies who maintain wards and have ritual teams that have rotating oncall duty for notifying when a particular ward is being disturbed. It lasts 2×shifts in weeks, or is permanent if the ritual participants spend karma equal to its Force. (SR5 p297)
Watcher Minion Impresses a fragment of the ritual participants’ wills and personalities on a twist of mana and creates a limited spirit that obeys only the ritual leader. The spirit lasts a number of hours equal to twice its Force times the shifts on the ritual roll. The ritual takes (Force) minutes to perform. (SR5 p298) This ritual was developed at MIT&T in 2050. (Street Grimoire p147) Expensive liquors hand-distilled by enchanters are appropriate ritual ingredients for both creating a temporary lodge and creating a watcher, and many mages carry pocket flasks for the purpose.
Whisper of Bones Organic Link Requires Necromancy. Gains information about the events related to the physical aspects of a body; it can get information like the death blow was struck by a massive fist but is unlikely to get much information about the person with the fist. (Street Grimoire p137)
Yang Zhai Anchored, Mana Requires Patronage. Allows ritual casting of a wide area Mob Mood in the area surrounding a mana line. (Parageology p32)
Zombie Minion The minimum Force of the ritual is the subject’s Focus+Magic. The subject is left in a mindless state and unable to resist the commands of the leader of the ritual. (Hard Targets p131)