Sacrifice in Rituals

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Some religions require the practice of sacrifice to honor or appease a particular deity. For ritual magic however, sacrifice is used to provide extra power and give bonuses to the ritual leader's Ritual skill check. The nature and quality of a sacrifice depends greatly on the needs of the particular ritual.

Ritual Basics Creating Rituals
Sample Rituals Ritual Supplies
Ley Lines Sacrifice in Rituals

There are three basic types of sacrifice that affect ritual checks. Material sacrifice is often considered symbolic sacrifice but can still have a dramatic effect on the outcome of a ritual. Destroying a valuable gem or burning an effigy during the ritual are examples of material sacrifices. Energy sacrifices are subtle but costly ritual boosters. Sacrificing levels, experience points, or attributes are examples of energy sacrifices. The last category of sacrifice is the sacrifice of Life. Living sacrifices are never practiced by good ritual leaders and some evil leaders will incorporate these into every ritual. These types of sacrifices grant both the most potent and the most unpredictable bonuses to a ritual check.

Material Sacrifice

Sacrifices of this nature most often take the form of precious items such as gems or works of art. Personal effects are also sacrificed in certain rituals. Sacrificed material items are destroyed upon an alter during the process of the ritual to help fuel the energies needed to produce the effect.

GMs must use judgment about the material sacrificed. Sacrificing an item that has no significance to the outcome of the ritual has no bearing on the ritual skill check. Below are some common modifiers that can be applied to ritual material sacrifices.

Item Check DC Modifier
Item Belonged to Target of Ritual. - 1
Item is a Religious Relic - 3
Magic Item - 2
Vital Body Part of creature related to ritual goal. - 2
Non-vital Body Part of creature related to ritual goal. - 1
Entire Body of creature related to ritual goal. (not alive) - 3
Only applied once per ritual no matter how many items of the type are sacrificed.

The method of sacrifice itself may be ritualistic or simply practical. Simply smashing or burning an item is the practical way of sacrificing the item during a ritual. Other methods of sacrificing may involve ingesting the item (if biological) or using magical methods to dispose of the item. If outsiders or elementals are called forth for the ritual sacrificing material items may be accomplished by giving these beings the items in question.

Living Sacrifice

The most potent of all sacrifices is that of a living entity. There are few hard and fast rules governing this type of sacrifice but the GM is encouraged to keep in mind the appropriateness and quality of the proposed sacrifice before allowing the final adjustment. Below is a guideline for players and GMs to follow but other factors may influence the final adjustment.

Sacrifice Check DC Modifier
Animal Sacrifice - 1 Per CR
Magical Beast Sacrifice (non-sentient) - 2 Per CR
Unwilling Sentient Creature Sacrifice 1 - 2 Per HD
Willing Sentient Creature Sacrifice 1,2 - 4 Per HD
Sacrifice Representative of Ritual Element - 2
Sacrifice is Blood Relation to Ritual Leader - 2
Sacrifice is "untainted" 1,3 - 4
: 1 Sentient Creatures are those with an Intelligence of at least 4.
2 Willing creatures must be free from magical or mundane Compulsion or Coercion.
3 Untainted creatures are at least of the age of responsibility, not magic wielders, and in the same physical purity as when born.

Divine Ritual Sacrifices

Ritual Leaders must take care in Life Sacrifices during Divine Rituals. Modifiers have the reverse effect (negative modifier) if the Deity called upon is of good alignment. Some neutral Deities will take exception to sacrifices of their followers or certain types of animals and will also reverse the sacrificial effect. Evil Deities tend to welcome any life sacrifices. Those Deities who require ritual sacrifice in regular worship do not grant ritual bonuses for those sacrifices. There is always a chance that a good deity will take notice of living sacrifices and may interfere in a ritual invoking these methods.