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Occult Rituals


Occult Rituals

It’s a common belief that only those initiated in the rites and practices of arcane, divine, or psychic magic can cast spells, but this is not strictly true. Hidden within dusty libraries and amid the ramblings of lunatics lie the mysteries of another form of spellcasting—occult ritual magic. These spells are rare, coveted by both those eager to gain their power and those wishing to hide their existence. Most traditional spellcasters consider these rituals dangerous and uncontrollable, something to be avoided or used as a last resort. They fear the power these ceremonies grant to the uninitiated, as the rituals allow those with only a glimmering of understanding the ability to interact with the underlying fabric of magic.

While anyone can attempt to cast occult rituals, the process is fraught with peril. The strange and intricate incantations are often challenging to perform with precision, and failure can weaken the casters or even unleash horrors upon the world. Even when successfully performed, each occult ritual has a price—a backlash that affects at least the caster leading the ritual, and often those assisting in its performance.
Click here for the full rules on Occult Rituals.

Cats and Mice

Source Villain Codex pg. 200
School transmutation (polymorph); Level 5
Casting Time 50 minutes
Components V, S, M (one live mouse per target), F (a tiny cat figurine worth 500 gp and a golden cage worth at least 5,000 gp), SC (at least one per target)
Skill Checks Intimidate DC 27, 1 success; Knowledge (arcana) DC 27, 1 success; Knowledge (nature) DC 27, 2 successes; Stealth DC 27, 1 success
Range close
Target one helpless creature/character level of the primary caster, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 hour/character level of the primary caster
Saving Throw Will partial, see text; SR yes
Backlash All casters are cursed with insatiable hunger, as per a permanent feast of ashes. This curse effect is negated for a caster if he consumes the fresh flesh or blood of any target within the duration. Remove curse and similar effects can also remove the curse, but only after the ritual’s duration expires.
Failure Consumption of a target’s flesh or blood does not negate the backlash curse. For 1 hour, each target is affected by freedom of movement. Each caster is shaken and sickened.

Effect

The primary caster starts this ritual by placing one live mouse per target into the golden cage. When all the mice are caged, she then places the cat figurine within the cage. If the ritual succeeds, the figurine animates for a short period, during which it kills each of the caged mice. As each mouse is killed, the head of a target is transformed into a mouse head of a suitable size for the ritual’s duration. Each target gains low-light vision and scent but loses the ability to speak (and thus the ability to complete verbal spell components, speak command words, and activate spell completion and spell trigger items). Any polymorph effects on the target are automatically dispelled, and for the duration of the ritual’s effect, a target cannot use other polymorph spells or effects to assume a new form. In addition, while so transformed, a target must attempt a Will save whenever she encounters a cat, catlike creature, or creature in a cat mask; if she fails, she is affected as per fear. If she succeeds, the target becomes immune to this effect with respect to that particular feline only.

Finally, if a target moves farther than 1 mile from the cage per 5,000 gp of the cage’s value, it takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage each round it remains beyond that range. This effect is negated if the cage is destroyed or moved more than 100 feet from its location at the ritual’s beginning.

Incorporeal or gaseous creatures are immune to the ritual, and a creature with the shapechanger subtype can revert to its natural form as a standard action.