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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.

Enter the Umbral Court

Source Nidal, Land of Shadows pg. 7
School necromancy; Level 8
Casting Time 80 minutes
Components V, S, M (a whip made of braided strips of skin flyed from the target), SC (at least 2 and up to 7)
Skill Checks Intimidate DC 31, 2 successes; Knowledge (planes) DC 31, 2 successes; Knowledge (religion) DC 31, 4 successes
Range close
Target one creature
Duration permanent
Saving Throw Will negates; SR yes
Backlash casters take 1 permanent negative level.
Failure The casters are immediately shunted to a single place on the Shadow Plane that is anywhere from 5 to 500 miles (5d%) from Xovaikain, Zon-Kuthon’s deific realm, as plane shift. Within 1 round of arriving, the casters are attacked by a number of apostle kytons equal to the number of casters plus 3.

Effect

Before this ritual can be cast, the casters must reach deep into the target’s mind to extract the most personally heinous torture the target could imagine, and then the casters must inflict it upon the target during the casting. This often involves whips, spiked chains, barbed hooks, or other torturous elements usually constructed from the target’s own skin and viscera. While the target endures this torture, it must recite the parable of Nidal’s pact with Zon-Kuthon while the casters alternatingly chant epic poetry vaguely detailing the Midnight Lord’s travels behind reality and the unfathomable horrors that he is capable of inflicting on the target’s soul. If the target does not cower in fear at these descriptions, the ritual fails.

Upon successful completion of this ritual, the target’s eyes fill with inky black shadow, and it gains the following benefits. It is immune to spells from the shadow subschool and those with the shadow descriptor, though it can choose to suppress or restore this immunity as a standard action. The target also gains regeneration 5, bypassed by good weapons and spells and silver weapons, and DR 15/good or silver.

If the target’s alignment is not already lawful evil, it immediately shifts to such upon this ritual’s successful completion. Further, this ritual ties a shard of the target’s soul to Zon-Kuthon and his realm on the Shadow Plane. If the target commits a heretical act against Zon-Kuthon’s faith, there is a 25% chance (1–25 on d%) that at a random time within 24 hours the target is transported to Xovaikain via plane shift into a private, eternal torment-scape of the Midnight Lord’s choosing. This effect cannot be suppressed or removed.