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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.

Seeded Doom

Source Horror Adventures pg. 133
School transmutation [evil]; Level 8
Casting Time 8 hours
Components V, S, M (internal organs of an aberration), F (the crystallized brain of an aberration worth at least 7,500 gp and a book, painting, or section of sheet music), SC (up to 12)
Skill Checks Knowledge (arcana or history) DC 37, 2 successes; Knowledge (planes or religion) DC 37, 2 successes; Spellcraft DC 37, 4 successes
Range close
Target one object
Duration instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw see text; SR see text
Backlash The primary caster is reduced to –1 hit point and is exhausted, and all secondary casters are exhausted.
Failure The ritual fails to affect the object, and all casters are afflicted by the seed’s effect with no saving throw.

Effect

The casters grind the organs into paste and use it to paint their lips and tongue. Anointed by madness, they chant profane blasphemies into the focus brain, causing it to throb and glow. The primary caster releases this energy as a foul sludge, which trickles onto the other focus before seeping into the paper or paint. A successful ritual corrupts the targeted piece of art, planting a metaphysical seed into it, which propagates itself into any copies of the work later created based on the corrupted original; this includes book copies or matched painting duplicates, but not art, literature, or music that is merely derivative. A living creature subjected to the seeded piece of art, typically by hearing or seeing it, must succeed at a Will save or be afflicted by the seed (SR applies).

By default, the seed causes insanity or a madness (see page 182), but numerous types of seeds exist, from different variants on this ritual with slightly different components, foci, and ritual DC. A few examples include becoming blind or deaf, contracting a disease, or rising as a zombie after death.