Expanded Rituals

Ritual Magic permits a spell caster to turn one of their prepared spells into an improvised plot-bending miracle. All they need to do is have the Ritual Casting feat,  sacrifice one of their available spells, and make a skill check. The rules and Difficulty Class are simple and largely in the purview of the Gamemaster – but if you’ve got a Wizard player who delights in added complexity, pernickety rules and juggling numbers (and they’re playing a Wizard? Wonders will never cease), you can use these expanded rules.

Set Initial Difficulty

The starting difficulty for a ritual is 10 higher than the regular skill check difficulty for that tier. So:

  • Adventurer-tier: DC25-35
  • Champion: DC30-40
  • Epic DC35-45

Rituals to overcome minor obstacles or to discover information tend to be easier; rituals that accomplish astounding feats or annoy the GM by bypassing challenges tend to be harder. The DC’s higher than normal to encourage players to take some of the drawbacks listed below.


Resonance measures how appropriate the proposed spell is for the ritual. A lot of 13th Age spells are purely about dealing damage, so creativity’s needed to convert them into rituals.

If you’re using a really appropriate spell for the task at hand (I sacrifice my fireball to create a blazing beacon that burns forever on this hilltop), then reduce the DC by -5.

If you’re using a spell that sorta makes sense, I guess, then the DC’s unchanged.

If you’re using an inappropriate spell, then increase the DC by +5.

When in doubt, turn to the jury of your fellow players. Awed gasps at your poetic sensibilities, -5. Groans at your tortured logic, +5 at least.

Casting Time

By default, a ritual takes 1d4 x 10 minutes.

Reducing the casting time to 1d4 minutes increases the DC by +5.

Taking your time and having the ritual last 1d4 hours reduces the DC by 5. At the GM’s discretion, you can take even longer.


Casting a ritual on your own is the default assumption. However, if the player can find a way to describe how other people can get involved…

If the rest of the party help you cast the ritual, reduce the DC by -5

If lots of people – a whole village or an army, maybe – help you cast the ritual, reduce the DC by -10.

Anyone who assists in the ritual gets hit with any Backlash (see below).


The default assumption is that a ritual requires one troublesome component. A troublesome component might be:

  • An object that the characters have to find – a rare herb, a magical crystal, the ichor of a particular monster, a symbolic talisman
  • Drawing on Iconic allies – spending an iconic benefit
  • An arduous task that someone must perform by making a skill check. This doesn’t have to be performed by the caster – maybe the ritual requires dragging a boulder to the top of a hill, which means a Strength test. The characters can keep attempting the task, but each failure delays the completion of the ritual.
  • Roleplaying – the caster must persuade a spirit or other entity to co-operate with the ritual.

If the ritual requires extra troublesome components, reduce the DC by -5.

If the ritual requires only common components, the sort of stuff that your average wizard has in their pouches and pockets, increase the DC by +5.

If the ritual needs no components at all, increase the DC +10.


The default assumption is that rituals have lots of flashy special effects – glowing lights, booming thunder, arcane sparks at the like.

A subtle ritual – one that cannot be detected at a distance by divination spells and rituals – increases the DC by +10.

Depending on circumstances, an especially blatant ritual – one that attracts trouble like a wandering monster – reduces the DC by -5. This option’s only available if there’s potential danger nearby.


Most rituals affect only a single target or a small area.

Widening the effects of a ritual to a small group (i.e. the whole adventuring party) or a somewhat larger area increases the DC by +5.

A large group or much larger area increases the DC by +10.


Repeating rituals goes against the magical grain of the universe. If a ritual has been performed before once or twice already, increase the DC by +5.

If it’s been performed many times, increase the DC by +10 or more.

A ritual can be ‘inlaid’ – bound to a particular place and set of conditions – in which case it can be repeated indefinitely without penalty, but only at that place. Such rituals increase the DC by 5.


By default, if the casting check for a ritual fails, the ritual goes awry in some fashion, but still mostly works. Pick one of the following drawbacks for every five points or portion thereof in the margin of failure:

  • The ritual takes much, much longer to work than it should
  • Summoned spirits plague the caster
  • There’s collateral damage of some sort to the surroundings
  • There’s collateral damage to the caster’s possessions
  • Local magical forces are disrupted
  • The ritual causes offence to someone nearby (perhaps a spirit or ghost)
  • The ritual effect lingers in a troublesome way
  • A different spell’s consumed instead

If there are other people involved the ritual (see Assistance, above), then the backlash hits them too.

If the caster’s willing to accept more harmful backlash (getting cursed, summoning hostile monsters, blasted by magical discharges), then reduce the DC by -10. 

For example, Jereth the 4th level Wizard needs to cross a fiery chasm. The only spell he’s got left is Sleep, and he’s being pursued by a band of murderous orcs, so he needs to escape quickly. So, he describes the ritual as putting the spirit of the leaping fire to sleep, and then floating across the chasm on a fluffy cloud.

The DC for the ritual is: DC30 (base) +5 (inappropriate spell) +5 (fast casting) +5 (common components) for a total of 40. 

Jereth rolls a 28 – so he fails by 12, so he has to take three drawbacks. He doesn’t care about his surroundings, so he takes collateral damage to his surroundings as one drawback. He doesn’t want to wait for the cloud to form, and doesn’t want it to wait around for the pursuing orcs either, so he avoids the ‘delayed manifestation’ or ”lingers’ effects, and he has no other spells to sacrifice. So, he picks ‘takes offence’ and ”summoned spirits plague the caster’. 

He conjures the cloud, quells the flames, and floats to safety. But his spell wakes an angry fire elemental that slumbers in the chasm and breaks the ancient binding circle that kept it confined. Now Jereth’s on the far side of the chasm, safe from the orcs – but out of spells, and there’s something very literally hot on his heels…

13th Age combines the best parts of traditional d20-rolling fantasy gaming with new story-focused rules, designed so you can run the kind of game you most want to play with your group. 13th Age gives you all the tools you need to make unique characters who are immediately embedded in the setting in important ways; quickly prepare adventures based on the PCs’ backgrounds and goals; create your own monsters; fight exciting battles; and focus on what’s always been cool and fun about fantasy adventure gaming. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.


This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.