Blessing of Bounty
One of the most common, and easy, rituals, this ceremony invokes the power of nature, in the form of plant growth, to increase the fecundity of farmland within a 1/2 mile radius.
Each blessing is specific to a particular place, though it does not take a significant length of time to adjust a ritual to a new location. However, the failure of rituals in certain places may take on unexpected forms.
There are more powerful versions, capable of blessing an entire kingdom, but the devastation failing such rituals bring mean that few casters dare try it.
This ritual requires 14 participants; 12 represent the months of the year, then two are the King and Queen. The primary caster must take the role of either King or Queen.
The 'regents' are given various gifts by each month, until the final month, white and in a skull-mask, takes the gifts from them and 'kills' them, only to be reborn anew.
Each skill check of the ritual takes 1 hour. DC is 9, and there are three successes needed: an initial Knowledge (religion) check, then two Perform (acting or oratory) checks.
The toll is exhaustion, which affects all participants.
The ritual can only be performed during daylight hours of the winter solstice.
Backlash, while rare, usually triggers the effect of diminish plants, afflicting the region. Sometimes the primary caster is affected by poison or contagion, or strange beasts are summoned forth. In at least a few cases, undead have risen from the grave, animated by a wild surge of vital force.
In ancient times powerful mages created avenues, conduits of power along which the skilled could travel. This ritual allows a ritualist to tap into the power of the sky road and transport over vast distances.
The ritual can only be performed at one of the surviving stelae of the old empire, and transports a group to one of the other stelae in mere moments.
The toll is fatigue. The stelae count as expensive foci.
Up to 6 may channel the power of the stelae along with the caster, potentially lowering DC by 1 or 2. They may journey along with the caster or not, along with any passengers the caster can manage.
This is a difficult, dangerous ritual, requiring 5 successes at DC 24. Initial success must be with Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history). There must be at least one success in Perception and Spellcraft. Other successes can come from Perform (oratory), Perform (acting), Perform (dancing), or Spellcraft, in any combination.
Backlash usually results in transport to some random location or a plane shift to another realm entirely. Sometimes, the disruption of planar energies summons forth demons (treat as summon monster V with one of the demon or devil entries, lasting one minute before the cycling planar energies pulls it away from the mortal world).
Death Curse of Weregild
Many arcanists have prepared a variety of death curses... just in case.
The power of this curse is that it requires the death of the caster. While often associated with dire necromancy, there are less foul versions from dedicated champions, uttered with their final breath.
There are many versions, ranging from various forms of lesser geas, contagion, bestow curse, or the caster is turned into a zombie which exists only to hunt down former enemies (though does so in a rather mindless manner).
This version, favored among the noble northerners, simply commands those who killed the caster to pay his weregild to his family; this is the money owed them, in the body of law common to the wilds of the north, for his death. The value is assessed at roughly twice his WBL.
The toll is, of course, the death of the caster.
The curse requires 4 successes, usually in the form of a Knowledge (arcana) followed by Spellcraft, though specific forms vary. DC is 20. Note that timing can be tricky -- if the caster is close to death, can the caster pull off the curse before dying interrupts the process?
Failure is ... nothing. The caster is consumed by the power of his spell, which dissipates to no avail, while the target is free to do whatever he wants.
Other death curses may have backlash where the caster becomes an aimless zombie, or the wild energies animate a number of undead where the caster is buried.
An unusual ritual,
(burns doors, only doors)