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Product Review: Azagar's Book of Rituals

About 7 months after the release of D&D 4th edition, Goodman Games announced an open call for ritual submissions. After receiving over a thousand entries, they compiled over 300 of them into Azagar's Book of Rituals. The book is narrated by a hobgoblin general, the afore-mentioned Azagar. Each chapter begins with him trying to explain the type of rituals found in that chapter along with a funny story about how one of the rituals saved him at some point in his travels.

The book is organized into 9 chapters, each with a different type of ritual. Each chapter has a list of rituals across all ranges of play, from heroic to epic. The ritual information is organized just like the rituals in official Wizards of the Coast products, with level, time, duration, component cost, market price and key skill(s). The majority of the rituals are tied to Arcana with most of the rest being tied to Nature or Religion and a smattering of Heal.

Types of rituals

Binding Rituals (30)
Like warding rituals, these rituals offer some protection, but generally by keeping things from doing things or going places.
Creation Rituals (37)
These rituals allow the caster to create something, sometimes out of thin air.
Deception Rituals (29)
Generally, these rituals create illusions to help fool even the most perceptive and insightful friend or foe.
Divination Rituals (24)
Information is the name of the game. These rituals help the caster determine everything from what's happened to what's happening to what might happen.
Exploration Rituals (91)
More of a generic category, these rituals don't easily fit in any of the 8 other categories. However, that doesn't mean that they are any less useful.
Restoration Rituals (18)
Often utilizing divine magic, restoration rituals seek to help with everything from disease to bringing back the dead.
Scrying Rituals (17)
Like divination rituals, these rituals are all about information gathering, in particular, how to gather intelligence remotely.
Travel Rituals (28)
Sometimes, getting there is half the battle. These rituals aim at making transit time shorter, or at least more comfortable.
Warding Rituals (27)
Want to protect a place or an object? Or maybe you want to keep certain creatures from getting in or make certain types of magic less effective. Then warding rituals are what you need.

Sample Ritual

There are many rituals that are more useful, but this is a particularly amusing example.

Brownberry's Annoying Companion
You set the sigil and when it goes off, the target is going to wish it had exploded and killed him. The screaming ball never stops, never rests, and haunts the unfortunate subject until the end of time.
Level: 8 Component Cost: 250gp
Category: Warding Market Price: 680 gp
Time: 10 minutes Key Skill: Arcana
Duration: Special

You place a magical mark upon a lock, latch, or any object the target can interact with. When the target touches the object, the mark vanishes and is replaced with a floating flesh-colored ball the size of a fist. Although it appears solid, the ball has no actual physical presence. The ball rises to the shoulder of the target, a mouth appears over the ball, and it begins screaming annoyingly in the target's ear. Every minute, the scream pauses for one round -- the ball gives the illusion of taking a deep breath -- and starts up again. Your arcana check determines how long the annoying companion lasts.

Arcana Check Result Duration
19 or lower 6 hours
20-29 12 hours
30-39 18 hours
40 or higher 24 hours

Anyone plagued by an annoying companion suffers a -5 penalty to all Charisma-based skill rolls, a -2 penalty to Perception checks, and cannot take extended rests. In addition, the target automatically fails all Stealth checks and cannot surprise opponents. The ritual can be dismissed by you or by any arcane caster that studies the orb for 10 minutes and then beats your Arcana check with his. You may replace the scream with loud laughter, moaning, or other noises generated by other parts of the body. The mouth cannot form words.

Product Information

Rules Set: 4E (GSL).
Contributing Writers: Tavis Allison, Cedric Atizado, Jobe Bittman, Jeb Boyt, Aaron Brosman, David Caffee, Jarrod Camiré, Steven A. Cook, Patrice Crespy, Joseph D’Amico, Chris Dias, David Dolph, Douglas R. Edmundson, Alan Z. Eisinger, Raymond G. Falgui, W. Daniel Fichtel, John R. Flemming, Joshua Gervais, David Gibson, Rob Green, David M. Guyll, Lee Hammock, Matthew Hannum, Matthew J. Hanson, Morgan Hardy, A. G. Edward Haskell, Isaac Hicks, Dwight Hulse, Matthew Kaiser, Charles W. Kiley III, Chris Kümmel, Phillip Larwood, Matthew Lawrence, Hannah Lipsky, Lizard Lizard, Chris Longhurst, Lucas Mackay, Hal Maclean, Paul Matthews, Dan McAllister, Derek Meurer, Nick Miller, Scott Moore, Tim Rose, Aeryn “Blackdirge” Rudel, Mark Steinmann, Harley Stroh, Stefen Styrsky, Chris Tandlmayer, Greg Tito, Chris Torrence, Austin Watkins, James Whitman, Doug Wideburg, Robert Clayton Wyatt, Jr.
Cover Artist: James Ryman
Interior Artists: David Griffith, Doug Kovacs, Hunter McFalls, Jesse Mohn, Matt Morrow, Chad Sergesketter, Mike Wilson
Graphic Designer: Erik Nowak
Editors: Dwight Hulse, Aeryn “Blackdirge” Rudel, Harley Stroh
Publisher: Joseph Goodman

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More Information

Goodman Games released two pre-release pdfs: one with the introduction, table of contents and the binding chapter and another of indices organizing the rituals by name, level, category, and key skill. The book can be purchased from RPGNow (as PDF), Paizo (PDF and print), and Amazon (print). I purchased my copy from my local gaming store.

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