Last year I noticed that fighters have few out-of-combat abilities, and wanted to add more versatility to the class without using the powers system. It struck me that 4E already has a mechanic for non-combat powers: the rituals system, normally used for spellcasters’ out-of-combat spells. D&D blogger Wyatt recently had a similar idea, so I thought I’d share some more of my ideas on the topic.
A ritual as we know is a non-combat spell, characterized by long casting time, a level requirement, a cost to acquire, a cost per use, and usually a skill check, with higher results sometimes granting greater successes. We can apply that to the martial classes, creating what Wyatt calls an Endeavour. Broadly speaking, a ritual or endeavour lets a character perform actions not covered by normal skill use or combat powers. Wyatt recommends giving all characters one Endeavour for free at level 1.
Dragon #379 also introduced something called Martial Practices, very similar to a ritual but you typically pay the component cost in healing surges. Below are some new examples of whatever you want to call rituals for martial classes.
This ritual brings third edition’s Craft (weaponsmithing) back into play.
Component Cost: Special
Market Price: 50gp training, 20gp tools
Key Skill: Endurance. Working hard for long hours at a hot forge requires good stamina.
You turn raw materials into weapons, armour or other metal objects. You pay half the item’s purchase price in raw materials and must spend one day working per 25gp in the item’s price. Your skill check determines the item’s quality and production time.
9 or lower: Crude. Item takes 50% longer to produce and suffers a -1 penalty (to attack rolls for weapons, to AC for armour)
20-34: Superior. Item is produced in 75% of the time and worth 50% more than usual.
35 or higher: Masterwork. Item is produced in 50% of the time, and is worth double.
An item can be crafted Hastily, in which case it takes only one day but the blacksmith must spend one healing surge for each day he saves. For each surge he doesn’t spend, the skill check suffers a -5 penalty. At the DM’s discretion, certain objects may be especially challenging to craft, and impose a penalty. Players should note that by rules as written, mundane gear isn’t worth anything to sell.
Component Cost: 1 healing surge
Market Price: 80gp
Time: One hour
Key Skill: Intimidate
Duration: One day
By choosing body parts and pieces of armour from fallen enemies, you construct a terrifying scarecrow-like monument to your own prowess. When an enemy sees the grisly trophy for the first time, make an Intimidate check vs Will as an immediate reaction. On success, the enemy is frightened and takes -2 to attack rolls until the end of the encounter. You gain +2 to the check if the trophy is made of the target’s allies, or +5 if the trophy is made of the target’s leader or boss.
You can’t move the grisly trophy or carry it into battle. It can be destroyed if it takes damage; an average trophy has AC 10, Fortitude 10, Reflex 10 and 25 hit points.
Your weapon and armour crafting talents surpass those of most mortal craftsmen.
Component Cost: Special
Market price: 1,000gp training, 20gp tools
Key Skill: Arcana, Endurance or Religion
As Blacksmithing, but the works you create are imbued with expert enhancements. You can imbue an item with the following properties:
Indestructible (any item): Item adds resist 10 to damage (item only, not wielder)
Blood Channel (weapon): Once per day, expend a healing surge to score a critical hit on a roll of 19
Featherlight (armour): Penalty to skill checks in armour is reduced by one
Fearsome (any item): Wearer gains a +1 bonus to Intimidate checks
Fop’s Blade (armour, weapon): Ability score required to wield or wear this reduced by two; owner can take the requisite proficiency feat
Serrated: (weapon): Deal +1 damage on a critical hit
The number of properties you can imbue depend on your skill check result:
14 or less: None, and item cannot be made magical (see below)
15 to 24: None
25-29: One enhancement
30-39: Two enhancements
40 or higher: Three enhancements
In addition, you can use residuum to craft a weapon or armour into a magic item, as per the Enchant Magic Item ritual.