Liber Ritualium: Engineering of Ritual Magic

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Walrus Warwagon

Liber Ritualium: Engineering of Ritual Magic
Cogsworth Clockhand


This treatise provides a progressive exploration of ritual magic, its various forms, methodologies, and underlying principles. It emphasizes the critical details of preparation in pursuit of the precise results, aiming to guide practitioners in executing effective rituals while minimizing risks and undesirable consequences.


Ritual magic has been utilized through the full span of history, often becoming an integral part of a culture, or infrastructure. Particularly in the Ash Desert, where the harsh environment necessitates protective and adaptive magic, notable examples include Epicrasis, a sophisticated geomantic ritual that safeguards Baz'eel from devastating ash storms, and the Barrier of Baz'eel, a formidable magical blockade that secures the perilous route from the Sunken Spires to the city.

A ritual is a complex magical procedure designed for a specific purpose. Unlike customary spellcasting, rituals involve meticulous planning and execution, akin to engineering projects where each component matters for the desired outcome. Ritual could be defined as a spell or artifice, tailored to specific needs and conditions, for achievement on unique result.

This book aims to compile comprehensive knowledge on ritual magic, providing aspiring practitioners with guidelines to avoid common pitfalls and dangerous outcomes. It also seeks to discourage ill-prepared attempts, highlighting the importance of experience and knowledge in successful ritual execution.


Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Ritual Magic

What is Ritual Magic?

To expand on Definition: Ritual magic is a structured and often ceremonial practice. It is distinct from other magical forms in its resource-intensive way of execution. Successful ritual often requires collaboration of multiple participants, advanced calculations dependent on time, location, and the result of a ritual differs from a regular spell in it's power, magnitude and(or) elaborateness. To summarize, every proper ritual resembles an engineering project in its complexity and need for exactness.

Range of Rituals:

Rituals can be broadly categorized based on their complexity and precision. Most rituals are designed for specific effects, whether immediate or prolonged. Such rituals can be referred to as Instantaneous, but usually called just that - "rituals." Persistent rituals, akin to concentration spells, require sustained effort, of operator, or operators. Perpetual rituals, such as some magically engineered artifacts, maintain their effects through predefined actions and energy sources, and are often designed to be activated by a less skillful operator simply by meeting certain criteria.

Key Components of Ritual Magic:

The effectiveness of a ritual is significantly influenced by its setting. Wild magic areas can unpredictably alter a ritual's parameters, while overly orderly locations may impede certain magical mechanisms. These should be avoided, unless the nature of ritual calls for the opposite. Ideally, rituals should be conducted in neutral, significant places relevant to the type of magic being used. Performers of a ritual are advised to avoid places of unclear, or mixed influence.

Preparation involves gathering necessary tools and reagents, setting up the ritual space, and ensuring everything is correctly aligned. Amateurs and beginners often make a common mistake by treating place itself as a tool of the ritual, expecting that location will do some, or most, of the work for them, but such only leads to Fringe. Remember - location of a ritual is your work desk. Bring it in order before beginning the work, or suffer the consequence.
The ritual area is typically marked with a circle. A closed, uninterrupted loop without refractions – wheel is a circle, and so is clock face, orb is a perspective of a circle from any of the angles. Geometry is integral for ritual magic, and the circle is the most perfect of forms. Use circles to align your Tools, and Reagents, and Symbols, and Glyphs, and Runes, and so on. Alignment are optimal, when it follows the lines of appropriate geometric figures enclosed withing the circle and touching it with all of their corner, or enclosed deeper and not touching the circle with any of the corners, depending on purpose of the figure. Symmetry never hurts, precise placing is of utmost importance.

Reagents must be chosen carefully to avoid unintended interactions. While some rituals require minimal reagents, others depend heavily on specific substances. The correct selection and placement of reagents are crucial for achieving the desired outcome.
Do not blindly scatter around random assortments of gems, and globs of baublium. Baublium in particular is a combustible fuel, energy source, worthy of its own book. Suffice to say that fuel should be utilized correctly.
With reagents, you wish to avoid double meaning and unnecessary symbolism, all to avoid trappings of the Fringe Magic. Skillful ritual should not devolve into wailing shamanism. Choose not for implication, but for factual properties, be analytical and apply your knowledge of precise sciences, and get accustomed with guidelines described in the next Chapter.

A ritual's execution must be led by a primary Performer, the magus, whose authority in the ritual is paramount. Performer is the mastermind behind the ritual's plan.
Assistants follow the magus's instructions precisely. Assistants are not always less skilled than Performer, but they are those who assist in preparation. If their general expertise is superior to Performer's, but they did not seize the role of Performer themselves, then they must humble themselves and act solely as Assistant, and must never breach trust and include their own corrections.
A step even skillful practitioners often disregard is an assignment of trusted Belayer. Belayer stands ready to safely interrupt the ritual if necessary, by the terms of killswitch discussed with Performer in advance. Otherwise Belayer is there to shield ritual from magical interference from outside.
Guards remain out of the ritual's bounds with Belayer and most not, under any circumstance, interfere with the working of magic. Their only goal is the physical safety of the participants.

Execution stages vary but generally include preparation, manipulation, and culmination phases. Even for persistent rituals, where culmination must be maintained, manipulation stage precedes to set workings of culmination in motion.

Chapter 2: Types of Ritual Magic

For the sake of classification, the author separates rituals into Freeform and School-coded.

Freeform rituals:

For ease of classification freeform rituals include any rituals that are not school-coded. These are rituals that have a clear definition of processes. They are further categorized by associated discipline, or by commonality of underlying principles. The list is by no means exhaustive and some rituals cannot be defined.

Fringe Magic Rituals:
This is the most ancient form of a ritual and most ancient form of controlled magic, below which only wild magic and spontaneous effects of chaos. Fringe Rituals rely on symbolism, association, emotion, and metaphor, making them the most basic and arbitrary in their effects. Fringe magic is closely related to shamanistic practices, and primalism in general, where the practitioner's emotional state and symbolic actions play significant roles. Readers might think of another commonality, and indeed Fring Magic is closely related to the magic of bardic song, operating on the same set of principles, albeit in more of a modern form.

Main problem associated with the Fringe is how arbitrary it is as a result of such a ritual. Reagents of the Fringe Magic are chosen for their symbolic, metaphorical meaning. For more refined, scientific rituals, precision of the result always remains the main concern. So, a skillful Performer would plan ahead to avoid unnecessary symbolism, carefully choose reagents and steps... There is no way to fully exclude Fringe out of refined ritual, but influence of it should be minimized to avoid Layering, which will be discussed in the next chapter.

There is no reason to classify types of the Fringe Magic rituals, but some examples must be given.
A most primitive ritual to enhance courage might involve symbolic acts like consuming a lion's heart or wearing red garments, colors associated with bravery. Such a ritual is often a dummy, self-hypnosis, an imitation of a true ritual conducted by shamans and priests.
Decrying one's fate in the places of power, to bring attention of the higher entities, and by sheer power of their observation change this fate, is a form of Fringe Ritual. Risky, utterly unpredictable, and ill advised form.

Celestial Rituals:
Celestial rituals are conducted during specific celestial events, requiring precise astrological knowledge and timing. They are most common by mages who draw their power from outer realms of Astral, but could be performed by any magical caste, mostly of divinatory affinity. These rituals often involve observation tools and are conducted in locations with clear views of the sky.

Professionals tend to associate their ritual with a specific celestial body or constellation. Celestial events required for the ritual might be as simple as coming of the night with the clear sky, yet rare celestial events could magnify power of the ritual at the cost of significant risks.

Celestial rituals could attract the attention of astral horrors. Always ward the area. Introduce additional outer warding circle to the ritual, for your Guards will also need to stay within its protection. It is said there is risk of major interference from superior entities that could overtake the ritual simply by paying attention to it, but such cases are exceptionally rare, and almost unstudied. For the lack of better understanding, it is advised to follow guidelines described in older times about interaction with Fey in their pocket realm, and hope for the best.

Precise result of Celestial Ritual would be a Portent, or Vision. Sometimes this vision is so real, it becomes your new reality for the period of time. In this temporary reality you are especially vulnerable for outer predatory forces, so be quick with your search for clues.

Geomantic Rituals:
It is important to note that the author of this Liber is not a geomancer, and in this description relies on his observations, available literature, and counsel of practicing geomancers.

Geomantic rituals involve the manipulation of the geo's energies and matters - elements, through sacred geometry and ancient wisdom. When arcane operates by deeper laws of the universe, and divine operates by the will of gods and link with the faithful, geomancy is magic of the world itself. While it might sound poetic, such acts are closer to smoothly executed formulae. Indeed, Geometry is vital for any rite, but especially for geomancy. Every movement and action are consequential, every step revibrates through the earth, and dropped stone creates circles upon water's surface. Butterfly and the storm - geomantic ritual is a contained cascading effect. Instead of reagents and tools, geomancy utilizes Steles.

Advanced steles, tools of such rituals, but also a type of Perpetual rituals by themselves simply by definition, crafted with knowledge passed down through generations. While readers might consider Steles to be primitive simply for their stone carved form, this cannot be further from truth. Steles are advanced pieces of artifice, another alternative branch of it adjacent to electromechanical, and purely magical forms. Advanced steles allow skillful geomancers to expand the range of available manipulation of inherent laws of the world, and even refer to previous state of the locale.

Known examples of geomantic rituals are:

Stele of Law, Stele of Memory - Perpetual geomantic ritual;
Epicrasis - Persistent geomantic ritual, protection against Ash storm;
Geoform of the Land - instantaneous geomantic ritual, in which Stele of Memory is utilized to restore formation of the land from the preceding point in time.

Rituals of Ley lines deserve an honorable mention in this section. Rituals involving them were more common among druids of Old City prior to Ringfall. While not purely geomantic by definition, these rituals are closely related and an intermediate stage between fringe primalism and proper geomancy. Leyline rituals have achieved precision without strict geometry by utilizing prepared places of power and strict guidelines, and stone altars of the Druidic Circles as substitutes of Stele.

Divine Rituals:
While the author is not privy to inner workings of divine magic, such rituals will be mentioned for the sake of academic completion and objectivity.

Divine rituals, as indicated by the name, involve divine magic. They share a significant amount of similarities in the act of preparation of execution, but metaphorical and esoteric symbolism are put in a second place, while ceremony and tradition takes the palm. These rituals are least reliant on geometry.

Divine rituals are highly ceremonial, trait stemming from traditional patterns introduced by holy guidelines of worship and refined by churches.

Reagents of these rites usually include substances of historical significance to the faith, or otherwise mentioned in various scriptures related to the deity in question. While such a ritual is fringe by definition, concerns for its precision are often void, because desired effect is determined by divine intervention.

Typical examples of such rituals include:

Consecration - sanctification of objects or places, a countermeasure to desecration, or a way to clear the contamination of an area by negative energy(known for its property to linger in the physical matter). Sometimes consecration is used to break the curse, but such an example is an exception.

Exorcism - Divine form of Banishment ritual described in Abjuratory section of School-coded rituals.

Prophetic Rituals - seeking divine insight or guidance, or direct commune with the deity. These rituals are rare, reserved as a dire measure, and only performed by high ranking clergy. Reason for such rarity being - it is considered for a good reason, that it is up to deity to decide when to share wisdom with their followers.

It is important to note that Curses  are mentioned purely for the purpose of scholarly objectivity. Outraged readers should refer to the section "Ethical Considerations" of Chapter 3: Advice, Safety and Ethics.

Advanced curses are, indeed, a type of the ritual. Typical reagent of targeted is the personal effect of a target, and for wide-range curses primacy is taken by significant emotional component, usually achieved by terrible sacrifices. Spontaneous curses are known to exist, mostly as a blowback from improperly interrupted ritual, or as a buildup from a released, previously sealed entity, or as a form of impromptu Fringe Ritual. For example, dying ruler, uttering curses toward forces of conquest while their subordinates being killed - by symbolic relationship of master and servants, such utterance could fulfill fringe conditions of a potent curse.

Other curses are targeted at the land, creating lasting effects on those passing through. Usually, they include a countermeasure. For example, neck clasps of copper are known to counteract curses of slumber.

For targeted curses, it is most common for the Performer of such a vile rite to also have means to break the curse. Most often the demise of Performer will also lead to such a result, but this outcome is never guaranteed.

Most terrible of targeted curses are built upon self abandon, and affect both Performer and Target.

Brooking rituals:
Also known as Rituals of the Pact. These will not be discussed in the book, as knowledge of such ritual by itself is a cognitohazard - which means that it poses threat to a person simply by the fact of possession of such knowledge. If you wish to live a long life - do not look into this topic.

Perpetual Rituals:
Perpetual rituals have been mentioned multiple times through this Liber, but still deserve clarification. While usually a subtype of other rituals, they could also be its own thing, and Ritual of Artifice, a Ritual of Engineering. Perpetual ritual could be defined as a relationship of Trigger and Macro, a sequence of actions engineered to take place with correct input. For example, some clocks and Perpetual rituals, while most are just tools to measure time. Some perpetual rituals could lead to persistent results. Golemancy is not a school of artifice or ritualism by itself, and could be performed by the rules of different disciplines. Yet "life" of a golem is a persistent effect, while body is a perpetual ritual, and process of it's activation is a Trigger. It is safe to classify famous Lenses of Q'Tolip is a Perpetual ritual.

Minor Rites:
Passing rituals, such as death rites, ensure the proper transition of individuals from one state to another. These rituals prevent the rise of undead and maintain the sanctity of burial sites. It is known that even after contamination by negative energies, or desecration, some of abandoned Maqbaras has attracted undead scavengers, and pestilent rats or other vermin, yet none of buried dead has arisen.
Ceremonies for inducting new members into a group, or securing a promise. Minor form of a pact without involvement of a foreign entity. These rituals might carry shared benefit, or consequences of betrayal. Less practiced in the modern era. Monastic Vows and Paladin Oaths is a form of initiation ritual.
Opening of Closed Paths:
These rituals unblock or open magically protected pathways. These pathways are, most often, secured by Perpetual Ritual, and Opening of Closed Paths, is simply a Trigger. Yet very often this trigger is made so elaborate, it could be defined as a minor rite by itself. As such, Passage is opened not by action itself, but by ritualistic results of combined actions.

School-coded Rituals:

Main section of this Liber Ritualium. It is intended by the author that aspiring ritualists will refer to this section in their desire to produce the most precise and desired outcome.

Abjuratory Rituals:
Abjuration is a magic of structural integrity of an arcane-engineered construct, or of finding vulnerability in such. Constructs might include a persistent arcane structure or a binding pact.

Places of Abjuratory rites are often passages that require protection, or secluded places chosen as a prison, or tomb, and so selection of a place is rarely up to the performer.

Abjuratory rituals often involve durable reagents or organized inner framework, such as hard gems or crystals carved to required shape, and supplementary energy sources to maintain the ritual's effect in case natural fount would be insufficient. These reagents are rarely consumed during the ritual, instead becoming an integral part of related effects. As a result, they are well hidden and serve as cornerstones or locks, increasing the effectiveness of the ritual until the moment they are destroyed or unlocked.

Examples of abjuratory rituals are:

Banishment – most simple of the rituals, not out of ease of execution but out of necessity. Banishment rituals target the pact of a foreign, alien entity with the goal of dislocating it from undesired location or object. Dislocating possessive demons out of a person's body, or dislocating astral horror out of our world. Such entities do not remain idle, which highly limits available complexity of the ritual.

Sealing – the most famous form of abjuratory rituals. Sometimes the most resource efficient way of dealing with powerful entities is to enclose them into abjuration-engineered containment zones. Often utilized when simpler means of Banishment isn't applicable. It is recommended to choose places of high energy fount to power such a seal, but Performers must introduce means by which a sealed entity will be barred from tapping into the same fount. Most desirable outcome is when energy of the fount is inherently hostile to a sealed entity.

Barriers – some are persistent (require effort and concentration to maintain) and used as a drastic measure of defense against the environment or to protect a wide area against mass devastation. Such are often impromptu, but far more efficient when prepared in advance with means of quick execution. Shade of the Ancients seemingly operates by such principles, although even observed without closer research, its unique properties defy classification as a simple abjuratory ritual. Perpetual barriers are there until those with the access rights decide to lift them. They will only let through authorized entities. Perpetual barriers are always expertly tailored with consideration of potential barrier-breaking measures, only masters of abjuration can build such. They are rare, each is a masterpiece.

Artificial zones of anti-magic – least known form of abjuratory ritual, and least researched. Such effects are extremely hard to achieve because the nature of the ritual itself could interrupt its own effect.

Conjuratory Rituals:
Conjuration is a magic of calling, summoning, moving, but most forget that it also, by utilizing methodology adjacent to abjuration and transmutation, introduces techniques of space manipulation.

Place of Conjuratory rituals requires meticulous preparation to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Otherwise foreign entities spell doom to the magus and all involved. In other cases Place is not the location of the ritual, but its result. Many of magi, including the author, regard practive of the conjuration school as a suicidal affair.

Reagents are handpicked for each conjuration. Conjuration is a school barred to the author, and so aspiring conjurers should search for the works of Zif-Uroti, or other famous practitioners. Be advised, after the Ringfall, most of the older works has lost their relevance.

Examples of conjuratory rituals are:

Summoning – most common and most known form of Conjuratory rituals. More commonly practiced during the existence of Old City, such rituals have required planar expertise as well as knowledge of the psychological profiles of the summoned entities, for they will inevitably attempt manipulation and have millenia to practice in such. In the author's opinion, these entities are only suitable as a target practice for evocation of their least favorite element.

Gate - Unlike Teleportation, gates create either a persistent portal, or interlinked objects of Perpetual ritual that could be activated to bring the operator from one such object to another - the portal gates. Gates are convenient means of teleportation, but energy intensive. These portals are often located in the natural places of power, where energy is drained from the fount by transitional means. They are somewhat less common in the Great Ash desert, but many speculate that such was not always the case.

Space manipulation – advanced form of conjuratory rituals, the most famous example of such is the pocket dimensions. Often used for the creation of comfortable refuge by the arcanists of considerable power, or for banishment by a combination of conjuratory and abjuratory means. Readers are referred to investigate rumors of the Burgus, if they wish to know more.

Divinatory Rituals:
Divination is a school of foresight, insight, and revelation, tapping into the unseen threads of fate and possibility. But above all it is a school of observation, attention and ability to draw conclusions. Divinatory rituals focus on uncovering hidden knowledge, predicting probable future events, or gaining clarity on present circumstances through the chain of cause and effect. Divinatory rituals are very common, yet very subtle. They are often an exception to the rule and performed in solitude, posing risk only to the diviner.

The location for divinatory rituals depends entirely on a desired result. For rituals of distant observation, be it distance of space or time, diviners will often seclude themselves in a confined space with limited light and out of reach of outside sounds, just so none of the external stimuli would interfere with subtlest hints of divinatory process. Other times diviner will attempt to discern secrets of long abandoned places, and will be forced to work amidst it. Diviners are affected by their craft, and are often serene, or extremely short tempered. Both traits are related to how they do not tolerate disturbances with their craft.

Main reagents used in divinatory rituals are imbued with symbolic significance, are focal points for the diviner's concentration, be it crystals, bones, cards or such, helping to amplify their subtle senses and interpret the messages received. Such focus could be assisted by incense, candles, and other objects of ambience. Some reagents, sometimes referred as Fuses, may be consumed during the ritual, serving as conduits for the transfer of information or insight, two ward diviners from being located and followed by preying entities.

Examples of divinatory rituals are:

Scrying - one of the most common and versatile forms of divination. Usually Scrying is utilized in a form of spell, but this is the most primitive form of what is in fact a whole ritualistic tree. Usually diviner enters a trance-like state, allowing their consciousness to transcend mundane reality and access the realm of visions. Sometimes they are completely unresponsive, sometimes this trance leaves the diviner in partial consciousness, a state in which they are "here and there". In any case they must remain in safe space and closely watched and protected, and listened to.

Echo - This divinatory rite delves into memory of the matter, imprints of the what once was, seeking insights from echoes of past events. Through focused pondering, they attune their consciousness to what lingers, allowing them to perceive fragmented visions and sensations from distant moments in time or far-off locations, or even reveal these visions to those present. Main difficulty of such a ritual lies in the complexity of the location. To locate Echo in places with rich history is the task, comparable to sifting sand, one grain at a time, all while you need to prevent correct grains from falling through.

Fatespinning - drawing upon the web of fate itself, this divinatory rite unveils the hidden threads of destiny that bind individuals and events together. They discern probability, routes, and locate key events that could drastically affect the course of history. Practitioners of these rites keep their secrets, and so it is impossible to discern when they act upon these revelations, or when they pretend to act upon these revelations for personal motives.

Enchantment Rituals:
Enchantment is a magic of the mind. Enchantment rituals manipulate emotions, opinions, and memories. These rituals often involve subtle, covert actions to avoid alarming those affected. There is not much else to say, school of enchantment was always a target for scrutiny for the dubious ethics of school itself and its practitioners.

Place of the enchantment ritual usually closely located to the populated areas or areas frequented by designated targets.

Reagents include personal effects of the target, especially objects of emotional significance. This link between target and reagent is then abused by the Performer. For a mass-targeted ritual, the place itself must hold great significance for the targeted populace. This condition serves as a limiting factor, since ritual itself might be difficult to conceal from its targets.

Another means to perform an enchantment ritual is for targets to willingly, albeit unwittingly, form a link by accepting an object or substance with which they will physically interact.

Examples of enchantment rituals are:

Puppeteering - seizing absolute control over a person. Performer establishes a constant link between himself and a person, a master-slave relationship in which any command of the master takes utmost priority. Master enchanters might even manage to possess the target akin to possessing a familiar.

Mass control - prior mentioned, this ritual of manipulating opinions and emotional state of the masses. Effects are subtle, yet each affected target becomes even more vulnerable for a targeted ritual. Otherwise - similar results could be achieved by newspapers.

Artificial memories - advanced form of enchantment ritual, subjects' memories are reconstructed to serve Performer's purpose, be it a creation of a loyal minion, safeguarding from target's revenge or a therapeutic lie.

Dreamwalking - rarely practiced from an enchantment ritual, in which performers walk the dreams. Dreamwalking could be compared to Vision achieved by Celestial rituals, for performers and others brought into the dream it becomes a temporary reality. Ritualists are at the subconscious whims of a dreamer and of the nightmares haunting them. Be very careful.

Evocative Rituals:
Evocative rituals, just as a school of evocation, involves creation, extinguishing, manipulation and amplification of force, be it high energies or elements. While sharing relation to Geomantic ritual simply by definition of element manipulation, instead of cascading effects reliant on deep links to the world, evocative rituals harness and direct immense power, making them both potent and dangerous. They require precise control and a deep understanding of elemental forces to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Indeed, evocative rite requires a higher degree of competence from its performer, as reactive forces involved often leave no time for indecisiveness.

Evocative rituals require locations capable of withstanding significant energetic output and potential collateral damage. Ideal places are isolated and reinforced areas, such as remote mountaintops, deep caverns, or specially constructed sanctuaries with protective wards and containment glyphs. The area must be able to channel and disperse the enormous energies safely, preventing unintended destruction.

These rituals involve conductive and reactive materials such as metals, elemental stones, or otherwise infused matter. These components act as filters, conduits, and amplifiers. Often, the materials are etched with abjuratory runes or sigils to enhance their stability. These components are usually consumed during the ritual.

Examples of evocative rituals are:

Fount of power - distant relative of Flame Weapon spell. Founts of power redistribute and magnify energies, usually focussing the natural fount of an area to a concentrated point in space. I suspect that the Heliograph of Banafsi is an example of such an evocative ritual. Another potential use case is often mistaken for abjuratory barrier - stretched across distance, founts of power could bar entrances in a similar fashion, but instead of impenetrable passage, fount annihilates anyone who dares to challenge it.

Mass destruction - rituals of mass destruction are rarely utilized. Mainly because required precision makes tailoring an immense energy source to swiftly changing conditions an exceptionally difficult task, and any imprecision is unacceptable, unless Performer is at peace with the fact that devastation could consume not only the enemy, but also allies and the ritual site itself. Еhere is usually no gain as sheer scale of destruction often makes area uninhabitable and contaminated. Famous example could be found in reports of the merchants - an explosion of Silverpeak, which happened prior to Ringfall somewhere across Southern Kingroad. It is said that clouds of smoke and debris could be observed not only from Great Ash desert, but even some elevated rings of Northern Kingroad.

Balance Broker - least known evocative ritual, mostly due to the destructive reputation of the school. Often such rituals are misattributed to abjuratory means. Yet evocation is a school of energy manipulation. This ritual operates on the principles of scales and balances, where countermeasures are gradually introduced to tame the hostile environment, thus restoring a broken balance of energies. Performers are advised to avoid buildup, and introduce means against outbursts.

Illusory Rituals:
Illusion is a school of false perceptions, manipulating sight, sound, and other senses to deceive and mislead. Illusory rituals focus on crafting detailed and convincing sensory experiences, requiring a keen understanding of sensory manipulation and psychological nuance.

The site for illusory rituals is often chosen for its ambient characteristics that can enhance the illusion. Enclosed spaces like theaters, caves, or rooms with controlled lighting and acoustics are preferred to maximize the effect. Natural settings with dense fog, shadows, or reflective surfaces, or places with dense visual obstruction can also be ideal, providing a backdrop that enhances the believability of the illusion. The choice of location is crucial as it must support and not contradict the fabricated reality.

Illusion rituals require materials that operate perception and clarity, such as mirrors, lenses, and chimes, as well as rare substances like incense, aromatic salts, or prismatically colored crystals. These items help to project and refine the illusion, ensuring its realism and stability. Often, illusionists tap into enchantment and use personal tokens or symbolic items linked to the target's psyche to enhance the illusion's impact. While some reagents might be consumed to sustain the illusion, others are carefully preserved and reused for multiple performances.

Examples of Illusory rituals are:

Masquerade - invented by Fey tricksters and trivial for them, yet difficult for mortal magi to achieve, the ritual of masquerade could range from simply concealing the passage, to entirely re-dressing locale. We mostly learn about examples of such rituals through folklore, stories where whole prosperous cities in reality turned out to be ruins, or when travelers had stopped at the roadside inn just to find themselves dining on grass and leaves in the company of squirrels and raccoons.

Mirage - while Masquerade deceives the victim, Mirage is a far more malicious ritual. It attracts the victims, lures them in. At the very best, targets of this ritual find themselves with great disappointment. At the worst mirage conceals something vile. Mirages won't hide their nature when entered, but leaving them unharmed will be a problem. It's a trap, often haunted by the husks of the victims.Mirages are utilized in conjunction with other rituals, like curses or enchantments, for drastic increase of efficiency.

Necromantic Rituals:
It is important to note that necromantic rituals are mentioned purely for the purpose of scholarly objectivity. Outraged readers should refer to the section "Ethical Considerations" of Chapter 3: Advice, Safety and Ethics.

Necromancy, though controversial, deals with the forces of life and death, often involving communication with or manipulation of the dead. Necromantic rituals can either be sinister, or reposeful, depending on the intent. Usually first. These rituals require a deep understanding of the boundary between life and death and the forces that govern it, and, as well, of body and soul.

Necromantic rituals are typically performed in locations steeped in death or memory, such as graveyards, battlefields, ancient crypts, or sites of historical tragedies. The proximity to remnants of life aids in the chtonic connection. These places often have an aura of death that enhances the ritual's power, making the communication or manipulation of spirits easier.

Usage of bones, ashes, and other remains are common in necromantic rituals, serving as physical anchors to the spirits or energies being manipulated. Other reagents might include grave dirt, blood, or rare herbs believed to have connections to the afterlife, as well vessels contaminated with negative energies. These components are often ritually prepared, anointed with oils, or inscribed with necromantic runes. They are usually consumed or altered in the process, binding the ritual's effects to the remnants or vessels used.
For the sake of this Liber, simple Raising of the Dead won't be regarded as a ritual.

Examples of necromantic rituals are:
Grafting - incursion of organic and non-organic matters not natural to the target's organism. Goal of this ritual is an acquisition of properties unavailable through usual means. It is usual for the target of such a ritual to also be its performer. Precise techniques of grafting are kept secret by a scarce caste of necromancers. Safe to assume that those capable of grafting their body are not fully living beings anymore, and exceptionally knowledgeable in medicine and anatomy.

Commune with the Dead - differs vastly from raising of the dead. Very rare for such a ritual to bring in sanity a soul of the deceased. Usually only miniscule remnants are available, and through desecration of such, only a lingering memory, and imprint of the soul could be brought, incapable of proper communication. Still, in search of ancient secrets necromancers do practice Commune, collecting cryptic hints whispered by fragmented mutterings of these incomplete apparitions.

Path to undeath - a whole series of the rituals. Most famous include the path to Lichdom, and must not be discussed. Other examples include creation of sentient undead, which requires intact remnants and means of breaking through protections incurred by rites of passage without destroying connection between body and soul. Least known subtype of this ritual group is the Rite of Eternal Vigilance, which binds spirits to guard ancient crypts, ensuring the treasures and knowledge within remain undisturbed by grave robbers.

Transmutational Rituals:
School of transmutation involves altering the fundamental properties of matter, changing one substance into another, or alteration of the body. Properly conducted transmutational rituals focus on precision and stability to avoid unintended consequences. They require a deep understanding of alchemical principles and the inherent properties of materials.

These rituals are best conducted in environments where material conditions can be tightly controlled, such as laboratories, workshops, or alchemical circles. The stability and purity of the surroundings ensures the accuracy of the transmutation. These locations are often equipped with specialized apparatuses like alembics, crucibles, and containment fields that facilitate the precise measurements and conditions needed.

Transmutational rituals use a variety of base materials and catalysts, like rare earth metals, herbs akin to mandrake and belladonna, and alchemical compounds. These substances are carefully measured and combined according to strict formulas to facilitate the desired transformation. Alchemical diagrams and symbols are often inscribed in the workspace to guide the energies involved. Often, the reagents are fully integrated into the new substance created by the ritual, fundamentally altering their properties and ensuring the stability of the transmutation. Other times they have to be consumed by the ritual's target, or directly injected into them.

Examples of transmutational rituals are:

True Polymorph - one of examples of the transmutational ritual is the irreversible change of the target's form. Be it subtle alteration, or drastic change these rituals are highly complex and carry with them great risks. Sometimes, these rituals do not affect the target directly, but result in a concoction that will affect the imbiber. Unfortunately, Performers of such a ritual have a bad habit of never marking their work, in an attempt to protect their secret formulas and method from competitors. And so there is no way to know what will happen to imbiber. Will it be an elixir of youth, or will it turn you into a walking, thinking plant? Maybe it will turn you into a caustic slug, increase your muscle mass, or give you wings? Nobody will say for sure.

Chronal Transfusion - crude attempt at true chronomancy, this ritual manipulates the flow of time within a localized area, accelerating or deccelerating temporal progression to achieve desired effects. These rituals are easier applied to the places removed from the world, where time flow is less complex. Most common example is slowing the passage of time within pocket dimension, allowing us to spend more time within it, relative to the worldly time. Advanced application might require proficiency with temporal mechanics (do not mix up with spatial mechanics, they are very different).

Terraforma - rituals of terraforma differ greatly from geomancy. These rituals bring drastic change to a locale by direct, invasive manipulation of shape and structure, often inducing reactions resulting in alteration of matter into different forms.

Chapter 3: Advice, Safety and Ethics

Risk Management:

Avoid Layering of the rituals, if you can. Remember, one ritual should be tailored for one effect. By stretching ritual to multiple effects you only invite loss of control. Combined simultaneous rituals of different disciplines are also a form of Layering. Only archmages, masters of arcane and great specialists of ritualism could perform advanced Layering, and even they face huge associated risks. This is the case of "less is more."

Avoid arbitrary metaphors, avoid unnecessary symbolism. Elements of Fringe is the Layering as well. Fringe rituals are always unpredictable. If you cannot logically explain a certain element of the ritual, then cross it off the list. Do not look for a reason to utilize something, look for a reason not to.

Avoid unprepared means of ritual Interruption, Interruption must be only conducted by Performer, or Belayer. Always include killswitch into ritual, and define conditions by which it should be activated.

Interference by foreign entities is often unavoidable. Ward, ward, and ward. Even if Interference cannot be avoided, their presence could be weakened. Trust in your guards and follow the plan, do not alter the ritual on the entity's advice. You are the one in control.

Potency of arcane ritual can be improved by introducing a shimmering tear - pure solidified essence of magic itself. But the difficulty of keeping the ritual under control will also increase.

Similarly, the magnitude of the ritual can be increased by performing said ritual in the Tower. Not any old tower, but a Wizardry Tower. Purpose of these towers is similar to the purpose of the magic staff - they are foci, tools for precise manipulation of high matters by a capable arcanist. In the case of a Wizardry Tower, the foci is just orders of magnitude larger and more potent than the staff. Curious readers should search for reports of the Warrenwatch incident, which happened along Southern Kingroad prior to Ringfall, where the tower was utilized to conjure a Slaadi of such proportions, it was capable of simply walking over the Ringwalls.

Important! Many applied rituals require from the Performer not only the knowledge of arcane sciences, but also great expertise in adjacent topics, depending on methods or goals of the ritual. If you lack in such, do not hesitate to hire specialist as your assistant, even if they are not magically-inclined.

When possible - secure permission. When not - make emphasis on the covert nature of the ritual.

Ethical Considerations:

The moral implications of ritual magic are significant. Practitioners must be aware of the potential harm and ethical dilemmas, avoiding practices like necromancy if they wish to live, and dangerous conjurations if they do not want to meet fate worse than death.
At the same time my point of view is that experts know better, and upstarts with token knowledge of the topic should mean their business and should not increase the risks by interfering.