One thing that always irked me in my D&D 4th Edition home game was the lack of ritual integration. I don’t know why, but my players would just not use them. I suspect that since they got involved with 4E through the Living Forgotten Realms modules, those story-light, combat heavy adventures generally did not lend themselves to rituals. However, my story and roleplaying heavy home game are the perfect place to use and abuse them! I even offered DOUBLE skill challenge successes if they integrated a ritual into the mix. Still nothing….
And it hasn’t helped the situation that Wizards of the Coast has seemed to only offer rituals as a second thought in their books. It is a great concept that they had when redesigning their 4E spell system. However, really CRAPPY delivery. Rituals are just sprinkled here and there throughout there books. Take the recent Arcane Power book. I was excited to get my hands on it for some excellent ritual action! Well, tucked in the back, at only six pages, we get a speckling of rituals. Divine Power? A laughable 3 pages of new rituals.
Thankfully, Goodman Games has come to the rescue! Their upcoming book called Azagar’s Book of Rituals is a 160 page book filled with nothing but new 4E rituals! Over 300 of them to be exact. I added a small sample at the bottom of this post.
This book is something special in the fact that Goodman Games did an open-call for content. The best-of-the-best of user submissions were integrated into this product, and it is better for it. You will find some older edition D&D favorites that have now been updated to 4E. The players of 4E really knew what was missing from the game and this book was their chance to change that. This book will be a gaming cornerstone for any 4E players serious about rituals.
The book is split into logical chapters by ritual type (e.g., Binding Rituals, Travel Rituals, etc). You can download a 10-page preview of the intro, table of contents and some binding rituals at this link. Each chapter has the same basic lay-out. Chapters start out with a fun introduction by the books gritty Hobogoblin host, Azagar. Then you get a list of the rituals in that chapter listed by level. Then it gets right into the ritual action.
Goodman Games did an excellent job with the indices of the book. In addition to the chapter breakdown by level I just mentioned, there is also a breakdown of all rituals in the book by level. Also, it breaks down the rituals alphabetically, by category, and by key skill. So with four ways of indexing the same rituals, it is easy to find what you need, when you need it. The ritual indices are available for viewing in this free download.
So how about the content?
Most of these rituals are great! There are some that seem a little underpowered for their level, and some that seem a little overpowered. As with any product, the DM may have to institute some tweaking for their specific game. But I personally would (and will) have no issues as a DM giving my players carte blanche in utilizing this book for their characters.
4E players should not be frightened that this book isn’t from WOTC. If you haven’t had experience with Goodman Games products before, they are great. All of the rituals are in the standard format you are used to seeing for rituals. The rituals are generic enough that they can be dropped into any campaign. And overall their quality is just as good, if not better, then what I have seen from the WOTC ritual department.
This soft-cover book has full-color exteriors with Black/White printing inside. It has 160 pages at a cost of only $14.99. Goodman Games has a pre-order special going on where you can buy this book through their online store, or your FLGS, and you will receive the PDF for free.
I can not comment on the specific construction quality of this book, as it is at the printers and Goodman Games has provided me a PDF for review. However, I would assume it will be of the same quality that Goodman Games uses for its other products, of which I have never had a problem. The PDF layout is functional, with the appropriate links set for the chapters in the digital table of contents. Most importantly, it is fully searchable.
In recap, I think this is a fantastic book at a fantastic price. Every 4E DM and ritual casting player should own it. I know I will be personally providing incentive to my home game ritual casters to grab this off the game shelf to use. This book would be a great addition to Trask’s Holiday Gift List.
Full Disclosure: Goodman Games did provide this book (in PDF) for review purposes