ritual candle, leveled

This entry is part 5 of 13 in the series wondrous items, leveled

Specialized Ritual Candle
This candle is designed for a specific ritual. When used with the right ritual, the caster may choose to gain either a +5 item bonus to one skill check associated with the ritual or to cast the ritual with no component cost. The candle acts like a normal ritual candle when used with any other ritual.

My old houserules for leveling magic items mean that every piece of magical treasure has the potential to gain power in ways that the players can’t predict. Furthermore, WOTC recently invented the concept of the “rare magic item,” but haven’t given us lots of examples.

While some items may get mechanically better (for instance, a +1 sword becomes a +2 sword), it’s more challenging to improve items that don’t have numeric bonuses. I thought I’d go through the Wondrous Items in the 4e Player’s Handbook and give examples of how each could gain powers that reflect their history.

A cursed ritual candle may be designed with particular parameters in mind, in which case the ritualist must succeed on a saving throw or be unable to change this detail of the ritual. For instance, a candle for a scrying ritual might be set to spy on a certain area of interest to the candle’s original user.

Ritual Candle that Burns Mens’ Souls
Instead of ritual components, the candle uses the lives of helpless or willing subjects within a burst 5. The total levels of creatures sacrificed must equal the level of the ritual.

This candle is a huge money saver for evil spellcasters with access to minions, peasants and/or captured PCs.

Shared Ritual Candle
This candle is part of a set, scattered across the world. Each candle can only be lit once per day, and burns down in an hour. The next morning, it is restored to its unburned state. A candle may be either used as a ritual candle as part of a ritual, or lit as a normal candle. If lit as a normal candle, it gives a +1 bonus to any of the set which is currently being used in a ritual. It’s unknown how many candles there are in the set, but at any time, PCs can get a +1d6 bonus from helping candles lit by NPCs somewhere in the world.

This is sort of the Seti@home of magic items. A lot of the candles are probably used for light by frugal families who just don’t want to buy new candles every day.

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3 Responses to “ritual candle, leveled”

  1. Baf says:

    Hm. When you say “must equal the level of the ritual”, do you mean “must equal or exceed the level of the ritual”? Because I can see some potential in all the excess life energy turning against you if it isn’t consumed…

  2. Pierce says:

    I really love the idea of a ritual candle that burns men’s souls. I wonder if a similar item can be designed with Dark Sun in mind. A candle the has stored men’s souls, being that it is a storehouse of magical energy, defiled from victims, and ready to be put to use later. The ethical issues of using it would be interesting, especially if a party got used to using them, and only later found out how they were made, and now had to brake their bad habit.

  3. paul paul says:

    An attack by Baf’s excess souls might in fact be the way that Pierce’s casters learn about the provenance of their handy crate of red ritual candles.

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