It starts with an incantation, sometimes followed with some sophisticated dance. Often requiring some form of reagents, other times it requires sacrifice, we can only be on about one of the most complex types of magics. A mix between pure voodoo, religion and powerful forces unseen in the physical realm, today we’re delving deep in the world of rituals.
To lay some ground rules down for this, a ritual can be anything involving some complex mantra, activity or set-up. It can be easy enough to understand in principle, so long as there’s a reason behind the simplicity, these are rituals which have been prominently displayed in a series, a franchise, or even just as a one off in an episode. It also can feature in a video game, an RPG or otherwise.
10) The Rite of Ash’Kente – Discworld
Not even the wizards of Unseen University know everything, but they do know a way to contact someone who does. It’s very inconvenient to drag Death from his eternal duties whenever you need an urgent question answered like “What’s that massive new star that keeps getting bigger?” or “What the hell just happened?” and He regularly appears in a bad mood, on one notable occasion still holding the pineapple-cheese stick from the party He’d just been abducted from.
Death is of course subject to wandering off and leaving His family to do THE DUTY, and they also take His place in the circle should the Rite be performed. There are many ways Ash’Kente can be conducted, many of which involve something dying and therefore summon Death by default. The most basic method requires three sticks and 4cc of mouse blood or an egg, but is often dressed up with dribbly candles and octagrams, for the look of the thing.
9) Eidolon Extraction & Cleyra’s Protective Dance – Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy IX, or FF9 as many people know of it, is one of those games that I talk about a lot. Sorry, not sorry. However in this particular instance, it’s worth noting that the game has many different rituals scattered throughout. These are just two of the main ones that affect the game in huge ways:
The Eidolon Extraction ritual is conducted by Zorn and Thorn, the two court jesters to Queen Brahne (and later working for Kuja). They do this to extract the power of the Eidolon’s so their masters can use the power of these beings to wage war across Gaia. They are successful at first, by taking away Princess Garnet’s Eidolons right at the start of the game. They try this at a later point in the game, too.
Cleyra is a settlement of the rat-people, the same species as one of the main protagonists, Freya Crescent. Cleyra is surrounded by an ancient sand storm which keeps their peaceful town safe from all outsiders. To keep the sand storm safe, occasionally they must perform a sacred dance, with music played from their harp. If the sand storm were to disappear, they would be open for attack and thus… war. See how these are all linked, now?
8) Anveena’s Sacrifice – World of Warcraft
I’d not like to go into too much detail with this one, but this is a condensed version of what this is about. She’s a manifestation of pure energy and was captured and corrupted by Kil’Jaeden’s minions. With the energy of Sunwell Plateau captured and their intent of using all of her existing life force to summon Kil’Jaeden himself into Azeroth via a portal that she would be opening with her own power.
However, true to all heroic characters form, she snaps out of it and she was almost too late. She’s already opened the portal and the humongous demon Kil’Jaeden was already on his way through it. When she realises this, she uses the last of her strength and powers to make the ultimate sacrifice. She seals the portal around his torso, allowing the heroes of Azeroth to unite against this serious danger to their planet. So in short, Anveena both summons and weakens Kil’Jaeden, allowing Azeroth to hold off from disaster and even prevent it… Until Legion happened but we’ll have to wait and see what dangers from the Burning Legion this presents.
7) Summoning Exodia – YuGiOh
The theory – In order to summon the great Forbidden One you must gather his parts, head and body, and each chained limb. With his entire collection before you he is made whole and you automatically win the game.
The practice – Decks are basically built so that you can do a short series of delay tactics, all while ensuring that the parts come to you quickly and easily so that you slam the lot down on the table and claim a weak victory that no one enjoys.
So far as instant-wins in card games go it’s got a rather nice theory behind it, but sadly Exodia can be readily exploited. If you’re looking for a more interesting instant win then look up M:tG’s Hedron Alignment for something requiring a bit more effort. If you want an enjoyable experience with Exodia it’s readily found in the Abridged Series.
6) Rary’s Telepathic Bond – Dungeons & Dragons Wizard Ritual
Oh did we ever have some choices here. Amongst the catalogue of spells for all classes and all occasions in the D&D rulebooks, the magic mouths, the unseen servants and floating disks we eventually settled on one that any right minded wizard would have prepped and ready to go every damn day. You see only a right minded wizard should be allowed to do all of the planning and tactical decision making, these stick-waving imbeciles in metal underpants don’t have a clue!
What better way to make your thoughts known (and only amongst your allies) than to have them implanted directly into their minds? The Telepathic Bond allows for immediate mental communication between a full party anywhere in the world (other planes may incur roaming charges) to swiftly and accurately allow the wizard to share his/her ingenious insights into the situation, and to have those insights ignored more profoundly than ever before. A must have for anyone level 10 or above.
5) Summoning Shenron – DragonBall
Ah yes, summoning Shenron himself can be considered to be a type of ritual. When you think about what a ritual is, it’s something that should be quite hard to obtain, perhaps because of time constraints, perhaps due to resource, or perhaps due to rarity of the objects being used. When you think of it like this, Shenron is in fact a ritual – but how does one simply summon a dragon that will grant you a wish?
You have to go across the Earth and collect all of the DragonBalls. I mean later on, they go off Earth and go to places like Namek and if you count DragonBall GT as canon, then across the freakin’ universe to summon a Dragon. Once you’ve collected all of the DragonBalls, you then have to say an incantation to summon the great and powerful dragon. Only then will you have satisfied the criteria to unleash this massive all-powerful being. I’d wish for unlimited wishes.
4) Human Sacrifice – Goat Simulator
All shall kneel before Goat.
These days it’s fairly common knowledge that Coffee Stain Studios is built downhill from a ritual circle devoted to the great Hellgoat, whose powers are terrible, and whose physics are all kinds of broke. How else could such a success be made of a dumb little simulator game that doesn’t even work properly? But to activate the power yourself you must first have corpses, delicious corpses to feed the circle!
The most basic setting for Goat Simulator features some of the most interesting locales, like the gravity pit, the skate park, and the Tower, and within each are terrible secrets, but none require such devotion to activate as the circle. Oh sure, you could summon a bunch of lesser goats and do it, but where’s the fun when you could just snatch up the bodies of the screaming and insignificant peasantry to feed your unnatural hunger for power? Goats man, I’m telling you, they’re evil.
3) C’Thulhu Fhtagn – Lovecraft
Between the dates of March 23 and April 2 every year, those who consider themselves particularly “psychically hypersensitive” and those of a particularly artistic disposition are visited by feverish dreams of sunken cities, ancient temples, and the slumbering gods who wait there. During the investigations of Inspector LeGrasse into related phenomena and the shocking similarities to the bas-reliefs and idols worshipped by disparate cults across the world he is shown a wide variety of nightmarish worship of elder and unworldly things.
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn
It’s a phrase uttered on degenerate tongues, a fallen band of New Orleans voodoo priests, devil worshipping Esquimaux, in the hasty scribbles of mad artists and the most impassioned verses of drug-addled poets. Those who worship the idols and keep Its name alive are known to practice terrible rituals of blood, and they’re not alone. The people-smugglers of Red Hook demonstrate similar necromantic rites before a squat demonic entity in deep cellars, and in forgotten times the ancient de la Poer family ancestry sacrificed humans in terrible volumes.
2) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
This is a stretch, but bare with us on this one. Oblivion is a game about the whole game leading up to the climactic moment when the big baddy comes out and you fight it off. So far, so standard. But I want you to seriously think for a moment here and let us know what you think in the comments as well. The Elder Scrolls IV is about the summoning of the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon.
Now that’s pretty cool and the game was universally praised (Even with the silliness of some of the glitches and voice issues that characters had)… However, if the whole game was about the summoning of Mehrunes Dagon, then how? Why? Do you remember those portals scattered across Cyrodil? Yes, you’re absolutely right… The whole game was actually a giant ritual to summon the Daedric Prince himself. You’re literally fighting against a massive demonic ritual… And when you stop to think about it, that’s kind of awesome!
1) Nationwide Transmutation Circle – Fullmetal Alchemist
SPOILERS: Be warned, if you’ve not watched all of Fullmetal Alchemist and fully intend to, then this is a bit spoiler-y. You have been forewarned.
So it turns out the entire nation, the entire place the series is set in, all of it… Was a great big transmutation circle. A massively forbidden one which would see all that was within the circle destroyed. This was something that was put together by the government of the series, much to the chagrin of all of the protagonists. This was a group they had served (although somewhat unwillingly from Edward Elrics case) – and if this transmutation circle was triggered, it would see the destruction of all life within Amestris.
Why on Earth would anybody want to make this massive underground tunnel based transmutation circle, I hear you cry out? Why, of course, it was put together not because they wanted to eradicate life per se, but instead to create a massive, all powerful philosophers stone for the original Homunculus, Father. This was the ultimate plan for the Homunculi throughout… And when you think about a political power having someone that corrupt in charge, it’s enough to make you cringe.
Rituals are one thing, but magic is a realm of almost unlimited possibilities. Although these next two didn’t quite make the cut for our Top 10 list, we felt they needed to at the very least be mentioned. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see powers like these…
We are creatures of habit and bizarre superstitions. For all that geeks tend towards logic and reason we also tend to observe patterns rather quickly, especially when it comes to dice. We all have that one dice that you can never ever use because it’s cursed, or a particular bag that’s lucky to keep dice in, one person at the table who can never roll a decent number until there’s some obscurely dramatic moment where they get that impossible critical.
Dice, cards, lucky controllers and mouse-mats, little habits and tics like not looking when you roll or stacking them up. We know it doesn’t make a difference, we know that they’re basically all the same, but… it is different, somehow, it’s yours and it’s special in its own way, and we hang on to them… almost ritualistically.
If I were to be very honest with you, the reason we picked this for our honourable mentions is because it’s literally called Rituals. We were running out of ideas at first, but when I saw this title, I decided to have a read through and you know what? It sounds pretty interesting. It’s something I’m going to pick up and do a full review on.
Rituals is a game about exploration and the eery connection between civilisation and nature. It looks like it’s quite a short game, but it’s certainly intriguing enough to make me want to get it, play it, record it and share it with you all… But what do you think? Let us know if you’ve played this in the comments below.
Incantations finished, our reagents are expended. That’s it, we’re done, we’ve used up our surplus of supplies and the demand for our next list is just coming through. Sheesh, but we’re spent for this week, so now it’s over to all of you. Help us decide what we do for next weeks’ Top 10 list. You can bet we can conjure up something great from any of the below choices.
Abra kadabra! Hey ho, it looks like we’ve gotten to the end of our ritualistic list of enchanting words and imagery. Nevermind, that’s just the end of the list, but it needn’t be the end of the discussions. How did we do on our list of rituals? Do you think we got the best ones, or did we miss that important ritual in your life? As always, please remember to leave us a message in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.