Rites and How to Bend the Multiverse to Your Will Without it Noticing
A rite is a magical effect that takes place outside the bounds of Battle Magic and yet does not require a direct access to the Void through a Ritual Circle or True Magic. Because of this Rites are more flexible than Battle Magic and much less powerful than True or Ritual Magic.
A Rite cannot be used to create a ritual level effect under any circumstances. Depending on the situation a rite may not produce any effect at all or may produce a different effect than the stated aim at the whim of the uncaring Fates.
A rite can be used to increase the chances of an event that could happen by itself anyway, of happening. For example it could be used to summon a being that has the power to appear in a given place (by increasing the chance that it randomly decides to go there anyway).
Power must be gathered for a rite to be successful, this power can come from a variety of sources and any, some, or all may be relevant to any particular effect. Sources can include but are not limited to:Sympathy – items/people/etc with an affinity for or link to the thing you are trying to affect.Temporal – times and dates that are particularly associated with the thing you are trying to affect.Spirit – belief in the ability of the rite to affect the thing you are trying to affect.Verbal or Somatic – words and actions that are relevant to the thing you are trying to affect.Aversion – destruction of things opposed to the thing you are trying to affect.Associations – things that are held in arcane circles to be the same as the thing you are trying to affect. These may take different forms – for example silver is an association of the Moon and vice versa, Gold for Time etc.Local magical influences – such as the presence of a manaflow, arcane structures or unusual local conditions can also be used.
Note that because we are not shaping Void energy as such, it is not necessary for a rite leader to be a ritualist nor for any of the participants to be a ritual contributor, although experience in shaping magical power outside the framework of battle magic is probably useful.
For example I performed a recent rite to summon a powerful Air Elemental. We got together a group of people collected more or less at random to represent the spontaneous nature of Air, we had the Tome of Air (a Sympathy to Air) and myself (likewise a Sympathy). We performed the rite in an open space where the wind could whip around us and could be as exposed to Air as possible and we danced, chanted, shouted and sang to shape Air with our bodies and mouths. All the words we chanted were chosen to increase the power of Air in the localised area that we were performing in and to make it easier for the Air Elemental to manifest itself near to us.
A rite manipulates the inherent magical pattern of Erdreja in subtle ways without having to pull down a chunk of Void into the world. In the instance above we bolstered the threads of Air in the weave whilst slightly weakening the other elements, thus creating a minor local imbalance. This is quite a crude effect and most rites are far less direct in their manipulation of the pattern. If we accept that a certain event could feasibly happen then we can put together a rite to set in motion a chain of events that will result in the desired effect.
The main component is belief. The participants – or at least the leader of the rite must believe that the rite can achieve what it sets out to do. This may mean that they take on different belief sets to those they normally hold temporarily. It is not unusual – in fact it is desirable – for a good performer of rites to be able to hold inconsistent beliefs temporarily as required without allowing any room for doubt in his mind. This irrational and counter-intuitive approach is the main impediment to most peoples practice. For this reason they are seen as chaotic and wild, few are able to perceive the underlying logic that forms the basis of all rites. When one understands that you are simply manipulating probabilities and working with potentials then much of the outwardly chaotic appearance is stripped away leaving a framework just as rational and predictable of any other branch of arcane lore. Principles of alchemy, astronomy, astrology and other esoteric arts are all as applicable depending on the circumstance thus an alchemist could theoretically become as proficient at performing rites as a Mage or Incantor.
Rites are a major component of many societies belief structures and religious practices. A religious ceremony is essentially a rite also, the effect may be enormously minor as the power tapped may be quite small, but an effect may often be discerned anyhow. The effect may be that the power of an Ancestor increases by a small amount or that a warrior is imbued with a small amount of extra strength for example, these subtle effects are harder to quantify than the appearance (or non-appearance) of an elemental obviously, but an effect can often be noted nonetheless.
Rites do not have to be chaotic and spontaneous to be effective. It is possible to thoroughly research a rite, develop a methodology and have a repeatable procedure. Having said that however, it is certainly the case that they are well suited to spontaneity and chaos.