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The Goal

In a E6 campaign I am playing in I want my character to start an assassins guild similar to The Dark Brotherhood from The Elder Scrolls games.

The Problem/Question

I am stuck on how to set up the job notification ritual. I want NPC's to have to perform a ritual to show that they are committed to having the person killed. The Dark Brotherhood had the help of a demi god named The Night Mother who would be attracted by "The Black Sacrament" and would then tell decide the jobs to take and would inform her "Listener" who would then tell the leaders. As we do not have this luxury I need to find another way to achieve a similar effect. Of-course if you know a demigod in the D&D Pantheon that would be into this sorta thing that would be good to know also because I may be able to get my DM to allow me to get that Demi's help.

It is also desirable that this beable to be accomplished by commoners and without the help of a spellcaster.

Ritual Example

For those who do not know The Dark Brotherhood or those who need a refresher.

When someone wants The Dark Brotherhood to kill for them they perform a ritual called "The Black Sacrament".

In order to perform the Black Sacrament, the invoker must create an effigy of the intended victim, assembled from actual body parts, including a heart, skull, bones, and flesh. They must then encircle that effigy with candles. [1] The ritual itself must then commence. The invoker must proceed to stab the effigy repeatedly with a dagger rubbed with petals of a Nightshade plant while whispering this plea: "Sweet Mother, sweet Mother, send your child unto me, for the sins of the unworthy must be baptized in blood and fear."

Current Ideas

I am thinking that something like a msg spell could be used to deliver the msg to the guild somehow. or have a paper involved in the ritual that they write the details of the kill on which is then transcribed via magic to a tome of jobs at the headquarters of the guild. Which the administrators can read through and then research the job requests and decide who to contact to accept the jobs.

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One question: is there a specific reason you want your guild to work through arcane means? (I don't know the specifics because I never played "Dark Brotherhood"). Wouldn't it be fun/interesting/challenging to start a "normal" assassin guild? Is your PC located in a large city? Is there another Assassing Guild already? If not... why not? –  p.marino Jan 27 '13 at 15:12
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted


Unearthed Arcana has rules for Incantations, rituals similar to spells that can be performed by anyone. And, since Unearthed Arcana is one of the books released under the Open Game License, all of those rules can be found on the System Resource Document.

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My DM did mention Incantaions but they seem to have a big problem namely "Most important among the drawbacks, an incantation rarely fades away quietly if the caster fails to perform the ritual correctly. Instead it reverses itself on the caster, explodes with a cascade of magical energy, or weakens the barrier between worlds, enabling hostile outsiders to emerge onto the Material Plane." Is there a way to reduce this? Or is it not much of a problem considering it is only a msg spell? –  Eforen Jan 27 '13 at 21:54
You may want to apply mitigating factors. Many of them. Layered properly, they may well reduce the DC to 20-something, which is unlikely to be failed. –  Jeor Mattan Jan 28 '13 at 12:38
Where can I read about these mitigating factors? –  Eforen Jan 28 '13 at 15:57
Follow the link provided by KRyan, scroll to the "Creating new incantations" section, see "General Factors for Incantations" table. –  Jeor Mattan Jan 28 '13 at 20:53
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