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I'm still learning the 4e system, and I'm trying to find out what happened to scrolls. I loved scrolls back in my 1e days because it let players experiment with spells they normally wouldn't want to memorize or were not available to them. They also made a great addition to treasure without having a permanent impact on the game. Are rituals supposed to fill this role? I haven't ever seen a player try to cast a ritual.

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Rituals can be very useful, and I'd recommend your players check them out. Mine make quite a bit of use out of informational rituals like divinations and Comprehend Languages. Tenser's Floating Disk has been used in clever ways, and Sending is vital for any campaign which calls for long-distance communication. – Gregory Avery-Weir Jan 3 '13 at 11:42
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The rules allow for consumable items, and magic items, so single-shot items you call "scrolls" could be allowed. I know I'm planning on having them - even if I have to house rule them. Each would be either a single-use ritual scroll (mentioned explicitly on page 134 of the Rules Compendium, or page 298 of the PHB) or a consumable magic item-scroll which is equal to a daily-use power at either a higher level of mastery and/or from a different class. More importantly, I'm creating consumable magic items with effects that aren't currently in existing powers.

I've had many an AD&D game session take an amazing turn - like when when the cleric is incapacitated, the party is on the ropes, but the fighter whips out a scroll of Healing God's Blessing (something I made up). I'm not giving up that ability for players to surprise me and especially my monsters.

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You can also reskin the consumables. For example- the Dragonfire Tar consumable is a thing you throw at someone that sets them on fire. But you could also call it/describe "Scroll of The Efreet's Kiss" and use the exact same mechanic. Except now it's a scroll. You can reskin anything this way- healing potions, potions of frost resistance, etc. – Peter Seckler Dec 9 '10 at 20:50
Yup! That's what I was going for too - thanks for the addition! – F. Randall Farmer Dec 10 '10 at 8:18

Largely the old scroll system from 3.5 and 2.0 is gone.

Rituals are basically like any non-combat spell/effect that takes longer than a round to cast. Ritual scrolls are what's left of the old scroll system. Their usage seems to vary on the type of players and DM involved, since they are in the gray area outside of combat/skill check activities.

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Could some of the feats be re-skinned into one shot scrolls and used in combat? I think that would be interesting and flavorful. – ChrisP Dec 9 '10 at 4:43
Hmm, that is an interesting idea, but the problem is how do you create the scrolls, how much do they cost, and what is their availability. Also only some feats would fit correctly, others might not fit such a system. But the dm can do whatever they want, right? – Mark Rogers Dec 9 '10 at 4:56
I've been wrestling with the mechanics of how scrolls with a power source other than arcane come into existence. For example, if someone wanted to create a scroll that had an effect with a martial power source, would that be created by a wizard type with access to martial power or do you just abstract away the power source when creating a scroll? I wouldn't necessarily need a way for PC's to create their own scrolls but I would like something that makes sense to explain how they exist. – ChrisP Dec 11 '10 at 13:40
Martial scrolls could contain instructions for a complex stance or routine that is too difficult to memorize (kind of like martial powers). The ink could be the blood of the author's enemies. – Mark Rogers Dec 11 '10 at 19:44

Scrolls for getting more spell variety for combat are gone, because D&D 4e character creation is about making choices and having limited power.

All classes are created equal and balanced one against the others. This does not mean that a PVP encounter between single characters would be balanced, but a PVP between parties might (if both parties have the same optimization level). Everyone is supposed to shine in its own role and leave other people shine as well.

The variety of available powers is part of this balance, at least combat-wise. Classes just don't get the chance to spend some resources in advance in order to have a higher number of encounter or daily powers later. Some magic items do similar things, but they are limited in what they can do. In the first batch of 4e books, when item-generated powers had a number of daily slots based on character level, this mindset was painstakingly clear. Now that items are only limited by their rarity, I feel like some of the original intent has been lost (the Essentials line, after all, was an attempt to regain some of the D&D 3.X editions audience, breaking the AEDU model and reworking this item thing).

Scrolls as you know them still exist for rituals, i.e. out-of-combat spells that (at least at the beginning of the game) had no effects on combat.

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