Can a wizard craft a small army of proxies to cast Occult Rituals for him?

Primary Caster Proxy - Homunculus?

Occult spells can be used by non-spellcasters, and instead the hit dice of the "primary caster" can be used in place of spellcaster level.

  • From the Homunculus Description:

    A homunculus knows what its master knows...

If the creating wizard understands the ritual, than by extension any and all homunculi would also understand the ritual.

Using this feature, and the ability to craft a high hit die homunculus capable of speech, can a wizard use this homunculus as the primary caster of an occult ritual?

The homunculi can be given magic items to assist with the necessary skill checks as well as be custom crafted (Feat wise) for feat bonuses to a specific ritual.

If we give the homunculus a spell like ability - does he actually gain caster levels that can be improved by an automaton core or Ioun stone for the purposes of determining caster level for the ritual?

What Can Be Used as Secondary Casters?

  • Occult Casting rules

    Secondary casters can assist in the casting without fully understanding the intricacies of the ritual.

Does this mean we could use lesser constructs (Or even undead) as fodder for the primary caster to use a secondary casters? They would simply need to perform the actions of the ritual, and not necessarily understand the entirety of the ritual?

If this is viable, what is the "Cheapest" construct, undead, or summon that could be used as secondary casters?

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2 Answers 2


Yes they can.

As a Primary Caster.

By using the rules listed out for Homunculi, and giving the Homunculus additional hit dice when we craft it (2000 gp per hit die), along with using the Construct Modification Rules for Ability Score Increases (5000 gp per permanent +2 increase), we can craft a homunculus with a large amount of skill ranks and feats dedicated for learning and casting occult rituals.

As a construct with an intelligence score, the homunculus gains 2 + int mod skill ranks per hit die and a feat every odd hit die (1, 3, 5, etc), this would allow you to invest the additional skill ranks and feats from increasing it's hit Dice and ability scores into skills and feats that will increase the odds of succeeding at the ritual.

To clarify the subject of what a homunculus knows, we need to look at the homunculus statblock:

Telepathic Link (Su) A homunculus cannot speak, but the process of creating one links it telepathically with its creator. A homunculus knows what its master knows and can convey to him or her everything it sees and hears, out to a distance of 1,500 feet.

Instead of implying that the Homunculus knows everything about the master, including their spell known, knowledge of rituals and knowledge skill ranks, this implies that the link between a Homunculus and it's creator conveys all the information both of them see and hear while it's within 1500 feet of it's creator to each other.

It is possible to literally read this as that it would know everything its creator knows, but only while within 1500 feet of them, otherwise it doesn't. However, this would be an absurd literal reading of the ability, and under the same strictly literal reading the master only learns the ritual, nowhere does it say that they know it, therefore the Homunculus would not know it under this strict reading.

Therefore, either way you would have to use the rules for learning occult rituals to teach the Homunculus the ritual:

At the end of this period of study and contemplation, the person attempting to learn the ritual must succeed at an Intelligence check (DC = 15 + the ritual level if learning from clues or a coerced teacher, or DC = 10 + the ritual level if learning from an instructor eager to teach).

Assuming you are willing to teach the Homunculus the ritual after learning it, the Homunculus would have to succeed at a DC 17 Intelligence check.

All of this together would allow a Homunculus to act as the Primary Caster for the Ritual, and it's chance of success could be increased through various items and spells.

They could also be secondary casters for the ritual.

The primary caster leads a ritual’s casting, often with the aid of a number of secondary casters. Secondary casters can be indispensable to the ritual’s casting even when they’re not taking an active role in ensuring its success. Unless stated otherwise in the ritual description, secondary casters must be within 100 feet and line of effect of the primary caster and each other during the entirety of a ritual’s casting.

If a ritual allows the participation of secondary casters, in such cases, the ritual’s Components line includes “SC” (“secondary casters”) as an entry, immediately followed by a parenthetical that details any maximum or minimum number of secondary casters required to cast the ritual. If a ritual description has no secondary caster entry, that ritual does not permit the assistance of secondary casters. While secondary casters can help by attempting the skill checks the primary caster assigns them, their chief purpose is to aid in the ritual’s casting. If a ritual’s casting is aided by at least four secondary casters, all casters gain a +1 bonus on all skill checks attempted as part of casting the occult ritual. This bonus increases by 1 for every four secondary casters beyond four (up to a maximum bonus of +5 for 20 or more secondary casters).

To cast an occult ritual, the primary caster must learn the ritual’s secrets (see Discovering Occult Rituals). Secondary casters can assist in the casting without fully understanding the intricacies of the ritual.

Since it is possible for those lacking the ability to cast arcane, divine, or psychic spells to cast rituals, variables that would normally rely on caster level (such as range and spell resistance) use the character level or total Hit Dice of the primary caster instead.

Occult rituals have no specific requirements for the secondary casters, aside from that they must be within 100 feet and have a line of effect of the primary caster and each other during the entirety of a ritual’s casting. While they can help with the ritual by making skill checks, they are not required to do so. This means that a bunch of mass-produced Homunculi could serve as secondary casters for the ritual as well. At the price of 1050 gp each, and the fact that constructs you craft will obey all of your commands, they serve well as secondary casters.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why should the homunculus learn the ritual at all if it “knows what its master knows”? That would imply that the master should learn how to do the ritual, and then every homunculus he creates would know how to do it. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 19, 2019 at 18:14

No, homunculi cannot help. But it depends.

Unlike a familiar, a homunculus does not have skill ranks equal to their master's skill ranks. That phrase, "A homunculus knows what its master knows and can convey to him or her everything it sees and hears" is not talking about skills known, or spells known, or rituals known, but talking about how connected telepathically they are, constantly sending information of what one sees and hears to the other, so you dont need to metagame that information, their link sends information to both sides of their telepathic link.

To cast ritual spells, you must know some (or all) of the skills associated with the ritual. For Wrest Resources, that means Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (nature) or Survival. While casting a ritual without secondary caster will require you to know all skills associated with it, as you will be making all those checks yourself, the aid of secondary casters allows you to reassign some of those skill checks to the ritual's secondary casters.

So, unless the ritual requires one of the skills that your homunculus actually knows, either those base skills (Fly +10, Perception +3, Stealth +12) or another skill taught to them by other means (ie: Borrow Skill), for the purpose of making those skill checks, they cannot help either as primary or secondary casters if they don't know those skills, as you cannot make untrained Knowledge checks with a DC higher than 10.

And if you use the rules for creating and modifying constructs, it should then be possible, as you can grant them extra HD and skill ranks. But they will get expensive really fast, making it a much better option to create magic items that grant you (or whoever wears the item) bonuses to those skill checks.

Regardless of the method chosen, animated objects with a Brain mod should be cheaper than any other construct type for the purpose of hitting those high DCs.

But other creatures could, if they know the necessary skills

However, as I said, any creature that has any of the require skills may help in the ritual as secondary casters. Only the primary caster must know the ritual, because they are who discovered the occult ritual.

To cast an occult ritual, the primary caster must learn the ritual’s secrets (see Discovering Occult Rituals). Secondary casters can assist in the casting without fully understanding the intricacies of the ritual.

Since most unintelligent undeads or constructs won't have the necessary skills to be able to aid you (and even some intelligent ones, like ghouls), you will notice that more powerful undead, like vampires, have several ranks in knowledge skills and could help in making those checks.

Your best bet is probably to create intelligent undead that apply a template to a creature that had the necessary knowledge, such as enemy spellcasters or sages. A skeletal champion will retain their knowledge and gain a couple more skill ranks based in their racial HD (if any).

As for summons, even if you summon a very powerful outsider, they likely won't be strong enough to meet the required skill ranks, as they are much weaker than the spell that summons them. You could have much better luck using Planar Ally/Binding spells, though.

However, if all you want is the bonus for every 4 secondary casters (up to 20), you could hire a few commoners for a few silver coins and get that +5 bonus. But I assume that this was never a problem for you. And yes, any creature here helps, it doesn't require any skill ranks or special knowledge, and the rules don't mention they have to be intelligent either, so mindless undead should be as valid as constructs and living creatures.

But the best advice I can give you is to learn and use the Visualization of the Mind spell before casting occult rituals, and make all those missing skill checks yourself. Especially for a ritual that requires such high DCs as the one you want to cast.

Duration 24 hours or until discharged

You enhance a single aspect of your mind, nurturing and empowering it. Choose a single mental ability score (Charisma, Intelligence, or Wisdom). You gain a +5 bonus on ability checks and skill checks associated with that ability score.

Intelligence: You immediately gain a flash of insight, and gain a number of ranks equal to your Hit Dice in any skill in which you have no ranks. These ranks last for 1 minute, during which time you can also treat that skill as a class skill.

Creating a few Scarlet and Blue Sphere Ioun Stones (4,000 gp each) for this purpose also helps, as it will grant you one skill rank in the associated skill per level (similar to the Headband of Vast Intelligence), which should be enough to fulfill the ritual. And yes, this may also be given to your homunculus so they gain the necessary skill ranks to make the ritual skill checks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I just realized something... what if we targeted a "Primary Caster" proxy in order to deliberately fail the ritual, "as flesh to stone but instead of stone the spell turns the caster into the resource used in the material component." Could using something like a clone also work to "create" the resource? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2019 at 12:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like a great question, but that will have an answer much longer than we could write in comments. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Jun 19, 2019 at 12:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll put a viability check question up then. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2019 at 12:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/150208/… \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2019 at 13:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ [extensive argument removed] @williamporter The comments are not for arguing. You wrote your own answer, and if you feel the need to express disapproval, downvote. ShadowKras, in the future if someone is being argumentative feel free to flag a comment for mod attention. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19, 2019 at 17:11

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