Rituals and Casting Tablets

It has been brought to my attention that the rules for Casting Tablets in Covenants do not play nicely with Ritual spells. (The forums tell me that this came up in 2008, but I must have missed it. I had a baby under one year old at the time β€” that is probably why.)

Rituals may be cast from tablets. It is possible, but dangerous, for a magus with a tablet to lead a Wizard’s Vigil. A botch by any member of the group causes the leader also to botch. An odd effect of casting from a tablet is that the sigil of the writer is preserved in the spell, and is visible along with the sigil of the caster.

Casting total: Stamina + Form + Technique + Aura + stress die (modified by Virtues, Flaws and requisites).

Casting total – spell level:

0 or more. Spell cast, lose one Fatigue level.

–1 to –10: Spell cast, lose two Fatigue levels.

–11 to –20: Spell cast, lose three Fatigue levels.

–21 to –30: Spell cast. Gain a Warping point. Lose four Fatigue levels.

–31 or less: Gain Warping points equal to the magnitude of the spell, lose five Fatigue levels. If the caster gains two or more Warping Points, he must check for Twilight.

The first problem is that the rules as written seem to indicate that you do not get Artes Liberales + Philosophia when casting from a Casting Tablet. That can be justified (you can't modify your casting to account for natural factors because the text constrains you), but so can including them (you understand what is going on better, and thus are less likely to mess it up). Which way should it go?

The second problem is that the table results in you losing fewer Fatigue levels for casting a Ritual spell. The simplest solution here is to make this table in addition to the normal Ritual losses, and make all the Fatigue levels long-term. Simplest is not necessarily best, however. What do people think of this solution?

1 Like

The point of a casting tablet is to cast the spell without learning it- i.e. you do not understand what is going on. It seems to me that it would be hard to get modifiers for (for example) knowing which direction Mars will be in the sky to adjust the alignment of your ritual elements if you aren't certain what role Mars would even play in the ritual. If you are casting from a tablet you are cooking from the back of the box, not improvising based on your own understanding.
I believe however, that the reduction in fatigue costs is also intentional- you can use a tablet to cast a spell you would not be able to learn. The justification, as I see it, is that even though the roll failed by a massive amount the ritual did not fare so badly because you were following the directions properly. I may know absolutely nothing about cooking but unless I botch my roll the mac and cheese I make following the directions on the box are not going to be a disaster. Making mac and cheese from scratch would be (Making noodles requires eggs, I think. That and obviously I need to melt some cheese. Probably cheddar)

Fortunately my wife is a genius at cooking, but I digress.


My initial view on the first is that no matter how well you understand Artes Liberales + Philosophiae, you don't know the spell well enough to apply them to it if you're using a Casting Tablet.

On the second, ideally I would not simply stack the tables (especially since they disagree as to whether the spell is cast), but do a Ritual-specific table where the spell is more likely to work but the Fatigue is worse and Warping is possible, just as that table does relative to the normal Formulaic table. For example:

Casting total – spell level:

0 or more: Spell cast, lose two long-term Fatigue levels.

–1 to –5: Spell cast, lose three long-term Fatigue levels.

–6 to –10: Spell cast, lose four long-term Fatigue levels.

–11 to –15: Spell cast, lose five long-term Fatigue levels.

–16 to –20: Spell cast. Gain a Warping point. Lose six long-term Fatigue levels.

–21 or less: Gain Warping points equal to the magnitude of the spell, lose seven long-term Fatigue levels. Since caster gains at least four Warping Points, he must check for Twilight.

I think it is fine that you don't get to add Artes Liberales + Philosophiae when using a casting tablet.
You can't adjust any aspect of the casting procedure when using a casting tablet, so you can't modify it based on your understanding of AL or Phil.
Conversely the author of the casting tablet could not include his AL+Phil understanding in the casting procedure since he won't know the situation in which the tablet will be used, and thus can't know what modifications need be used.

The result table is different from the results of regular casting of both Formulaic and Ritual spells.
Compared to formulaics, it is easier to succeed but you lose more fatigue and can gain warping.
Compared to rituals it is easier to succeed, but you don't lose as much fatigue while you do risk gaining warping.

I don't really see a problem with keeping it just like it is.
So you lose less fatigue from casting a ritual from a casting tablet than from casting it in the regular way? I think most magi would still prefer the regular casting if they can do it that way.

On a side note, I notice that the rules for casting tablets don't specify if the fatigue lost is short-term or long-term. I assume it should be the same type as casting the spell normally could cost, but it doesn't say.
Also, for regular casting, while the rules specifies that fatigue lost to casting a ritual is long-term fatigue, it doesn't specify the type for formulaic casting. I assume it is supposed to be short-term fatigue for formulaics, but it is not specified.


I have to admit, I'd prefer to just get rid of casting tablets all together.

Not very helpful, I know. Sorry.
But I needed to make it known.

1 Like

What is the reason or function of AL+P in the basic Ritual casting? Either in-setting or in-rules?

If AL&P are added to reflect the inner grasp of the nature of the universe, how does that show up in casting? Should AL&P be included in a prepared casting tablet to reflect the skill/understanding of the magus and how well they execute the Ritual?

I suspect AL&P are included to add some function to those abilities. If so, keep them in for tablets.

I would point out two things:

  1. The rules for casting tablets include:

The author either designs the spell for ceremonial casting or for non-ceremonial casting.

There would seem to be a reason for this. If Artes Liberales and Philosophiae are not included for spells cast ceremonially, why is this note present?

  1. When casting Formulaic spells via Casting Tablet it is significantly more fatiguing to do so than to cast a known Formulaic spell. If it's so much more fatiguing to use a Casting Tablet this way, should it really be less fatiguing to use a Casting Tablet for a Ritual spell?

There is no clear consensus on Artes Liberales and Philosophiae, so I want to get an idea of the numbers.

Should Artes Liberales and Philosophiae be included when casting Ritual spells from Casting Tablets?

  • Yes
  • No
0 voters

Opinions are also split on what to do with the table. The simplest erratum is to say that the Fatigue levels are long-term for Rituals, short-term for Formulaic, and that this table over-rides the normal one for Rituals. In the absence of strong reasons for another option, simplicity is a good basis for choice. So far, I haven't really seen stronger reasons for either side. There is still time to convince me.


I'm unclear; the AL and Phil of the person who designed the tablet (so fixed forever) or the AL and Phil of the caster of the ritual?


The caster, like the other statistics involved when casting from a tablet.


The vote gives a clear, although not overwhelming, majority in favour of not applying them, so I will go with that.

I am inclined to go with the simple errata for the table: short-term fatigue for Formulaic, long for Ritual, and this table over-rides the normal one.

1 Like

If you're going that route, you should also edit the casting tablet section in Covenants, as choosing ceremonial v. not becomes nonsensical if you don't apply AL and Philosophiae.


Agreed with callen. I'm unsure how a casting tablet could be performed ceremonially if you forego artes liberales and philosophae.

1 Like

Yes, I probably should. It's not clear what it means to start with, as Formulaic spells cannot be cast ceremonially by default, and there is no requirement for the author to have the ceremonial casting mastery ability.

Narratively, it makes a great deal of sense, but it is harder to fit into the rules.

Yes, but since the creation of casting tablet requires a score in spell mastery, it isn't absurd to think some authors will have that mastery option either, so perhaps it was suggesting that an author who did might include that in how he describes the casting.

Ceremonial casting is a non-core mastery ability, and there is no mention of its being necessary to include that option. This is something that slipped through playtest and editing β€” at the very least, significantly more detail was required. I think I have to errata this out. Feel free to house rule it back in…