Rituals may be taken by clerics instead of their usual spells, or may take up a slot in a magic-user's or Elf's spellbook of a level equivalent to the ritual's level. Rituals are used in "downtime"--the rites and magic involved are too lengthy to be really useful in an adventure-context, and probably also don't add up to anything usefully gamable within that context. (Also, rituals usually use up large amounts of material components)
|A terrible way to forge a sword ... but it is cinematic|
Sword of Blood
range: the blood of all humans or humanoids being sacrificed as part of the ritual
components: 500 gold for the "liturgy" of each sacrificial "session"
By the means of this ritual, a cleric or magic-user extracts the iron from the let blood of a sacrificial victim of human or humanoid nature. Each individual's blood produces 1-4 grams of iron; this works out to requiring about 200 victims to provide enough blood for a single sword. (I did say that this was a long term "downtime" activity, unless your cleric or magic-user has the location and means to sacrifice 200 victims all in one go)
I wouldn't tend to worry about the grams themselves, just the number of victims; though the caster will require somewhere to store the iron they're collecting by means of the ritual until they have enough.
When enough iron has been acquired by means of this spell, it can be forged into a sword (or other desired weapon), by the caster if he has the wont and the skill, or by a hired armorer. When the sword has been forged, and a last instance of ritual incanted over it, roll a d20 and consult this table, add +1 to the roll if at least 5000 gold is spent on ornamental trappings for the sword:
1-2 -- the metal was impure and the weapon is worthless
3-4 -- it's a sword, but there's nothing magical about it
5-12 -- it's a sword +1; if the sword is ever destroyed or broken, an incorporeal wight will spring from the fragments, born from the hatred of the spirits trapped within; this spirit will seek out and destroy the sword's creator
13-16 -- it's an intelligent sword +2 of the same alignment as its creator, but it also actively hates its creator; 3 times per day the sword can do extra damage, i.e. for 1-10 rounds, each hit will do x4 damage; if the sword is ever destroyed or broken, a wraith born of the hate of the spirits trapped within will emerge and seek out and destroy the sword's creator
17-20 -- it's an intelligent sword that hates its creator, and acts as a lifedraining sword, i.e. on a hit it may drain 1 life level of energy; but after draining 13 life levels, the blood of those within its iron erupt as a spectre intent on destroying the original caster of the spell; the sword becomes a mere sword +1
It shouldn't need saying, but any Good character attempting to use this spell immediately loses their status as Good, and they also lose one life level, and must seriously atone even to regain their former alignment. Good characters attempting to wield these weapons feel intensely uneasy and treat the magical "plus" as a penalty instead. Surrendering such weapons to the Good cult to be redeemed is worth at least 1000 experience per magical "plus".
There is an 01-05 chance that any magical sword (or metal-headed weapon) found in a randomly generated treasure hoard was created by this ritual. Good characters find them uneasy to wield, as above, and may turn them over to the Good cult for "redemption" and experience points.
Moreover, more powerful magic swords of this type actively hate their creators and will seek out their destruction if possible. This would be an excellent hook for future adventures ...