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Ritual magic

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A group performs a mysterious ritual.

Ritual magic (also known as an occult ritual) is a powerful form of occult magic that holds a prominent role in Golarion's history. While less common in modern times, it remains one of the easiest—and dangerous—ways for people to achieve feats of great magical power. Its dangerous nature inspires groups of all types to hunt and control or destroy ritual instructions.1


Most believe that there are only three types of spellcasting: divine, arcane, and psychic, and that all spellcasting requires either innate ability (such as that possessed by a sorcerer), or years of study (like that of a wizard). There is, however, a fourth type of magic that is buried in forgotten libraries or heard in the ramblings of the insane, and which can be practiced by anyone: occult rituals. Most traditional spellcasters fear occult rituals, and see them as the last refuge of the foolish, as they are hard to control, can grant incredible power, and allow anyone to tinker with the underlying fabric of magic.2


Due to its origins in the distant past and active efforts to destroy knowledge of ritual magic, the history of ritual magic is difficult to ascertain. Some scholars believe serpentfolk or cyclopes introduced the practice on Golarion, and many past civilizations—including Azlant, the Jistka Imperium, Ancient Osirion, Sarkoris, the Tekritanin League, and Thassilon—relied on the art to expand and enrich their empires.1

Design and practice

Seoni performs a ritual in the Pact Hall of Piren's Bluff, as Kyra and Shiyara observe.

Many ancient rituals are difficult to adapt to modern methods, requiring an extensive research not only into the ritual itself but also the history and context of its use.12

Each ritual has an associated school of magic. Rituals take at least 10 minutes to complete, but can take up to several hours. Once started, a ritual can be difficult to stop. Disruptions make the ritual more difficult, but need not necessarily stop a ritual in progress.2

Rituals can be empowered by tapping into a nearby ley line.2

Known rituals

Merisiel and Kyra perform the heartbond ritual.
See also: Category:Occult rituals and Category:Rituals (Second Edition)


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Robert Brookes, et al. “Occult Rituals” in Occult Origins, 26. Paizo Inc., 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 5: Occult Rules” in Occult Adventures, 208–215. Paizo Inc., 2015
  3. Robert Brookes, et al. Cathedral of Exquisite Agony” in Inner Sea Temples, 12–13. Paizo Inc., 2016
  4. Ron Lundeen. “Dreams of the Yellow King” in Dreams of the Yellow King, 15–16. Paizo Inc., 2016
  5. Robert Brookes, et al. House of Dawn's Redemption” in Inner Sea Temples, 53. Paizo Inc., 2016
  6. Jason Bulmahn, et al. “Chapter 5: Occult Rules” in Occult Adventures, 209–210. Paizo Inc., 2015
  7. Robert Brookes, et al. “Rituals and Idols” in Occult Realms, 54. Paizo Inc., 2015
  8. Logan Bonner, et al. “5: Spells” in Advanced Player's Guide, 242. Paizo Inc., 2020
  9. Logan Bonner, et al. “7: Spells” in Core Rulebook, 409. Paizo Inc., 2019
  10. Logan Bonner, et al. “3: Spells” in Secrets of Magic, 147–148. Paizo Inc., 2020