During my first Dungeons and Dragons campaign my character Java the Peppermint Wizard was given a magical scroll by a water elemental that he had managed to entertain. As it turned out the scroll would allow him to use the ritual Raise Water, something that would come in handy as the supply of fresh water in the nearby settlement would only last a few more days. Ever since then I’ve enjoyed using ritual scrolls in my campaign and I try to employ them every once in a while just to keep things interesting. There’s something compelling about the image of a young sorceress unfurling a dusty scroll she’s discovered in a long forgotten archive and discovering some archaic magic. Players may have fun trying to figure out what connection the ritual may have to their current adventure, or they might roll it back up and tuck it away in the bottom of their bag of holding and forget all about it.
Sometimes adventurers have to rough it and do without the luxuries of a comfortable roadside inn, and that means making camp in the wilderness. This has always been one of my favorite moments in any campaign, at least as a player. Collecting water, setting up tents and bedrolls, gathering firewood, starting a campfire, and of course deciding the order of the night’s watch are all familiar tasks to experienced adventurers. In the Players Handbook 2 for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition there is a ritual called Create Campsite which summons a horde of woodland spirits to assemble a campsite for the user in a matter of minutes, sparing them from the drudgery of such simple chores. When time and DMs allow I love hearing the other players telling the stories of their characters and their lands in their own words. It’s a bit of fun that doesn’t require rolls or fighting off a dragon, it’s simple and it can lead to some very compelling elements for characters that players might not have thought of otherwise. Somehow a campsite can feel more real to me than the grand cities, murky caves, insect infested swamps, and twisting mazes that make up most of the landscape.