Text RPGs: A Guide for Text-Based Rituals

text game rituals

By H. R. Johnston

This is your guide to a safe, fun, and interesting start to using rituals in a text game. Rituals can be anything you want. Players use rituals for enhancing role play in house/guild events, as a show of loyalty to a city or cause, or as a way to convey a sense of awe in the audience. Rituals can be player guided or divine guided. The next few tips will help you set a base to jump from in the world of text game ritualing (that totally is a word).

1) Role Play is a Must!
Why are you performing this ritual? Does your character feel the need to cover himself in tattoos and express his love to a god via skin art? Are there more sinister ideas behind your ritual? The ritual brings to life the monologue of a play. It is a powerful role playing device for expressing your character without blatantly saying," I love -insert thing-." It can also be a dramatic experience for other text game players. Maybe you can get that pretty evil girl to switch over to your side!

2) What is the Purpose?
You can't just slaughter five hundred pigs for the giggles. Well, you can, but what role play purpose does that serve in the text game? Sure bacon, but... never mind, back to my guide. The ritual should mean something to you and to your audience, and should enhance role play. Rituals are a perfect starting point for beginners who just enter into a text game environment. Many houses/guilds use them to introduce a new player into the world. Rituals convey meaning. Think about what you want your ritual to symbolize.

3) Umph!

If you are performing for a house/guild/order/cause, then you need to use symbols and wording that those people will understand. No one likes to be preached to - this is one-sided role play. Rituals allow for crazy people to wield knives, speak in strange languages, and give people that creepy vibe (or whatever vibe you are aiming for). This is your ritual, so make it fun! Always keep in mind though, that your environment is role play based. That being said, the text game world is now your playground, and you can do amazing things. Make those things realistic things. Don't try to lift a city. You might throw out your back, and this can break people's immersion in the text game world.

4) Do Not Steal!
Be creative and imaginative. Do not go and "borrow" rituals from actual religious orders, cults, books, or movies. That is very poor role play, and a good way to lose a lot of credibility and maybe even your character. Most text games have rules against stealing material from OOC sources. Trust me. They will find out. It will not be pretty. If you have some awesome ideas and want to come up with role play behind what you are doing, when in doubt, ask a senior member of your community for some help.

Hope you find this helpful and happy ritualing!

If you would like to try your own hand at a text game ritual, these text based RPGs are a great place to get started!

H.R. Johnston is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.


So here I am, following a god that most of the Basin of Life calls "Traitor". Fain, of the Red Masque, who was exiled for the "sin" of caring about those less powerful, and sacrificing to defend his loved ones. 


I grovelled on the cold stone floor of His temple.  His Forked Tongue, Sthai Oubliette, looked on with glee as I cut rivulets of blood from my wrists, allowing the effluence to trail upon the blasphemous granite altar in the manner directed. After chanting the proscribed lines, I sat back on my haunches and waited. And waited.


"Did I mess up the ritual?" I asked, as she stared coldly at me.


My only response was a harsh cuff across the face, sending me sprawling.


"I suppose so." I muttered, as I glanced around. The next sound I heard sent shudders running through my deformed, pale body.


"Shaddus, " Sthai growled in a voice that wasn't quite her own. "Slay the merians, elfen, and kephera. Pile them upon My altar in enough numbers, and I will grant you ordination within My order. Fail me, and I will feed you to the Void."


So I spent the next few days slaying my Lord's chosen foes, those shards that reminded Him of how He was betrayed. I piled their corpses upon His altar as His chosen Tongue looked on, her eyes glowing an eery crimson sheen. As I piled the last pale elfen maiden upon the altar, a dark mist started to rise from the ground around me, devouring the corpses and leaving a coagulated pool upon the ground around me. Before I could say anything, the mist formed a tendril and shoved its way down my throat, burrowing down into the depths of my body. Before my eyes flash scenes of torture, mayhem, cruelty, backstabbing, greed, lust, and revenge; all of the things my Lord treasured. My throat spasming around the too-solid mist, I shook with the almost orgasmic pleasure of  Lord Fain's mind touching mine, and finally learning how to best serve Him. 

Finally, with a sudden wrenching pain in my gut, He showed me what my life would be if I betrayed Him or didn't serve Him as He saw fit; no more than a maggot, oozing around at His feet. My bowels emptied themselves in fear as vision after vision filled my sight, each more horrific than the last. I fell to the ground, spent and exhausted, my only consolation that He had chosen me, Shaddus Mes'ard, to serve Him as a member of His Inner Circle.

Roleplay, yes. But don't become an elitist idiot over it. Even the most simplest of rituals can be the most profound as long as your words have meaning to what you are doing.

Early in my Achaean experience, I was given the task of co-operating with another Order of questionable motives to create a ritual which would allow us to relocate a sacred Obelisk. The idea of this was intense for me, and desperate to prove myself I took some calculated risks in making it all come to fruition. The whole shebang involved summoning demons, demonic possession, stuff that really set a stage for future roleplay tangents.

Such as several years later, when still under the influence of demonic possession, I endured the painful process of growing wings. So perhaps another suggestion to the fantastic outline you've provided above would be: leave room for branching storylines and character development through believably challenging work.

do not involve latin in your ritual. IT DOESN'T EXIST IN ACHAEA

Among a bunch of other reasons, I like my guild in Lusternia, the Serenguard for its rituals. Regularly, novices are encouraged to embark on a spiritual quest where they gather exotic plants, get a crazy person to give them seeds, and then eat the mushrooms that grow from them and see visions given by the Warrior Spirits.


Occasionally we have guild rites for the specific season. I remember we all huddled up within our guild hall, sat down in solemn silence and made offerings and silent prayers.


Just the other day, my character was feeling lost and confused, and I asked my guildmate for some wisdom. He said to turn to Brother Eagle, and we embarked on something of a little ritual so that I could ask Brother Eagle for his wisdom. He asked me to close my eyes and bow my head, and I did, and then he pulled some feathers from his wings (he's a trill, a winged race in Lusternia) and put it into a smouldering campfire he set up, and I did my little prayers for wisdom. I think it was a great and really refreshing RP experience, and I'm glad that we managed to hold on to little rituals and keep everything fresh and immersive.

I have seen many rituals in my time in MKO, not always immediately recognised as rituals, but rituals none the less. From aspiring Mockers of the thieves guild being led to the confessional by a whore to recieve guidance from "mother" to become a full member, to the rituals of initiation into Prandurs order through trials by fire. Taking a meaningful oath to gain access to a guild or society, they all add character to the organisations and allow the player to immerse their characters further into the game world. Fantastic.

Rituals are like amny things.. good if taken in moderation


moderation is good.Not that good role play in some cases though.A priest of some bloodthirsty crazy order would be doing weird rituals all the time

Be careful though, it's easy to go overboard with this kind of thing and make people want to roll their eyes when they see you. I've watched a few recently and have had to bite my tongue they've come off as so choked with prose and more concerned with how fantastic the adventurer looks while doing it then the actual ritual. 

I'm yet to see anything I would consider a ritual, but based on some of the roleplaying I've seen thus far I'd say it would be impressive to watch. I'll have to remember that latin part, having resorted to a pig latin reference yesterday.


I have seen a very good ritual, there were very few mistakes and you could tell a lot of thought was put into it. I was very impressed with the person. :)

How did I not notice this page earlier? Is this new?

I'm going to comment a bit on the "Don't Burrow" part. I disagree, for a very simple reason: they work. I'm not saying that real life religious rituals necessarily accomplish what they're meant to accomplish, but they feel "right" in our minds. Perhaps because we were raised with them, perhaps because they have, as Jung suggested, stumbled across a commonality of human thinking, but whatever it is, they make sense to us.

That doesn't mean you should copy the latin mass action for action, but the idea of having your congregation drink wine as part of the ceremony isn't that far off.

Like it or not, there's no such thing as true creativity and if you're going out of your way to try to do something completely unique and untouched by the collective efforts of humanity before you, you're likely going to end up with a failure.

coming up with decent rituals is something i've wanted the Beloved to do for a long while now.  Perhaps one of these days, we'll get some actually done.

I had a demon summoning ritual, since I didn't have the power to summon the demon I wanted (a battle demon) through normal means. Orsyn and Qeyrae (who got dragged along) accompanied me, and I think there was someone else there too. During the ritual we chanted something involving the word circle (been a long time since I did this ritual), over and over again. So we summoned the demon and it ignored my persuasion, and broke through my spellshield (which is the main defense for almost all MKO mages), and so I was forced to banish it. After that I altered my RP slightly to be a little more cautious towards demons. It was quite a nice ritual.

it's all about emoting when you do rituals.