Performing a Pact Ritual
In order to bind a spirit, a character must first summon it into our world using a pact ritual. While not difficult or costly to perform, the ritual requires precise execution and attention to detail.
Step 1 – Draw the Seal: The first step in binding any spirit requires creating a vessel to temporarily house the spirit. This vessel is known as a seal. The seal consists of an intricate circular design that requires a full 5-foot space to create. The seal can usually be drawn on any surface using any material the binder has on-hand. Simple chalk is most commonly used, though ink, scratches in the dirt, and even blood are all acceptable mediums. Each seal’s design is said to mirror the spirit’s experiences in life, and every line the binder draws reenacts the events that led to the spirit’s creation.
Step 2 – Perform the Ceremony: The second step in pactmaking requires the binder to perform the spirit’s ceremony. Each spirit requires its own unique ceremony as detailed under its description. A spell components pouch contains all of the reagents required to perform such a ceremony unless the ritual requires a component that costs 1 gp or more or the component could not feasibly fit within a pouch. In such exceptional cases, the binder must provide the required components. Each spirit possesses totems. A totem is a specific action or condition that simplifies interactions with that spirit during its ritual. A binder suffers no penalties when none of the spirit’s totems are present. However, totems ease negotiates, as described under the totems section of Spirit Basics.
Step 3 – Witness the Manifestation: After the ritual is performed, the named spirit briefly manifests itself to the binder. Each spirit has a unique manifestation. Some spirits appear immediately, eager to taste mortal life once more, while other spirits take several moments or even minutes of patience before appearing.
Whatever a spirit’s description, all manifestations heed certain limitations. First, all manifestations are illusions and cannot harm creatures or alter their surroundings. Also, anyone close to the binder may witness the manifestation. Finally, since spirits cannot exist in our world under normal circumstances, a spirit’s seal acts as its vessel. The spirit cannot leave the seal’s area to roam about though it is free to vanish from this reality whenever it pleases, ending all negotiations. Fortunately, most spirits yearn to experience reality once more and will only vanish if the terms of a pact are not agreed upon within several minutes.
Step 4 – Barter with the Spirit: Once a spirit has manifested in its seal, both the binder and the spirit begin negotiating the terms of the spirit’s service. This is represented by a binding check, which is equal to 1d20 + ½ the binder’s level + the binder’s Charisma modifier. . The result of the binding check is compared to the spirit’s binding DC. Under normal circumstances, the binder seals a pact even if he or she fails the check. That said, a binder whose check is equal to or higher than the spirit’s binding DC makes a good pact with that spirit, whereas a binder whose check is lower than the spirit’s binding DC makes a poor pact with that spirit. The consequences of making a poor pact are discussed later in this chapter.
Step 5 – Aftermath: After making the binding check to determine whether the pact is good or a poor, the spirit and its seal vanish completely. Chalk blows away in the wind, blood seeps into the ground, scratches in the earth close themselves, and so forth. At the same time, the spirit becomes bound to the binder’s soul for the next 24 hours, during which time the binder enjoys access to whatever powers or information they have bargained for. Binders who make poor pacts with a spirit become afflicted by the spirit’s physical sign and suffer its influence. Binders who make good pacts can suppress the spirit’s sign as a move action and do not suffer the spirit’s influence. After 24 hours pass, the pact ends and the spirit returns from whence it came. The binder loses access to the spirit’s granted abilities, and any ongoing effects granted by the spirit fade away immediately.