ritualistically speaking: Tenser’s Floating Disk

Rituals can be very polarizing, either you love them or you never give them a thought. I have talked to plenty of DMs who have never seen a single player use a ritual. At first I was astonished, or at least a bit shocked that players would ignore such great in game boons. Such awesome story tools should not be overlooked. Since I first began my discussions with other DMs on the subject I have come to understand that many players ignore them because they have no combat application and thus feel like a waste of a feat and money. Others, both players and DMs don’t know how to make them fit into the game due to casting time and component costs.

If you have not figured out by now I really enjoy rituals. To me they are the apex of arcane study. A ritual caster has learned to use the rarest components of the natural world coupled with arcane understanding to gain mastery of their surroundings. To me rituals are a more controlled form of magic when compared to shooting lighting or conjuring a fireball. Rituals require the caster to understand both the arcane the natural world and in some cases the divine, and use these understandings to bend reality to their will. Not just force arcane energy into a bust of power used to attack, defend or weaken.

So given my interest in Rituals I am going to write a weekly article called “Ritualistically Speaking”. Each week I will pick 1 ritual and discuss how it can be used by the DM to: flavor a campaign, create a story hook, add RP value, and bring more players into the story. For players I’ll go over some ideas on how to use the ritual in their game to add flare, RP value or how use them to overcome skill challenges and other obstacles.

This week I will start with a simple level 1 ritual: Tenser Floating Disk

Component Cost: 10 gp  Market Price: 50 gp Skill: Arcana Level: 1
Cast Time: 10 minutes Duration: 24 hours

This ritual allows you to create a three foot in diameter disk which floats behind the creator for up to 24 hours and can carry between 250 and 2,000 pounds depending on the casters arcana roll.

I’m starting with Tenser’s Disk because this spell has a ton of history. Tenser was a wizard created by Garry Gygax’s own son Ernest, and had a laundry list of spells bearing his moniker. Tenser rolled with a crew of wizards which included Mordenkainen and Bigby two mages of D&D fame. His spells and fame have lived on through each edition of the game from the first play test of GreyHawk to 4th edition. So I felt it might be a good starting point.

This spell has a lot of fun RP value and can help avoid the head ache of figuring out how to carry heavy objects or large amounts of treasure.

DMs if you know your party has this ritual you can make use of it in many ways. Any easy way to get players to use this ritual is to give them a treasure parcel made up of rare artifacts weighing more than the party can carry. If you don’t want to be so blatant about getting players to use it you can give them quests which might be aided by the disk. Send them on a quest to recover a stole statue which might hinder the players travel if they attempt to carry it. Send them on a collection quest for a mystical fruit needed by an arch mage, only to find each fruit weighs upwards of 50lbs. Or send your players on a rescue mission to a village under attack. Finding most of the villagers unconscious the disk makes a very nice tool to rescue the towns people and still be able to fight their way out of town. Or send them on an escort mission to carry a tithe of treasure in an ornate chest to a holy temple. Let the players know the chest can not be touched by un-sanctified hands and must be protected from thieves and bandits. Any of these hooks would create a welcome place for Tenser’s Disk and allow players who are ritual casters feel more worth to the team. Remember you want to encourage players to use rituals not force them. When creating scenarios which are ritual friendly don’t make it a use the ritual or fail situation, give your players other options.

Players this ritual does not have a ton of combat application; though I am sure creative players can come up with ideas of their own have some combat application. I thought this up as I was on a street car today. A player might load something on his floating disk and then use it as a mobile cover. If there are ranged attackers it might come in handy as it would make the player a much more difficult target to hit. My other thoughts for this ritual is more flavor and helpful. At lower levels, when a resurrection ritual is not available to the group Tenser’s Disk is an easy way to carry a body of a fallen friend back to town for help. It is also a great way to carry a lantern or a light with the party if no one has a free hand. A creative player once used Tenser’s Disk to carry a fallen tree out into a river to use as a bridge, thus circumventing an entire skill challenge I had set up for them. I personally have used the disk as an interrogation tool, placing captured henchmen on the disk and floating over a large hole or crevasse. If your DM is cool you can also allow players to sleep or rest on it while traveling. If one player is very low on healing surges or badly wounded allowing them to sleep on the disk while the party travels allows them to heal with out having to pause the movement of the party.

There are so many uses for this disk which go beyond the carrying of treasure. All it takes it a DM placing the right queues in the right situation. Or players to think creatively and realizing that rituals can be used in much more thoughtful ways. Have you used Tenser’s Disk in a way I have not written about here? Have I inspired you to think of a fun way to use it or promote using it? Leave a comment and let me know.


Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.

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About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.
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