Day Magnitude 12
Performing the Ritual
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
The target fleet earns additional profit during the next season, but only if it engages in foreign trade. The effect of the ritual increases the level of the target fleet by 6 ranks, which is sufficient to slightly more than double the production of a starting fleet.
The character who controls the target resource is under a roleplaying effect for at least ten minutes after the ritual is performed: they feel a strong sense of the importance of precision in agreements, especially trades and exchanges. They are disinclined to back down in negotiations until a mutually agreeable resolution is reached.
The effect lasts until the start of the next Profound Decisions Empire event. If the owner of the resource does not attend the next event, then the additional production provided by the resource is still added to that character's inventory. If the fleet does not engage in foreign trade during the next downtime, the ritual has no effect.
This ritual can affect additional fleets belonging to characters in the same band. Each additional fleet increases the magnitude by 10. The character who controls each fleet must be present throughout the ritual.
This ritual is sometimes called The Golden Beacon. Among other things it helps to ensure that a fleet will be able to predict, and be ready to take advantage of, good weather and excellent tides. The ships seem to adjust their courses by themselves, avoiding pirates, marine monsters, storms, reefs. hidden rocks and dangerous currents. Navigators and lookouts alike find their senses sharpened, and are much more able to predict problems or chart economic courses.
Mariners become much more efficient, more aware of their role on the ship and of the ship itself. Minor problems are dealt with before they become major problems, and crew members become more civil and cooperative towards each other, and strangers. If they engage in privateering, or otherwise seek out conflict, the enchantment fades quickly; if they remain committed to trade however the enchantment helps them deal as decisively with pirates and sea creatures as it does with damage to the ship and arranging the watch roster. A crew enchanted by this ritual does not become passive if anything they will fight without mercy if they are challenged - but becomes much more effective at functioning as a group. Finally, provisions last longer. They may be a little blander than expected, but they do not rot, go stale or become infested with worms. This alone is usually enough to dramatically improve morale, especially on long-haul expeditions.
When they engage in trade with foreigners, the ritual's last element comes into play. Traders find negotiation much easier; they are much more alert to subtle signs or tells in those they are dealing with; their civil demeanour is contagious; they find it easy to spot flawed or damaged merchandise, or goods that are not what they appear to be. They identify counterfeit coinage easily, and are always alert for short measures. While this ritual is no substitute for a good grasp of mercantile behaviour, it makes it a lot easier for a trader to get a good deal once she knows what she is looking for.
The ritual is popular with everyone who engages in foreign trade. It is of special value to those nations who are not especially known for it. The ritual was first employed by the Highborn in the time of the patrician families when they called it Atuman's Promise. The Suaq traders of early Wintermark also used it extensively to guide their relatively fragile ships across great distances without encountering the storms or Jotun ships that could so easily devastate them, and they shared the secrets of the ritual with certain magicians from Meade who travelled many of the same routes.
The ritual both influences the weather and fills a crew with an attention to detail that helps ease both their passage and their trading exploits. Ritual performances often include the evocation of the rune of discovery. Foreign traders are a component of some rituals' Navarr ritualists often mix blood with that of a visitor to the Empire to symbolically encourage understanding between strangers; likewise, Varushkan ritualists might create an oath or promise between the target and a representative of a foreign land, and use that oath to strengthen the ritual.
Beacons are another common element; lanterns, lightstones or lamp oil are often used as a conduit for the ritual. Enchanted and purified, they are sent to the target fleet which uses them to light its way oversea. Stones from a prominent seaport may also be used, often both being marked with Sular and one carried with the fleet while the other remains in the sea port; this helps the ship find its way home again. Finally flags or even sails woven by skilled ritualists might be enchanted with the ritual and used to help the ship navigate treacherous seas.