Swim Leviathan's Depth
Day Magnitude 18
Performing the Ritual
Performing this ritual takes at least 2 minutes of roleplaying. It may only be cast at a strong Day regio while the eternal Leviathan is present. In addition, a member of the coven must have prepared and delivered a suitable question to the eternal using the operate portal spell and a specially crafted effigy no later than time out the previous night.
This ritual allows the casters to ask a specific question of the eternal Leviathan. The purpose of the ritual is to try to divine a past cause or event that has led to a present-day state of affairs or consequence. At the climax of the ritual, the questioner must verbally state their pre-prepared question aloud.
Leviathan will only answer questions about what has caused or led to a current state of affairs. This generally means the question must begin with "why?" and relate to the reason something is happening or has happened. Examples might include "Why are the Druj renewing their raids on the Barrens?; "Why is the Lord of the Five Winds moving their troops into position near our borders?"; Why are the merchants of the Sarcophan Delves so keen to purchase green iron?"; "Why are the Feni attacking Kahraman?" and so on.
The ritual can only be performed if Leviathan is near the regio - that is has close enough to the regio that the ritual can bridge the gap. Leviathan has indicated it intends to be in place at the Imperial regio at 1pm in the afternoon on the Saturday and Sunday of each summit going forward and will allow a short window for this ritual to be performed.
Completion of the ritual allows Leviathan to speak to the ritualists and provide an answer to the question, conversing with the ritualists for up to five minutes before the power of the ritual ebbs. If anyone attempts to use the regio to perform a ritual while the conversation is ongoing, however, the effect of Swim Leviathan's Depths will end prematurely.
The ritual can be used to ask additional prepared questions. The magnitude increases by 12 for each additional question. Each additional question increases the maximum duration of the ritual by five minutes.
Preparing a Question
The question the coven wishes to ask Leviathan must be submitted at least the night before the ritual is to be cast to give Leviathan time to find the answer. The question must be written on a strip of paper that begins "The named coven asks Leviathan why..." The paper is then wrapped around a specially prepared dragonbone effigy which can be sent to Leviathan by any magician casting operate portal on it. The nature of the effigy is such that Leviathan will know who has sent the question and will likely ignore anything that is not submitted by a member of the named coven.
When a coven that submitted a question next performs Swim Leviathan's Depths they may ask the eternal for the answer to the question they submitted.
Any character who has mastered Swim Leviathan's Depths can craft a suitable effigy from 2 measures of dragonbone but only between summits. It takes too long to fashion a suitable effigy at a summit. Each effigy allows a single question to be submitted to Leviathan. It is possible to use more than one effigy to submit additional questions, but it is unwise to do this unless you intend to perform the ritual sufficient times or at sufficient magnitude to ask all the questions you have submitted.
The ritual creates an implicit contract between the coven and Leviathan. Leviathan agrees to answer every properly-submitted question to the best of his ability, the coven agrees to perform the ritual to converse with Leviathan for each question they submit. Asking questions that are not then accompanied by a suitable casting of the ritual before the end of the summit will anger the eternal and risks retribution against those involved.
At the climax of the ritual, the performance enables the eternal Leviathan to speak directly to the casters. The creature is generally polite, friendly, and happy to speak to Imperial magicians - provided the question they have asked falls within its remit. Over the years a coven or individual magician may build up a positive professional relationship with the eternal which helps them to get the best from this ritual. In some ways the experience of casting Swim Leviathan's Depth could be compared to an audience or a parley with the eternal.
This ritual is powerful, but sometimes problematic. It always provides a truthful response, and Leviathan is adept at sorting causes that are useful from random minor details. For example, in response to the question "Why are the Druj renewing their raids on the Barrens?" the answer is much more likely to be something like "Because they have agreed to supply the Thule with a thousand slaves before the end of the year" or "Because the Druj shaman wish to distract the Empire from their real interests in Reikos" than "Because the Druj warlord gave the order to attack the Barrens". Leviathan is not infallible however; there are occasions when his answers have been inadvertently misleading, or where he has lacked sufficient insight to provide a satisfactory answer. In such cases, it may offer to share its speculations with the ritualists, or provide them with a replacement effigy and some Prismatic Ink toward asking a different question at a later date.
The eternal is likely to be much less understanding if it considers the question frivolous or poorly thought out, especially if it breaches the expectation that the ritual is used to as about the causes of current events. The question the ritualists wish Leviathan to answer must ask about a motivation or a cause. This means it must usually be phrased with a "Why?" rather than a "How?". Attempts to find out, for example, how the Druj raids might be stopped will fail utterly and risk harming the Empire's relationships with Leviathan.
Leviathan may answer questions asking "Who" is responsible for a current state of affairs but the answers are often cryptic, or of varying value, as such questions often require too fine-grained an understanding of history for the eternal to provide a useful response. Asking "Who is behind the Druj attacks on the Barrens?" might give the name of a Druj chieftain or shaman, but may just as easily name an unknown figure who, at some point centuries in the past, set the Druj on the path to war with the Empire ... or even to suggest it is Atun, for bringing the Highborn to these shores centuries ago.
Another weakness of the ritual is that the more tied-up in the affairs they inquire about the casters are, the more general the response tends to be. For example, asking Leviathan to divine the cause of "the Talbot senator being elected today" is likely to name the First Empress as being behind it assuming Leviathan is able to provide any answer at all.
These caveats aside, provided the events are large enough in scale, the ritual can provide vital information. Discovering an alliance between the Druj and the Thule to exchange prisoners, or that the Lord of the Five Winds has been hearing rumours that the Freeborn intend to invade Faraden, or that the Feni are being driven out of their safe locations by a plague of vallornspawn can all be vital steps in preventing disaster or using the circumstances to the best advantage of the coven.
From time to time there are reports that rather than Leviathan itself the ritual arranges contact with a powerful agent of the eternal - a herald whose specific expertise makes them more suited to answer a question. The ritual otherwise functions exactly as it would if Leviathan were answering when this happens.
It is unwise to submit a question and then fail to perform the ritual; as this will anger Leviathan. Even if the coven has gained information that makes their question less pressing, or the situation has changed, it may still be worth performing the ritual and speaking to Leviathan. The eternal may offer further insights, or discuss the answer that you have obtained with you. Submitting questions and then not performing the ritual will always make the eternal hostile; performing the ritual, and explaining how the situation has changed will not.
Some critics of the ritual point out that Leviathan does not play favourites. While it is happy to talk to Imperial magicians and answer their questions, it makes no secret of the fact that it is equally happy to talk to magicians anywhere in the world. There was some concern recently that the eternal was also speaking to powerful magicians among the Grendel, for example. Leviathan did not deny these concerns - indeed it patiently explained that it would respond to any similar ritual in a similar way regardless who performed it. Attempts in the past to persuade Leviathan to talk only to the Empire, or to agree not to talk about Imperial activities with outsiders, have failed entirely.
This is a divination ritual, and often involves runestones or cards, and interpreting their outcome may form the core of the ritual. Reflective surfaces such as mirrors or - especially - silver or weltsilver bowls of fresh or salt water are often involved. The name of the Leviathan should be invoked, but a theurgist may also include the names of paragons and exemplars of Wisdom. A recitation of the details known about the event being investigated, or recreation of the circumstances around it, may also serve as a useful focus.
At the climax of the ritual, Leviathan speaks to those present. Experienced Imperial magicians encourage those who talk to Leviathan to be polite, but never sycophantic; Leviathan has repeatedly demonstrated little patience for empty flattery or inappropriate fawning.
Preparing the Question
It is not possible to craft an effigy during an event, it can only be done between events. Any character who has mastered Swim Leviathan's Depths can craft an effigy provided they have 2 measures of dragonbone in their character inventory. The button to craft effigy appears on the right hand side of your character screen when you view your character, provided you have the ritual mastered and sufficient dragonbone in your inventory. A physrep for the effigy will be included in your pack at the next event; it does not expire. Each effigy allows a single question to be submitted to Leviathan.
To submit a question for Leviathan's consideration, you should write the question on a piece of paper, attach it to the phys-rep for the effigy and then cast operate portal on it. Please make sure that your handwriting is legible. You should then hand the paper and the effigy to a referee or to a member of the GOD team who can make a record of the message and who sent it.
We need time to prepare the answer to your question, so you must perform the ritual at least the night before the ritual is to be cast. Likewise you must perform the ritual at the same event that the question is submitted, otherwise the answer will be discarded and considered not to have been followed up. It is possible to use more than one effigy to submit additional questions, but we ask players to avoid submitting multiple questions they do not intend to ask, as this will waste a lot of valuable time creating the answers. As a result the eternal Leviathan will take in-character actions to punish any coven that submits one or more questions that are not then raised with Leviathan in a casting of the ritual.
Speaking to Leviathan
There is only a limited window to perform Swim Leviathan's Depths, starting at 1pm on each day of the event. The presence of the eternal will generally be indicated with lights and sounds. Leviathan will allow a little leeway, but if it has departed the regio before the ritual is performed then the ritual will fail. It is imperative that while the coven is conversing with Leviathan that the regio remain unused; if anyone starts to perform a ritual using the regio while the coven is speaking to Leviathan the effect of the ritual ends prematurely.