Any additional info on the "Rite of Blood"?

I had this vague memory from over 20 years ago of reading some ritual that a mage can use after Defiling to make things right with the environment. I think this was in the original boxed set, and I think it was called something like the “rite of blood” or something similar. But I think it was only mentioned briefly in some random section, and despite pouring over the original boxed set materials, I haven’t been able to track it down again.

Does anyone know the details of this ritual, or if it got any discussion in later materials?


This is the bit in the OG Boxed set. It was never expounded upon unless I’m missing something.
Preservers reinvigorate the soil after they drain it to power their spells. As Preservers learn their craft, they also learn to rekindle the spark of life. When they cast a spell, they replace what they have taken through a combination of natural and mystical processes (such as by working compost into the soil or by performing the Rite of Blood in the field they have drained). Preservers learn their spells and master their art more slowly than Defilers, for they must learn to give as well as take. Unfortunately, Preservers are scarce compared to Defilers, and it is a rare person who understands the difference between the two.


I also did word searches in PDFs for the revised boxed set and Defilers & Preservers book… but it didn’t bring anything up.


I don’t remember it ever being expanded on, I did have a preserver PC once that carried around a skin of blood (whatever creature they had recently killed) and would always spare a few drips after using spells in a battle. When I took away her gear she used her own blood. Closest I think I’ve seen to the Rite of Blood.


Interesting. That certainly fits with the Rite of Blood text as written.

Even with the original text though, and despite 2nd Edition defiling and preserving being separate classes, I always built up this image in my head of defiling as being a conscious choice after each spellcasting, so that even Preservers were always kind of tempted to defile.

Based on that interpretation, I always assumed the Rite of Blood was a much more intensive process to restore the land once a “Preserver” had defiled in a moment of desperation. Maybe ritually spilling enough of your own blood to reduce your HP by the number equal to the spell levels cast, and then refusing magical healing until the blood loss heals naturally.

Composting is less painful, but takes like a day per spell level of defiling.

I used the Rite of Blood a couple of times, in 2e and 2e games. This was what I did in 2e:

The Rite of Blood
There are ways for a preserver to gain the advantages of a defiler without risking becoming a tainted wizard or worse – but they carry a heavy cost. Preservers return energy to the soil after they drain it to power their spells. As preservers learn their craft, they also learn other ways to rekindle the spark of life. One such method is to replace spell energy they have taken through a combination of natural and mystical processes. This is known as the Rite of Blood.
A preserver enacting the rite gives back to the soil what they have taken by sacrificing their own blood to repay their debt to nature. The preserver extends the casting time of his spell to one round and treats the terrain as one step more fertile, gaining +1 caster level. Spells with a normal casting time of 1 round or longer require an extra round to be cast in this manner.
The preserver takes 1 point of damage per spell level when casting a spell in this manner.

And here’s the feat I made for it in 3e:

Rite of Blood [General]
You give back to the soil what you have taken, sacrificing your own blood to repay your debt to nature. As a result you can draw more power from the land than other preservers.
Prerequisites: Preserver
Benefit: You can extend the casting time of your spells to a full-round action and gain a +1 bonus to your caster level. Spells with a normal casting time of 1 round or longer require an extra round to be cast in this manner. You take 1 point of damage per spell level when you cast a spell in this manner.

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I lean towards a harsher interpretation. Preservers defile, no its, ands, or buts. They RIP from the land no differently than defilers.

The difference comes afterwards.

Preservers attempt to restore. At a greater cost than what they took.

My logic behind this is that Athas is already damaged, scarred, and hemorrhaging. ANY use of magic savagely tears open the wounds even wider. You’ll have to pay through the nose to even attempt to preserve what you just selfishly took from a wounded and dying planet. Let alone succeed.

Magic will never be able to heal Athas. At best it can pause the downward slide briefly.

As such, the Rite of Blood requires willing sacrifice in the form of damage greater than what was dealt, or greater than the end result or effect, if not damage. Of course, one can opt to give up their life in order to accomplish some real healing… but oddly that’s not a real popular option. Can’t imagine why, everyone used to have to make a stable of characters before even playing.

Anyway, while that’s how I run it, that’s just my unsolicited opinion. I don’t have any references to quote that add to the original request. Apologies.