World-building essay incoming, critiques and counterarguments welcome:
“Is there a Place of Power nearby?”
I’ve played in a few one-shots and dropped into a couple of longer games over my time here, and it seems like every session with a Wizard (or anyone else with the Ritual move) involved has this question pop up. Now, I get that Ritual is an awesome little swiss army knife of a move, but for me, personally, the answer is always going to be:
“If you have to ask, the answer is no.”
I can understand the argument that Power can be likened to a natural resource, like an aquifer, so there’s a chance that you can Ritual it up a bit in a given location even if it looks on the surface to be pretty mundane. And on a more meta level, it’s true that you don’t want to put the kibosh on one of the PC’s signature moves too often. But to me, Places of Power should be strange, eldritch places, dripping with some flavor of the otherworldly. They’re landmarks, the sorts of places that have tales written about them. They’re the enchanted grove where hypnotic laughter can be heard by moonlight, the ancient battlefield where the dead never rest and the clouds never break. You might see a city built on such a place, but if you do, it’ll be a very strange city.
Mind you, draw maps and leave blanks, so the PCs can still find such places that the non-adventuring populace knows nothing of. But they’ll know it when they see it; they won’t have to ask.
Fortunately for the budding Ritualist, such places tend to attract the sorts of terrifying monsters and wondrous treasures that make Rituals most needed. And at times, of course, questing to a Place of Power and seizing control of it for long enough to complete a vital Ritual is reward enough in and of itself.