Obviously, this will need some work, and I have only a vague idea of what level it should be available at — being based roughly on the 3e “Sending” spell — and it will definitely need its rules text cleaned up to be gameable, but this was really a fun idea to play around with in putting it to the page.
It occurred to me that in the past, I’ve had PCs try to mobilize the defenders of a small community, and I tried to think of how many non-militia characters might respond to a call for aid. Ultimately, I don’t think more than a handful can or should — between 1-2 times the number of followers a party can manage.
I figure the ritual works on a principle of transparency — it can only contact those willing and able to defend the community, and only if there is a legitimate threat and the caster identifies himself and his intent. A rally point can be predetermined, and the NPCs will arrive inside of ten minutes.
At that point, I figure they can either take care of themselves or be led around by the caster. I suppose I should probably put a bit in there about how they feel no particular compulsion to follow the caster, but instead respond to the threat.
…I’m curious now actually, if there’s already a spell or ritual like this. I’m certainly not aware of one, or I wouldn’t have tried to write my own.
CALL TO ARMS
Casting Time: 5 minutes (short rest)
The ritual sends a mental message to able-bodied members of the local community who are likely to take up arms in its defense. For the ritual to work, recipients must know who has called them and be willing to come to the community’s defense.
The ritual doesn’t compel recipients of the message to service, and there must be a legitimate source of danger for them to respond to, or the ritual fails.
Recipients of the message will bring whatever arms and armor they have on hand, donning them ahead of time if able, or else will seek out the appropriate equipment if they know where it can be found.
The ritual only contacts individuals who are in a position to respond to the call, and all recipients arrive within 10 minutes. Multiple uses of the ritual in a short period of time (generally 24 hours) won’t contact the same individual more than once.
Usage Notes: Even in more densely-populated settlements like city-states, no more than about 4-10 individuals are likely to respond with a single casting. The GM may decide a particular community has more able and willing NPCs, especially during times of constant warfare.
Multiple uses of the ritual, even in a larger settlement or city-state, will never produce more than about 50 able-bodied warriors. Once the threat has been dealt with, the recipients return to their homes or flee the community, as deemed appropriate by the GM.