Completing Rituals

Apologies if this has already been asked (and extra apologies if I am being dense in not understanding it). When a whisper carries out a ritual I get that it takes 1 downtime action and they take stress as agreed with Ritual creation. But it then says the ritual takes time to cast (usually at least an hour). It also says the duration of the casting can be extended to reduce the stress. What I done understand is if this duration is supposed to occur in game time, and if so is the stress taken in game time. Or is the duration occuring abstractly in downtime, and the stress taken in downtime (in which case how is the duration relevant?)

Or do you prepare the ritual in downtime (using a downtime action) then cast is game (which takes the duration) in which case when is the stress taken?

Thanks for any suggestions

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As I understand it, the time required to perform a ritual is folded into the downtime action. You don’t need to play it out in freeplay or a score. You can narrate the passage of time, of course, and for the sake of consistency, you can take that length of time into account for the other characters as well (e.g. if the whisper is conducting a ritual over the span of a week, then the other characters are spending a week on their activities, too). Mechanically speaking, though, the only reason to take note of how long a ritual takes is for the purpose of adjusting the stress required. The book says:

Use the duration examples on the magnitude table to reduce the stress cost based on the time needed, generally no less than an hour.

The examples aren’t quite as explicit as I’d like, but the gist appears to be that you’d calculate the stress cost by adding the area or scale and quality or force of the ritual’s effect and subtracting the amount of time it takes to perform the ritual. So if you wanted to perform a ritual to protect your lair, you might set the stress level by adding 4 (a small building) and 2 (strong), then subtracting 3 (a few hours) for a total of 3 stress.

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Thanks for the comments. Like a lot of things in Blades it seems quite abstract, which is a double edged sword.
The ritual my players Whisper wants to create is to simulate the Assasin’s Emberdeath ability.

It will imbue a blades weapon with the ability, will be single use, and will still cost the user the normal stress amount.

We were thinking…
Scale - 1 Person (0)
Range - within reach (0)
Force - this does not add any extra damage etc. Just removed body if the attack results in the death of target (3)

Total stress of Ritual - 3

Subtract the amount of time it takes to perform the ritual, and you should be good to go. Figuring that out is mostly a matter of coming up with a decent description of the sort of ritual you think it should involve. Ritual magic tends to be symbolic of the thing it’s trying to achieve, so it could be something like, the Whisper has to balance a votive candle on the edge of a blade while standing in a magic circle until the flame burns down to nothing. Clock that at an hour and subtract 2 stress from the total cost.

If 1 stress seems like a paltry cost, remember that they’re also using up one of their downtime actions, and they’ll take the usual 3 stress cost of using the ability — all for the chance to use another, relatively contained ability once. Seems like a fair trade to me, but if you still think that’s too cheap, you could also start a clock called “Attracting malevolent forces” and fill in one tick for each ritual.

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That’s a cool image. We were going for him having to sit in a ritual circle while engraving runes on the blade. I was torn with the cost, 3 did seem quite high I agree. I like factoring in a bit of time and making 1