Welcome back to Midgard Ley Magic, a series where we explore the mysticism and mechanics of ley lines, the powerful magical effects that can be drawn from them, and the daring spellcasters who study and manipulate these sources of raw power. If you have not had a chance to read prior entries in the series, you can find them here. After exploring some specific scenarios that can occur when tapping ley lines last month, we now turn to the standard effects themselves and what happens when a ley magic spellcaster critically succeeds—or fails—when tapping a ley line.
Revised Weak Ley Lines Effect Table
The Midgard Heroes Handbook presents the list of potential effects that can result from tapping various strengths of ley lines. Looking at the weak ley lines effects table, many of them result in situational benefits that often do not apply to the spell being cast. Last month, we provided a workaround, allowing a ley magic spellcaster to absorb some of the tapped power in the form of temporary hit points. Today, we present a revised table that slightly expands the scope of some of these effects, in turn increasing their applicability across a wider range of spells.
Weak Ley Line Effects (Revised)
|1||If your spell attack misses or if the target makes a successful saving throw, you can choose a new target within 10 feet of the original target and within range. Make a new attack roll with disadvantage, or the new target makes a saving throw with advantage.|
|2||You can delay the effect of your spell for up to 5 rounds. Choose how many rounds you want the spell to delay at the moment it is cast. The spell takes effect at the start of your turn that many rounds later. All parameters regarding the spell’s targeting, area, color, and so on must be set when the spell is cast, not when it takes effect.|
|3||If your spell deals acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, or thunder damage, you can change the damage to one of the other listed types.|
|4||If your spell affects multiple creatures, choose one. That creature has disadvantage on any saving throw it makes against the spell, or you get to make a spell attack roll against it with advantage.|
|5||Double the range of your spell, its duration, or increase the area of effect by 10 feet (choose one).|
|6||A creature that takes any damage from your spell is restrained until the end of its next turn.|
|7||Creatures damaged by your spell are also deafened for 1 minute and must make their next attack roll at disadvantage. A deafened creature makes a Constitution saving throw at the end of its turn to end the deafness effect.|
|8||Cast your spell without verbal, somatic, or material components (choose one). The material component option cannot be applied to spells that consume components with a listed value in gold pieces.|
|9||A creature damaged by your spell is also knocked prone unless it makes a successful Strength saving throw.|
|10||Roll twice on this table (treating duplicate results as “no additional effect”) or roll once on the Strong Ley Line Effects table.|
Critical Ley Line Effects
Tapping a ley line can provide highly rewarding effects for the caster or provoke problematic backlashes should things go wrong. Some critical effects can occur at both ends of the spectrum, using the following optional rules (at the GM’s discretion).
As a spellcasting ability check is made when attempting to tap a ley line, if the d20 roll is a 20, the caster can roll twice on the corresponding ley line effects table and choose one of the two results.
If a 1 is rolled on the same check, the result is always a ley line backlash, regardless of any modifiers. Optionally, at the GM’s discretion or using the table below, this critical failure can result in a ley elemental spirit being unleashed from the ley line in addition to (or instead of) the backlash effect.
Additional Ley Line Backlash Effect
|1||Release ley elemental spirit and backlash effect|
|2||Release ley elemental spirit only|
|3–6||Backlash effect only|
When a ley elemental spirit is unleashed, pick one of the variants described below (minor, lesser, greater) as appropriate for the party level. Ley elemental spirits lash out at any creatures present in the area, with a strong affinity toward attacking ley magic spellcasters.
Ley Elemental Spirit
In a flash of light, the ley line snaps with strands of magic wildly flailing about, releasing raw uncontrolled energies. A vague humanoid form takes shape, coalescing into a being of pure ley energy, floating above the ground. Its eyes—two glowing orbs of madness—turn toward you as it lifts a shimmering arm, pointing in your direction.
Manipulating the power of ley lines can be risky business. Whenever a geomancer or other ley magic spellcaster attempting to tap into a ley line suffers a fatal backlash that costs them their life, echoes of their consciousness and their magical essence occasionally get absorbed within the ley line where they get trapped forever as a ley elemental spirit.
Locked in Madness. Enraged by this unfortunate twist of fate and driven to madness by their limited primordial eldritch form, ley elemental spirits live in a vulnerable mental state and lose touch with their former existence, their memories now only distant echoes behind a veil of confusion.
Desperate to Escape. Ley elemental spirits aimlessly wander the world through the network of ley lines, desperately seeking to escape the confines of their tormented existence as beings of pure magic. Whenever ley magic incidents or critical backlashes occur anywhere, destabilizing the fabric of the magical web or uprooting the ley lines from their natural anchors in the world, ley rifts can open up, unleashing raw energies and in turn ley elemental spirits into the world.
Primordial spellcasters. Despite their tragic uprooting from the world of the corporeal living, ley elemental spirits managed to retain control over some of their geomancy spellcasting abilities. Some of the ley line spells they knew in life are now burned deep inside their elemental psyche, ready to be cast innately on a whim. When released from the confines of the ley lines that bind them, these ley spirits lash out randomly at any beings they encounter for fear of getting trapped again within their eternal magical prison, demonstrating an especially strong disdain for other ley magic spellcasters.
Lesser Ley Elemental Spirit
Medium elemental, neutral
Armor Class 15 (magical armor)
Hit Points 84 (13d8 + 26)
Speed 0 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)
|6 (−2)||14 (+2)||14 (+2)||18 (+4)||10 (+0)||6 (−2)|
Saving Throws Con +5, Int +7
Skills Arcana +7
Damage Vulnerabilities psychic
Damage Resistances acid; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage Immunities force, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages Primordial plus any other languages it knew in life
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)
Incorporeal Movement. The spirit can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.
Innate Spellcasting. The spirit’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence. It can innately cast the following spells (spell save DC 15), requiring no material components:
- At will—line discharge (at 5th level)
- 1/day each—hold the line, ley disruption, ley under cover
- 2/day each—ley energy bolt
Ley Illumination. The spirit magically projects bright light in a 60-foot radius and dim light for an additional 60 feet at all times.
Magic Resistance. The spirit has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Multiattack. The elemental makes two force push attacks.
Force Push. Melee Spell Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) force damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 feet away from the spirit.
Disruptive Ley Blast (Recharge 6). Each creature within 30 feet of the spirit must make a DC 15 Strength saving throw. On a failed save, a target takes 12 (2d8 + 3) force damage and is pushed up to 15 feet away from the spirit and knocked prone. A spellcaster currently holding concentration on a spell must roll at disadvantage on their saving throw to maintain their concentration.
If the saving throw is successful, the target takes half the force damage, isn’t pushed away or knocked prone, and doesn’t suffer any disadvantage on spell concentration checks.
There are three variants of ley elemental spirits: minor, lesser, and greater. The stat block above is the lesser variant, but below are the balanced stats for each. Anything not listed remains identical across all variants.
|Hit Dice||8d8 + 16||13d8 + 26||28d8 + 56|
|Speed||fly 30 ft (hover)||fly 60 ft (hover)||fly 60 ft (hover)|
|Challenge Rating||2 (450 xp)||5 (1,800 XP)||9 (5,000 XP)|
|At Will||line discharge
(at 1st level)
(at 5th level)
(at 11th level)
|1/day each||hold the line,
ley under cover
|hold the line,
ley under cover
|hold the line,
ley under cover
|2/day each||—||ley energy bolt||ley leech|
|3/day each||—||—||ley energy bolt|
|Force Push To Hit||+4||+7||+8|
|Force Push Damage||5 (1d6 + 3)||12 (2d6 + 5)||14 (2d6 + 7)|
|Push/Blast Save DC||13||15||16|
|Ley Blast Damage||6 (1d8 + 3)||12 (2d8 + 3)||25 (4d8 + 7)|
Have you played a geomancer before? Do you have any questions about ley lines? What fun situations have emerged from the use of ley lines in your campaigns? How are the new ley line spells working out in your adventures? Leave your feedback below and come back for the next installment in this series.