In this third installment of our series on Midgard Ley Magic, we take a closer look at what happens when ley initiates and geomancers manage to harness the power of ley lines. If you haven’t had a chance to read prior entries in the series, the first article discussed the different types of ley magic spellcasters and their impact on game preparation for a GM. The second article featured randomization tables to assist GMs in placing ley lines on their game maps. New ley line spells were also introduced, and this article continues this trend.
Tapping Ley Lines
When a ley magic spellcaster casts any spell within 30 feet of a ley line or when a geomancer channels a bound ley line, the caster can tap the line’s power to augment their magic. This requires a successful ability check using the caster’s spellcasting ability but without including any proficiency bonus.
The revised DC of the check equals 8 + the level of the spell being cast. This revision to the official rules is based on a recommendation by Dan Dillon since the original base DC (10) caused more backlash than intended. Ley line adepts (10th-level geomancers) add their proficiency bonus when performing this ability check, and Ley line masters (14th-level geomancers) also roll with advantage.
Ley Line Effects
The Ley Lines and Geomancy Spellcasting rules in Midgard Heroes Handbook cover the various effects that result from successfully tapping a ley line as well as the backlash suffered when the attempt fails by a high margin. However, some relatively common yet undocumented scenarios can occur depending on the effects rolled in these tables. These scenarios were briefly discussed in my Ley Magic FAQ blog post, and are detailed below.
Altering Spell Parameters after Rolling for Effect
When tapping an unlocked line, a ley magic caster can choose to tweak their spell effect based on the result as rolled on the effects table. For example, if a spell is cast while in normal range of the intended target, if the ley line effect results in a range extension, the caster could change their target to a creature located farther away to take advantage of the new range.
Dealing with Undesired or Non-Applicable Ley Magic Effects
When tapping an unlocked line, if the caster doesn’t like the resulting effect or if the rolled effect doesn’t apply to the spell (e.g. fire damage boost when casting a non-damaging spell), then the caster can absorb the ley energy to gain temporary hit points equal to 1d6 per line strength (weak, 1d6; strong, 2d6; titanic, 3d6) + their spellcasting ability modifier. Remember that temporary hit points do not stack.
When rolling on the strong and titanic effects tables, if a ley line effect lets the caster treat their spell as if it were cast with a spell slot one or two levels higher, cantrips can also benefit from this effect. The cantrip is cast as if the caster was of a higher level to reach the next effect “tier” (5th, 11th, etc.) of that cantrip. For example, a 3rd level geomancer rolls a 10 on the weak ley line effects table, thus calling for a roll on the strong ley line effects table. If they roll a 2, the cantrip is treated as if the caster was 5th level.
Ley lines are more than raw sources of uncontrolled natural power. Experienced geomancers attuned to their effects have been known to craft new spells that make direct use of nearby ley lines as highlighted in the new ley line spells in this blog series. Newly uncovered magic even allows a geomancer to “recharge” the magical energies of other arcane spellcasters through ley lines (see ley on hands spell below).
Remember that only geomancers and ley initiates can learn and cast ley line spells after first discovering them as written scrolls or being taught by another geomancer (unless otherwise allowed by the GM).
Channeling Bound Ley Lines
Since geomancers can bind themselves to a ley line indefinitely, it can be assumed that a newly trained geomancer starts their next adventure already bound to a ley line of the highest category they can tap (levels 2–9, weak; levels 10–13, strong; levels 14+, titanic). At the GM’s discretion, extenuating circumstances could break this bond to a ley line, such as traveling to other planes of existence or spending an extended period in regions drained of magic, such as the Western Wastes of Midgard.
Identifying Ley Line Properties
Most ley lines are unlocked, and their effects are unpredictable. On some rare occasions, some ley lines can be locked for one reason or another (see Table 6 below). Such ley lines are locked to a specific effect and tapping one of those ley lines would always yield the same effect.
After detecting the presence of a nearby ley line, a ley magic spellcaster can identify if a line is locked and to what effect as applicable. The caster can use a detect magic spell or spend 1 minute examining a ley line located within 30 ft. to gather more information. A successful Intelligence (Arcana) check against the DC for this specific ley line type (see Table 5) is required to determine the properties of the ley line through examination.
Table 5: Difficulty Class per Ley Line Type
|DC||Ley line type|
If detect magic is used or following a successful examination, use Table 6 to determine whether a ley line is locked and the origin of the lock. Weak ley lines are very rarely locked and typically don’t require a roll. The GM can decide if special circumstances would cause a weak ley line to be locked. If a ley line is locked, roll on the corresponding effects table to identify what the locked effect is. If a ley magic caster taps this ley line to enhance a spell, they do not roll for effect and always use the locked effect instead.
A ley line savant (2nd-level geomancer) could choose to bind themselves to such a locked ley line after completing a short or long rest to benefit from the predictable effect when channeling the ley line from anywhere.
Allowing a geomancer to bind to a pre-locked ley line before 14th level can potentially lead to power imbalance. GMs should use discretion if this should be allowed in their game.
Table 6: Ley Line Lock Status
|Roll d100||Ley line property|
|95–96||Locked by a geomancer master|
|97||Locked by a magic item|
|98–99||Locked as an aftereffect of the Great Mage Wars and the fallen magocracies|
New Ley Line Spells
More new spells that utilize ley lines.
Ley on Hands
2nd-level evocation (ritual, ley line)
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S, M (a small shard of zinc, a copper piece and a small vial of acid)
Classes: sorcerer, wizard
You build a ley conduit between you and another friendly spellcaster you touch and replenish their magical energy with your own. The target must be a bard, druid, sorcerer, warlock, wizard, or any other spellcaster fueled by arcane energies (not divine power). Upon completion of the spell, you expend an additional 1st-level source spell slot and the target spellcaster regains one expended 1st-level spell slot. If you do not have any available 1st-level spell slots or if the target doesn’t have any expended 1st-level spell slots, the spell has no effect.
When you cast this spell as a ritual, you expend a 2nd-spell source slot to replenish the target’s 1st-level spell slot.
At higher levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, you expend a source spell slot of one spell level lower than the slot used to cast this spell to replenish a spell slot of the same level as the source slot. For example, when casting this spell using a 5th-level spell slot, you expend an additional 4th-level spell slot and the target replenishes a 4th-level spell slot. Ritual casting always requires a source spell slot of one spell level higher than the replenished spell slot.
Have you played a geomancer before? Do you have any questions about ley lines? What fun events 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.