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Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide


Book of Unlimited Magic

Ley Lines

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 214
Magical energy exists throughout the multiverse and flows within and without all aspects of reality. In places where this magical energy flows particularly strongly, it takes the form of ley lines: potent conduits of magic that flow throughout the cosmos. Magical energy travels through ley lines much like blood flows through the veins of living creatures. Ley lines transcend physical form and can be found throughout the universe, through entire worlds, and even across planes.

Rarity: Rare

Each ley line carries its own specific manifestation of magical energy. One ley line might contain the power to enhance divinations, while another forms a channel for the destructive power of fire. Regardless of a ley line's specific nature, its presence influences the world around it in subtle or overt ways.

Ley Lines in Your Game

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 214
Though magical essence permeates the multiverse, it rarely concentrates in high enough volume to form a ley line, and as such, ley lines are rare, inscrutable phenomena. Those who overtax a ley line might find that its power fades, reroutes, or even backfires—the ramifications of which can lead to interesting story explorations. In general, these rules assume that ley lines are few and far between in a setting and that one's presence holds notable significance in the game world.

Ley lines impact the world around them in considerable ways, which presents myriad narrative possibilities; for example, a wizard might build a tower on top of a ley line with magic that aids in planar research, or an entire civilization might structure their territory along a ley line to improve their wealth. Ley lines should also manifest magical side effects that relate to their nature, such as increased ambient temperatures or prevalent brushfires along a ley line attuned to fire magic. GMs should feel encouraged to explore how ley lines can affect their world.

Tapping into ley lines often provides benefits that alter spells, akin to metamagic (for example, the basic ley line on page 216 provides a choice between two metamagic effects from metamagic class feats). As such, spellcasters are the most likely to seek out and tap ley lines, but some ley lines provide benefits that any character capable of tapping into them can use; GMs should consider how an entire party can benefit from a ley line and what characters might enjoy some time in the spotlight.

A ley line might be a lasting benefit to the entire party, and discovering one could even serve as an interesting reward for them. The PCs might be encouraged to build a base of operations along a ley line or to establish a nexus at a ley line node.

Ultimately, the use of ley lines is rooted in the familiar mechanics of metamagic, meaning that they should be easy to add without complicating the game. Though they're presented as rare in this book, GMs might prefer them to be more common and are encouraged to create a unique setting featuring prevalent ley lines. Some settings might feature ley lines as common as rivers, influencing the magic and civilizations around them with the type of energy flowing through them. Consider whether the inclusion of ley lines will add or distract from to the richness of the story.

Locating Ley Lines

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 214
Ley lines are typically imperceptible by mundane means, so locating a ley line requires a magical connection of some kind (though not necessarily the ability to cast spells). Typically, ley lines' sizes correlate with their potency, with higher-level ley lines usually being wider and easier to notice—but ley lines are by nature enigmatic phenomena, and some particularly powerful ones are as thin as thread. In rare cases, ley lines might have physical manifestations that make their presence more apparent. For example, a ley line attuned to electrical energy might manifest as a constant stream of sparks and electricity arcing along the ley line's path, or a ley line suffused with positive energy might appear as a strip of overgrown and mutated plants.

A character can locate a ley line with a successful Occultism check to Identify Magic, usually against a DC of 30 for a weak and minor ley line or 20 for a powerful one, but a particular line's presence might be more obvious if it has noticeable magical manifestations. A successful check reveals the location of a ley line but not its capabilities. Each ley line has at least one trait tied to a tradition of magic. To determine the effects of a ley line, a character must succeed at a check to Identify Magic based on its tradition, with a DC equal to the hard DC of the ley line's level. Finding the exact position, strength, and effects of a ley line can be extremely helpful for characters attempting to access the ley line's power.

Ley Line Nodes

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 215
Ley line nodes are the point at which multiple ley lines intersect. Incredibly rare and powerful, nodes provide those who tap into them access to all of the intersecting ley lines' abilities, and they usually produce one or more additional effects based on the combination of intersecting ley lines. A ley line node's level is equal to that of the highest-level ley line that intersects at the node. Enterprising PCs or NPCs sometimes seek out nodes as sites to perform rituals to establish ley line nexuses. Such locations are jealously guarded by those who wish to claim the nexus's power.

Using Ley Lines

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 215
While locating a ley line might be a difficult process, making use of a ley line's power is remarkably simple. Accessing the power of a ley line requires using the Tap Ley Line general skill action. The results of this action are based on the benefits and drawbacks of a ley line.

Sample Ley Lines

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 215
The following represent a number of different types of ley lines, each of which provides specific effects. GMs can use these ley lines as is or find some inspiration for new ley lines in their own games. Most ley lines are rare, but a specific ley line can be unique.

Basic Ley Line Ley Line 2

RareEvocation
Most ley lines are simply naturally occurring conduits of pure magical energy. Tapping into a basic ley line allows spellcasters to modify their spells. This ley line has the arcane, divine, occult, or primal trait as appropriate.

Benefit When you Cast a Spell, alter the spell as if you had just used your choice of either Reach Spell or Widen Spell.

Backlash The magical energy overwhelms your mind. You become stupefied 1 until the end of your next turn.

Energy Ley Line Ley Line 4

RareEvocationPrimal
Energy ley lines are attuned to a specific type of energy and enhance that energy's power. They might form where the power from an Inner Plane with immense energy (such as an Elemental Plane, the Positive Energy Plane, or the Negative Energy Plane) seeps across a planar boundary. An energy ley line can be attuned to acid, cold, electricity, fire, force, positive, negative, or sonic energy and gains the respective trait for that energy. Higher-level energy ley lines can deal greater persistent damage on the benefit and greater damage on the backlash, usually 1d8 per 4 levels.

Benefit All damage of the associated energy type you deal clings to your targets, dealing an additional 1d8 persistent damage of the ley line's energy type.

Backlash The energy rebounds, and you take 2d8 persistent damage of the ley line's energy type.

Focused Ley Line Ley Line 10

RareArcaneDivineEvocationOccultPrimal
Focused ley lines are concentrated points of magical energy which are even more potent than other ley lines. These ley lines allow users to realign their magical connections almost immediately. Higher-level focused ley lines allow users to gain their benefits more times in a single day.

Benefit You gain a Focus Point, which is separate from your focus pool and doesn't count toward the cap on your focus pool. You can gain this benefit only if you have a focus pool. If you don't use this focus point before the benefit of the ley line runs out, it's lost. You become temporarily immune to the benefits of this ley line for 24 hours.

Backlash Your entire being becomes overwhelmed with magical energy. You become stupefied 3 for 1 minute, and you can't Refocus for 1 hour.

Haunted Ley Line Ley Line 12

RareDivineNecromancyOccult
Some ley lines form at sites of significant death. This results in haunted ley lines, which allow those who tap into them to blur the line between life and death. More powerful haunted ley lines grant the benefits of a higher-level blink spell.

Benefit You're affected by blink for the duration of the ley line benefit. You can Sustain the Spell as though you had cast it, and you can choose the direction of your reappearance when you do so (you still reappear randomly at the end of your turn).

Backlash You get partially pulled into the Ethereal Plane. For 1 minute, you vanish and reappear in a random direction at the end of your turn as noted in the effects of blink, but you don't gain any of the other effects of the spell.

Specialized Ley Line Ley Line 14

RareArcane
Specialized ley lines empower specific types of magic. They most commonly come about where a practitioner of a particular type of magic has utilized their magical arts repeatedly, such as at locations of magical academies. Each specialized ley line is attuned to a specific school of magic and gains that school's trait. More powerful ones can heighten a spell multiple levels at once.

Benefit Spells you cast of the ley line's attuned school are empowered. When you Cast a Spell of that school, that spell is automatically heightened 1 level, up to a level equal to the highest spell level you can cast.

Backlash Your connection to the ley line's school of magic weakens, making it temporarily harder to manifest those spells. For 1 minute, all spells of the attuned school require one additional action to cast.

Ley Line Rituals

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 216
Those who build a stronghold on a ley line might use rituals to increase their advantage. The following rituals allow easier or more powerful benefits from ley lines.

Empower ley line, establish nexus