Campaign of the Month: June 2012
Ley Lines and Nodes
Ley lines are channels of mystic energy which can be found anywhere in Creation, but are best-known and most utilized on the Material Plane. Ley energy is the power of the planes. The power that runs through ley lines and power nexuses is raw magic, neither arcane nor divine. Magical energy flows through the ley lines until it terminates at the power nexuses at either end, like the terminals of a great battery. There is no “direction” to this current — regardless of where you stand on the ley line, energy flows towards both power nexuses simultaneously. Concentrations of it can influence the space they occupy (producing surprising and unique magical effects), and can be tapped by creatures to empower themselves (especially to perform magic related to the energy’s source). Many ley lines have no obvious effect on their surroundings and go unnoticed by creatures that traverse them, other than those who are well-versed in the matters of ley magic.
Ley energy can also be focused into points, which are called ley nodes. When referring to Spiritual ley nodes, Elemental ley nodes or Material ley nodes (see below), they are referred to as nodes. Essential nodes are generally called Nexuses. The locations of these Nodes and Nexuses are not based on historical importance; while many (most) nodes contain locations or objects of great historical importance, the vast majority of those locations were built there because of the ambient power waiting to be tapped, rather then the reverse.
Nodes can be of nearly any size, from single circle of stones in an open field to a small lake to a mountain peak. Those nodes which are known to exist may often be considered holy ground, and subsequently consecrated. Shrines, fairy rings, wizard’s towers and freestanding stones covered with mystical symbols will litter the landscape and permanent or transitory settlements of pilgrims, druids adepts and priests will be found in all but the remotest nodes.
Some nodes are places of power which have only limited range and influence. Most often, these nodes take the form of small caverns, or secluded glades no more than a few paces across. Known lesser nodes will frequently be home to small shrines or hermitages, some ancient, crumbling and time-lost, and others not. It is equally likely that they will be claimed as lairs by powerful or cunning monsters; caves which contain such nodes are favoured as dragon lairs, for example.
Ley lines are invisible, intangible currents of magical energy that connect all power nexuses. Each power nexus is connected by a ley line to every other power nexus, forming a vast network of ley lines like an invisible web. Each time a power nexus is created, new ley lines are formed, and the power nexus is immediately woven into the web.
It is these lines and nodes whose locations have influenced civilization since their existence was discovered. Even before such times, these sites were considered sacred and holy, or highly magical in nature. Spellcasters of all kinds, and elves in particular, are subconsciously aware of the presence of ley lines and power nexuses, and these sites drew (and still draw) people and cultures to them. Over the centuries, as they were discovered, the power of the nodes were utilized, according to their nature. Later, as the nature of ley lines and nodes were understood, intricate rituals were developed to bend and alter the lines and creating man-made nodes. Each type of energy was harnessed.
- Spiritual ley energy, tied to the Outer Planes where the gods reside, was consecrated by holy men, who built shrines and temples upon those sites.
- Essential ley energy, the power of the Cosmos itself, is tied to magic in general and is the most widely useful kind. It attracted arcanists due to its versatility and their inability to get significant use out of most other lines. Upon these natural nexuses are located wizard’s towers, conclaves, and schools such as Redhurst Academy of Magic.
- Material ley energy is the raw power of nature and the Material Plane as a whole. Fey call it the lifeblood of the Tree of Life. The healthy functioning of nature encourages these lines. It is this energy that druids and rangers tap into.
- Elemental ley energy is tied to the Inner Planes. These lines sometimes result from portals or vortexes to the Inner Planes, or powerful elemental magic. It is from these energies that elemental spellcasters use to summon forth their effects, and also these are the energies which make such special minerals, like silver or adamantine gain their special properties. It is not uncommon to find Elemental nodes at mining sites.