February 16, 2012

Ley Lines, revisited

There are no gods in Ig, therefore no clerics or magical healing. However, D&D throws around a lot of effects that would be all but lethal to a party without such resources, especially at high level play. While I want to encourage players to retreat when things are looking bad, I also want to tell evocative stories like Weathertop and the flight to the ford in Fellowship of the Ring, where healing is available but found at the end of a hard journey. Where does one turn when some moldy papyrus king in a ruin give you mummy rot? Wise women and shamans offer foul potions that are as likely to give you a week of the runs as cure your wasting disease. In Ig the solution is ley lines.

Ley lines are an invisible web of mystic force that connect places of power called loci. A locus is always found in the wilderness far away from humanoid habitation. Buildings disrupt the flow of power to and from a locus. Construction around these sites completely destroys them. Loci take the form of supernal aspects of nature like standing stones, solitary trees, or waterfalls. Each loci is connected to at least two more by ley lines. A mystically sensitive person can detect these lines as they travel and follow them back to their loci. Elves and magic users can tap into these natural power sources to cast divine spells. This power comes at a trickle compared to the theistic torrent clerics wield in other universes, so the casting time is greatly extended.This is not common knowledge among the humans and dwarves of Ig, although most elves know about them due to their highly tuned magical senses.

Anyone magic-using class present at a locus can cast divine spells. Elves cast spells as if they were a cleric at half their level, while wizards at a quarter. Assume character have access to all spells available to a cleric at that level. The casting time is extended to one day per round, and a week per turn. Spellcasters take a point of Constitution damage per full day after the first they cast a spell due to exhaustion. This time is spent in deep meditation as the caster collects the power for the spell. Any physical disruption such as combat will stop the process. Once a spell has been cast a locus' magical resources are exhausted for 2d10+5 days.

Detecting a ley line is a DC 20 check. Elves get a +4 bonus due to their racial sensitivities. Both elves and magic-users can also add half their level to the check. Anyone using Detect Magic gets +10 to their check for the duration of the spell.

When creating a wilderness map place loci at least five day’s journey from any settlements, including above-ground ruins. Roll or pick the form the locus takes from the table below, each locus is connected by 1d3+1 more. These loci are located 1d20+5 day’s travel away in a random direction.

Locus Type (roll 1d10)
  1. Seasonal Grove (permanently one season)
  2. Giant Mushroom
  3. Spring
  4. Waterfall
  5. Stone Circle
  6. Solitary Tree
  7. Waste
  8. Menhir
  9. Fairy Circle
  10. Hilltop
If access to the full range of cleric spells seems overpowered consider requiring a token/scroll/or bit of magical research for a character to make use of a given divine spell.


  1. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

    I've recently put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune and HP Lovecraft's Under the Pyramids.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog (either a normal book review, or a review of its suitability as gaming inspiration).

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me (news@apolitical.info) or reply to this thread.

    You can download a sample from Smashwords:


    I'll also link to your review from my blog.


    1. Thanks for reading my blog, I really appreciate new viewers! I don't think I can review your book. I don't really a lot of free time to spare lately, especially with work ramping up the way it has been. I'm really flattered that you reached out to me, sorry I can't be of more help.

  2. No problem. Thanks anyway.