Not a new class, but rather another option for the method of a magic-user's madness, the Leycaster uses ley lines to power and shape his wizardry. Not only does a caster's distance from a ley line determine how strong his spells might be, they may also dictate the most efficacious type of thaumaturgy for the area. In some cases, the presence of certain types of ley lines might even provide the imaginative magic-user with the raw energy needed for the spontaneous weaving of singular sorceries.
The first thing a trained Leycaster learns is how to attune his senses to the presence and power of the lines. Not all wizarding adventurers need be skilled in this endeavor, but one who uses the ley lines will immediately sense their presence. Does this require the DM to map out a complex network overlaying his milieu? Although the option is there to place lines for specific purposes, to serve either setting or story, it's certainly not necessary. Simply roll 2 six sided dice on the following table when leycaster or DM have a need.
- 2 - a dead zone. Powerless! Hopefully you have a dagger.
- 3 - distant. Spells will automatically cast with minimum variables, and targets get bonuses to their saves.
- 4,5 - far. Spell variables are rolled normally, but any result over half is reduced to half.
- 6-8 - normal. Spells function as usual within the rules.
- 9,10 - nearby. Spell variables are rolled normally, but any result under half is increased to half.
- 11 - close. As nearby, but targets get penalties to their saving throws.
- 12 - immediate. Spells will automatically cast with maximum variables, and targets get penalties to their saves.
If the result is 9 or higher, the magic-user has a chance to actually see the ley line. This can be checked either with an intelligence check, or by rolling 2 or less on one six sided die, as preferred by the DM. If the ley line is visible, and the leycaster is able to get within close range of it (usually 30 yards or so) he can try to utilise it directly to power spontaneous magic appropriate to his level, and to the nature of the ley line itself.
When a leycaster is intent on tapping a line directly, the DM can roll upon, or choose freely from the following list of line types. Indeed, the DM is encouraged to add to or subtract from this list as appropriate to his own milieu.
- Earth - a western and eastern element
- Air - a western element
- Fire - a western and eastern element
- Water - a western and eastern element
- Metal - an eastern element
- Wood - an eastern element
If close to a ley line, and so attuned to it as to be able to see it, the caster may then use its energy to create a wide variety of effects. Any magic so cast will require at least one round of effort and focus to take effect, and will directly evince the nature of the line in question. Proximity to an air line, for example, might enable levitation or even flight, as appropriate to the level of the caster. Even a first level leycasting magic-user would be able to at least levitate if standing directly under a ley line of air, though his speed and ultimate height might be severely limited.
These effects, as rare an occurrence as they might be, do not use up the resources associated with spellcasting typical to the setting, whether memorisation slots, spell points, or some other commodity. The effort can still be prohibitively tiring if overused.
The position of ley lines is often related to their nature. Thus, air lines often lie at least a dozen feet up from ground level. Earth lines lie upon the ground, and at times even travel beneath it. Water lines are often found passing through a natural spring, or along an unusually straight and fast portion of river.
The most powerful configuration of ley lines is an intersection or nexus of multiple lines. These should almost always be specifically placed by the DM. Not only do they lend themselves to the casting, creation and maintenance of unusually powerful magic, they also often mark the location of gates, portals and other cracks in the fabric of reality. Whether the foci cause the tears, or the tearing leads to the foci is a matter of long debate among the arcane-minded. Whichever is true, those who utilise these powerful locations can sometimes become the unwitting conduit of interplanar congress. Likewise, those with other motives sometimes seek them out specifically to cause such temporal disruptions. Such sites often become the grounds of arcane edifices, such as circles of standing stones or wizard towers.