Arcane realm magic

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Main Page » BRCS:Chapter seven/Realm magic » Arcane realm magic

Mebhaighl flows stronger in the most essential and wild places of nature. High mountains and ancient forests, for example, offer more magical potential than hills or tundra. Yet no matter what the terrain, when casting realm magic, all wizards access mebhaighl in the same way – through magical holdings known as sources. In simple terms, a source is a place where mebhaighl collects. Though this magical energy exists everywhere, it naturally tends to pool and concentrate in particular locations, much as puddles in the rain. The concentration of mebhaighl is so strong at such sources that their environs are physically marked by a manifestation of earthpower. Manifestations take many forms: a craggy, mist shrouded spire of a mountain range immune to the elements, a gem-encrusted geode in the heart of a mountain, a preternaturally still pool of water which produces no ripples and reflects nothing of man's works, or similar preternatural manifestations of power. Whatever its form, a manifestation is likely one of the oldest remnants of nature in a province, or some mystical object largely untouched by ordinary men.

Magic potential

Magic potential is defined by the strength of nature residing there. Small forests, streams, and hillocks collect power, but this power is dwarfed by the raw earthpower available in great rivers, vast woodlands, and mountain ranged unspoiled by the touch of civilization. The despoiling touch of civilization weakens the land's magic, and stretches of Cerilia are nearly magic-dead as the result of generations of settlement, agriculture, and taming.

Each terrain type has a specific magic potential. The sum of a province's level and the level of sources within it cannot normally exceed the magic potential rating of the terrain (see Table 7-1: Magic potential by terrain). The difference between a province's magic potential and its province level is its maximum source level . The maximum source level of a province is listed, delimited by a slash, as part of its domain statistics. Consider the province of Ghoried in Roesone. Ghoried has the plains terrain type, and therefore has a magic potential of 5. Ghoried's province level is 2. Thus, the maximum source level in Ghoried is 3 (the magic potential of 5 - the province level of 2) and the province is listed as Ghoried (2/3).

Table 7-1: Magic potential
Terrain Type Potential
Desert, Glacier, Hills, Marsh, Moor, Plains, Steppes/Highland, Tundra
Forest , Mountain, River
Exceptionally wild, trackless, and untamable regions (such as untouched ancient forest, the highest mountain peaks, etc.)
Unusual natural or magical phenomena (such as dragon bones, underground rivers, etc.)
+1 to +2
Cataclysmic magical or military events
-1 to –3

If a province's level increases, its maximum source level immediately decreases in response, possibly causing the loss of one or more regent mage's source holdings. The intricacies of nature are complex – it is impossible for a regent to know which source holdings will be destroyed when province level increases. The DM should determine the ownership of a destroyed source level randomly. For example, assume that two of Ghoried's (2/3) source levels are claimed by High Mage Aelies and that one source level is unclaimed. Therefore, High Mage Aelies claims two-thirds of the magical power in Ghoried. If Ghoried's province level increases, the loss will come from Aelies' holdings with two-thirds probability. The DM rolls a d3. On a 1 or a 2, High Mage Aelies loses a source level in Ghoried. On a roll of a 3, the unclaimed source is destroyed.

If province's level decreases, the province will eventually return to a more pristine state and replenish its mebhaighl flow. If the land is returned to an entirely natural state (all buildings razed, etc.) then the effective maximum source level of the province increases by one each spring until it reaches the maximum determined by the new province level. If the land is not returned to an entirely natural state then it takes five times as long for the land to recover. Newly recovered sources are considered unclaimed, regardless of any past claims upon them.

The Sidhelien, by tradition and nature, live in harmony with the supernatural forces of the natural world. Elven civilization does not impede the flow of natural magic nor does it destroy the wellspring of such power; elves build with full knowledge and awareness of the effect of their actions on the flow of mebhaighl. Province levels that represent elven populations living in harmony with the land do not subtract from the level of sources available within a province. Consider the province of Rhuobhe (2/9). Rhuobhe, one of the most wild and trackless provinces of Cerilia, has a magic potential of 9. Although Rhuobhe has a province level 2, this population level represents a fully elven culture living in harmony with nature. Thus, the province level does not subtract from the available source levels in Rhuobhe, a 2/9 province.


Each province has innumerable natural areas through which concentrated mebhaighl flows and pools. Only the most powerful of these areas exhibit natural manifestations of earthpower that can be claimed by a blooded mage to perform realm magic. The number of source manifestations in a province is roughly equal to the maximum magic potential of the province. Characters may be able to make an educated guess as to whether or not they have located a source manifestation, but only druids, wizards, and sorcerers will immediately recognize a manifestation for what it is – a supernatural manifestation of earth power. Druids and true mages can also determine if a source manifestation has been claimed by a regent and whether or not the source has been used to power a realm spell within the previous three 3 months.

Source manifestations are difficult to find. By their very nature, manifestations are most likely to occur in the most remote and untracked areas of a province. Locating a source manifestation is a difficult and time-consuming process. Even powerful mages wishing to claim a portion of the magical energies of a province often enlist the aid of others in their search – sending apprentices to make initial surveys or sending agents out to ask locals about unusual natural features or tales of supernatural events in the wilderness. A true mage can attempt to locate and claim a source manifestation through the use of the Create Holding domain action to create a source (0). If successful, the mage finds and claims a new source manifestation.

In claiming a manifestation, the mage forces her acceptance as a part of the environment. In the natural area surrounding the manifestation, the wizard is attuned perfectly to the land – wildlife will not flee her approach, and the wizard can stand within the midst of the manifestation without fear of discomfort or harm. This area has a diameter of 1 mile x the level of the source holding squared. This connection remains intact unless the mage's holding is contested.

Through natural and magical means, true mages can then enhance the flow of the province's mebhaighl through their manifestation, claiming more of the province’s power for themselves. To strengthen their sources, mages use the Rule Holding domain action. This action represents additional time that the mage spends in the province attuning herself to the land and altering the natural flow of mebhaighl to pool more deeply in the reservoirs available for her use. As a source's holding level increases, its manifestation becomes more potent and distinctive.

Normally, all regent mages in a province claim a unique source manifestation as their own. A mage may only attempt to claim a source (0) in a manifestation already claimed by another mage if the other agrees to allow the action to succeed. If two or more mages claim the same manifestation, the source levels available to each are separate but the total of the source levels defines the strength of the manifestation. The maximum source level of a province represents the limit for the amount of earth power available in each province. If two or more mage regents claim the province's mebhaighl then they must contest among themselves for the available source levels.

Source manifestations usually do not require protection from ordinary people – few pass nearby. More importantly, the earthpower itself enhances the power of the manifestation and makes it largely immune to harm. Manifestations resist normal wear and damage from the elements (earth, air, fire, and water) including flooding, erosion, lightning, or forest fire. Deliberate violence, however, can harm manifestations and – rarely – even the source itself. Because of the mystical link between regent mages and their sources, they become immediately aware when a claimed manifestation is disturbed. This awareness generally ranges from a feeling of mild discomfort to actual acute physical pain.

Magic-based attacks and determined physical attacks can eventually destroy a manifestation. A source manifestation has spell resistance equal to 20 + 2 x source level. Furthermore, source manifestations have damage resistance (from all sources of harm) equal to 2 x source level. Finally, damaged sources regenerate damage at the rate of 1 hit point per source level / round.

Any normal harm done to a manifestation is temporary. Destruction of a manifestation temporarily disrupts the flow of mebhaighl through the source and prevents the regent mage from tapping the source to use realm magic. The source will produce a new manifestation in less than a month. Only damage to the source through realm level actions (such as contesting the source holding, casting the realm spell destroy source, or the massive destruction of a province's woodlands through specific military action) has any lasting effect.


The manifestations produced by the natural flow of mebhaighl are almost universally level 0 manifestations. Without willful manipulation by a regent mage, most sources do not naturally pool the amounts of mebhaighl necessary for even the least realm spell.

Some naturally occurring source manifestations are so powerful, however, that sometimes even non-mages passing near their manifestations can feel the pull of mebhaighl. These sources, called caerbhaighlien (kay-er-VAY-len) by the elves, are both rare and powerful. No mage can claim a caerbhaighlien – it is claimed, incontestably, by nature itself. However, any regent mage in the direct presence of its manifestation can tap its mebhaighl to cast realm spells as they were the caerbhaighlien source's regent. Caerbhaighlien sources draw from the deep essence of the earths' power and do not count against the maximum source levels of the province.

Ley lines

Regent mages who control sources of mebhaighl can command arcane realm magic, the most powerful arcane magic available to human- and elven-kind. In order to cast realm spells, however, a regent mage must draw on the power of her source holdings. Arcane realm spells require that the caster have a source holding in the province in which the spell is cast. The level of the source holding may limit the realm spells that can be cast by the regent in the province. Ley lines provide a means of accessing a regent's source holdings in other provinces to allow the regent more flexibility in the casting of realm spells.

Ley lines are mystic conduits that allow a true mage to tap the mebhaighl from the source where it collects and transport it to a province in which he wishes to cast a realm spell. A ley line creates a magical link between two provinces. For the purpose of casting realm spells, the caster may use the highest level source that he claims from either of the two connected provinces. If either of the two connected provinces is connected to a ley line, then the caster may use the highest level connected source anywhere in the ley network.

A mage can only forge ley lines from a province in which he holds a source (the initial province), but the mage does not have to have a source in the terminal province to which the ley line connects. Ley lines can be forged over any overland distance. A ley line cannot extend over more than 150 miles of water. A ley line only connects two provinces (the initial and terminal provinces). A ley line that simply passes through a province cannot be used to cast realm spells.

Ley lines, like rivers, curve and meander to accommodate terrain, but for game purposes are assumed to define a straight line between the center of the initial and terminal provinces. The length of a ley line is the number of provinces it touches, not counting the initial province. For example, a ley line between two adjacent provinces has a length of 1.

To construct a ley line, the caster must spend a significant portion of a month in the initial province, and a brief time (one day) in the terminal province. During this day, the mages goes into a trancelike state during which she loses track of her surroundings and is largely defenseless. If disturbed during this period, the mage's forging attempt automatically fails. Powerful regent mages generally travel with quiet guards or trusted friends pledged to protect them during this period of concentrated effort.

When a ley line is forged, all true mage source regents in the provinces though which it passes are aware of the change in the flow of mebhaighl through their realms. These regents are aware of the direction of the mebhaighl flow and are aware of whether the line begins, ends, or simply passes through their province. Source regents in any province through which a ley line travels may use their source levels (and RP) to aid or hinder the forging of the ley line. Once created, however, a ley line cannot be detected or destroyed except through the use of realm spells cast for that purpose.

Once created, a ley line costs nothing to maintain. However, the use of a ley line to perform any realm spell increases the regency point cost of that spell by the number of provinces crossed by the ley network that connects the province to the necessary source.

Ley lines are a non-transferable domain asset. When a regent dies, her ley network is destroyed. Ley lines cannot be used or invested to another caster. The only exception to this rule is the use of the ley lines by the regent's lieutenant as part of a lieutenant domain action.

Casting arcane realm spells

Regent mages primarily use their sources to power arcane realm spells, extraordinary works of spellcraft strong enough to effect entire domains. Because these spells draw upon concentrated mebhaighl, mages can cast them only in provinces where they have sources or ley lines to sources of sufficient potential to power the spell. Arcane realm spells require varying levels of sources to fuel them; more powerful spells require higher-level sources.

When a regent casts a realm spell, he marshals his source's magical energy over the period of a month. During this marshalling, the regent need not be physically present at the source's manifestation but the mage must remain within the province in which the spell is to be cast. During the period of marshalling, the mage spends the majority of each day in deep concentration, summoning the land's mebhaighl towards him, preparing the weave of the spell's final form, and resting. At the end of the marshalling period, the regent mage channels the mebhaighl he has gathered through his body and empowers the spell. Only blooded greater spellcasters are capable of channeling arcane realm magic; a bard, magician, or unblooded mage that attempted to channel such energies would be destroyed spectacularly.