Carpe Blogiem: The Chronicles of Ceteri Primer – Geotrinsic Phenomena

Geotrinsic phenomena includes any paranormal effect not caused by humans, but rather the environment or reality itself. This includes ley lines, ley line nexuses, super nexuses, “dragon wells” (where raw magic comes from), astrological occultations, “places of power”, “Bad Places”, and other similiar phenomena. Three key ands important phenomena that are technically artificial is the Vallum (a wall separating the planes of existence), the Mists (a magical spell that causes those who are not illuminated to forget about experiences with supernatural beings or phenomena), and the Autumn Road (created by the Fae to allow traversing between the Earth and Underhill easily, it’s used by others as a shortcut to move around the globe rapidly).

These different marvels are broken down and detailed as follows.

Ley Lines and Ley Line Nexuses

Ley lines are rivers of supernatural energy that crisscross the Earth. These are naturally occurring currents are indicators of paranormal activity in a given place, but also can be tapped for energy by those who know how. This can significantly magnify a given being’s capabilities if done properly . . . or fry them to a crisp. Ley line energy is sometimes called “quintessence” or “ruah”. When one or more ley lines intersect, they form a nexus. Ley line nexuses are sometimes called “places of power” and are highly sought after by sorcerers, hedges, psychics, and supernatural creatures alike. They also attract supernatural forces like moths to a flame. A super-nexus is a convergence of ley line nexuses in an area (3 or more) creating a vast pool of power. They function like ley line for the effects they give, but are more powerful

Ley lines have a Magnitude Ratings, which determines how powerful they are and the bonus they grant to use supernatural abilities. Additionally, there may be twisted ley lines. These still harness ley line energy, but perverts the proper flow of energy. Such ley lines give a penalty instead.

When I was designing Ceteri ley lines were foremost in mind for their ability to amplify not just magic, but supernatural abilities period. Some settings and game systems make it so that only magic can benefit and I specifically did not want to repeat that. Moreover, I wanted ley lines to have a element of time as well as space – some ley line swell with power on given days or times. This makes ley lines and astrological occultations especially prized by those using ley lines.

Dragon Wells and Quintessence

Dragon wells are pools of raw ley line energy that collect in the supernatural equivalent of rivulets or ponds. Dragon wells are the only place that quintessence which can be harvested and are so zealously guarded and sought after that entire wars have been fought over them.

Dragon wells are rated for how much quintessence they can provide at a time and for how fast they recharge (typically 1 point per week, but this can vary).

Quintessence uses the rules for The Stuff of Raw Magic (GURPS Thaumatology, p. 227) and are highly valued by just about any magic-user. Moreover, it’s a commodity that is traded for in the paranormal community.

Astrological Occultations

These include planets, stars, moon(s), and other heavenly bodies being in specific alignments. It also includes things like comets or asteroids, though they are much rarer. Magic-users often use occultations to enhance their spells and many casters know the stars and their motions very well.

Places of Power

Ley lines (and nexuses) are considered places of power, but so are places that have seen repeated, sustained, or heightened emotions or acts. For example, a battlefield might be a place of power for necromantic or combative magic, while an old asylum might heighten magic that drives others insane. Places of power only function for magic despite the relevance other supernatural powers might have.

The Vallum, the Mists, and Mantles

The Vallum is a mystical construct with multiple functions. Chief among them is to keep the Inland (i.e., Earth and material reality) separate from the Outlands (e.g. Hell or Underhill). The Vallum is essentially a “wall” that separates the various planes, making it next to impossible to cross from our reality into the Outlands without supernatural assistance.

It also keeps supernatural creatures from entering our world via Between (p. 00) the paranormal equivalent to a planar demilitarized zone. Between is a shadowy reflection of the Inlands and has most of the same structures and geography the real world does. This reality can only be accessed by those with powers themselves, through accident (e.g., traveling through an Autumn Road unintentionally), or on special dates or times (e.g., at the stroke of midnight or on Samhain).

The Vallum’s main purpose that of separating our world from the other planes is referred to as the Veil. Originally, the Veil was a naturally occurring paranatural field that kept the world of the ghosts and supernatural beings separate from the world of the living. When the Vallum was created, it co-opted this field, incorporating it into itself. It also has two secondary purposes. The Mists  cause mundanes to forget any encounter with the supernatural, while Mantles  protect those in the Inlands against supernatural threats – whether they are aware of those threats or not. The former uses the rules for “Mask of Humanity” from Pyramid #3/97: Strange Powers, while the latter uses the rules for “Safe as Houses” from Pyramid #3/59: Urban Fantasy II.

The Autumn Road

The Autumn Road is a series of interconnected naturally occurring gates, originally found (and used) by the Tuatha de Danaan. For the longest time they were the only means of rapidly going from one place to another. After the Tuatha left, retreating into Arcadia, they left the roads undefended and without caretakers (which eventually lead to the disrepair the Roads are in right now).

For those without access to gate magic (or not wanting to risk the dangerous results of a spell gone wrong) it allows this sort of rapid travel, and is (relatively) safe. To use the Autumn Road, one must first find an entrance (not as easy as it sounds) then use one of the various ways of Opening, once this is accomplished the opener must discern where he is in relation to where he wants to go. Since the Autumn Road is connected more by ideas and associated abstracts than geography this can be difficult to the untrained. Once on the Road, the opener must simply travel, with each step on the road being the real world equivalent of hundreds.

Picking Over the Bones

And that’s it for geotrinsic phenomena. They are important in multiple ways and I must have spent several thousand words going over them in the campaign bible. In particular, the rules for the Mists and Mantles were originally from this campaign and I retrofitted them to work for Pyramid. I also used the rules for Magical Patina from GURPS Thaumatology (p. 88) and the decans to create my rules for places of power that aren’t ley lines. It should be noted that a place of power, ley lines, and an occultation could all therotically stack to produce a once in a lifetime bonus for a specific casting.

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