Leylines and Magic
The continent of Telicia is split by five massive rents in the earth, from which channels of raw magic flow upwards from the somewhere far below. These Leylines, split between the Three Nations, appear as natural canyons that scar the face of the continent, from which prismatic flows of luminescent light rise up in a massive wall. The light itself is harmless, no more than a pretty effect that the magic creates when it flows into the natural world, but it does have a use. When bathed in the light of a Leyline’s Curtain, a Bonding can be established between an individual and the magic of the Leyline through the laying on of hands.
Once a Bonding is established, the Leyline that the person was Bonded to will forever remain a presence in the back of their mind. Whether trapped within the deepest darknest, or lost within the most bewildering maze, they will always be able to tell the exact location and distance of their Leyline, feeling its presence as a cripple may feel a phantom limb. At any point, they can then draw upon that Leyline, urging their phantom limb to life and causing it to send a torrent of magical energy into their body through the ground beneath them. For this reason, even the most powerful Aeromancers and Telekinetics cannot grant themselves the gift of flight, as the magical energy they channel will run out within a minute after they lose contact with the ground. Unlike the Leyline itself, people cannot feel these “rivers” of power that stem off from the main source unless they touch them personally, thus making it impossible to tell when or who is using a Talent at any one time through simple, mundane methods.
When an individual is Bonded to a Leyline, they immediately manifest what is commonly known as a Talent. The magic of the Leyline works by imbuing a man with a unique power or ability of which they have complete control over, and although these Talents vary greatly is size and scope, at their core, the raw strength of these abilities is never lesser or greater than that of their peers. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean all Talents are created equal; a Talent’s strength comes not from its power, but its size and scope. Although general categories exist to represent some of the more common Talents, such as Pyromancy or Aeromancy, even these classifications are rarely truly accurate. A true Pyromancer would have full control over the element of fire, and be capable of manipulating it into whatever use or form he saw fit to grant it. Most men fitting that classification, however, can merely control the application of extreme heat, or manipulate fire in more restricted ways. Although a true Pyromancer may not be able to outright overpower one of these men, the options available to him are much more varied in execution.
Generally, however, using a Talent requires extreme concentration. Even ignoring the fact that battle-worthy Talents are few and far between, it takes extensive training to even begin to use a Talent in as stressful a situation as combat, and even when it is used in that fashion it is usually only in one of several practiced forms. Even a true Pyromancer, for all the variances his ability grants him, would only have a static number of practiced options available at any one time if he were to get involved in something that demanded his full attention. These forms, known as Powers, are only common amongst the military and criminal organizations of the world, and most average men and women would either have to leave themselves vulnerable as they stop to focus or stand as an ordinary human if their life was held in the balance.
In-game, a player character’s Talent functions as a skill check that allows him to perform any manipulation of his ability allowed by the Talent chosen at character creation. This can be incorporated as normal into skill checks and challenges, and flavors his attack and utility powers. However, in combat itself, the Talent skill can’t be used due to the large number of distractions. A character using a non-power Talent ability in combat loses all other actions and is considered helpless until the start of their next turn. At later levels, feats may become available that grant more options to how the Talent skill can be applied in combat, but for now its uses are limited in that area.