Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Laylines, Gallifreyan Circles and Magic


Quick Clarification: LeyLines are lines formed from existing places for spiritual & mystical energies on earth, of which I am not talking about, Instead like the Fishing Lay Line, Magical LayLines have points that are either fixed or move, and 'catch' up residual magic, dragging it into nets of magic such as Circles and Spirals and Symbols of magic, permeating the Land and Nature and Magic and causing some weird and wondrous things from time to time. LayLines are Harnessable by intelligent beings for their own purposes, be they malevolent or benevolent.
This could be a snapshot of my Layline Project.. If I visualised it.
He-man/pony Master of the Ponyverse

I think, Like any decent geek, its fun to take one idea, that we all love, and use it to represent something else, that we all love, and this blend can sometimes be awesome or interesting or some kind of facinating idea that sparks more ideas.. or sometimes awful, sometimes brilliantly awful, cringe-worthy. Depends on your point of view(I'll let you figure out which one He-Pony is)

So I was looking at Gallifreyan language the other day, and it got me thinking.. That's a nice way of representing circle lore. And since I
Credit to Sirkles
use circle lore for Ley-Lines it just clicked..

So I started researching Circle Languages. Gallifreyan has been done by several individuals, each adding their own take on it. Mostly its English in a funny pattern, like when you visit an Asian country and have your name written in their characters. It makes little to no sense in their language (although it can, my Chinese name means 'your friendly teacher of the people)

I'm a bit of a student of Language, Having taught English in several countries, mostly in Russia, I would often ask student to compare the words to their own language, compare to the flow, the style and the way its spoken vs written. So it comes easier for me to ask questions like, how does the grammar work, do verbs have tenses (like English), genders (like German), prepositional suffixes or prefixes (like Finnish, with 27 of them), do the sentences run in ordered structure (Germanic) or are structureless and use other rules (Russian)

While I'd love to blog about how Gallifreyan should be properly put together by someone with more insight than a few teenagers, like J.R.R.Tolkien for example.. (if I get enough posts requesting this, I could.. I have been researching for months)

This blog is about something else that's been on the horizon.

Maybe you've read about the mathmatical model I was building about Laylines, but then gave up and just wrote a program instead. In that I decided on some key factors about magic and laylines.. but only recently did I pull out all those notes and theres a pretty big reason why..

The Convergence

So, about 3 weeks ago, I was glancing over my roleplay notes for an upcoming game, where one of our group thinks she might be a lycanthrope. None of the "normal" attempts at discovery worked.. because.. lycan = wolf, so they figured it was something else. One plausible suggestion was that a layline might have infected her, and as each layline passed through camp, she was turning into something.. only to return to form the next morning.

Not an actual screenshot
So, I remembered I had a program somewhere which was tracking laylines in real time.. and I noticed something. sometime soon, there was going to be a convergence of many laylines.. and It might be world changing.

But I didn't have them properly sorted or structured in the database.. just a nice graphic of spinning circles & symbols showing pretty colours...

Must Investigate!

It Didn't take me long to find out that while I was right, I was wrong.. I didn't have the right 'symbols' in the system yet. Something I had put off for later and now I was getting stuck for time.

The Problem being.. I had put this together years ago and left it running, I could have missed other convergences, and probably have, so I don't want to miss this next one (I sped up the program to check, and won't see another for 2 years)

But no-one is anywhere near this.. and I don't have any players, playing mages to truely enjoy the experience... its like I'm the only person on the planet, and I've just spotted a quadripple rainbow!

So I asked them.. do you want to be mages for a day?

A resounding YES.

So, I am now on the quest to ensure the perfect storm will have some spectators.

The majority of the Laylines.. are exactly that.. laylines.. lines of magic that move around the planet at different speeds, directions and possibly (yes even now I'll not give away true details) different pivot points or angles of flow.

Maybe they flow in straight lines, maybe they move up and down with the terrain, or through terrain.. surely water magic would use water and fire magic, use lava.. who knows?

but now maybe some will.. its even more fun.. because the greatest magicians in the world (well.. ok.. a bunch of pre-made NPCs used by players for an afternoon of conjecture) are going to try an harness the magical storm for their own crazy nefarious projects.. and probably fight about it until its too late.

I'll record the conversation and maybe if its worth it, write a story from it

So, with 80% of laylines already structured, I was stuck deciding on what to do about the last 20%.. I had notes, and sketches, but had nothing concrete. Until I remembered Gallifreyan circles.

Simplistic, but this is one of several layers..
Now, a quick pop over to Lorens webpage, structure some quick images, load them into the layline engine and viola. Freaky looking beasts that they are.

See, I can write "Illusion" into the engine he's built and Viola.. instant magic circle.

Combine this with 16 forms of magic, 16 power laylines, circles, pools, null magic fields and sacred artefacts in the world .. and this picture gets pretty messy.

What do they Do?

Typically 3 Layline crossings will cause a lump of rock at the crux of the crossing, to become magical. maybe it had ore in it, that becomes magical metal, maybe a small seedling would become magical wood (sought out by sorcerers for wands and staves) This happens once every week or so, I saw 11 in one day.. but I only monitor places near my players...

But there are hundreds of these happened daily.. so they're not vitally important (yet), as you can see here in a screenshot, all the brighter areas are usually criss-crosses of lines & circles and such
If all laylines were visible, this would be a blur
So, now I have my laylines, and circles and spirals and symbols and glyphs and they're all circling around this world.. causing all manner of mischief.. 

and the biggest mischief of all.. is coming.. just after March, but closer to August. My players will create 100-200th level Magi, they'll be assigned values based on their choices of race, creed, religion, beliefs and location both birth and current. Then they'll all have to be versed in the basic arts of using laylines to travel (else how would they all get here?) they'll be given a list of clues as to what could happen.. 75% true, and 25% false.. with comparison and conversation, they should be able to determine which truths are absolute, and which lies are bent truths, until they understand the best that they can.. and harness the wave of power.. to do something awe.... -some or -ful, I don't know yet.

Programming Addendum:

My Initial Foray into this was simply using Javascript to 'spin' the images. Each image was a very transparent white line (or lines/elipses/shapes) or coloured (for specific types) on a black background. When 2+ lines crossed each other they glowed more, the more lines, the more "white". The bigger problem was that this layering didn't allow the coloured lines to mix/enhance the white (pastels instead)

So, the 2nd attempt was using C# to write a 3D program using the Graphics card to 'draw' lines in 3D space, and then multiply the colours against each other if they intersected. It then outputs an image. Useful to know on a given day/time what laylines will cross.

The Problem with both of these is that there is no 'prediction' I can type in co-ordinates of players, for the scheduled gaming session, but I have no idea where any of these lines are going.. unless I type in the next 'second' or 'minute' and spit out the image and compare.. brute force.

It was more luck than skill that I found this 'Convergence' I mistyped a date, and saw a bright spot.. then I ran it over and over.. to get the 2-3 hours either side of that 'moment' which lead me to do that again for several 'hours' after.. to find that an even brighter event happened 3 hours and 7 minutes after the first.

After that, I wrote a script to run the program and find 'pixels' greater in brightness than 50%.. but I intend to rewrite the program to run realtime and map out events in the mapping database so GMs will be able to plan ahead for local mini & maxi convergences. 

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