Portals of Anauroch
By Robert Wiese
At'ar's Portal Collection
On the eastern side of Anauroch is a desolate and stony plain called At'ar's Looking Glass. Rumors are many and varied about who At'ar was, if he or she even existed, and why the plain is named after this enigmatic figure. Some believe that At'ar was a selfish wizard from Netheril who craved as much power as possible. According to one version of this story, At'ar tried to take on the phaerimm himself and wrest the secret of their life-draining magic from them. The result was the devastation called At'ar's Looking Glass. According to another story, At'ar was a diviner who could use the plain to scry faraway places, and that the plain was actually once a huge lake.
Those who believe the former story also report that At'ar was very interested in portals. He had the knowledge to make his own portals, but the costs were always high, and so he developed a way to steal the portals that others made. He would use his magic to appropriate portals that other wizards made. He did not really care where they went; he just wanted to have a great many portals that would take him everywhere in the world he wished to go.
The sages who spread tales of At'ar's Portal Collection say that At'ar had a fortress in the mountainous Azirrhat. It was here that he would put all the portals that he stole from others, and the two he made himself. To guard them, so it is said, he planted a race of lizardlike humanoids called asabi (see Monsters of Faerûn) in the deep caverns underneath his portals, and the creatures would keep out all beings but himself. Some believe that the asabi were At'ar's downfall and that they slew him and took the whole complex for themselves.
No one has ever found At'ar's fortress in the Azirrhat, so there is much doubt that he had one there. What is not in doubt is that a collection of portals is within the crevices and caverns of the Azirrhat. More careful sages call the collection the Azirrhat Portal Collection. No one has yet advanced a better explanation for the existence of so many portals in one place than the At'ar explanation, but many think there is another explanation.
Reports on the location of the collection vary, since few have returned alive to tell of them. Usually adventurers reach the peaks of Azirrhat, since they are prepared for the dangers of the desert. Sages and the like more often meet their fates at the hands of asabi killers in the Looking Glass, or Zhentarim on the Black Road, or Bedine raiders. Lately, wizards from the city of Shade have been added to the list of dangers facing travelers in the area. Those who have reached the Azirrhat and found a way into the caverns reported wave after wave of asabi, and some have powerful magic. The survivors have been the lucky ones to find an open portal and slip through.
The Azirrhat Portal Collection contains a great many portals -- more perhaps than even sages guess. They are set into arches in the cavern walls, or pool-like rings in the floor, or even in the middle of passages. All of the portals in the collection are roughly human-sized, and all were created either by wizards of Netheril or elves of the great elven kingdoms of the time. Many of them are two-way portals, but few have been used in recent years, so sages believe that they reach secluded or remote sites. Some of them are constantly open, while others require keys. If any clues to the natures, and keys, to these portals exist, they would be in the fabled and undiscovered fortress of At'ar. The wizards of the city of Shade knew of the Portal Collection before leaving for the Plane of Shadow, and some probably made records. It is most likely just a matter of time before the Shade wizards of that dread city find the Collection and begin to make use of it.
Create Moving Portal [Item Creation]
You can create a portal that has a moving origin point.
Prerequisite: Create Portal
Benefit: By creating this type of portal, you affix a portal to the frame rather than to a fixed point in space. A moving portal requires that the origin be anchored to some material frame, such as an arch on a wagon or the limbs of a tree. Beings using the portal must be able to pass through the frame. For example, you could create a portal that exists inside a treant's branches, and the portal would move with the treant. You could not affix a portal to an ogre or gray ooze and have the portal follow the creature around. You cannot create portals that move on their own power or that move by magical means. All movement of the portal is directed by the frame to which the portal is affixed. It is not possible to move a portal's frame through itself. Adding this feature to your portal increases the base cost of the portal by +25%.
Special: Portals created without the feat are fixed in space.
Level: Sor/Wiz 9
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)
Target: One portal
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
A steal portal spell essentially steals a portal. The caster may choose to steal any existing portal through which she has traveled and place it in another location of her choosing. The other location must already have a portal frame built (see the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting), otherwise the spell does not take effect. (Treat the frame as if it's a second portal; in essence, the frame costs half as much as building a one-way portal.) This spell does not change any of the portal's special properties (such as one-way or creature-only).
How to Incorporate the Azirrhat Portal Collection (or At'ar's Portal Collection) Into Your Campaign:
- The Azirrhat Portal Collection is a place from which countless adventures can spring, since it is a kind of magical crossroads on Faerûn. It is remote, but with the many asabi, it is unlikely to be disturbed. If your PCs can secure even a part of it, they can discover many places on Faerûn that they might not otherwise visit.
- A sage from Waterdeep wants to know the extent of the Portal Collection, and she hires the PCs to go to Anauroch with her and inventory it. The PCs must fend off asabi attacks and possible dangers from the portals themselves as their patron goes about her work.
- The PCs are in the Dalelands or near the Moonsea when they hear rumors that someone found a fabulous fortress in the mountains in Anauroch that is filled with treasures and powerful magic from Netheril. Such rumors are not uncommon, but this one is believable enough that the PCs seek the fortress and its wealth. It is the lost fortress of At'ar, or of whoever was really responsible for the Portal Collection, and notes found within lead down to the portals and asabi in the caverns below.
- Asabi begin appearing in strange places across Faerûn, and someone hires the PCs to find out why. The trail leads back to the Azirrhat Collection, where the PCs must figure out how to prevent the asabi from using the portals.