By Robert Wiese
The Portal of Blood
"Perhaps the most unusual sight I have seen in all my travels," the bard told the crowd, "was the Bloody Arch, as I call it. The arch stood in the middle of an old ruin -- three levels below the surface. It pulsed with a red light, and the whole center of the arch was filled with blood. Real blood! I tell you, it unnerved me to stand before it, and even our dwarf was uncomfortable with the magic that could create such a horror. A creature made all of blood rose out of the floor and attacked us. When we returned, it came up from the floor again. It was relentless. I am not even sure it was alive. We have not been back since, but we did detect some alteration magic within the arch, and we think it was a portal. None of us wanted to walk into the blood to find out where it went, however."
In a castle ruins in Tethyr, deep beneath the surface, sits the Portal of Blood, the last legacy of the terrible Blood Magus Ixin. He lived during the times when Calimshan ruled Tethyr, and he sought to break the yoke of the conquerors through his study of blood magic. He failed, and his attempt to become a lich failed as well. Now long gone, he has left behind only his bloody portal.
The Portal of Blood sits in the center of an arch 6 feet high and 3 feet wide, and it is built of red stone blocks. Suspended within the arch is a vertical pool of blood, which is the real marker for the portal. The blood flows and pulses within the arch in a way that makes it look like a living thing. It is not living; the blood is suspended there by spells that trap the blood but allow passage through it. Any blood taken from the arch is replenished from the stones, which ooze a limited supply of blood. A persistent person could drain away all the blood, but then the portal would not function. Once the blood in the stones is gone, the portal seals forever.
Passing through the portal requires passing through the blood; the blood itself is the key, and unless a creature has at least a teaspoonful on his or her skin, the portal does not allow passage. The portal's destination is near Calimport; Ixin planned to launch attacks against the Calimshan capital using it. The exit is not marked, and the portal allows one-way travel only.
Ixin left a guardian for his creation: a blood golem. This disgusting creature can change its form and resides within the floor in front of the portal, and it rises up to deal with intruders. Ixin ordered it to keep "intruders" away from the portal, and since he did not define intruder, everyone is seen as an intruder. Ixin had to modify his command to allow himself entry, in fact, because the golem thought he was an intruder.
|Hit Dice:||8d10 (44 hp)|
|Speed:||30 ft. (can't run)|
|AC:||21 (+2 Dex, -1 size, +10 natural)|
|Attacks:||2 slams +10 melee|
|Damage:||Slam 1d8+5 and blood drain|
|Face/Reach:||5 ft. x 5 ft./10 ft.|
|Special Attacks:||Blood drain|
|Special Qualities:||Alternate form, blindsight, construct traits, DR 10/+1, magic immunity|
|Saves:||Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +2|
|Abilities:||Str 20, Dex 14, Con -- , Int -- , Wis 11, Cha 1|
|Climate/Terrain:||Any land or underground|
|Organization:||Solitary, pair, or gang (3-4)|
|Advancement:||By character class|
The blood golem is a horrific creature with a vaguely humanoid shape. It appears to be built of blocks that are gelatinous in nature and filled with blood. It stands about 12 feet tall and weighs about 900 lbs.
The blood golem's figure is grossly distended -- each of its blocks look like a bloated ooze. Its limbs are long, somewhat narrow chains of blocks, and its legs are made from thick blocks, which gives them a stocky look. It has a featureless face, and its block parts all glow a deep red color. While not slow, it is not especially fast either. Blood golems do not communicate, but they can understand instructions from their creators.
The blood golem mindlessly follows its creator's instructions, and it does not fight with any kind of tactics. It does use its abilities to best effect, however.
Blood Drain (Su): On a successful slam attack, the golem drains blood from the target. This results in an additional 1d4 points of damage and causes 1d2 temporary Constitution damage. The golem uses the blood to power itself.
Alternate Form (Su): Due to their somewhat fluid state, a blood golem can assume any form that its master orders it to that is of the same size as the golem. The golem assumes only the form; it does not gain any abilities or even physical traits of the creature whose form it assumes. It retains its reddish color in any form. Each form has the same appearance of being constructed of bloody ooze blocks.
Blindsight (Ex): Blood golems perceive things without eyes -- perhaps by feeling vibrations in their bodies or by sensing the blood of others nearby, or a combination of these. It can "see" as a sighted creature to a range of 60 feet. Beyond that, the golem is completely blind.
Construct Traits: A blood golem is immune to mind-influencing effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), and to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, necromantic effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. It cannot heal damage, and it is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. A blood golem is not at risk of death from massive damage, but it is destroyed when reduced to 0 hit points or less. It cannot be raised or resurrected. A blood golem has darkvision 60 ft.
Magic Immunity (Su): Blood golems are immune to all spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural effects, except as follows. Fire-based effects haste the golem, as the spell, for 1 round per die of damage that would have been done. Cold-based attacks slow the golem for the same period. The golem gets no saving throw against these effects. Repair spells (from Tome and Blood) repair damage to the golem.
A blood golem requires 30 gallons of blood to create, preferably humanoid or giant blood. Dragon's blood will not work, nor will the blood of Outsiders. The blood is poured into molds, and the skin forms during the ritual. The golem costs 45,000 gp to create, including 10,000 gp for the creation of the body. Assembling the body requires a successful Survival check (DC 15). The ritual requires a blood magus of at least 5th class level (14th character level). Completing the ritual drains 900 XP and requires bull's strength, polymorph other, stoneskin, wall of force, and the infusion created by the blood magus class ability. Each blood golem is bound to the blood magus whose blood is mingled with its own, and its creator can command it telepathically through the blood bond.
How to Incorporate the Portal of Blood Into Your Campaign:
- A modern-day blood magus hires the characters to find the lost lair of Ixin, and bring him or her the secrets contained therein. The characters track clues to the old castle, and eventually they find the portal (and the golem).
- The blood golem defending the portal carries some of the blood of Ixin, and with it the blood magus can be resurrected. A cult of blood worshippers or necromancers wants to do this very thing, as Ixin would be a powerful leader against their own enemies. They seek the golem, and the characters run across the cult's efforts through chance. The cultists and the characters exchange blows and spells as they race toward their goal, with the characters not really knowing what they are racing toward until they arrive. Can the characters prevent the return of Ixin, or do they decide to aid the cult? Perhaps they have enemies of their own whom Ixin could deal with in exchange for their help.