Portals of the Moonstars
By Dale Donovan
The Mulmaster Portal
In Mulmaster, the High Blade (the de facto ruler of the city), Selfaril Uoumdolphin, joined the Zhentarim after years of actively opposing it. (In fact, Selfaril was murdered by his twin brother, Rassendyl, who now rules in Selfaril's name.) Now firmly entrenched in the Zhents' power base and with a new temple to Bane being erected there, the city that once stood as a bulwark against the spread of the Zhent stain is now one of the proudest jewels in Fzoul Chembryl's new, Banite-influenced Zhentarim. This is exactly why the Moonstars secretly placed a portal within the city.
The Mulmaster portal exists in a dark corner of the Scarlet Hippogriff Trading Concern's main warehouse, near the road that leads south out of the city into the Vast. A prearranged stack of crates forms an 8-foot-high by 4-foot-wide doorway that frames the portal. Though the stack looks like a pile of loose crates, they have been permanently nailed into this configuration. This portal is part of the circuit that includes all the portals detailed in this series and, likely, several more that are unknown as of this writing. As with all the portals in this circuit (and perhaps all Moonstars portals of "standard security," not counting those known only to the Blackstaff, his wife Laeral, and perhaps a few others), the portal is activated with a particular Elven phrase that includes the destination the traveler seeks. (DMs are left to devise their own "key phrases" to maintain the mystery of these and all portals.)
The owner of the Scarlet Griffin Trading Concern does not actually belong to the Moonstars, but he is friendly both to the group's founder and its goals. Temblar Rankinson (CG male halfling Rog 6) had his family fortune saved by the Blackstaff when the Chosen of Mystra revealed a Zhent plot to take over the family's shipping business (among many others) in an attempt to monopolize shipping in the region not long before the destruction of Zhentil Keep by Cyric. Since then, Temblar has rebuilt his business and, until recently, was content to make money in the face of the Zhents. Now, with the High Blade throwing in with the Zhentarim and marrying the First Princess of Thay and tharchion of Eltabbar, Dmitra Flass, Temblar happily acceded to the Blackstaff's request to place a portal on his property in the city. Should the portal or its users ever be discovered, both Temblar's coster and his life would be forfeit.
How to Incorporate the Mulmaster Portal Into Your Campaign
- If your campaign's PCs are already affiliated (or at least aware of and perhaps associated with) the Moonstars organization, they could be asked by a Moonstars agent to enter the city via the portal for a number of reasons. These could include investigating Temblar's recent disappearance, a suspicious fire in the warehouse that nearly destroyed the crates forming the portal, or the current activities of High Blade and his bald, beautiful Thayan bride while he is in the city during one of his visits.
- The Zhents, resenting Selfaril's marriage to a Thayan, set about to discredit her in the High Blade's eyes. They hope to plant evidence that Dmitra Flass plans to launch a takeover of the city after she gives birth to Selfaril's child. Whether this plot exists or not, and whether Flass even wishes to become pregnant, doesn't matter to the Moonstars. They want the PCs to do all they can to see that the Zhent plan to discredit Flass works to perfection. Then, the Moonstars can concentrate on undermining the Zhentish (and Banite) power bases in the city by exploiting the tension between Chembryl's Banite Zhents and the old-school Zhents who don't worship the Tyrant Reborn.
- On her most recent visit to her husband, Princess of Thay, Dmitra Flass, brought a great many trunks of "clothes and personal effects" to Mulmaster from her home in Thay. These are stored in a luxurious (and heavily protected by magic and Thayan Knight muscle) villa that Flass purchased as her private residence while in the city (when she's not spending time with her beloved spouse). In truth, several of these trunks contained dread warriors, which are undead creatures first created by Thay's Zulkir of Necromancy, lich, and de facto ruler, Szass Tam. Tam lent these abominations to Flass for reasons unknown, but the Thayan princess clearly has something up her sleeve. It's up to the PCs to find out what and to do so without the Thayans any the wiser.
Dread Warriors: CR 3; Medium undead; HD 4d12; hp 26; Init +0; Spd 20 ft.; AC 16, touch 10, flat-footed 16; Base Atk +2; Grp +4; Atk +5 melee (1d8+3/x3, battleaxe); Full Atk +5 melee (1d8+3/x3, battleaxe); SQ darkvision 60 ft., undead traits; AL NE; SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4; Str 15, Dex 11, Con -, Int 5, Wis 11, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Climb +2, Jump +2, Spot +7; Power Attack, Weapon Focus (battleaxe).
Undead Traits: A dread warrior is immune to mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects or is harmless. It is not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability damage to its physical ability scores, ability drain, energy drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or death from massive damage. It cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing. Darkvision 60 ft.
Possessions: Banded mail, battleaxe.
Description: Dread warriors look as if they were created from the corpses of battlefield dead and that's exactly what they are. Created from recently dead fighters of at least 4th level, these undead direct the rage they felt in their moment of death against those their Thayan creators point them toward. The dread warriors are capable of carrying out simple orders and instructions, but every word of instruction over 12 creates a cumulative 5% chance that the orders will be confused or not carried out correctly.