Perilous Gateways

Ghostly Portals

By Robert Wiese

Rikkine's Portal

You peer through the trees and catch a glimpse of something. The forest is dark and quiet, and the full moon provides plenty of light. Whatever it is flickers again and then disappears. You go closer, sure that you are in the right place. The bard said that the portal was here and that the flickering light would mark it. You approach closer, and suddenly the flicker becomes a ghostly form. Lightning arcs from the form toward you, and you run for your life.

-- A dream, or a portent?

The first portal builders had not perfected the art, and they made some mistakes. The most tragic mistake involved Rikkine, a somewhat reckless archmage. Very few remember Rikkine, but sometimes practitioners of the art of portal building tell stories about his case. The stories are more myth than fact these days, but Rikkine did once exist, and he did create the second portal in Faerûn, and he did pay for it in ways a little beyond the imagination of today's builders.

Rikkine, working from the success of the first portal builder, thought to improve on the process. In the end, he wrought a most hideous magical accident. He did create his portal, but at the end of the creation process, a huge magical explosion slew him instantly. When the portal stabilized, he found himself pulled back from the afterlife as a ghost and bound to the portal itself. He now guards, and haunts, his own creation for all eternity.

The portal he created is a one-way portal; the location of the portal and its destination are left to your ingenuity so that you can fit it more easily into your campaign. The portal is 4 feet wide, and 6 feet high, with no boundary markers but Rikkine himself, who is the marker for the portal's location. The portal remains active only while Rikkine is manifested, and to pass through the portal one has to pass through Rikkine himself (and take 1d4 points of damage from his melee touch attack, which automatically hits). Whether Rikkine allows passage or attacks anyone trying to use the portal depends on his mood when he is approached.

Rikkine: Male human manifested ghost Wiz24; CR 26; Medium-size undead (incorporeal); HD 24d12; hp 156; Init +3; Spd fly 0 ft. (perfect); AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 13; Atk +15 melee touch (1d4, corrupting touch); SA arcane fire, corrupting gaze, corrupting touch, spell-like ability (maximized chain lightning, 2/day); SQ incorporeal subtype, manifestation, rejuvenation, spell power +1, spell power +2, spell power +3, telekinesis, turn resistance +4, undead traits; AL CN; SV Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +17; Str --, Dex 16, Con --, Int 22, Wis 16, Cha 17.

Skills and Feats: Craft (alchemy) +30, Concentration +27, Diplomacy +8, Hide +11, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (arcana) +33, Knowledge (local) +21, Knowledge (nature) +25, Knowledge (the planes) +30, Listen +17, Search +22, Sense Motive +7, Spellcraft +35, Spot +11; Augment Summoning*, Craft Wondrous Item, Create Portal, Eschew Materials*, Greater Spell Focus (Evocation), Maximize Spell , Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus (Conjuration), Spell Focus (Evocation), Spell Mastery (dispel magic, fog cloud, magic missile, obscuring mist, shatter, shield), Spell Mastery (chain lightning, cone of cold, ice storm, summon monster IX, summon monster V, wall of fire), Spell Mastery (forcecage, limited wish, meteor swarm, summon monster VII, summon monster VIII, teleportation circle), Spellcasting Prodigy

Arcane Fire (Su): Rikkine can channel arcane spell energy into arcane fire, which manifests as a bolt of raw magical energy. The bolt is a ranged touch attack with a range of 600 feet that deals 5d6 points of damage plus 1d6 points per level of the spell channeled.

Corrupting Gaze (Su): Rikkine can blast living beings with a glance at a range of up to 30 feet. Any creature that meets his gaze must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 25) or take 2d10 points of damage and 1d4 points of Charisma drain.

Corrupting Touch (Su): Rikkine's corrupting touch deals 1d4 points of damage to a living opponent on a successful melee touch attack.

Spell-Like Ability: Rikkine has used one of his 9th-level spell slots to permanently prepare maximized chain lightning, which he can use twice per day.

Incorporeal Subtype: Rikkine can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. He is immune to all nonmagical attack forms and has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source (except for force effects, such as magic missiles, and attacks made with ghost touch weapons). Rikkine can pass through solid objects (but not force effects) at will, and his attacks ignore natural armor, armor, and shields (though deflection bonuses and force effects work normally). He moves silently and cannot be heard with Listen checks unless desired by him.

Manifestation (Su): When he manifests, Rikkine becomes visible but remains incorporeal. In this form, he can use his touch attack. He remains on the Ethereal Plane but can be attacked by opponents on the Material and Ethereal Planes. His spells affect ethereal targets and can also affect targets on the Material Plane normally unless the spells rely on touch, in which case they don't work against Material Plane targets.

Rejuvenation (Su): If destroyed while the portal is still in existence, Rikkine restores himself in 2d4 days with a successful level check (1d20+24) against DC 16. The only way to destroy him permanently is to destroy the portal first.

Spell Power +1: This ability increases the DC for saves against Rikkine's arcane spells and the caster level checks for his arcane spells to overcome spell resistance by +1. This ability stacks with spell power +2 and spell power +3, and the benefit is figured into the statistics above.

Spell Power +2: This ability increases the DC for saves against Rikkine's arcane spells and the caster level checks for his arcane spells to overcome spell resistance by +2. This ability stacks with spell power +1 and spell power +3, and the benefit is figured into the statistics above.

Spell Power +3: This ability increases the DC for saves against Rikkine's arcane spells and the caster level checks for his arcane spells to overcome spell resistance by +3. This ability stacks with spell power +1 and spell power +2, and the benefit is figured into the statistics above.

Telekinesis (Su): Rikkine can use telekinesis (caster level 24th) once per round as a free action.

Turn Resistance (Ex): When resolving a turn, rebuke, command, or bolster attempt, Rikkine is treated as a 28-HD creature.

Undead Traits: Rikkine is immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death, effects, necromantic effects, mind-influencing effects, and any effect requiring a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. He is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Negative energy heals him, and he is not at risk of death from massive damage, but he is destroyed at 0 hit points or less. He cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if he is willing. Rikkine has darkvision (60-foot range).

Spell Slots: (4/6/6/6/5/3/5/4/4/1; save DC = 23 + spell level or 25 for Conjuration spells or 27 for Evocation spells).

Spells Available to Prepare: 1st -- magic missile, obscuring mist, shield; 2nd -- fog cloud, shatter; 3rd -- dispel magic; 4th -- ice storm, wall of fire; 5th -- cone of cold, summon monster V; 6th -- chain lightning; 7th -- forcecage, limited wish, summon monster VII; 8th -- summon monster VIII; 9th -- meteor swarm, summon monster IX, teleportation circle. (Rikkine does not have access to a spellbook, so he uses spells mastered via Spell Mastery feats to prepare spells. He also makes use of higher-level spell slots to prepare lower-level spells to fill his preparation slots.)

*Feats from Tome and Blood:

Augment Summoning: Creatures you conjure with any summoning spell gain +1 hit point per die and a +1 competence bonus on attack and damage rolls.

Eschew Materials: An eschewed spell can be cast with no material components. An eschewed spell uses up a spell slot of the spell's normal level, modified by other metamagic feats. Rikkine prepares all spells as eschewed spells.

Rikkine is nearly as old as the age of humans as a race on Faerûn. He was arrogant in his power, and a little reckless, and he paid the price. He favors spells from the Evocation and Conjuration schools, and others of his time feared him greatly. He wanted to create portals to give him access to faraway lands that he could dominate. His accident, and the resulting years of undeath, have taken a toll on his sanity. He now suffers violent mood swings. When angered, he can be extremely dangerous. However, sometimes visitors can reason with him, and sometimes he allows passage through his portal. He cares nothing for wealth or the increase of his power these days. He does crave knowledge and experience since he cannot move beyond the boundaries of the portal. He also cannot be destroyed until the portal is destroyed; he reforms within days when "killed." He knows that he is tied to the portal, and he is therefore even less afraid of any possible threat. He is very cultured, despite the time period he lived in, and when he is in a good mood, he is a pleasant conversationalist.

How to Incorporate Rikkine's Portal Into Your Campaign:

This portal provides a good opportunity to scare your player characters, or players, and allow them access to another part of the world for adventures. They may have to negotiate with Rikkine for passage, trick him, or overcome him somehow if you are running a campaign with epic-level characters. (For more information on epic-level characters, check out the Epic Level Handbook)

Ghostly Portals