Perilous Gateways

Portal-Master Portals

By Jeff Quick

The Drifting Portal

Glethsheven Rimmisk (LN male human Ftr16/Clr2), one of the many adventurer monarchs of the Border Kingdoms, hired Jhaurmael to create the drifting portal, which is one of Jhaurmael's first portal creations. Rimmisk was a latecomer to the worship of Helm in his life, but he took to the faith with all the uncomfortable zeal of a recent convert. He had recently decided to settle in the Border Kingdoms and stake his kingdom as a new staging ground for Helm's protection of the poor, weak, and young.

As a security precaution, Glethsheven wanted to separate his visitors strictly by moral outlook. So, he commissioned the portal-master to build a variable portal in his front door that would have eight different exits depending on the user's alignment. Those who lived their lives with more emphasis on chaos or evil were placed under tighter security (read: the dungeon), while those whose alignment agreed with his were ushered into comfortable guest chambers.

Today, Jhaurmael could easily accomplish the task. At the time, however, the job was too much for him. His pride kept him from realizing that the job was above him, so he forged ahead, confident that he could solve whatever complexities came up. Indeed, when he believed he had done the job, his demonstrations worked flawlessly. So, the sorcerer accepted his payment and went on his way. Several months later though, a visiting druid found herself swimming in the mineral waters of the Lake of Steam after dropping by for a visit. Something went wrong.

Instead of a portal with planned, specific destinations, the portal's exit drifts randomly through a pattern of exit points. Those who step through find themselves in a different place -- sometimes scores of miles away and sometimes only a few feet apart.

Portal users of lawful neutral or lawful good alignment are teleported 20 feet forward into the building -- just past the entryway to a welcoming antechamber. Those of other alignments suffer less predictable fates. When a character of a differing alignment steps through the portal, roll 1d8 and consult the table below to learn the fate of the traveler.

1d8Roll Result
1User teleported to a shallow section of the Lake of Steam (only a few dozen feet deep).
2User teleported to the keep's dungeon, 50 feet below.
3User teleported to the keep's dungeon, 50 feet below, but user's clothes and items remain at the door; the portal acts a creature-only portal.
4User teleported several miles away into another ruler's land.
5User must succeed at a Will save (DC 24) or be affected as a hold monster spell cast by a 20th-level sorcerer.
6User teleported 10 feet back and 100 feet up.
7User teleported to the temple of Helm in Waterdeep.
8Roll on the portal malfunction table to determine what happens. Any percentile roll over 50 teleports the user 20 feet ahead into the antechamber as if the user were lawful neutral or lawful good.

Anyone who looks through the portal with the analyze portal spell sees the "default" setting of the entryway 20 feet ahead, just as if a lawful neutral or lawful good creature stepped through.

Sadly, some time after Jhaurmael installed the portal, Glethsheven disappeared. No one knows how or why. Maybe the portal backfired on him, or perhaps he died in one of his crusades for Helm. Either way, his keep still stands with the portal -- and several other magical security measures -- still in place.

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Portal-Master Portals