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Crosswinds Keep

By Darrin Drader

01/13 The Orb of Isolation
01/06 Heroes of Crosswinds Keep, Part 2
12/30 Heroes of Crosswinds Keep, Part 1
12/23 Upper Floor and Catacombs
12/20 Crosswinds Keep Proper
Astral Encounters Archive

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Crosswinds Keep and Environs

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Astral Encounters
Return to Crosswinds Keep
By Darrin Drader

The Orb of Isolation

Crosswind Keep residents and employees closely monitor the comings and goings of their guests by preventing people from accessing it, except for specific points, which are managed by the orb of isolation. Two entry points are placed: One is on the god's head near the keep, and the other is a 200-foot diameter hole that is opened only occasionally to allow astral ships to pass through.

In addition to this, numerous gates that lead to the plane are located within the catacombs, which are well within the orb's affected area. Because of this, many fiends are trapped on the other side of the doorways on their home planes. These creatures have been unable to plane shift or otherwise leave these areas and have had plenty of time to nurse their hate toward the inhabitants of the keep.

The Orb of Isolation: The orb of isolation is a glass sphere that glows blue with magical power. It is activated via a command word, and when placed in a location and activated, it hovers in place. The orb seals the area in up to a one-mile radius against all planar travel into or within it. The warded area is shapeable, but no portion of the warded area can be more than one mile from the orb. Forms of movement barred include astral projection, blink, dimension door, ethereal jaunt, etherealness, gate, maze, plane shift, shadow walk, teleport, and similar spell-like or psionic abilities. The effect lasts until the orb is deactivated with another command word, but is otherwise identical to a dimensional lock spell.

In addition, the orb prevents entry into the warded area by any physical means (though physical movement inside the warded area is possible, as is exiting the warded area). Creatures trying to enter the warded area encounter an invisible and impenetrable barrier. The creature's movement stops when it encounters the barrier. If the creature moved less than its speed before encountering the barrier, it can take another move action or standard action after stopping. Otherwise, its turn ends.

To block areas, the orb does not require line of effect to areas within its radius. If an area lies within one mile of the activated orb, it is sealed against planar travel and teleportation.

The orb has a curious effect on any magical portals (see Manual of the Planes or the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting). Any portal leading into or out of the sealed area malfunctions most of the time; the portal simply fails to activate and doesn't function. If the creature using the portal is an outsider, however, the portal instead malfunctions and traps the creature at the point where the creature would normally enter or exit the sealed area. This effect is similar to the hedged prison effect of the binding spell, except that there is no saving throw and spell resistance does not apply. The bound outsider cannot move more than 300 feet from the point to which it is bound. The affect can be broken only by a break enchantment spell, Mordenkainen's disjunction, wish, or miracle cast by a creature other than the bound creature, or by deactivating the orb (which requires a separate command word).

The character activating the orb can designate up to three points along the outer edge of the warded area where physical entry into the warded area is possible. The point may be from 5 feet to 200 feet in diameter. Creatures cannot use any form of magical travel to pass through designated physical entry points. Once physical entry points are set, they cannot be changed or moved without first deactivating the orb.

Overwhelming abjuration; CL 25th; weightless.

Bringing the Parts Together

The orb of isolation is the key piece to the security of the keep. Should it be stolen by an enemy of the keep or an individual who merely wants the treasure, the masters of the keep may hire the party to retrieve it for them while they work to bolster the keep's defenses.

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