Perilous Gateways
Bandit Lord Portals
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Perilous Gateways
Bandit Lord Portals
By Robert Wiese

The Shrinking Portal

Besides the ruins and the portals in the lost civilization they found, the Bandits of the Iron Wind have their own treasure hunt going on. They raid and collect the wealth of others, but something they found in the ruins indicates that there is a pile of treasure just waiting for them to lay their hands on it, if only they could.

The records that they discovered in one of the wizard's towers in the ruins have shown them a number of portals and the secrets for using them. However, the journal that they found in what was once the house of a minor official (or so they think) has caused the most stir among them. It mentions a portal that leads to the city's treasury, which is a secure cavern from which trusted (hopefully) officials could take such wealth as was needed. The location was secure from theft because, according to the journal, it was warded by detection-foiling spells and permanent dimensional anchors that prevented teleport access except through one portal. The cavern was sealed with no mundane way out, and it was protected from digging by transmute rock to steel spells. The bandits found the portal easily enough, but it does not work.

The reason that the portal does not work is that a shift in the earth when the chasm (from Part Three) was filled in caused the ledge on which the arrival point was set to crumble away, so the arrival point no longer meets the criteria for a safe arrival point. The bandits don't know this, of course, and they cannot find the cavern by scrying. They have been puzzling for months on how to make the portal work, and they think that they are missing a key (since most of the portals they have found have been keyed). They are partly right, but the secret of the key is in the journal they found. The key is a simple incantation in the ancient language of the lost civilization, and they have translated and tried it without success.

The portal has one other problem; it is shrinking. Some magic that washed over this place ages ago has caused this one portal to malfunction and begin to collapse on itself. It was created as a human-size portal set within an arch, but it is now a Tiny portal only 2 feet across. As time passes, it gets smaller and smaller as its magic leaks away somehow. Right now only Tiny creatures can pass through it, assuming they could get it to work at all. Within 10 years, it will close completely. The bandits don't know how long they have, so their wizard Kinon Perray devotes a lot of time to investigating this portal.

Note: The contents of the lost civilization's treasury is left to you, but it should be substantial. Eventually, the bandits can find the following two spells in another location in the ruins, or perhaps the PCs can.

Transmute Rock to Steel
Transmutation [Earth]
Level: Sor/Wiz 6
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: Stone in a volume of up to two 10 ft. cubes/level (S)
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This spell transmutes a volume of rock into worked steel, removing impurities and refining the rock instantly. The makeup of the rock is not relevant to the spell's effect. No matter what kind of rock is affected, the result is steel. The metal so produced has the same form as the original rock, so a pile of rock becomes a solid pile of metal, and a rock wall in a cave becomes a metal wall. The metal must be shaped by another means, such as the metalshape spell.

Creatures made of rock, such as stone golems and earth elementals, cannot be affected by this spell.

Arcane Material Component: Metal shavings.

Metalshape
Transmutation [Earth]
Level: Sor/Wiz 5
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Area: Metal object touched, up to 1 cu. ft. + 1 cu. ft./level
Duration: Instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You can shape metal objects into other forms of your choosing. You must work the metal in your hands, but it becomes pliable like putty while you work it. Fine detail is impossible, as is sharpening, but you can make gross shapes such as breastplates or swords and then refine them through mundane processes. To make a functional object with this spell, you must make the appropriate Craft check. You cannot make any object with a Craft DC of 15 or higher with this spell, nor can you make mechanical devices with moving parts. The casting time indicates only the activation of the magic; you have 1 minute per level to work the metal once the spell is cast.

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