By Robert Wiese
as the northernmost city on the Shining Plains, Assam is controlled by
the two larger cities to the south. Those cities, Lheshayl and Ormath,
appoint the ruling council for Assam, and the council appoints a mayor.
Assam is a trade city, and efficient but uninteresting times are the norm
for this somewhat isolated city. That is, until recently.
north and west of Assam sits some ruins of a village or town left thousands
of years ago by some civilization. The ruins comprise only the remains
of walls of buildings for the most part, but two intact structures remain
as well. Adventurers and other treasure seekers looted them long ago,
taking whatever treasure they might have contained, and no one had paid
the ruins much attention for centuries. They were just there.
of adventurers stopped at the ruins for a night and found a secret chamber
in the larger of the mostly intact buildings. Within that chamber they
found a portal. The report of their discovery has set the country
afire with speculation and conflict, because the portal opened
to a spot in far-off Kara-Tur, near a Shou city of moderate size. The
portal is a one-way gate, continuously active, and marked by an
arch about 15 feet across and 12 feet high. The chamber in which it resides
has since been demolished to ease access to the portal, as the
trade potential of this portal is immense, and everyone wants to
make the most coin possible from the discovery. One enterprising trading
group sent a representative through to Kara-Tur to establish a post there.
The group sends goods through the portal on mules, and the representative
communicates magically with his firm as needed. This one firm is not the
only user of the portal. Several groups send things through to
Kara-Tur, and more and more have lined up to take advantage of the "shortcut
to the far east." Plans are even in the works to make a return portal.
Thankfully for Assam, word of the portal has not spread outside
the Shining Plain, but that will happen far too soon for everyones
of the ruling council of Assam disagree on who should have control of
the portal, as well as any user fees to be generated. The conflicts
grew large enough to have spread back to Lheshayl and Ormath. In the meantime,
the mayor of Assam has appointed an official to the new post of gate warden,
with duties to record who uses the portal and what passes through.
The gate warden must also collect such user fees as the ruling council
sets. This person is Malgoriam, and he assiduously fulfills his duties.
Male human Exp6/Sor4; CR 10; Medium-size humanoid; HD 6d6 plus 4d4;
hp 23; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (touch 11, flat-footed 10); Atk
+6/+1 melee (1d4/19-20, dagger); or +7/ +2 ranged (1d4/19-20, dagger);
AL LN; SV Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +10; Str 10, Dex 13, Con 11, Int
13, Wis 13, Cha 14. 5 feet 7 inches; age 29.
and Feats: Appraise +7, Bluff +10, Concentration +6, Diplomacy
+14, Gather Information +8, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (local --
Vilhon Reach) +7, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +7, Listen +9,
Profession (politician) +11, Sense Motive +7, Spellcraft +7, Spot
+3, Alertness, Dodge, Extend Spell, Great Fortitude, Spell Focus
Spells Known (6/7/4; base DC = 12 + spell level): 0 -- daze,
detect magic, open/close, prestidigitation, read magic, resistance;
1st -- comprehend languages, expeditious retreat, message;
2nd -- detect thoughts.
is a petty officials petty official. Viewing politics as a way to
get rich, he entered the government of Assam as early as he could get
a post. He served without distinction but with great energy, and when
Mayor Tempest needed to appoint a gate warden, Malgoriam maneuvered himself
into the post. He has realized his dream with this post, as the trade
through it will only increase and everyone sending anything through has
to pay the user fee. Since he collects the fees, he inflates them beyond
what the government requires and keeps the extra gold.
is thin and sniveling, caring only for himself and his own prosperity.
He cares nothing for the plight of anyone using the gate, and those who
offer a sob story or try to talk him out of the fee get charged an extra
"I have to listen to your whining" fee on top of the usually
inflated fees. He has three "subordinates," who are really thugs,
and if there is any trouble over the fees, he calls them to do any fighting
that might be needed. They are always 4th-level fighters (use NPC stats
on page 53 of the Dungeon Masters Guide).
to Incorporate the Assam Portal Into Your Campaign
- If you want to
take your campaign to the Far East, or mix in some Oriental elements,
this portal can connect your PCs with the world of ninjas and
samurai. The characters could have to go through the portal to
find a missing merchant, or recover some stolen property. Once there,
they will no doubt run into other adventures while waiting for the return
portal to be completed.
- Once the return
portal is complete, who can say what horrors might pour through
it from Kara-Tur on missions of conquest. The characters could be hired
to defend the portal itself from unlawful use or from whatever
might come through.
- The conflict in
Ormath escalates, and a noble is found murdered. Was his death really
related to the newly found portal, or is there some other cause?
The characters can be pulled into this mystery either by direct hire
or by happening on the body. They could inadvertently have clues to
the killer, or could have clues that the killer planted to divert suspicion
away from herself. It could be that the killer must be sought on the
far side of the portal, or closer to home (say, the murdered
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