of the Frozen Wastes
Sea of Moving Ice
small, ice-covered island in the endless expanse of crashing icebergs
that is the Sea of Moving Ice, five smooth, greenish stones jut up from
the frozen earth like the fingers of a gigantic hand. In the center of
the standing stones, a sinkhole descends to unknown depths below. (A diagram
of this area is available in the Map-a-Week
the map here).
ago, this island was the tip of a peninsula extending westward from what
is now called Icewind Dale, and a great city stood on its heights. The
peninsula now drowns beneath the freezing waves, and the city is long
forgotten. All that remains are the weathered remains of what was once
a fine structure formed of magic stone, and the remnants of this structure
barely support the magic of a portal in the air above the sinkhole.
any one of the five standing stones activates the magic of the portal,
causing a shimmering web of green energy to appear suspended in the
air. The energy web connects the stones to each other and forms an intricate
latticework that covers the sinkhole entrance. The energy seems weak,
however, since it flickers when the arctic wind gusts and disappears again
within a minute of being activated. Once the portal is deactivated,
it must remain dormant for 24 hours before someone can trigger it again.
is variable: It has two preset destinations. When activated as described
above, the portal leads to a cavern under the High Ice in
the desert of Anauroch. If the word "Jhothûn" is spoken while
the portal energy is active, however, the lattice changes to a
rich purple color and the portal leads to Jhothûn.
case, using the portal in its present condition is somewhat hazardous.
The harsh elements of the freezing north have taken their toll not only
on the physical structure of the portal but also on its magic.
Entering the portal at the wrong instant, when its energy is flickering
out (10% chance of it doing so), sends a character plummeting down into
the sinkhole -- a fall of 100 feet into ice-cold water (2d3 points of
subdual damage and 6d6 points of regular damage from the fall, plus 1d6
points of subdual damage per minute of exposure from the cold). Characters
at risk of falling can make a Balance check (DC 20) to catch themselves
before falling, and those who are prepared might avoid the fall altogether
at the DM's discretion. Characters arriving in this portal from
another destination must move out immediately or risk plummeting into
the sinkhole when the portal's magic fails.
as dangerous as the failing magic of the portal is its guardian,
who is an evil orc druid named Thurghom.
An outcast from one of the orc tribes that lives on the ever-shifting
terrain of the Sea of Moving Ice, Thurghom and his polar bear companion
keep watch over the portal for reasons they do not fully understand.
Thurghom believes that the sinkhole spoke to him when he was a child,
charging him with guarding it and imbuing him with the druidical ability
he now possesses. The truth behind this story, if any exists, is a mystery
whose only possible answer must be in Jhothûn.
does not even know that the site he guards so painstakingly is a portal.
He has never laid a finger on the standing stones, believing them too
sacred to defile with his touch, and he has never seen the portal's
magic activated. He believes that a great spirit lives in the sinkhole,
and he worships it from outside the ring of the stones and never approaches
closer than required to hurl a still-living sacrifice into its depths.
Thurghom guards the portal as a sacred shrine, not a magic artifact
of an ancient civilization.
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