the Sullen Portal
more than a century of plying his trade around the continent, the portal
master encountered an intelligent magic item: a bard's harp that sang
of its own accord and spoke through the music. Jhaurmael was entranced,
and he traveled with the bard for many months just to be near her harp.
During the entire affair, he hotly denied that he was under the effects
of any charm spell.
adventure, the bard and her harp were teleported to another plane. Jhaurmael
searched, but found no trace of the pair. He fell into a deep melancholy
for several months, locked himself in his workroom, barely ate, and saw
no one. Eventually, he came around, but he remained fascinated with the
idea of intelligent magically enhanced creations. Replacing one perhaps
unhealthy preoccupation with another, Riversedge began researching the
creation of an intelligent portal.
minor interruptions, Jhaurmael spent the next few years hammering out
the details. Once he thought he knew how to start, he needed a place to
build his latest masterpiece. He traveled around Faerûn searching for
a location where no one would find or interrupt him. Deep into the unclaimed
territory of the mountains north of Veldorn, he found a ruined temple
to an unknown god. No magic radiated from the ruins, and no one seemed
to have disturbed the place for decades. Jhaurmael built a permanent shelter
and storage space for himself among the ruins and began.
took several more years to complete. It stands on the dais at the front
of the ruined temple, where there is a 15-foot square hole in the wall.
The surrounding area has tiny runes and glyphs carved into it. In addition
to creating a portal with intelligence, Jhaurmael wanted to make
it his ultimate portal creation -- one that could take those who
pass through anywhere. He has never revealed the secrets behind creating
a portal with infinitely variable destinations (perhaps, as a sorcerer,
he doesn't know himself). Regardless, the portal awoke. Jhaurmael
named it Avernask.
was curious and lively for its first few months of existence, and Jhaurmael
talked to it about all the places he had been and people he had known,
especially his bard companion. He had infused it with his own sense of
wonder and wanderlust, and Avernask was insatiable. The more places it
knew about, the more places it could open onto and look into. Unfortunately,
though Avernask could open to thousands of places on Toril, it couldn't
actually go to any of them. It could only send other creatures and watch.
consequences of this limitation became more apparent, Avernask soon became
sullen and withdrawn. It would still ferry people to places when they
asked, but it took some effort. The portal wanted to be talked
into teleporting people, and the only thing that would cheer it up and
get it moving was a story of a faraway place -- a place it hadn't heard
or seen yet. This job becomes increasingly more difficult as more people
has become a legend among bards now. Those who can find it consider it
a high challenge to their storytelling ability to get Avernask to work.
The portal has heard a great many tales; it has become very difficult
to tell it about a place it hasn't heard of yet. Spending so much time
around tale-spinners also has given the portal a keen sense of
falsehood. It usually knows when someone is inventing a story about a
made-up place just to get it to perform.
has sworn never to allow Jhaurmael to pass through itself again for creating
such a wretched existence for it. The elf, who had built a small home
near Avernask, left in turmoil -- his greatest creation had turned against
him. Jhaurmael still wanders about Faerûn and creates new portals,
but he hopes one day to reconcile with his greatest creation.
intelligent item, Avernask has ability scores of Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 18.
The portal is capable of speech, and it can speak Common, Dwarven,
has complete control over its ability to teleport users. Its teleportation
abilities are similar to the teleport spell. As a result, the portal
can teleport users only to a place it is somewhat familiar with. The first
time Avernask attempts to take someone to a new place, roll on the teleport
familiarity table on page 264 of the Player's Handbook and treat
the familiarity as "Description." Once successful, Avernask
scrutinizes the new location with great interest. Treat subsequent attempts
to teleport to the same location as "Studied Carefully."
also possible to use Avernask as a gate spell. Jhaurmael secretly
knows that Avernask needs time to mature and settle before this aspect
of his magic emerges. This can happen only when the portal has
been "broken in" enough by teleporting people enough on the
who views Avernask with an analyze portal spell sees only Jhaurmael's
arcane mark floating in a swirling plane of color. With Avernask's permission
and a successful Scry check, characters may discern other locations through
the swirl and use it to look on those destinations. Note that it is extremely
difficult to scry on specific people using Avernask. The portal's
abilities are location based. It could show a place that someone described
to it in great detail and show that place from several different angles,
but it can be used to look at people only when they cross into the portal's
to Incorporate Avernask, the Sullen Portal, Into Your Campaign:
- The PCs can use
Avernask to take them to nearly anywhere they want to go. First, they
need to find it -- the portal's location is not well known. Then,
they need to have been to a place it hasn't seen yet and tell an awful
good story about it.
- Wherever the bard
and her harp are, they're trapped. The only thing that could help them
get back would be an extremely powerful -- and unusually intelligent
-- portal that would go looking for them. But even if some portal
were to do just that, someone else would still need to go through and
rescue them. Jhaurmael would be the first to go through, but Avernask
has forbidden him from entering. If only someone else could be convinced
to undertake a dangerous trip to foreign planes. Even if some silver-tongued
diplomat could possibly convince Avernask to let Jhaurmael go through,
the elf would still need back-up. No matter how powerful he might be,
he's only one elf. He would pay a well-known group of powerful adventurers
well for their assistance in the quest.
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