The Shadow Path: A Portal Network
By James Wyatt
dark portals are the only milestones on this subterranean road,
and its travelers are few. However, in the Underdark, travelers have to
be strong to survive. Are your characters strong enough to brave the Shadow
Path? Tread lightly, for drow, mind flayers, and worse lurk along its
pathways . . .
Shadow Path" is a portal network connecting four disparate
regions of Faerûn's vast Underdark: the region known as the Labyrinth
beneath the Dessarin River, the illithid city of Oryndoll beneath the
Shining Plains, the dwarven halls of Iltkazar far to the south, and the
Unspoken Hall near Ched Nasad beneath the Fallen Lands. At a glance, the
four regions have nothing in common but that they are far below the surface
of Faerûn, but a dark secret links both their ancient past and their terrible
single node of the Shadow Path might appear in the course of an ongoing
campaign, perhaps while characters are traveling through the Underdark
in the middle of the City of the Spider Queen superadventure. Alternatively,
the Shadow Path could form the backbone of a mini-campaign all its own.
Consider the following hooks to draw characters into the portal
network and the dark mystery behind it.
- Characters find
themselves drawn into investigating the demon-worshiping baphitaur cult
of the Labyrinth, possibly after several people are kidnapped from nearby
Sword Coast towns such as Triboar, Yartar, and Red Larch.
- A teleportation
mishap, possibly caused by faerzress in the Underdark, sends
the characters to the secret caverns near Oryndoll. No tunnels lead
out -- they are trapped with a half-crazed mind flayer assassin, unless
they can teleport right back out.
- A resident of Iltkazar
-- perhaps a friend or relative of a dwarf PC -- is murdered. Investigating
the murder leads the PCs to Durhgathu Maendrar.
- In the course of
another adventure, the characters discover an intelligent magic item
of chaotic evil alignment. Practically an artifact, it can be destroyed
only (or perhaps it only claims so) in the furnace where it was made:
the Hellfire Forge. Searching for this forge leads the characters to
the Unspoken Hall.
about the four nodes of the Shadow Path over the next four weeks:
and supplemental information:
Wyatt is a designer and developer in RPG R&D at Wizards of the Coast.
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