of Undeath Portals
By Ramon Arjona
Portal of Negative Energy
lich of immense power, Zzarka could construct a portal to any destination
of her choosing. If the necessary resources to create a portal
were not immediately available, she could afford to wait the hundred or
so years it took to amass them. In this way, through patient application
of powerful magic and the diligent use of her enormous wealth, Zzarka
opened a portal into the Negative Energy Plane itself (see Manual
of the Planes page 80). Some, including her lieutenants Torin and
Lars, suspect that she has hidden herself in the eternal darkness of this
plane and lurks, immune to the energy draining qualities of the environment,
so that she can her next move. It is almost certain that she used the
plane as one of many hiding places for her phylactery.
portal is located in a tunnel complex in the mountains of Thay.
Cave-ins and earthquakes buried the portal beneath tons of rubble
centuries ago, which is an immense blessing to all mortal beings who would
otherwise have to contend with the armies of undead that might one day
come spilling out of its inky black maw.
unlikely that someone would stumble across the portal by accident,
though Torin knows of its general location and may one day choose to go
searching for it. More likely, the portal would be uncovered by
an insane or deluded spellcaster who sought to usurp Zzarka's magical
secrets -- or perhaps by a well-meaning paladin looking for a way to mobilize
an army against the forces of darkness that dwell within the Negative
Energy Plane. In any case, it will take extensive research, as well as
access to some of Zzarka's private files that remain in her lab near Lake
Thalambar, to uncover the exact location of this most abominable of portals.
That is, unless Zzarka herself one day emerges from hiding and uses the
portal to unleash a plague of undeath upon the living world.
Zzarka's other portals, the portal to the Negative Energy
plane is keyed to allow only undead spellcasters to activate it. Once
it is activated, the portal remains open for 1 full round. Any
other creatures that touch the portal during this round are also
transported to the Negative Energy Plane.
destination is the city of Death Heart (see Manual of the Planes
page 82), which is one of the most stable locations in the Negative Energy
Plane. Zzarka chose this destination because, unlike most other places
in the Negative Energy Plane, Death Heart is virtually guaranteed to be
the same from moment to moment. Death Heart is also much less boring and
monotonous than the rest of the plane since it has plazas and tall spires
built by its former inhabitants. This stands in sharp contrast to the
utter void that waits outside the city, and Zzarka found it interesting.
After all, if she needed to experience the void, she had only to step
outside the city to do so. Meanwhile, within the city, she could amuse
herself by participating in the endless warring of undead factions, led
by other powerful creatures like herself, or torture mortal travelers
unlucky enough to stumble into the plane. In this way Zzarka's relationship
to the city of Death Heart -- and to the Negative Energy Plane in general
-- is much like that of a mortal person who lives and works in a metropolis
because there's something to do, but who also enjoys a jaunt to the country
on weekends for the peace and quiet. The only difference is that Zzarka's
idea of peace and quiet is a formless void that sucks the energy out of
any living thing exposed to it, leaving nothing but a lifeless husk behind.
How to Incorporate
the Portal of Negative Energy Into Your Campaign
- Contrary to popular
belief, Zzarka continues to exist. Fearing a revolt from her undead
lieutenants, she retreated to her stronghold on the Negative Energy
Plane and has been carefully plotting her strategy for the last 200
years. Now, armed with eldritch magic wrested from the very fabric of
the plane itself, she is prepared to visit total annihilation on all
those who would oppose her or seek to destroy her. Unfortunately for
the PCs, this means most -- if not all -- of the beings on the surface
of Faerûn. They must find a way to contain her on the Negative Energy
Plane or, failing this, find a way to stop her power from obliterating
the known world. In the characters' favor is the fact that her former
lieutenants, Lars and Torin, will likely lend their aid to stop her.
Against the characters, however, is the fact that some of the more evil
and demented deities of Faerûn approve of Zzarka's plan and may be willing
to give her aid.
- After centuries
of searching, Lars Blackspike has finally uncovered one of Zzarka's
portals. He does not know where it leads, or how it is keyed,
but he is determined to unearth it and activate it. The PCs must stop
him or face any number of unspeakable horrors that wait on the plane
- A single xeg-yi
(see Manual of the Planes page 169) has discovered the portal
on the Negative Energy Plane and is using it to manipulate events in
Faerûn. The interference that the xeg-yi performs seems nonsensical
at first, for these beings possess intelligence wholly alien to our
own, but soon a diabolical pattern emerges. The PCs must find and deactivate
the portal before the xeg-yi and its undead minions cause further
harm to Faerûn.
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