of Undeath Portals
By Ramon Arjona
those Zzarka counted as her peer was an ancient alhoun known to posterity
as Korid Takazz. Though an infinitely patient being, Zzarka still craves
amusement and stimulation of her prodigious intellect. Many years after
becoming a lich, human and humanoid intelligence came to bore her since
she had long ago learned all of their petty games and trivial observations.
Simply put, Zzarka had already thought all of the thoughts a human mind
could think, and she yearned for more.
is not clear how Zzarka came to meet Korid Takazz, but in the undead mind
flayer's alien intelligence she found the novelty she so desperately sought.
Korid, himself bored after a near eternity of undeath, also came to enjoy
Zzarka's company. In his lair, hidden so deep in the Underdark that neither
drow nor duergar nor living illithid would willingly come near, amid the
undulating fungi and strange fetid oozes that cling to life in the eternal
darkness, Korid shared with Zzarka some of the most mind-warping and horrible
secrets of his race. It is rumored that under Korid's tutelage, Zzarka
even developed a taste for humanoid brains. It is certain that the two
liches valued one another's company greatly, as if partners in a perverse
and unholy marriage.
did Zzarka come to value the alhoun's company that she created a portal
to join their lairs so that they could talk more frequently without troubling
themselves with teleport spells. Like her other portals,
the Illithid Gate is keyed so that only undead spell casters can open
it. Korid visited Zzarka nearly as often as she visited him, and the two
took turns playing host. Once the portal is open, it remains open
for 1 round. Any other being that touches the portal during this
time is transported to the opposite side.
of the portal is in Zzarka's ruined laboratory in her tower in
Thay. This is not the same portal that leads from Thay to the High
Ice. While Zzarka enjoyed her conversations with the alhoun, she did not
want to expose all of her secrets to him. The opposite side of the portal
leads to a cavern complex in the deepest regions of the Underdark, where
the alhoun once made his lair. The cave walls curve and twist at strange
angles, as if shaped by the wandering of an insane hand. Adventurers unfortunate
enough to find themselves here will likely stumble across tremendous oozes
and huge carnivorous fungi, as well as the alien artifacts left over from
the illithid's habitation.
relationship with Korid was destined to end tragically. Satisfied, finally,
that she had learned all she could from the undead mind flayer, she grew
bored with him. Their visits became less frequent, and she became hostile
toward him. Finally, Zzarka destroyed him. Some say she even devoured
his shriveled, undead brain before crushing his phylactery. Torin Zsan,
who was outside her door that night, tries not to think about the strange
slurping sounds he could hear emanating from her chamber.
How to Incorporate
the Illithid Gate Into Your Campaign:
- A young mind flayer
wants to usurp the power that once belonged to the alhoun Korid Takazz.
He assembles an unlikely group of illithids, drow, and spellcasting
undead to find the ancient mind flayer's lair. When he does discover
it, deep in the Underdark, he obtains vast power as well as the portal
to Thay. He and his minions begin to use the portal to obtain
brains (the mind flayer's food) and spell components necessary for the
next stage in their plan. The undead and the mind flayer maintain an
uneasy truce -- the illithid needs the undead to activate the portal,
while they need him to interpret Korid's writings. The PCs might thwart
their vile schemes by setting one set of the evil foes against the other.
- Neither Zzarka
nor Korid are destroyed. Two hundred years ago, Zzarka and Korid both
were buried under tons of rubble by a powerful cleric of Tempus. Now,
the alhoun has established a mental link to a subject near the surface.
This may be one of the PCs (especially if they have character levels
in psion) or an NPC that is close to the PCs. The individual the alhoun
has contacted finds herself compelled to travel deep into the Underdark
and excavate the site where the two liches are buried. The PCs might
choose to stop her from doing this, or they might try to help with good
intentions and only speed the day when these two horrible creatures
will be unleashed again on the world.
- A group of psychic
warriors went looking for the lair of a fabled alhoun called Korid Takazz.
Instead, they found the lich Zzarka who, since consuming the brain of
her former friend and confidante, has been plagued by strange dreams
and visions. After two-hundred years of this mental torture, she is
no longer sure if she is the being once known as Zzarka, the being known
as Korid, or some strange hybrid of both. She does know, however, that
psychic warriors possess tasty brains -- and that those she does not
devour will make effective slaves to use against her enemies, real and
imagined. The surviving psychic warriors are sent on a murderous rampage
by Zzarka -- and the PCs are forced to deal with them and with the insane
undead creature lurking in the Underdark.
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