By Robert Wiese
the Salamander War (1357-1358 DR) that ravaged the coastal cities of the
Priador, the forces of Thay found themselves sorely beleaguered by former
salamander allies. The salamanders burned everything in their path, because
the Red Wizards had betrayed a promise to them to build a permanent portal
to the Elemental Plane of Fire. An up-and-coming Red Wizard, Aznar Thrul,
pleaded with the fire god Kossuth for aid, and Kossuth drove the invading
salamanders away with his own elementals. That is the history of how Thay
acquired the Priador tharch.
is always more to the story, and this is no exception. What history does
not record is that a portal was created. One was required, since
the salamanders would not go home of their own accord. When Thrul contacted
priests of Kossuth for aid, the priests joined with him in creating a
one-way portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire, through which the
invaders would be sent. This portal was built into a vault inside
the temple of Kossuth in Escalant. It served its purpose well.
is about 15 feet by 15 feet, and marked by an arch of stone that seems
to burn all the time. This is a trick, but a clever one. The arch is riddled
with small tube-like passages, which come to the surface of the stone
regularly. A slow-burning version of alchemists fire runs through
these tubes, and it burns when it gets to the surface. The portal
allows passage only to the Plane of Fire; no return traffic takes place,
but it is continuously active. Aznar Thrul intended to have a return portal
created at a later time, and thus control a key access to the Plane of
Fire. This would essentially give him a secret set of allies that he could
wield against other tharchions or Red Wizards.
the temple of Kossuth, priests of Kossuth closely guard the portal,
which is known to very few. Aznar Thrul would like to keep the secret
as quiet as possible. However, word has leaked from the temple; priests
drink in taverns, too. Word is spreading in Escalant of the portal,
and rumor grows even faster. People say that the portal allows
passage from the Plane of Fire, and that Kossuth sends minions through
it. Others remember the Salamander Wars and say that enemies of Thay built
the portal and that the priests must be containing it. Others claim
that rumors of the destination on the Plane of Fire are lies, and that
it goes to a secret treasury where Red Wizards keep their darkest secrets.
But people will say anything . . .
through the portal is completely safe; it is what awaits you on
the other side that is dangerous. The salamanders were not pleased to
be thrust out of Faerûn, and they continually monitor the portals
location so they can take revenge on anyone who comes through. The guard
is always a contingent of salamanders (see Monster Manual, page
159) of total encounter level equal to two more than the average party
level of whatever adventurers show up. Here are some groups for various
Average party level 2 (four 2nd-level characters): two flamebrother salamanders;
Average party level 6 (four 6th-level characters): three average salamanders,
or two average salamanders and three flamebrother salamanders;
Average party level 10 (four 10th-level characters): one noble salamander
and seven average salamanders;
Average party level 14 (four 14th-level characters): twelve noble salamanders.
if a group larger than an adventuring party were to come through, say
an army of Red Wizards, not enough salamanders would be there to oppose
them, but the word would spread and a great many salamanders would come
to Incorporate the Portal of Fire Into Your Campaign
- The characters
are in Eskalant trying to solve a mystery, and they run afoul of a local
Red Wizard. The Red Wizard has enough power to prevent them from leaving
the city. They need a way out, and they hear about the portal.
They can sneak into the temple, and the vault, and escape Thay, or they
can negotiate with the priests of Kossuth (this is easier if one of
their number is a priest of Kossuth or an allied deity). Of course,
Aznar Thrul will know about their travel through "his" portal
and may use the occurrence to his advantage somehow.
- Strange creatures
are appearing in Rashemen, and the Witches think they are coming from
Thay. They send several groups to find the source of these creatures,
and the characters are sent to Eskalant. The PCs hear of the portal
and the many rumors surrounding it. Does the portal hold the
secret to the strange creatures?
- Thrul wrests control
of the portal completely from the priests of Kossuth and begins
to construct a return portal. The priests are in hiding, and
the public does not understand why Thrul has targeted the temple of
one of the nations most revered deities. Thrul spreads stories
that the priests had sold out to some enemy deity. The characters have
to stop Thruls plans for the portal before he can bring
an army of creatures to send against Rashemen and Aglarond.
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