Racial Portals of Faerûn
the deity Gond guides the gnomes who worship him to greater and greater
technological achievement. The gnomes, in turn, venerate the god of invention
more completely than any other race or region in Faerûn reveres him. While
gnomes outside of Lantan pay homage to Gond, in Lantan the deity's church
is dominant and his message of constant improvement and invention has
taken deep root.
of Lantan have been responsible for a number of inventions that have gained
great popularity on the mainland, from children's toys to useful, labor-saving
devices. Other inventions have remained confined to Lantan because they
lack mass appeal or because they are too dangerous to be allowed into
the hands of the untrained. Few inventions, however, will match the power,
elegance, and sheer audacity of the Lantanese Portal -- or at least
few will match what its maker envisions the portal will become.
by a team of highly trained gnomes, led by a gnome called Bartok Silverhammer
(a specialist in interspatial dynamics), and funded by the Gondar clergy,
the Lantanese Portal is unique in a land filled with oddities --
some would call it an abomination. Bartok and his crew intend to create
the first nonmagic portal in the whole of Faerûn. The Lantanese
Portal, or the LP as it is more simply called, is identical to
the portals described in the Forgotten Realms Campaign
Setting, except for the following details.
of all, the LP is not finished. The team has a temporary magic portal
working through the confines of the one that they hope will replace it
eventually. The future nonmagic portal will not radiate a magical
aura. As such, the spell detect magic will not reveal its presence,
or so Bartok hopes. Though it's currently a magic portal, Bartok
and his team are working on a set of tremendous steam engines, which were
designed by Bartok, that will replace the magic version of the portal.
As such, the LP cannot be moved -- both because of the magical stricture
preventing it, as is the case with most portals, and also because
the apparatus that provides power to the LP is too vast and complicated
to be moved. Even now, the steam engines and their use are tied into the
functionality of the magic portal due to the way it was created
(see below for more on the "keyed" aspect of the portal).
Dispel magic, gate seal, and Mordenkainen's disjunction
will eventually become useless against the LP, or so Bartok believes.
However, a disintegrate spell (or other spell that destroys objects)
could conceivably damage a part of the LP's mechanism and prevent it from
working until it can be repaired. It would certainly ruin the current
keyed aspect of the magic portal.
time, the magic LP leads to a single destination: a desolate region of
the Mulhorandi Dust Desert. Bartok believed this would be a safe target
that would not needlessly jeopardize life and property. Bartok also believes
that he can overcome the stricture common to magic portals that
prevents a destination from changing once the portal has been created.
His technicians are working on a device he calls the difference engine
which, once complete, will allow the nonmagic version of the LP to be
reprogrammed to target different destinations with each use.
a massive project is not without its pitfalls, however. First, the LP
can currently be considered a malfunctioning portal, per the rules
in the Forgotten Realm Campaign Setting. It works as intended
only about half the time, with dire consequences resulting the rest of
the time. Several teams of intrepid gnome test subjects have been dropped
far off from their intended destination, and one team was killed outright.
Still another team of test subjects disappeared after passing through
the LP and have not been seen or heard from since. The LP is also a random
portal. Any successful use allows 1d6+3 creatures through. The
LP then does not function for 1d6 days.
the portal is keyed, for all intents and purposes, so that only
Bartok and his two closest associates can activate it. This is not a design
feature of the LP. Rather, it is a result of the device's immense complexity,
which currently only Bartok and his disciples can grasp. Should Bartok's
dream come true, though, and the portal become completely nonmagical
in nature, he knows his users will require training to run the machine.
In the meantime, even in its magical version, the portal requires
some key actions in terms of what switches to pull and which buttons to
push to gain the end result of a rush of a precisely measured amount of
steam pressure against one specific section of the portal's metal
archway. As a result, learning to activate the LP requires close observation
of the actions of Bartok or his associates.
Bartok succeed, he will have achieved an immense triumph for Gond and
gnomekind by creating a portal that is nonmagical and that can
be reprogrammed to target new destinations based on the desires of the
technicians using it.
to Incorporate the Lantanese Portal Into Your Campaign:
- Bartok activates
the LP, which malfunctions, sending a team of gnomes hurtling into the
PCs from apparently nowhere at an extremely troublesome time -- in the
middle of combat, for instance, or while the PCs are in the bath house.
Once the gnomes and PCs get over the initial shock, the gnomes attempt
to enlist the PCs in helping with their long journey home to Lantan.
They offer the appropriate technological marvels as incentive. The gnomes
are reticent to discuss the LP directly. While Gond's dogma encourages
the free exchange of information, these gnomes do not want to allow
knowledge of the LP to fall into dangerous or untrained hands just yet.
- Bartok activates
the LP at the same time that a follower of Set activates the nearby
Mulhorandi portal. The two portals conflict with each
other, causing a significant breach in the fabric of reality. This begins
with simple things, localized to the Dust Desert, at first -- but quickly
the effect begins to spread. Dead magic and wild magic areas appear
at random, spread, and disappear. People become invisible for no apparent
reason, or are subject to random polymorph spells. The PCs must
get to the root of the problem and find a way to set it right.
- Bartok activates
the LP, and it malfunctions. It sends a team of gnomes through to their
destination, and the PCs are brought over to Lantan. Once again, this
should occur at an extremely troublesome or embarrassing moment. The
PCs must now find their way home from Lantan -- not an easy task, since
Bartok isn't keen on letting them go with sensitive information about
the LP just yet.
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