There are rumours, tales and legends across the World of Conclave concerning a network of ancient portals that can transport a person and their goods across wide distances, built by an ancient civilisation that predates the Empire of Splendour. These tales tend to be fairly contradictory about what these gates look like, how to find them and how to use them but most tend to agree that the gates are circular in design. Whether this means a stone circle, an engraved magic circle, circular openings to caves, circular mirrors, pools or any other form is something that none of the sources agree upon. Although most people think this is just a legend, the idea is so widespread that it may contain a kernel of truth.
The gates do exist, and they also exist in many forms, some horizontal, some vertical, most blending in with their surroundings. Anyone able to detect magic can spot a true gate by the hidden script that runs around the outside of one, although sometimes weathering and damage has corrupted or partly erased it. Due to the ancient nature of the gates some have shifted from their original aspect. They may now be underwater, buried by landslides or built over by intelligent beings. It requires the correct set of circumstances and a conscious effort to use a gate, so they cannot be activated (and thus reveal themselves) by accident.
Using the Wizard-Gates
The wizard-gates are a means for the gamesmaster to provide rapid access between different, disparate, locations on Conclave, but one that requires work on behalf of the player characters (i.e. an adventure or two) to activate. Rumours and clues can lead to a potential gate location; anything constructed or marked out as a circle, usually about 10 ft. diameter, is a potential gate although the two most common forms are a circle marked out on the ground in some fashion, or a circular opening. Detect magic or similar will determine if it is a true gate, by revealing a series of arcane markings around the edge of the gate, or on some part comprising the gate (e.g. on a menhir in a stone circle). These runes are an ancient form of Draconic, and will typically require magical translation or a DC 30 Decipher Script check to interpret. They provide details of possible destinations from the gate - usually between one and four possible destinations are available. Some gates are only able to recieve, due to damage to the gate network.
Knowing this, the user may attempt to activate the gate, requiring a DC 30 Use Magic Device check. If the user possesses a piece of yellow jade (see below), the DC is reduced to 25. If the user is attuned to the yellow jade (see below), then the gate will automatically work. Failing the check by 5 or less means that the gate works, but may not send those who enter it to the destination that they desire.
In the heart of the tlaxu steppe there is rumoured to be a tower, the ancient hub of the wizard-gate network. It is regarded as taboo and sacred by the tlaxu, and guarded by fanatical warrior-priests selected from the many tribes. No-one but the tlaxu know for sure what lies within the tower, since ancient and powerful magic also protects it from scrying, teleporting and travel in spirit form (i.e incorporeal or ethereal travel).
The Tower, as it is imaginatively known, is not a single tower but a series of small round towers arranged around a central tower about 50 ft. tall, all connected by a low, partially ruined, connecting wall. The smaller towers and the first three floors of the central towers are all thought to be wizard-gates. It is rumoured that at the very top of the central tower is a great map, showing the locations of all the gates in the World of Conclave and their state of operation. As with the gates themselves, inscriptions in the ancient dragon language describe how to use the map, requiring magical means or a Decipher Script DC 30 check to interpret. A Use Magic Device check, the same as the gates, is needed to operate the map. Anyone able to do so can learn all the properties of any gate shown on the map, along with the correct command codes and destinations for each. Knowing these reduces the DC of using the gate in question by 10.
Some legends say that the tlaxu came through the gates in The Tower from another part of Conclave, escaping from a terrible enemy. They tried to destroy the tower but where only able to partly damage it, trapping the enemy within the limbo of the gate network. The tlaxu deny all parts of this, claiming that they have always lived on the Inner Continent. The threat and possibility of unleashing a powerful outsider whenever the gates are used, however, can serve as a means to limit travel should it become unmanageable, or simply provide a frisson of danger to each trip.
Yellow jade is an extremely rare mineral, almost never found in a raw state on the Continent of Perfection and inner lands. Usually, it has already been converted into artifacts and these nearly always feature some kind of draconic imagery. The most common is a hoop, circlet or bracelet of some kind carved as an ouroborous, a dragon or snake swallowing its own tail. Yellow jade control orbs for the Imperial Bird-Ships were carved from these artifacts, thus destroying their original shape.
Yellow jade items are prized as traveller's talismans as they seem to have a number of benefical effects when on a journey. Not all yellow jade items give the same effects, and they are mostly subtle.
These effects are subtle and can be subject as much to gamesmaster fiat as to hard mechanics. Yellow jade is a strange, mystic substance that most mortals have little control over. Yellow jade artifacts give off a faint aura of transmutation, are caster level 10th and typically cost 500,000 to 1,000,000 yen (5000 - 10,000 gp). They cannot be manufactured by mortals and are classed as a minor artifact.
- Some yellow jade artifacts sustain travellers against weariness and fatigue. The possessor of the item is treated as if they had the Endurance feat. This effect usually extends to their mount and sometimes to all creatures in their travelling party.
- Some yellow jade artifacts provide protection on the road. A gamesmaster using random encounters may wish to reduce the chances of an encounter for parties with a yellow jade talisman. Alternatively, they may wish to provide a bonus of some kind during encounters or difficulties, for example all members experiencing an effect similar to a bless spell.
- Sometimes possession of a yellow jade item makes a journey go faster. The gamesmaster may like to shorten the overall travel time for a journey, or reduce penalties for difficult terrain.
Yellow Jade Attunement [General]
If you are in possession of a yellow jade artifact you can gain more power from it. A character with Yellow Jade Attunement who also carries a piece of yellow jade gains the following benefits:
These effects only last whilst the yellow jade is in the character's possession.
- A +2 luck bonus to Balance, Climb, Jump, Ride, Swim and Tumble checks.
- A +2 luck bonus to piloting checks made to control a Bird-Ship using the yellow jade artifact.
- Can increase the speed of any movement mode by 10 ft. per round, for 10 minutes, three times per day.
- May use dimension door as a spell-like ability, once per day. Caster level equal to character level.
- Gain Endurance and Run as bonus feats.
- Automatically activate gates in the "wizard-gate" network.
(c) 2010 The Creative Conclave.
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