ZEITGEIST [Spoilers]Portals to Somewhere?
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  1. #1

    [Spoilers]Portals to Somewhere?

    Heyo. A small section of Always On Time has caused me to rethink how I handled something in Digging for Lies, I could use some quick help.

    In essence- what exactly is behind the seals in all of the ancient ziggurats?

    Behind the Apet seal is nothing, a portal to empty space. Book 3 is pretty quiet on the Mavisha seal, but the implication seems to be the same. This is reinforced by how despite Duvall touring Risur and removing seals, there have been no reports of planar incursions. I believe this is because the portals point to the planes *were*, before the Axis Ritual moved them.

    But- the ziggurat of Urim, stated to be beneath the city of Nalaam. It's further stated that said ziggurat/portal is the source of earth mana crystals, on which the city built part of its fortune. It describes this power 'seeping up'. If the portal also leads to nowhere, then why is there Urim-power seeping up? Is it entirely from the Urim-infused seal?


  2. #2
    My impression is that none of the ziggurats directly connect to the planes any more after the Axis Seal ritual and that the closed portals/Seals do continue to leak relatively small amounts of planar energy. For instance we know the Avilona seal is on a flying island inside a storm which looks like something a leak of Air energy could create.

    I am certain that the Axis Seal Ritual closed off all the portals or was intended to but if it makes a better story for you perhaps the Urim portal stayed open or perhaps the mages of Nalaam have managed to have some strange effect on it or perhaps the Great Malice effected it I believe it is in the area were magic is odd (but It is a while since I read book 4 so I could be wrong)

  3. #3

    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Decatur, GA
    The timeline was:

    1. Ack, demons and aliens and stuff invading our world.
    2. I have a plan! Find portals the invaders are coming through.
    3. Seal portals from 8 planes. (Actually it was more than 8, but only 8 ended up mattering.)
    4. Demons and aliens and stuff withdraw their forces from those planes.
    5. Now we have 8 planes that are free from invaders.
    6. Perform Axis Seal ritual, blocking off everything except those 8 planes.

    When that happens, you've now got nine seals:

    I - VIII) Eight small ones each blocking a single plane, metaphysically focused on the existing portals the invaders once used.
    IX) A massive one blocking all other planes, which simultaneously links the 8 worlds to this one.

    The interaction between the big seal and the small seals sliced off some tiny pieces of the planes. Places that were near the original portals were carved into pocket dimensions, in temporal stasis, only accessible through the (sealed) portals in the ziggurats.

    Then steps 7 and 8.

    7. The Gidim who cleverly hid on Apet started invading again.
    8. Tweak the Axis Seal ritual so Apet is still linked, but travel to and from is very difficult. This strands the Gidim there, causing them to starve and go mad.

    So each of the ziggurats is suffused with energy from the plane they link to, and when you open the small seal, even more energy pours out. Also, if any creatures happened to be by the portal when the Axis Seal went up, they were kept in stasis, so opening the small seal would let them out.

    I hadn't previously considered this, but it makes sense that Nalaam's wizards might have popped the seal of Urim when they founded the city. They probably fought some xorn or something, then built their bad-ass Las Vegas in the mountains.
    XP hirou, Frankie1969 gave XP for this post

  4. #4
    Firstly Ranger, thank you very much for your detailed answer. But, I think I'm just not smart enough to properly understand it, since I'm not sure you've actually answered my question.

    'Each of the ziggurats is suffused with energy from the plane they link to', 'even more energy pours out', 'fought some xorn'. Does all this come from the pocket-dimensions attached to each seal? Or is each still covering an actual proper portal to each of the other planes? Did Nalaam fight some trapped xorn, or some proper Urim xorn attempting an invasion/wandering over for a feast?

    Also, it might amuse you to know there's a minor detail that's inconsistent with your explanation of 'stasis'. The fishmen who pop out of the Mavisha portal when it opens? The book specifically states that they are 'insane after an eternity trapped behind the seal'.

  5. #5

    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    Jan 2002
    Decatur, GA
    Well, physical stasis, so they didn't die of old age or starvation.

    But the ziggurats do not currently have portals to the planets. They have portals to a tiny pocket dimension that was once part of another planet. However, the ziggurats are still metaphysically related to the target planets, and so they leak a bit of energy from that plane. Creatures can't just hop over without casting spells, and those spells only last five minutes tops.

  6. #6
    Right, I see. Thanks kindly.

  7. #7

    Gallant (Lvl 3)

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Washington State
    Some more datapoints that muddle the story a bit:

    - In adventure 10, the Ziggurat of Av ends up getting connected to Jiesse, after which a bunch of salamanders come out (and the whole place lights on fire).
    - Offscreen circa adv10, the Voice of Rot uses the Ziggurat of Apet's portal to get into the Gyre and/or Reida which was in the Gyre, or something (witnesses saw him "dragging" Reida behind him through the Gyre.)
    - A couple hundred years before the campaign starts, Kasavarina visits the Ziggurat of Avinola, breaks something, and world loses flight magic as a result.
    - A bit less canonically, sometime shortly before the campaign, Rock Rackus visited the Ziggurat of Av and somehow used it to go to the Moon (Av).

    All of these suggest a pretty strong connection to their associated plane.
    Last edited by efreund; Monday, 16th July, 2018 at 09:44 PM.

  8. #8

    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Russia, Moscow
    A little something which I can't resist posting: Avilona connection breakdown is somthing which I consider a tiny gem of the campaign. It's never clearly stated, I believe, but in my head-canon it's not that Casvarina "broke something". It's because three thing happened at the same time:
    • Kasvarina and Nic tried to tamper with Avilona portal within the Ziggurat and failsafe mechanism of the Ancients Seal kicked in
    • sea water finally eroded the Avilona column on Axis Island to the point of crashing
    • condition of Eagle of Avilona (see WotBS and adventure 12) worsened

    These things are not directly linked with cause-and-effect connections, because magic doesn't have to care about your puny linear timelines. Magic just happens. I understand the urge to clarify each and every tiny detail of the world, both from players' and DM viewpoint, but I don't think it's really possible.

    EDIT: it's also unclear where exactly Rock Rackus went and how. He definitely bedded the king/queen of Unseen Court, but note that Dreaming Plane (as a mirror image of material plane) and Av, Plane of Dreams (as the moon and one of the major planes of the world) are two completely different places (and actually Av is the thing that made the Dreaming and Bleak Gate to appear in the first place). Sooo... the only thing I'm sure of is that a healthy amount of fey pepper was involved in Rock's adventures
    Last edited by hirou; Tuesday, 17th July, 2018 at 12:55 AM.
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