ZEITGEIST An attempt to codify 'partially in the Bleak Gate'


This is my draft for ruling how people transition between planes or exist in the veil between them. If you have suggestions, or spot something that is inconsistent with (the Pathfinder version of) the adventure path, please let me know.

For a gradual transition to or from another plane.

0th Ring/Step
You fully exist in your origin plane and have no perception of or influence on your destination plane.

1st Ring/Step
You begin to perceive the destination plane, but it is shrouded (treat as medium fog: -4 perception checks, 1/2 visibility range) while your origin plane is perceived normally.

2nd Ring/Step
Your destination plane becomes easier to see (treat as light fog: -2 perception checks, 3/4 visibility range). You begin to fade from sight on your origin plane (you have concealment). While you are still a solid entity on your origin plane, you are also an incorporeal entity on your destination plane.

3rd Ring/Step
You can perceive both planes normally, but you are invisible and incorporeal on both planes.

4th Ring/Step
You can perceive your destination plane normally, but your origin plane becomes harder to see (treat as light fog: -2 perception checks, 3/4 visibilit range). You are invisible on your origin plane, and become partially visible on your destination plane (you have concealment). You are an incorporeal entity on your origin plane and a solid entity on your destination plane.

5th Ring/Step
Your origin plane is shrouded (treat as medium fog: -4 perception checks, 1/2 visibility range) while your destination plane is perceived normally.

6th Ring/Step
You fully exist in your destination plane and have no perception of or influence on your origin plane.

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I don't think full rules are needed since only Book 2 does this 'half in the Gate' thing, and it's only for the lab and the transiting researchers. Could even be worth simplifying to 'not in gate/half in gate/fully in gate.' But I'm sure some of your players will appreciate the extra detail.


Book 4 has an encounter with a portion of the bleak gate and material plane superimposed as well.
EDIT: And book 5 has the gatecrasher charm.
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My worry is that even after something destroys the main smuggling route, my intelligent players may very well duplicate the means of getting into the between-the-veils state, especially as it seems so useful for sneaking about. Preparing for that was worth the 15 minutes of thought this took.


Taking a deeper look at this, I think that you should be somewhat visible to both planes in steps 1 to 5. Additionally, each method of transferring to the bleak gate is fundamentally different.
  • The smuggling route only has things transfer after passing all six rings within a certain time or it snaps back to the material plane. Here, it takes 6 steps to push something to the bleak gate using only effort from the material plane side.
  • In book 4, the fight where creatures in both planes can see and interact with creatures within the circle is somewhat the opposite of what you have for step 3. Creatures within the circle can only see the plane they are in outside of the circle. Within the circle, both planes are commingled, but an extra item is needed to transfer a creature to the Bleak Gate.
  • In book 5, the gatecrasher charm takes you to somewhere around step 4/5, but you snap back without assistance from the other side within a certain amount of time. Even then, you are visible to the Material plane.
My suggestion would be to take a second look at these events along with the fight in book 2. My thoughts
  • Creatures should be at least somewhat visible to both planes in all steps but 0 and 6.
  • Creatures should have vision into the other plane that is the inverse of how others can see them. In book 4, the vision in the other plane does not extend beyond the circle.
  • Most methods of transport don't use 6 steps. That is only needed when all of the effort is passive and comes from one side.


As for snapping back to your origin plane (after a minute, an hour, etc), I feel that is more a function of the specific magic being used rather than how far transitioned into another plane the subject is.

The specific encounter in book 4 (and similar ones in later books) use a different mechanic that doesn't transition between planes. Instead, it overlaps both planes into the same space. I believe this is why the visual distance is so sharply defined. Outside that distance, subjects are solely in their origin plane, step 0 or 6.

I don't see anything that implies a gatecrasher charm leaves you visible in the material plane. From its use as an escape mechanism and the description that it took the user "most of the way into the Bleak Gate", I assumed it made them disappear from the material plane.

The invisibility starting at step 3 was based on the Dying Skyseer's description "They wait [...] partially in the
Bleak Gate and invisible to normal eyes" (Book 2, page 48, 3e/PF edition). Since the 'they' described have no other means of invisibility, I attributed this to their place in the veil.

Perhaps to counter this assessment, those same folk in Book 2 have the ability to interact with the material world.

My planned change is to assume they are at step 3 and wearing the same iron amulets present in book 2. This would negate the need for "temporary magical amulets that let them phase through the bars," and they would simply remove their iron amulets after passing the bars and traps and thus become corporeal. The rest of the encounter could proceed normally.

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