14 September 2018

Gateways to the Spirit Realm

There are two worlds overlaying each other, just an eye blink apart. Reality and the spirit world. Your mind wanders the spirit realm when you sleep and dream, but you can also cross the border between worlds corporeally, if you find the right place. Such a place is called a Gateway, and every Gateway has its Key - a password, a ritual, a price to pay.

Gateways are rather few and far between, but not rare enough to pose a problem for determined party. Note however that many movable Gateways will be in private collections of wizards or eccentric nobles, while some immovable Gateways might be guarded. There should be no widely known Gateways, as that robs them of their mystery.

Overusing a Gateway might be noticed on both sides: Maybe a king will want to prevent a Wild Hunt incursion, or will demand the Gateway for himself to scour the spirit world for valuables. Maybe some Folk will come to destroy the Gateway and prevent the influx of nuisances from the real world, of they will bring an army to start a Wild Hunt. It's just better to remain unseen.
by Bo Sibbern-Larsen

d20 Gateways and their Keys
  1. A full-length mirror. Stare at your reflection until it blinks and extends its hand towards you, then take its hand and walk through. You must give your reflection a single item of personal significance in payment.
  2. A fairy ring of mushrooms in the deep woods. Eat a mushroom and wait for the fairies. They will show you way through the ring to the other side, for a small price. A tooth or a finger segment should be enough.
  3. A circle of ancient stones. Cut your hand and smear each of the standing stones with 1 hp worth of your blood. Once you have completed the full circle, you will be in the spirit world.
  4. A dolmen creating a crude stone door. Meditate there in the night until you hear the voice of the ancient shaman buried there as a guide. He will lead you through once you pay the toll of [your HD] gp.
  5. A ley line crossing, the flow of magic raising your hair. Any creature with wizard vision will see the way and can pass through by burning a MD. Other creatures will need a caster to lead them and pay the price.
  6. A forgotten place in a large city. Get drunk with a specific, expensive liquor and wander the back alleys until you pass out. You will wake up in the spirit realm.
  7. A broken door in a ruined building. Give up a happy memory and they will open for you.
  8. Deep in a cave, put out the light and scream until the darkness responds. It wants fresh meat and blood for the passage of a whole group - a hireling or an animal will be enough.
  9. A beautiful wardrobe. Draw apart the clothes inside and step in with eyes closed. You will step out into the spirit world, but aged 1d6 years.
  10. An ancient tree, its branches festooned with poppets and fetishes. Create a fetish from twigs and hang it on the tree, then walk three times counterclockwise around the tree and you will find yourself in the spirit realm. However, sooner or later someone will present you with your fetish and ask you for a favour you cannot refuse.
  11. A rabbit hole. You will first have to catch the magical rabbit who can take you down this hole, and he hates people. Persuade, intimidate, or bribe him.
  12. An dry well lost in the middle of nowhere. Climb down and haggle with the monster that lives there. It likes stories, so either bring it a book, or tell it a tale interesting enough that it will show you the way. Boring stories will make it eat you.
  13. Follow a barely noticeable forest trail until you find an old crone sitting on a tree stump. She can guide you to the spirit world, but she'll want to guard your soul while you are on the other side. If you agree, you will gain no XP until you return to the crone and let her take you back to the real world. She actually keeps her word and will return your soul.
  14. Bake a pie from white flour, butter, apples and your semen or menstrual blood. Once you sit down to eat it, a stranger will ask you to share a piece. Eat the pie with them (it can be both a man and a woman, roll randomly), then have sex with them, and you will wake up in the spirit world.
  15. Smoke dreamweed. While this is one of the easiest Gateways to get through, you will instantly return back to the real world once the intoxication runs out. A dosage will give you only 1d6 hours in the spirit world and if you take another in less than a day, Save or fall into a coma from an overdose, permanently lost in the spirit realm.
  16. A quiet corner of a library. Take a look at the books, there will be one specifically for you. Put any magic scroll between its pages, then read. Once you get completely absorbed in the story, the scroll will disappear and you will be in the spirit realm.
  17. Whisper a short incantation into a rainstorm, then wait. A large, black coach will soon arrive, pulled by four headless horses and accompanied by thunder. If you have recently broken an oath or a promise, you can enter the coach and be taken to the spirit realm. Otherwise, it will just speed past you.
  18. A decrepit statue in a silent garden or a small graveyard. Stare at it until your eyes start to tear up, then blink. By the time your eyes open again, you will be in the spirit world, and the statue will have taken its toll - 1d4 points of a random attribute (those will return as any attribute damage).
  19. A key without door, a minor artifact you can find. Unlocks any door but doesn't lead to the other side of the door, but the other side of reality. Don't forget to take it with you before you close the door, or you will be stuck in the spirit realm without an easy way to return.
  20. Astral projection, just get a wizard to cast it for you. Easy as that.
Finally, you can always go deep underground, deeper than any normal cave. Once you have reached the Veins of the Earth, the veil between Reality and the spirit world will be frayed enough that ghosts will walk among men.

by Eytan Zana

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see you subscribe to the Arnold K. theory of Planar travel, in that "portals are boring" and that you should get to places by doing this. And this is a nice list. Very evocative, yet none of the tasks are so difficult I can imagine it causes a player to give up a quest.