Gate was a conjuration spell that connected two planes for two-way travel or the summoning and control of creatures or beings of great power to aid the caster. Older versions of this spell allowed one-way travel for a named entity and requested their help rather than commanding it.
The early versions of this spell required the caster to call out the name of the being they wished to contact and ask for their aid. The gate spell then opened a temporary one-way portal near the named entity allowing them, or perhaps their designated representative, to step through into the presence of the caster. Deities and other uniquely powerful individuals could prevent such portals from opening near them, but they were always aware of the request for help. What stepped through the gate and what action it took depended on a great number of factors including the alignment of the caster, the alignment or character of the caster's companions, the nature of the threat to the caster, and the exigency of the situation.
Asking for extraplanar aid was not to be done on a whim: this spell aged the caster by five years and the aid usually came with an additional price. If the situation was deemed trivial or unworthy of the named entity, it might have exacted some punishment or penalty on the caster and then returned to its plane of origin. If the status was deemed interesting or important but not urgent, some bargaining for the entity's service might have ensued. If the circumstances were dire and immediate, the entity might have taken appropriate action and then named a price later.
The newer version of this spell was much more forceful in its summons and also could be used for interplanar travel:
Similar to the plane shift spell, gate allowed two-way passage between two different planes of existence but was very precise, connecting two specific points exactly. Beings who were powerful enough to control a realm could prevent the opening of a gate within their demesne or near their person if they wished. The temporary portal lasted only as long as the caster maintained concentration on it and never longer than a few seconds per experience level of the caster. Anyone or anything, including most magical spell effects, entering the gate were instantly transported to the other plane. A gate filling a hallway was an extremely effective barrier, diverting almost any form of attack into the destination plane (and possibly angering the residents).
If a creature type or a specific creature was named as part of the casting of this spell, the gate opened up in close proximity to the desired creature(s) (subject to the limits imposed by deities and the like, which could not be compelled to enter the gate against their will) and pulled them through into the presence of the caster whether they were willing or not. The gate subsequently closed, allowing no other passage. Deities had to be bargained with, but lesser creatures were under the control of the caster and could either be commanded to perform an immediate task for no reward lasting no longer than a few seconds per experience level of the caster, or offered terms for a longer period of servitude or for performing a more complex task. The terms of the contract had to be fair and reasonable to both parties and formed a bond between them. Upon completion of the terms of service, the creature(s) immediately appeared before the caster and payment was due at that time. If full payment was not made, the caster was then forced to serve the injured party (or its master) which could do as they wished, including attack. After the resolution of the contract the creature or creatures were free to return to their plane of origin.
Instead of aging the caster, calling creatures with this version of gate cost him or her a significant amount of life experience. One large and/or very tough creature could be summoned and controlled by this spell, or several smaller/weaker creatures, but the caster was advised to know beforehand if he or she had enough experience to control all that was summoned. Any uncontrolled creature was free to return to its home plane, might or might not bargain, and could act according to its reason and instincts, making this form of gate a very dangerous spell to cast.
The gate itself was circular with a diameter of 5 to 20 ft (1.5 to 6.1 m) as specified by the caster and could be placed at any convenient angle and location within 100 ft (30 m) plus 5 ft (1.5 m) per experience level. It had an active side and a passive side. The active side looked like a perfect window into the other plane and anything (matter or magic) that entered the active side was instantly transported to the other plane. Anything that entered the passive side was ignored by the gate.
Only verbal and somatic components were required to cast this spell, but there was a price for summoning a creature. The older version aged the caster by five years whereas the newer version cost a significantly large amount of life experience.
When used to call an air, chaotic, earth, evil, fire, good, lawful, or water creature, this spell became a spell of that type. For example, gate was a chaotic and evil spell when used to call a demon.
The Netherese arcanist Valdick was given the credit for the creation of this spell in 2037 NR (−1822 DR), when it was called Valdick's gate. Gate was a common spell in the Realms in the 1360s DR. This spell was used as a component in the creation of a portal.
- Gate (priest) article at the Baldur's Gate Wiki, a wiki for the Baldur's Gate games.
- Gate (wizard) article at the Baldur's Gate Wiki, a wiki for the Baldur's Gate games.
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