A portal was a two-dimensional, often up to 15 feet (4,6 meters) circle, but not limited to it both in size and shape, area that was both intangible and invisible. Due to this, a freestanding archway of some kind usually was built to identify the location of a portal, so those who could not detect magical auras did not stumble into them accidentally. It was impossible to visually find out a portal's destination. For example, sticking one's head into that field to find out the destination was impossible, for touching a portal activated it.
One way to find out the location of a portal was to cast detect magic. The magical aura of a functional portal was much stronger than that whose uses were completely exhausted. Finding out more about a portal required an analyze portal spell.
Portals were magical transportation devices. When somebody touched the two-dimensional field, that person was affected by a greater teleport effect towards a pre-set destination. This was the reason why the "sticking the head through"-method to find out the destination. Creatures could enter and be transported by a portal, as long as they could pass through them, and objects could not. For example, one could not shoot arrows through a portal, they would not just not pass through, but bounce off. An exception to this no-object-rule were those objects carried by creatures passing through a portal. However, even this had a limit of 850 pounds (386 kilograms) and the definition of "carried" was anything touched. This weight limit had the peculiarity that an object that was touched by several creatures dropped the amount of objects the creatures could carry by its weight for all and not just for one. The limit on how many creatures could pass through a portal was the one that the builder set and the usual limit was as many creatures as wanted to pass through.
A portal could only send a person to its destination, but not back. Quite often, people built directly at the destination a second portal to effectively create a two-way-portal.
Destroying a portal was very difficult. Disintegrate or other physical means were not means by which a portal could be destroyed. Successfully using dispel magic could stop the working of a portal for up to twenty four seconds. It required a Mordenkainen's disjunction spell to turn a portal permanently non-functional. Another means was the gate seal spell. A tool to manipulate and glean information from portals was a staff of portals. A tool to destroy a portal was a portal demolisher.
There were some special types of portals:
- Creature-Only Portals
- Creature-only portals were what they sounded like. Only creatures could pass through them, their clothes or other equipment could not, those simply stayed behind while the body moved on. A variety that was hard to create allowed both creatures and equipment to pass through the same portal, but the body and equipment reached different destinations.
- Keyed Portals
- It happened quite often that portals were keyed. This meant that the created portal could only be used if a special condition was met. Such conditions could be ones that needed to be met by the user, like being a member of a specific race, or ones that needed to be met otherwise like specific time. Keyed portals needed to be activated and remained so for six seconds. Once activated, anybody could use it during its activation by touching the portal, even without fulfilling the criteria. For example, the Ched Nasad portal could only be activated by drow who were male and not divine spellcasters. When it came to the surface end, it was only possible to activate it while the sun was set. A tool that allowed a person to activate any keyed portal, even without knowledge of its key, was a universal key.
- Impassable Portals
- Impassable portals were not passable for anything. An impassable portal differentiated from most portals in that it could be used like a window to the destination nobody could reach, while normal portals gave off no information about its destination.
- Nonliving-Only Portals
- A nonliving-only portal was one that allowed only nonliving material through. It was the only type of portals that allowed nonliving things to pass through without a living creature carrying it.
- Random Portals
- A random portal's randomness lay in its activation time. It was random and even when a person hit upon a random portal that was in its activation time, it could be impossible to use, because one lacked the proper key. There was one pattern for a random portal that was quite common. It was one that worked for a random number of creatures between seven and twelve and once the random number went through the portal stopped working for a random time up to six days.
- Transparent Portals
- Transparent portals were portals whose destination could be seen.
- Variable Portals
- Variable portals were portals with more than one set destination. These portals were considered dangerous to those who were not familiar with them. The reason was that the multiple destinations could change according to a pattern or at random depending on how they were created. A possible danger, which aforementioned people with no familiarity could encounter was that the portal was set to transport a person with the proper key to the actually intended destination while sending people without the proper key to a dangerous location like the inside of a volcano.
A portal's magic was very durable, but it was subject to wear. Portals could also be influenced by global magical catastrophes. Such portals started to malfunction. Malfunctioning portals were generally a century or older. When such a malfunctioning continuous portal was activated, the portal could start to show its malfunctions and applied such effects for up to a minute. Possible malfunctions were that the portal did not apply a greater teleport but a greater dispel magic effect to either the user or the user's magic items. When the former happened, the target was the user and could lose magical effects he or she was benefiting from. When the latter happened, what the portal did was draining the magic items of magic to power itself, the magic items stopped working for a short time, when it came to charge-based magic items, they lost charges. Another effect that could happen was that the user was shoved off as though he or she suffered a telekinesis effect. Another possible effect was that the portal spilled either and inflict serious wounds or cure serious wounds out against the user.
Even when the portal sent somebody off, it could send somebody to a wrong place. However, about half the time, a portal worked properly and one could further stabilize it with a portal stabilization spell or by applying special portal-related stabilization skills.
- Portal Seepage
- Portal seepage was an occurrence that accompanied malfunctioning portals. It happened when portals grew old and their magic started to deteriorate. Portal seepage happened often to malfunctioning portals that were more than a millennium old and was an often encountered problem in the Lowerdark. What happened was that qualities of the portal's destination like planar qualities started to affect the origin point too.
The creation of a portal was formerly believed to require specific portal-knowledge, but it turned out that they could be created by anybody who could create wondrous items. However, having specific knowledge still helped to cut the costs of creation by half. The creation required one of the following spells: teleport, greater teleport, teleportation circle, or gate. It was also a very costly process. A default portal, meaning one-way, always active, and of 10 feet (3 meters) radius, cost 50,000 gp, a large part of the creator's personal essence, and one hundred days. When creating a portal, the creator needed to set a destination. Any place could be this destination, as long as it fulfilled two criteria. First, it needed to be a place where the creator had been at least once. Second, it needed to be a place where travel via the Astral Plane was possible, this was due to the nature of teleportation spells in general.
As mentioned above, a so called two-way portal was actually not one portal but two portals, one being built on the other's destination point. Creating a second portal on the destination point cost half the amount of money to create the first one, more personal essence, and fifty days or more in time.
As mentioned above, a standard portal was created with a 10 feet (3 meters) radius, but could be as small as 6 inches (15 centimeters) in radius. As a rule of thumb, portals that were bigger than the aforementioned 10 feet in radius cost more for every 300 square feet fraction by another 100% in monetary cost.
Turning a portal into an impassable one or keying and randomizing a portal incurred no additional costs, but adding more destinations than one increased the cost by a fourth for every additional destination, when it came to creature-only portals, the cost was actually doubled. Those creature-only portals that sent equipment and body to different destinations incurred costs like a creature-only portal with one additional destination and were very costly. When it came to nonliving-only portals, the cost was four times as high as a normal one. Turning a portal transparent cost a flat 50,000 gp.
The creation of a portal with limited number of usages was a cost-saving measure. A continuously active portal and one that could be used five times per day cost the same. It cost less as less frequently the portal could be used. A portal could be created to work even less frequently than once per day dropping the cost even further, but this had a limit. A portal that allowed travel once a tenday was the limit, portals that worked even less frequently could be still created, there was simply no saving regarding the costs.
A lot of people created portals in Toril's history. Due to the durable nature of this magic, Toril had portals in the hundreds by 1372 DR. However, quite often, the purpose and usage instructions went lost over time alongside their creators. Therefore, portals were considered both mysterious and unpredictable.
— Graffiti on a portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire
Portals existed throughout the Underdark. Entire networks were the primary means people moved around in the Realms Below. Such a portal's location was often made clear by means of archways, columns, or simple stone piles, if it was part of a trade route. A site with a portal often had graffiti carved or written. Graffiti provided from time to time information about the portal's nature or its destination, albeit not always in a clear manner.
One group of people who sought the destruction of interplanar portals were the incantatars. They did not want creatures from foreign planes enter theirs and so viewed as their duty to destroy as many interplanar connections as possible. That said, they were a font of knowledge for portals in general. The existence of spells developed by mages from other planes like Otto's irresistible dance or Tenser's transformation was accredited to interplanar portals.
The elfgates were portals that could teleport things to and from Evermeet.
- Elion to Evereska
- One side of this gate was on a hill about a mile above the palace of Seiveril Miritar near Elion in northern Evermeet. It was in a broad glade and consisted of three old stone markers. The other side was a plaza in Evereska.
- Moonwood to Evereska
- The Evereskan side of this gate lay high in the northern Shaeradim surrounding Evereska, and consisted of a stone marker covered in Espruar runes beside a waterfall beneath a stone cliff. The other side of the gate linked to a northerly outpost of Sharrven before it became a ruin.
These were teleportation spires created by the Imaskari.
A shadow portal was a naturally occurring portal like one of the vortices. The difference was that it did not connect to one of the Inner Planes but to the Shadowfell. Technically, these were simple planar holes towards the Shadowfell and not portals, but they worked like portals. About four fifth of them were two-way portals and the other one fifth were one-way portals They were always active and did not need to be specifically activated. They were a specific feature of the Lowerdark and were more common as deeper one went.
Much rarer than normal portals, a few time gates existed throughout Faerûn. They were physically similar to other portals, but transported an individual not through space, but into a different time.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 59. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 59. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 72. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 77. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 60. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 75. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (2002-04-03). “One-Way Portals in Amn:The Dusty Rat”. Perilous Gateways. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2003-08-14. Retrieved on 2019-03-02.
- ↑ Ramon Arjona (2002-11-13). “Dark Elf Portals: The Ched Nasad Portal”. Perilous Gateways. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2004-02-16. Retrieved on 2016-07-16.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 52. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 52–53. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 61. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 60. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 53, 120. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 61. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ Richard Baker (August 2004). Forsaken House. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 197. ISBN 0-7869-3260-0.
- ↑ Richard Baker (August 2004). Forsaken House. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 199. ISBN 0-7869-3260-0.
- ↑ Richard Baker (August 2004). Forsaken House. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 232–233. ISBN 0-7869-3260-0.
- ↑ Wolfgang Baur (November 1993). Secrets of the Lamp. Genie Lore. (TSR, Inc.), p. 10. ISBN 978-1560766476.
- ↑ David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A DM Guide to the Planes. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-1560768340.
- ↑ Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 120. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.