655 The Planar Gateway – Lv 3 Shadowdark Adventure

Be mindful of the seemingly impossible promise of the endless planes. Anything can be found in the ether. Including your untimely and unnecessary death.

Annals of the Eternal Planes

The study of the planes is a subject that capti­vates the minds of mages, scholars, elves, and dragons. The infinite worlds out there and the endless possibilities entice them all albeit for varied reasons. Knowledge, greed, and curiosity are some of the most popular. The journey between worlds is difficult though not impossible; advanced knowledge of magic and/or the construction of arcane devices are required to keep planar gates operational. In this adven­ture, the characters meet Aaden, an elvish mage, who built a gate in what once was his family’s sepulcher, near Respite Cove, a small human settlement.

The gate opened after decades of work. Like-minded individuals soon joined Aaden in his academic pursuit of studying the outer planes. They came and went while the human settlements around the place were born and grew. It all stopped suddenly 15 years ago when the gate’s usage attracted a demon. Desperately, Aaden used the machine to trap both the demon and himself in the ether. Thus, thwarting the demon from crossing over.

Adventure Hooks

The Planes. The characters require access to a pla­nar gate to continue their quest. They learn that the gate near Respite Cove was operational recently.

Earl’s Request. In Respite Cove, Earl Baggran offers a bounty for reactivating the planar gate. The earl’s goals with this, however, remain obscure (30 gp, 4 XP).

Greed. The closed-off planar gate near Respite Cove is said to be guarded by foul guardians. However, the locals believe a great treasure lies hidden therein.

RUMORS d6 Details
1 Mages operated the planar gate decades ago until they disappeared. Now the compound is shunned by all.
2 Otherworldly creatures look for the gate sporadically.
3 Some people dared enter the place months ago. They claimed dead creatures drove them off the premises.
4 The gate was built by an elven mage named Aaden.
5 3 years ago, skeletons emerged from the facility. Six peo­ple died stopping them. They are remembered as heroes.
6 No one knows why the planar gate was closed off.

Level 3 Adventure

  • Risky. Check for encounters every 2 crawling rounds and after a battle or loud noises (1-in-6 chance).
  • Light. Some chambers have braziers with permanent light; the rest are dark. Denizens are dark-adapted.
  • Doors. All doors have a 2-in-6 chance of being either stuck or locked (DC 14 DEX or STR check).
  • The Gate. As the demon tries to overpower the gate’s mechanism to cross over, the gate suddenly malfunc­tions. Sparks fly about and strange sounds come from it.
1 Gate malfunction, 3 skeletons emerge and attack.
2 1d6 peasants approach. They are here to activate the gate and collect the earl’s bounty. Half carry weapons.
3 An elf soldier approaches, he claims a distant ancestor is buried in this sepulcher and wishes to pay his respects.
4 Gate malfunction, an explosion shakes the compound. Creatures within 10 feet of the gate take 1d6 damage.
5 Gate malfunction, all light sources in the dungeon, magi­cal or not, are suddenly extinguished indefinitely.
6 A swarm of spiders emerges from cracks in the wall.
7 An elvish wight approaches chanting nonsense.
8 Gate malfunction, Aaden is freed. He appears in area 2 and then attempts to destroy the gate’s machinery.

1. Entrance Hall

A stone archway near the forest, inscribed in elvish runes leads to a 40-foot-long stairway and into an entrance chamber decorated with intricate reliefs.

  • Getting Here. The road from Respite Cove to the el­vish burial place by the forest is a 2-hour, uneventful trip.
  • The Runes. It takes 1 crawling round to decipher the elvish writing, it reads: ‘Here lie our ancestors. Loved ones of the Dallerei, Migganna, and Aarley households’.
  • The Reliefs. Careful observers notice that the origi­nal reliefs of family sigils were carved over (DC 15 INT check). The new imagery portrays an intricate orrery of spheres orbiting one another. A knowledgeable person knows that the arrangement represents the position and movement of the outer planes (DC 15 INT check).

2. The Planar Gate

An arrangement of concentric 1-foot-tall daises and rune-inscribed platforms dominates the chamber. A stone table features scrolls and tomes in disarray.

The planar gate is currently disabled. A wizard can spend 1 crawling round reviewing the documentation on the table to discover that it is necessary to charge the device’s arcane batteries in area 3 (DC 12 INT check).

  • Activation. After charging the batteries, four people must stand on the circles while a wizard conducts the ritual (DC 13 INT check). Failure on this check triggers a roll on the Wizard Mishap table but all successful at­tempts activate the gate. The portal opens as a window in the air. The elf mage Aaden is thrown out. The gate demon steps through a moment later. Aaden (lv-3 wiz­ard) is confused but manages to bellow: ‘What have you utter fools done?’. He aids the characters in this fight.
  • Treasure (4 XP). Defeating the demon opens access to the planar gate. Aaden carries a staff of healing.

3. The Arcane Batteries

Seven clay containers on a stone shelf lie under iron faucet-like tubes that go into the wall. A magic circle glows with faint light in the middle of the chamber.

  • The Batteries. Each vase is a battery. Operating the valves in areas 6 and 9 causes acid to pour into the clay vessels. A spellcaster must focus their arcane power into magic circle to charge the vases (DC 11 INT).
  • Treasure (1 XP). The chest in the east area 3 cham­ber contains 30 gp and a potion of healing.

4. West Sepulcher

This area contains three chambers with stone sarcoph­agi and countless scattered bones. The bones have been reanimated numerous times by the gate’s malfunctions.

  • Ambush. While exploring the area, four skeletons rise from the inert remains and attack mercilessly.
  • Treasure (1 XP). The coffins contain 25 gp, 200 sp, a set of chainmail, and 1 potion of healing.

5. Aaden’s Archive

The bones of a large creature lie scattered between a packed bookcase and a closed sarcophagus.

  • The Bones. Closer inspection reveals that the bones belonged to a minotaur (DC 12 INT check).
  • The Documents. If reviewed for 1 crawling round, Aaden journals mention he once had a minotaur body­guard. It is revealed that the scholars chose to ignore the fact that the portal’s continued use attracted the at­tention of demons looking to invade the Material Plane.

6. West Valve Room

The sparsely-furnished chamber contains two book­cases and a pair of rotating valves by the far wall.

  • The Valves. Operating the valves causes acid to flow in area 3 (west) to ready the batteries for charging.
  • Glyph of Fire. Inspecting the stuff on the bookcases for 1 crawling round eventually leads to a character han­dling a cursed book with an explosive glyph. Upon touch­ing the book, it starts glowing red for a few seconds be­fore blowing up. Creatures within 10 feet of it take 2d6 fire damage unless they get behind cover (DC 14 DEX).
  • Treasure (2 XP). An obsidian case hidden behind a pile of books contains a jewel of barbalt.

7. East Sepulcher

This area contains three chambers with limestone sar­cophagi. Unlike area 4, there are no bodily remains scat­tered across the cracked stone floor.

  • Tomb-Robbers. The stone lids are shut with mortar. A crowbar or chisel can be used to crack open the enclo­sures (DC 11 STR check, 1 crawling round). Four skel­etons emerge from the sarcophagi if this happens.
  • Treasure (0 XP). Collectively, the sarcophagi contain 4 gp, 90 sp, a dagger, and a silver mirror.

8. Tomb of the Ancestor

A carved sarcophagus stands by the wall. A tarnished bronze plaque under it reads ‘Lord Yann Dallerei’.

  • The Pilgrim. An elvish soldier named Yedde Dallerei stands by the enclosure unless the characters have al­ready encountered him from Random Encounter 3. Yed­de is here to pay his respects to this distant relative. The elf’s disposition toward the characters may vary (Reac­tion check), roll with disadvantage if Yedde notices the characters carrying any items stolen from the tombs.
  • Treasure (5 XP). Lord Yann Dallerei’s sarcophagus contains 60 gp and a sword of the ancients. However, Yedde is severely insulted if the characters attempt to plunder his ancestor’s tomb. The elf fights to avoid this profanation but leaves if defeat is inevitable. One day, Yedde returns to exact his revenge upon the characters.

9. East Valve Room

A blade and some vials rest on three stone plinths. A pair of rotating steel valves await by the far wall.

  • The Valves. One valve is stuck (DC 14 STR check). Operating the valves causes acid to flow in area 3 (east) to ready the arcane batteries for charging.
  • The Trinkets. The shortsword is rusted and bears an elvish-making rune. The 4 vials contain an acidic sub­stance. There is enough to destroy a single door lock.

Defeating the demon awards the characters access to the planar gateway. It is a complex device that may aid them in their adventures. If Aaden survives, he may even help the characters understand this apparatus.


The open portal is a rip through the fabric of space and time. It can be used to access the worlds beyond.

Usage. Four sentient beings are required to open the portal. One of them must be a Wizard. The activation ritual is automatic after the first time it is performed.

Benefit. The characters can travel to other planes of ex­istence. The rip between worlds stays open for 1 day.

Demonic Entities. Each time the portal is used, there is a 1-in-20 chance of attracting one gate demon.


A horned being of ether-infused malignity. The semi-cor­poreal demon is mostly made of otherworldly matter.

AC 14, HP 28, ATK 1 horn +4 (2d6 + impale), MV near (hover), S +3, D +1, C +3, I +0, W +2, Ch +0, AL C, LV 5

Incorporeal. In place of attacks, become corporeal or incorporeal.

Impale. DC 14 STR or target takes 1d6 damage.

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