You conjure a portal linking an unoccupied space you’ll see within range to a particular location on a special plane of existence. The portal may be a circular opening, which you’ll make 5 to 20 feet in diameter. You’ll orient the portal in any direction you select. The portal lasts for the duration.
The portal features a front and a back on each plane where it appears. Travel through the portal is feasible only by moving through its front. Anything that does so is instantly transported to the opposite plane, appearing within the unoccupied space nearest to the portal.
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 60 feet
- Components: V S M (A diamond worth at least 5,000 GP)
- Duration: Concentration, Up to 1 minute
- Classes: Cleric, Sorcerer, Wizard
The first is that there are two introductions. You’re told by the High King (through boxed text and dot points) to assist the gnomes. Then, within the next episode, you’re told by the gnomes what your task is. I’ve made this error in my writing also (see The Mysterious Isle, where SEER gives you an initial briefing, then you get another from the ocean elves after traveling to satisfy them – oops!) It’s tons of text where the characters don’t get to try to too much. Briefings are often fun, but not if they keep happening and on.
The second is that the initial search of the gnome warrens has too many locations and not enough clues. The essential idea is solid, and there are clues to be found, but after a touch, you can’t keep telling the players “you find more dead gnomes that were stabbed within the back” without them getting frustrated at the shortage of progress. Also, despite the briefing saying that the warrens were isolationist, they’re entirely too happy to ascertain the characters (and seem to be doing tons of trading between themselves in any case). It doesn’t track that well. It’s not that they’re isolationist; instead, they like living underground and don’t just like the surface and don’t trust people that live there.
The third is the final dungeon, which features a total of fourteen areas. It’s not linear, and this suggests some groups might only explore four locations, while other groups explore everything, causing quite a little bit of variance in time taken. The dungeon works better than the warrens, as each of its areas adds to the story, but the ultimate encounter lacks a correct boss. I’d rather have a lesser boss to fight, and thus a far better sense of closure, than a thought that something happening “> is occurring without really knowing what’s going on.
Now, despite these niggles, the essential story and encounters are good, so, with touch work, you’ll improve the pacing and have a memorable adventure. The issues tend to stem from an excessive amount of material to hide instead of insufficient, which usually is less complicated to mend.
The basics of Gate to the Unknown are that the deep gnomes have a drag – aliens are killing their folk within the underground caverns – and that they need you to seek out where those creatures are coming from and stop them.