Sunday, September 24, 2017

Moon Gates & Other Portals

Mysterious portals to other worlds, and dimensions, are a staple of fantasy, and science fiction. Whether technological, or mystical, these structures allow individuals to travel from their home-world to another realm, in order to have grand adventures. It is only natural that gaming campaigns would include such a useful story mechanism. In campaign use, Portals can be used to link familiar oft-used locations on the same world, or connect to one-off adventure locations elsewhere. This opens up convenient ways for DMs to drop their players into any setting of their choice, even different genre milieus of other games!

One type of Moongate from Ultima

In the early 80's, Judges Guild released a series of "Portals" adventures, Portals of Torsh (1980), Portals of Irontooth (1981), Portals of Twilight (1981). Each adventure taking place in another location where some of the basic "rules", or way of life, are significantly different from what the player characters may be used to. Portals of Torsh took place in a world where dinosaurs had evolved into the dominant humanoid species. Portals of Irontooth was set in a world where Rust Monsters were prolific, making metal items an endangered resource, and metal working practically non-existent. Portals of Twilight is set on the planet, Halfworld, a world similar to our moon, half light and half shadow, with only a narrow strip of land that's habitable.

A Stargate from the television series of the same name

In our home campaign, we have several gate systems in play, but one of the most ancient, and mysterious, are the Moon Gates. No-one is certain where the Moon Gates originated, who built them, or even why, though there is no end to the speculations. All that is known about these mysterious structures is that each one links the world of men to another realm, whether it be an alternate world, or an alien dimension. The means to activating a particular portal are a secret that seem to be discovered, lost, and rediscovered again, sometimes seemingly as if the Moon Gates themselves want someone to open them.

There is no end to the variety of gateways a DM may have in their worlds. They don't all have to look, behave, or even open the same. The following are some of the various ways different gateways have been controlled in our home campaign.

  • Gateway only opened at a certain time and place, during which some sort of celestial alignment took place.
  • Portal was opened and controlled by a magical (technological) artifact.
  • Inter-dimensional rift was opened after performing a specified ritual and making the appropriate offering.
  • Runestone was part of a larger network of teleportational way-points.
  • Several similar gates were activated by magical pieces of jewelry (specific rings or medallions).


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm familiar with your work, you wicked naughty man. I salute you.