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The Pellucid Sphere

by Adamantyr

Appearance: This artifact appears to be a solid sphere fashioned of a mirror-like metal, roughly 1' in diameter. The surface reflects all light and darkness perfectly. Along the circumference and axis are two narrow bands about 1" wide with slightly translucent symbols of unknown origin. These bands can be moved if a finger is moved along them, rotating the symbols around the circumference. The sphere is cool to the touch and pristine; no fingerprints or any foreign matter sticks to its surface.

History: The Pellucid Sphere is one of the most powerful and least well-known artifacts of Mystara. It was constructed by the four Immortal Hierarchs Ka, Ixion, Ordana, and Korotiku long ago when the Hollow World was under construction. Although Immortal magic functioned without trouble between the outer and inner crusts, Korotiku had proposed that an artifact be fashioned so that the mortals who maintained the Lighthouse could travel quickly and easily between the two worlds. The result was the Pellucid Sphere.

The Entropic Immortal Atzanteotl had other plans, though. He arranged for a Schattenalfen elf party to raid the Lighthouse to retrieve the artifact. The raid was successful, although only one elf escaped alive with the sphere. However, he never returned to his people, and the sphere has been lost since. Some rumours hold that a Heldannic warship found the sphere and brought it to the outer world, another says it was sold to one of the pirate captains of the Merry seas, and was lost overboard in a storm. All the Immortals are very interested in recovering the artifact for their own designs, although it is well known the Hierarchs will want it returned to the Lighthouse eventually.

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral. Although the sphere is not evil or good, as sentients perceive it, its power represents the twisting of laws, the breaking of the World Shield itself. For this reason it is inherently chaotic in nature.

Minor Powers: The sphere acts as a continual light spell unless it is recharging, so long as it reflects a location that is bright. It all has the following spell-like abilities that it can use three times a day: dimension door, teleport, passwall, phase door, and teleport without error. These abilities are useable anywhere, including the Hollow World.

Major Powers: The greatest power of the Sphere is its ability to teleport to anywhere in the world of Mystara, either the outer or inner worlds. It can also teleport to either of Mystara's moons. This is accomplished by moving the two bands so that particular symbols align (There are far more symbols than the circumference suggests.) The two bands move automatically at an almost imperceptible rate as one moves with the sphere, the reflection upon its surface always mirroring it's location. If the bands are moved manually, the reflected surface changes to the location. It will shine even in absence of light. The two bands control the latitude and longitude of the sphere's location. The third control is not readily apparent; the two bands are also movable as a set, which will alter the location of the sphere to the Outer World, Hollow World, Matera, or Patera. (Although all of the last's locations will make the dome appear completely translucent, like a ball of glass.)

The teleportation power is invoked through empathic thought, and will teleport all living creatures within 30' radius of the sphere in a blinding dome of light that grows out of the sphere. The dome takes three rounds to reach maximum size, and acts as total anti-magic and is impervious to physical blows. It is possible during this process to alter the bands and change the location, although it is dangerous to do so. Any and all living beings within the dome must make a system shock roll or pass out for 1d6 turns upon being teleported. This power can only be used once a week; the sphere will be cold and dark as obsidian until it recharges.

Dangers: The sphere is a hated artifact of the Entropic Immortals, who had no part in its creation, as well as being coveted by many of the learned of both worlds. In addition, the Immortals of the other spheres all wish to return the sphere to the Lighthouse, where it originally was kept. Unless the owners hold the sphere with the permission and understanding of the Hierarchs, it is likely they will be facing many of their minions.

Corrupting Effects: Any who use the sphere more than three times will begin suffering from a displacement effect. Constitution will drop by one point each further time the sphere is used, these lost attributes can only be restored through a wish. The chaos of movement over vast distances will corrupt the user's mind, rendering them chaotic neutral after a fourth use and irrevocably mad if they persist in usage. (Make saving throws vs. paralysation after the fifth use, with a cumulative -1 penalty with each additional use. Failure means the user goes completely insane and becomes an NPC under the DM's control.)

Another problem is the sphere's effect upon the World Shield. Each time it is used to travel between the outer and hollow world it punches a hole through the shield, which has a 1% chance, cumulative for every use, to cause a massive earthquake in the crust which will be devastating to those close to the shield. Every decade of disuse will reduce this chance by 1%. The sphere has been inactive for some time, and is standing at 4%. The severity of the quakes increases as the percentage rises, and could cause great damage to both the outer and inner worlds. The Immortals will not allow the sphere to be used frequently enough to cause this.

If used to travel to Matera, the first immediate problem the user must deal with is the lack of air to breathe. If they are prepared, they can survive their initial trip, but Matera is also home to the city of Immortals, who will kindly but firmly relocate any errant mortals back to their own homelands. (Without the sphere.)

Travelling to Patera is extremely risky. Because of the crust composition that renders it's surface area invisible, even the sphere cannot accurately show the precise locations. Players stand a good chance of being teleported into a mountain or worse.

Suggested Means of Destruction: The sphere is one of the most powerful artifacts ever made, it is doubtful it could ever be destroyed on the Prime plane of Mystara.

Some ideas include:
Enveloping the sphere in a crucible of blackflame.
Throwing the sphere into the heart of the Hollow World sun.
Shatter the sphere against the Nucleus of the Spheres.