The Nightmare Gates

Magical Location: Nightmare Gate (mechanically adapted from Secrets of Xen'drik, page 142)


The war between the Titans and the Dragon Gods occured during the Third Age of Therafim. Though the Titans had been saved from the wrath of The Fallen Ones by the return of the prieviously sleeping Dragon Deities, the very deities they cried out for in their desperation…they rejected the deities rule and declared outright war upon them as soon as The Fallen Ones were banished to their starry lamp-like prisons in the Heavens.

It was during this age that The Umnos The Watcher was called into existence, the manifestation of the divine barrier between worlds. He would stand forever as a powerful servant of the gods to ensure balance between worlds and guard against the return of The Fallen. However…he would unknowingly upset that balance himself, when he mistakenly fell asleep. He dreamed only once, and had a Nightmare Like No other. Given life this divine nightmare declared himself "The Nightmare King" and sought to steal knowledge, secrets, power and power from the pantheon. The Dragon gods had slept before. They would sleep again, and when they did- he would ensure they would never wake again.

The Nightmare King constructed a series of "Nightmare Gates" intending to use these gateways to enter the dreams of any beings he desired, as well as bring forth anything dreamt into reality. With these gates he would conquer and subdue not only the gods, but also the mortal beings who would sleep but had not yet come into existence. He knew they would be in the comming Fourth Age, forseeing the future. He constructed these gates not on land in the Age when gods walked the land, but at the ocean bottom and in the darkest caverns where he believed they would remain hidden. This is how he acquired his affinity for Water and the lightless depths. It was there that he imbued many strange but otherwise harmless creatures with evil intelligence, allowing them to develop into Kuo-Toa, Sahuagin, and other races.

Umnos, seeking to rectify his mistake, hunted down and attacked The Nightmare King- but he escaped losing not his head to Umnos Scythe, but only his foot in his legendary flight. Such is the origin of his UnHoly symbol. The Nightmare King fled Therafim into the Underworld where in a successful campaign, he would use his affinities and come to dominate The Styx. With his control of the river he hoped he would gain influence over all Evil in the universe. Umnos returned from the sea and ascended to the Heavens, but the so well hidden Nightmare Gates would go unnoticed. The dragons returned to their slumber. Just as planned.

In the Fourth Age yet another war would begin. The War of Division. Good and Evil gods would war, and while Umnos worked to keep the number of planar servitors in check -mortal beings would call forth many, many more. As god of The Styx, the Nightmare King was not a direct participant, but in the process he supplied The Demon Princes, Lords of The Nine, and enterprising Yugoloths with resources and in turn gained many resources. So it is written of The War of Division "Its horrors remain etched into parts of the landscape of Therafim to this day. The war lasted for centuries, and sunk an entire continent beneath the waves, besides spreading rampant devastation across the whole of the land." It was now that The Nightmare King was ready to open his gates…but something went wrong. The slumbering dragons awoke too soon. Stirred by the devastation they called out to Io and Umnos who would forver seal Therafim. So it is written that Io made his servant Umnos a god himself and bestowed him unlimited "power over these barriers between planes, so that he could act as the deity over passages and gateways. Besides the power to bar the way between worlds, as well as between life and death, and time and space, Umnos was given the service of the Inevitables, the divine constructs who carry out the will of Fate, to ensure that his will was made reality."

The gods would never walk Therafim again, and their influence was greatly reduced. The Nightmare Gates are now forever closed, but they are holy places to those mortals who know The Nightmare King's name. They meditate under these unholy archways and tap into the tiniest ebb and flow of power that still slips through the doors. Deifacted architecture, they can neither be removed nor destroyed by mortal magic. No gods walk Therafim that might sunder them, but because of Umnos restrictions on the flow of divine power, even all The Nightmare King's clerics in the world could not channel enough energy to open them.

Lore (Planes)

Characters can gain the following pieces of information about a Nightmare Gate by making successful Knowledge (the planes) or bardic knowledge checks at the appropriate DCs, as given below.

DC 10: Through the Ages of Therafim there have been numerous wars. With the rise of The Watcher, came the rise of The Nightmare King.

DC 15: During the war, The Nightmare King hoped to use these gates to gain power over the sleeping dragons and the mortal races of Therafim by entering their minds to influence them, and calling forth the horrors of their imagination as reality.

DC 25: The Nightmare Gates still remain, but they are forever closed. Those who encounter them are stricken with horrible Nightmares as they partially pass into the darkest part of the dreamlands and often manifest mysterious powers afterward.


A Nightmare Gate appears as a massive archway of irregularly shaped stone. Green mold grows in its many pits and cracks. The archway is apart of a large dais with steps hewn into it. Creatures approaching a Nightmare gate become aware of a twist in reality. Colors seem unnaturally bright or juxtaposed next to areas of black and white. Trees seem bent and warped as if reflected in rippled water. Bird calls sound out backward, and the sun appears to move in the wrong direction. The area for 300 feet around a Nightmare Gate carries a feeling of altered reality. The landscape appears dreamlike from its long association with the Region of Dreams (though the area undergoes no physical change). Creatures that do not dream (such as elves, and warforged) and creatures immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities see nothing unusual.

Prerequisite: Only a creature with a Wisdom score of 8 or higher can activate a Nightmare Gate. Creatures that do not dream and creatures immune to mind-affecting spells and abilities cannot activate a Nightmare Gate, but they take no damage from it, either.

Location Activation: To access the power of a Nightmare Gate, a character must move through the arch. A character doing so takes 1d6 points of Wisdom damage and disappears for three rounds, during which time he appears to those on the outside as a ghostly image that has been plunged into a terrifying nightmare.

Recharge: Once a Nightmare Gate has conferred a bonus to a character, it cannot affect another creature for one year.

Special Ability (Ps): A character who passes through a Nightmare Gate can thereafter blur the line between dreams and reality. Once per day, he can manifest False Sensory Input (EPH 106) as a psi-like ability with a manifester level equal to his character level. A creature that does not dream cannot be targeted with this power.

Duration: The conferred ability lasts for one year.

Aura: Moderate telepathy
Ability Value: 8000gp