Ancestral Portals & Pathways

Author: Michael Garrett

The Ethervale, the spiritual realm of the afterlife where ancestors reside, is a deceptively treacherous place to travel through. Most who end up in this place do so by accident, having unwittingly stumbled through one of the many crossings that can open during the long nights in the Maw. There are other ways to reach this plane, should adventurers be brave and foolish enough to so: certain spells can open passages there or transport creatures to this plane, by finding and opening natural or artificial portals, and through the bardic tradition known as Songs of Passage.

Travelling the Ethervale

Travelling the spiritual realm of the Ethervale is not easy. One needs to find portals of entry or astral paths to gain access and find their way. Through the ages, bards have learned mystical songs, poems and even rhythms that can make these passages appear and become active. These “songs of passage’ provide a gateway into the Ethervale. Learning new songs, passage phrases, or rhythmic keys, is often a lifelong quest bards and fellow adventurers pursue…

Pathways

While the Ethervale is ever-present, or what some scholars now call co-terminus. The pathways that lead there are only accessible during the night (or at any time when the stars are visible in the firmament), resulting in only a limited window of opportunity to travel this ephemeral plane. Returning to the material plane is only possible before sunrise (unless you have a magical means of crossing the planes). Though kindred spirits wander the Ethervale, staying for extended periods of time can be haunting and dangerous.

Portals

Like Pathways, portals only reveal themselves when the stars are out, and thus can only be travelled during the night. These portals can take on a variety of appearances, from visions of celestial beings, dancing star signs, to other manifestations such as ancient stone circles or the mirrored surface of an underground lake. Some can be used to enter the Ethervale freely while they are visible, but others require special blessings from the Ancestors or the presence of special tokens that activate the magic of the portal.

Spells

A number of spells allow direct or indirect access to the Ethervale. Some spells can transport adventurers directly to any other plane of existence, with different degrees of precision. Others allow adventurers to enter the Ethervale, but other means may still be needed to reach specific locations within the domains associated with this realm of the afterlife. Additionally, certain magic allows adventurers to project themselves into the Ethervale, rather than having to face the perils of attempting to physically travel there.

Songs of Passage

The network of invisible pathways that weaves throughout the Ethervale, is in constant motion. Formed by the Ancestrals: these pathways are maintained by elaborate ritual performances that take place in the Ethervale. Each sacred site in the network acts as a stepping stone along the path, that opens only by a distinct Song of Passage that is performed in that space. The bards of the LoreScribes have begun to collect these unique songs. More information about the Songs of Passage appears in the section about bards.

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The Savage Dawn campaign setting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except for illustrations and images. Illustrations and images are used with permission, all rights reserved.