Choire's Portals

1. A roughly spherical cave, about fifty feet across. In the cave’s center sits a low stone table carved with intricate sigils of unknown purpose. A pair of round windows on the far wall provide a view of a reddish sky above an expansive ocean.

2. The stepped ruins of an enormous garden complex, its vegetation burnt away by the river of lava now cascading down its length. The fire-fall pools at the foot of the ruins before flowing across a charred landscape to the sea. The curtain of steam the river creates when it meets the water makes seeing further all but impossible.

3. A captain’s stateroom, lit through its grime-caked portholes by brief flashes of lightning. The cabin has clearly been abandoned for many years. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of lanterns crowd the forlorn space.

4. The view from the top of a lattice of cyclopean iron girders rising from the sea. Here and there around the structure, smoke from needle-like chimneys vents into the crimson sky. A ship’s-length away, a dozen scourge-wielding gnolls march a column of pitiful souls across a catwalk spanning the distance between two of these chimneys.

5. The ruins of an ancient temple dominated by seven stone obelisks, one of them fallen and scattered into pieces. A dense jungle crowds the temple on all sides. A creature with the long, beaked face of a bird circles on leathery wings above the scene.

6. The view from the back of an alcove lined with racks of mallets, wrenches, and other metal-working tools. The alcove overlooks what appears to be a factory. Conveyor belts crisscross the factory’s floor, attended by dozens of sweating, soot-stained dwarves. The results of the dwarves’ industry stand before a wall of gigantic furnaces: column upon column of man-shaped constructs, their countenances grim.

7. A high stone pedestal rising from the center of a cylindrical cavern. The pedestal overlooks rivers of slow-moving magma below it, while high above, a large throne perched on a ledge can be seen. Numerous iron cages hang from the ceiling overhead.

8. A cityscape of blocky, tomb-like buildings surrounding an empty harbor. Occasionally, figures can be seen walking furtively among the buildings, their faces hidden behind wrappings of pure shadow.

9. An undersea stronghold carved from a single piece of blood-red coral. Indistinct shapes swim dreamily among the stronghold’s twisting branches. As you watch, one of these shapes darts across your vision: a demon with an eel-like face astride what appears to be an enormous manta ray.

10. A view from the center of some sort of reliquary. Stone pillars dot the room, standing silent amid shallow puddles on the floor. Carved into the pillars are row upon row of shelves heaped with ancient-looking scroll cases. Beyond the pillars, stairs slick with moisture lead upwards.
11. A long dock lashed together from thousands of bleached-white bones. Some of the bones might be human, while others are clearly the remains of demons or other monstrous creatures. The dock extends into the sea from a landscape of black rock broken by vents of hissing steam.

12. A view from the summit of a twisting spike of stone, the tallest in a henge of similarly crooked peaks. The peaks rise hundreds of feet above the sea. In the center of the peaks, the ocean’s currents coalesce into a slowly churning whirlpool, perhaps a mile across. A winged creature like a gigantic vulture turns in a slow circuit above the pool.

13. A squat tower overlooking an abandoned stone courtyard. A circle of arcane runes dominates the center of the courtyard, and in the distance, a desolate landscape blasted by intermittent lightning storms can been seen.

14. A pair of looming doors, sealed shut by heavy iron plates and faintly glowing runes. Piles of bones, weapons, and scrap metal lie scattered about the base of the doors, the remnants of what appears to have been a battle of titanic proportions.

15. The view from a rubbish-choked alleyway, similar to any one might find in any large metropolis. Humanoids of all races and cultures walk back and forth across the mouth of the alley, apparently on their way to other business. Impossibly, the sky above the heads of these people seems to sway, as if the city itself was built atop a cork bobbing on the ocean.

16. A cavern overlooking a pair of crude stone basins, each perhaps a dozen feet across. The basins are filled with the stuff of nightmares: roiling tentacles, howling faces, and fangs, spikes and talons of all manner.

17. A view from the interior of what appears to be a maelstrom of burning water. Outcroppings of red-hot rock pierce the maelstrom’s walls. Perched atop one of these outcroppings, amid the ruins of some unknown structure, a dragon made of living fire opens its maw and belches a gout of ash into the sky.

18. A cliff-face overlooking a harbor choked with shipwrecks. Silken strands lash the wrecks together, creating the appearance of a sea port captured in an enormous spider’s web. The dark, graceful figures of what must be drow move back and forth among the wrecks. In the distance, the domed roof of some sort of palace can be seen.

19. A large, shadowy chamber, empty save for rubble. The chamber’s floor is made up of crumbling, loose-fitting flagstones. Dim red light filters in through a metal grate set in the ceiling. The edges of the room seem to blur with flitting shadows.

20. The view from the foot of a towering statue depicting a screaming, two-headed monkey god. Contrasted against the growth of the jungle surrounding it, the statue must be well over a hundred feet high. You recognize the figure immediately as that of Demogorgon, Prince of Demons.

Choire's Portals

Pirates of the Abyss Bill_Fischer