A portal is a gateway that directly links one location to another location, often by magical or supernatural means. Many portals connect locations across great physical distances, and more rarely across planes.
Only a rare few know some of the secrets of operating them. However, in recent years portals have taken to spontaneously activating for short periods, apparently at random and for no known reason.
The lashunta of Castrovel have some skill with portals, enabling them to maintain close links with the planet of Akiton. Akiton's Contemplatives of Ashok have also managed to gain somewhat sporadic control of a portal that leads to Golarion's Mwangi Expanse, which is known to the Mwangi natives as the Doorway to the Red Star.
However, perhaps the most famous is the portal linking Iadara in Kyonin with El in Sovyrian. The elves of Golarion use the Sovyrian Stone to control the portal, which enabled many of them to flee to Sovyrian and escape the disaster of Earthfall.
The creators of these portals are unknown—some speculate that the portals may be older than life in the solar system. There is a particularly unusual and incomprehensible portal on the remote planetoid of Apostae that might be a message or test left behind by its creators. If so, nobody has solved it.
Other known portals
The arches for which the River Kingdoms town of Sevenarches was named are said to have once served as portals to other worlds. Kyonin has shown great interest in reclaiming this ancient site, but so far the town's rulers have refused to allow elves to enter the town.
Portals can link planes to each other, allowing entities to travel between them as easily as walking through a passageway.
A planar breach is a tear or gap in the fabric of the planes, often coinciding with powerful magic, or the proximity or relative configuration between multiple planes. Unless held open by extraordinary means, they are typically small and close within a few hours.
A planar tear is a stable planar portal that maintains a specific position. The most commonly known planar tears connect the Material Plane to Outer Planes or the First World, with perhaps the most renowned (and feared) of them being the Worldwound to the Abyss.
Elemental nexuses are planar tears formed by extreme concentrations of elemental energy, and lead to the corresponding Elemental Plane — for example, the heart of a volcano might contain a nexus to the Plane of Fire.
A soulgate connects two planes based on alignment. For example, a soulgate on the Material Plane might connect to other neutrally-aligned planes, such as the Astral Plane. They are much less prominent than other planar portals, and require specialized training or attunement to detect and open.
The most prominent natural planar portals lie at the centers of celestial objects, namely stars and black holes. Each star hosts a portal to the Positive Energy Plane and serves as a channel for nascent souls entering the Material Plane. Conversely, each black hole hosts a portal to the Negative Energy Plane, destroying or corrupting matter that passes near and through them.
On Golarion, several locations are known to contain natural planar portals:
- Naturally occurring portals to the Elemental Planes, especially the Planes of Air and Water, appear in the Boreal Expanse.
- The Cenotaph, located in the Tusk Mountains, contains a natural portal to the Negative Energy Plane.
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Extradimensional and extraplanar portals
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Several deities and divine entities represent portals.
- Alseta is the goddess of doorways, portals, thresholds, and the transition from year to year. Elves also consider her the patron deity of elf gates, though it is not part of her official portfolio.
- Areshkagal is the demon lord of portals and riddles.
Portals are sometimes confused with comparatively more modern elf gates, which only allow travel between locations on the same world. A series of portal-like teleportation stones links the Stewards' citadels on Verces.
Teleportation effects, while instantaneous, are rarely as permanent, stable, or demarcated as true portals. However, stable interplanar transportation gateways can be achieved through magical means. For instance, powerful spells such as greater create demiplane and gate can create new magical passages between planes.
- James Case et al. (2018). Plane-Hopper's Handbook, p. 4. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-071-2
- James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 53. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0
- Hal Maclean and Jeff Quick. (2008). Elves of Golarion, p. 18. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-143-5
- James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 44, 53. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 128. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- Rob McCreary. (2008). Voice in the Void, p. 13. Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Plane-Hopper's Handbook refers to a soulgate from the Material to Astral planes as being between "unaligned planes", but only uses neutral planes in its example. This is not assumed to be a conflict so much as a misuse of "unaligned" meant to convey "not strongly evil, good, chaotic, or lawful".
- Jason Nelson. (2011). Crown of the World. The Hungry Storm, p. 73. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-374-3
- Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Amanda Hamon, et al. (2013). Mythic Realms, p. 6. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-567-9
- Sean K Reynolds. (2008). Gods and Magic, p. 45. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-139-8
- James Jacobs. (2009). Demon Lords of Golarion. Descent into Midnight, p. 56. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-131-2
- James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 20. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0
- Jason Bulmahn, et al. (2011). Ultimate Magic, p. 213-214. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-299-9
- Jason Bulmahn et al. (2009). Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook (1E), p. 287-288. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-150-3