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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  18:59:13  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hello. I've been browsing this website and the forums for many years and finally decided to make an account. I've mainly played and DM'd 3 and 3.5 ed and I'm absolutely enamored with Forgotten Realms. One of the biggest issues I've had is the time wasted traveling from place to place in the realms for longer campaigns, and while teleport is nice and all the portals of Faerūn is so flavourful, which leads me to my question.

How would you rule the detection and analysis of the end point of a one-way portal would work? I see three possible scenarios:

1. It doesn't work.

2. It only works while the portal is active.

3. It works all the time just like the detection and analysis of the entry point of the portal.

Using analyze portal the last function is a glimpse of the portal's destination. Would you be able to glimpse the origin of a one-way portal assuming you managed to use analyze portal on it?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts and opinions on this.

EDIT: Oh, and if any of you know of any source book ruling I'm obviously interested in that too!

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 24 Nov 2020 19:01:11

cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2250 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  19:22:38  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Acolyte Returnip,

quote:
Hello. I've been browsing this website and the forums for many years and finally decided to make an account. I've mainly played and DM'd 3 and 3.5 ed and I'm absolutely enamored with Forgotten Realms.


First off, welcome! Glad to see you hear, and I look forward to discussing much more in the future! :) I don't blame you for being enamored with the Realms. It's the best setting out there! :)

quote:
One of the biggest issues I've had is the time wasted traveling from place to place in the realms for longer campaigns, and while teleport is nice and all the portals of Faerūn is so flavourful, which leads me to my question.

How would you rule the detection and analysis of the end point of a one-way portal would work? I see three possible scenarios:

1. It doesn't work.

2. It only works while the portal is active.

3. It works all the time just like the detection and analysis of the entry point of the portal.

Using analyze portal the last function is a glimpse of the portal's destination. Would you be able to glimpse the origin of a one-way portal assuming you managed to use analyze portal on it?


From the Spell Compendium, p.10:
quote:
Whether the portal is one-way or two-way.


Yes, the use of that spell allows you to see either way.

Best regards,





Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Kentinal
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4565 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  19:29:51  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As written the destination is the spell effect. Not itself magical. So I would rule that analyze portal would not reveal anything, there is no magic to study.

The idea of working while active I do not see making any difference. The portal transmits instantly and not even always to same location. Not enough time to analyze portal or anything else.

Now if the portal was established as two ways, you have the beginning as well as end. So a portal like that you could find out where it ends. Step though it and analyze there you should detect where you started from.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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cpthero2
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USA
2250 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  19:37:01  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Kentinal,

quote:
As written the destination is the spell effect.


Are you referring to a particular form of portal?

As I read, and quote from the Spell Compendium, it says:

quote:
You can tell whether an area contains a magical portal or the effect of a gate spell. If you study an area for 1 round, you know the sizes and locations of any such portals in the area. Once you find a portal, you can study it. (If you find more than one portal, you can study only one at a time.) Each round you study a portal, you can discover one property of the portal, in this order.

Any key or command word needed to activate the portal.
Any special circumstances governing the portal's use (such as specific times when it can be activated).
Whether the portal is one-way or two-way.
A glimpse of the area where the portal leads. You can look at the area where the portal leads for 1 round; the range of your vision is the spell's range. Analyze portal does not allow other divination spells or spell-like abilities to extend through the portal. For example, you cannot also use detect magic or detect evil to study the area where the portal leads while viewing the area with analyze portal.


That's telling me that you can study an area that has an active magical portal of gate spell, and you see it. You can also, upon studying the portal, glimpse info about the destination.

Realmshelp goes into a bit more as well:

quote:
Portals often come in pairs or networks. A single portal is a one-way trip. There must be a matching portal at the destination to return. Some portals are attuned to several potential destinations, each equipped with a matching portal, but most are simply two-way doors between one point and another far distant. Once created, a portal cannot be moved. (https://www.realmshelps.net/magic/portals.shtml)


The single portal being a one-way trip is the qualifier I believe.

Best regards,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Kentinal
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4565 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  19:44:14  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The OP is asking about study of the destination of a one way portal. I read it that there is no magic at the end of a one way portal. No portal to study is at destination. Now if I misunderstood the OP, my ruling would need to need adjusted.

Edited to add word study.

Edited by - Kentinal on 24 Nov 2020 19:45:24
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cpthero2
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USA
2250 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  19:49:05  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Kentinal,

Ah, I think I see where I was looking at it differently than you.

I read the spell description as you detect the portal, and upon analyzing further, the divination effect of the spell allows you to see the destination. Not because the magic is there persay, but because of where the magic will lead you, once it is activated. A portending of the future, essentially.

Thoughts?

Best regards,





Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4565 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  19:59:31  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cpthero2

Great Reader Kentinal,

Ah, I think I see where I was looking at it differently than you.

I read the spell description as you detect the portal, and upon analyzing further, the divination effect of the spell allows you to see the destination. Not because the magic is there persay, but because of where the magic will lead you, once it is activated. A portending of the future, essentially.

Thoughts?

Best regards,








That is what I mean. The spell description goes on to indicate if objects go one place and life another place the the spell will only reveal where life goes, not the equipment.

quote:
If the caster studies the portal's destination, the spell reveals where the portal sends creatures.
If it is the type of portal that sends creatures one place and their equipment another place, the spell does not reveal where the equipment goes.


If the spell caster found the equipment , even see it appear by teleportation he could not learn about the portal. All the caster sees is an effect of a portal. The same applies to seeing life appear by teleportation the spell caster can not learn where the life came from.
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  20:23:05  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the welcome!

Ah yes, the spell analyze portal tells you if the portal is one- or two-way. That's how it's written. So you will know after analyzing the first portal if you will be able to return.

I'm intrigued by the idea that the destination is the spell effect. How do you deduce that? Consider that creating a portal requires knowledge of "either the teleportation circle or gate spell" (Building a portal, p 61 FRCS, 3rd ed). What if the actual transportation of a creature or person is the spell effect?

EDIT: The requirement to build the portal is knowledge of either teleportation circle or gate, but the teleportation effect, according to FRCS, is like teleport without error, or greater teleport in 3.5 (which I assume is meant to be the updated equivalent).

On the other hand you have different fingers.

Edited by - Returnip on 24 Nov 2020 20:34:55
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Kentinal
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4565 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  20:51:16  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

Thank you for the welcome!

Ah yes, the spell analyze portal tells you if the portal is one- or two-way. That's how it's written. So you will know after analyzing the first portal if you will be able to return.

I'm intrigued by the idea that the destination is the spell effect. How do you deduce that? Consider that creating a portal requires knowledge of "either the teleportation circle or gate spell" (Building a portal, p 61 FRCS, 3rd ed). What if the actual transportation of a creature or person is the spell effect?



As you study the portal you learn more about it. It appears to be a step by step system.
First you discover the portal. Then you study the magic, learning a little more. There are limits on how much you can learn about the destination. The last bit of study allows
quote:
You can look at the area where the portal leads for 1 round.
Analyze portal does not allow other divination spells to extend through the portal.
For example, you cannot also use detect magic or detect evil to study the area where the portal leads while viewing the area with analyze portal.


Are you concerned that analyze portal is lower level then teleportation circle or gate spells?

If so do not be, it is easier to look at something then it is to build/make something. Much like detect magic lets a caster know magic has been cast however might not be able to cast that type of magic.

If you are asking exactly how the spell manages to see area of destination and not much more I can not explain the limits on magic. The spell works as described with to limits imposed, an improved version (likely higher level) might need to be designed to learn more.
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cpthero2
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USA
2250 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  20:53:28  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Kentinal,

Thank you for the response, as always. :)

quote:
That is what I mean. The spell description goes on to indicate if objects go one place and life another place the the spell will only reveal where life goes, not the equipment.


You are certainly correct about that, but as far as I can ascertain, only as it pertains to Creature-only Portals.

Referencing page (59) of the FRCS 3rd Edition (which I am using based on the OP's reference to 3rd edition), it says:

quote:
Unusual Portals
Things are never certain in the many lands of Faerun, and portals are not always entirely reliable. Portal-makers have created through design or mischance portals with many insidious and dangerous characteristics.

CREATURE-ONLY PORTALS
These portals transport only the creatures that use them, not the creatures' clothing and equipment. Such portals are often used defensively to render intruders vulnerable after they use the portals. A rare and more difficult variation on this type of portal transports creatures to one area and their equipment to another.


So, the aspect you referenced from the Analyze Portal spell from the Spell Compendium, that said,

quote:
Creature-Only Portals: The spell reveals this property. If you study the portal's destination, the spell reveals where the portal sends creatures. If it is the kind of portal that sends creatures to one place and their equipment to another place, the spell does not reveal where the equipment goes.
, is only for that specific portal. Since it is only a creature portal, the Analyze Portal spell's divination function that glimpses the target destination only allows for the creature, not the equipment.

The implication being, a usual portal would not suffer from the same limitations, and thus would allow what the OP was inquiring about.

quote:
If the caster studies the portal's destination, the spell reveals where the portal sends creatures.
If it is the type of portal that sends creatures one place and their equipment another place, the spell does not reveal where the equipment goes.


quote:
If the spell caster found the equipment , even see it appear by teleportation he could not learn about the portal. All the caster sees is an effect of a portal. The same applies to seeing life appear by teleportation the spell caster can not learn where the life came from.


I believe in this case, the teleportation function though, being an instantaneous effect, would understandably not allow for an understanding of where things came from, because it is not a portal.

Teleport

quote:
This spell instantly transports you to a designated destination, which may be as distant as 100 miles per caster level. Interplanar travel is not possible. You can bring along objects as long as their weight doesn’t exceed your maximum load. You may also bring one additional willing Medium or smaller creature (carrying gear or objects up to its maximum load) or its equivalent (see below) per three caster levels. A Large creature counts as two Medium creatures, a Huge creature counts as two Large creatures, and so forth. All creatures to be transported must be in contact with one another, and at least one of those creatures must be in contact with you. As with all spells where the range is personal and the target is you, you need not make a saving throw, nor is spell resistance applicable to you. Only objects held or in use (attended) by another person receive saving throws and spell resistance. You must have some clear idea of the location and layout of the destination. The clearer your mental image, the more likely the teleportation works. Areas of strong physical or magical energy may make teleportation more hazardous or even impossible. To see how well the teleportation works, roll d% and consult the Teleport table. Refer to the following information for definitions of the terms on the table.


There is no portal effect with that, however, with the Gate spell, which says,

Gate

quote:
Duration: Instantaneous or concentration (up to 1 round/level); see text
The gate itself is a circular hoop or disk from 5 to 20 feet in diameter (caster’s choice), oriented in the direction you desire when it comes into existence (typically vertical and facing you). It is a two-dimensional window looking into the plane you specified when casting the spell, and anyone or anything that moves through is shunted instantly to the other side.
, there is a portal effect.

In conclusion, I feel that portal effects, based on the text of the Spell Compendium text, and the specific portal text in the 3rd edition FRCS, informs that unless there is an Unusual portal effect going on, it is assumed that Analyze Portal would work as I've indicated.

Thoughts?

Best regards,







Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2250 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  20:58:06  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Kentinal,

As a follow up to what Acolyte Returnip stated by writing,
quote:
I'm intrigued by the idea that the destination is the spell effect. How do you deduce that? Consider that creating a portal requires knowledge of "either the teleportation circle or gate spell" (Building a portal, p 61 FRCS, 3rd ed). What if the actual transportation of a creature or person is the spell effect?
, that is particularly interesting.

I've never considered the destination as the spell effect, but rather it as a conduit that connects both, and that is the spell effect.

This is a really interesting topic!

Best regards,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Kentinal
Great Reader

4565 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  21:13:22  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
cpthero2 I still do not see any valid reason to consider the destination as any more then a location things teleport to. I do not see any magical anchor or other magic to detect at the end of a one way portal. No magic to study follows my interpretation. The spell finds portals, which means a way to depart. The spell does not detect receiving points. Or at least I do not see that in my reading of the spell, the spell allows study of a receiving point before going to it. That study is limited as per spell description.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2250 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  21:16:47  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader Kentinal,

Fair enough.

Acolyte Returnip: you have two options to choose from! haha

I'll have to accept the option of agreeing to disagree with the leanred and wise, Great Reader Kentinal.

Best regards! :)





Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  22:28:15  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal
I do not see any magical anchor or other magic to detect at the end of a one way portal. No magic to study follows my interpretation. The spell finds portals, which means a way to depart. The spell does not detect receiving points. Or at least I do not see that in my reading of the spell, the spell allows study of a receiving point before going to it. That study is limited as per spell description.



This (in bold) is an important factor. However, since you can create portals if you know gate and that spell allows two-way travel as well as the option to call a creature through the opening it creates it could mean that the destination (one of the destinations) is where you cast it from. It's not far fetched to consider that logic would apply to a portal as well, don't you think?

The effect of a portal is stated to be that of a greater teleportation spell presumably. That spell is of the Conjuration school, and the subschool Teleportation. The PHB says the following:

"Teleportation: A teleportation spell transports one or more creatures or objects a great distance. The most powerful of these spells can cross planar boundaries. Unlike summoning spells, the transportation is (unless otherwise noted) one-way and not dispellable [sic]. Teleportation is instantaneous travel through the Astral Plane. Anything that blocks astral travel also blocks teleportation." (PHB, p. 173)

Perhaps analysis of the end point of an active one-way portal shows the astral plane?

However, gate is both Creation and Calling and as such does not route the transportation via the Astral Plane. So if you create a portal by using (and potentially only knowing) gate how does the effect become that of greater teleportation?

If portals were only built using teleportation spells I would agree there would be nothing to divine at the end point (see the spell anticipate teleportation in Spell Compendium). Or if anything you would see traces of the Astral Plane.

The reason I want to discuss this is the potential scenario of someone seeing people exit a one-way portal and deciding to investigate. I am starting to lean towards that since it's stated to be an effect like greater teleportation it is instant and no trace is there to be investigated, as Kentinal says (no matter if the portal was built using teleportation circle or gate. Short of research and development of a new spell.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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Kentinal
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4565 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  22:53:39  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In reading gate and calling I note this
quote:
Calling Creatures

The second effect of the gate spell is to call an extraplanar creature to your aid (a calling effect). By naming a particular being or kind of being as you cast the spell, you cause the gate to open in the immediate vicinity of the desired creature and pull the subject through, willing or unwilling. Deities and unique beings are under no compulsion to come through the gate, although they may choose to do so of their own accord. This use of the spell creates a gate that remains open just long enough to transport the called creatures.


A very short magical appearance at the call site. It brings the target to origin point of spell caster. Also where the call opens is not the same location, it is near creature called to walk into it.

quote:
The reason I want to discuss this is the potential scenario of someone seeing people exit a one-way portal and deciding to investigate.


In this I fully agree finding a place or even area that strangers keep showing up at would indeed be something I would want to know.

A drow today, maybe an orc, then a human and so on. I would very much like to know where they come form and how they got to destination.

I just do not see analyze portal being the magic that can find the source. Of course asking those that come though it,even if speak with dead can provide ways to discover the portal location. There are spells to find out answers to questions.

"Small beings can have small wisdom," the dragon said. "And small wise beings are better than small fools. Listen: Wisdom is caring for afterwards."
"Caring for afterwards ...? Ker repeated this without understanding.
"After action, afterwards," the dragon said. "Choose the afterwards first, then the action. Fools choose action first."
"Judgement" copyright 2003 by Elizabeth Moon
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  23:01:12  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal
There are spells to find out answers to questions.



Indeed there are. Assuming they have a language you can ask them. But if they don't (low intelligence score for example)? I think a limited spell could be developed. Probably Clr or Brd, lvl 2 (since it's so limited in it's use). Either way, that could be something to be handled in game by the players. It's not often they get to develop new spells in my games.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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Kentinal
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4565 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  23:19:56  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal
There are spells to find out answers to questions.



Indeed there are. Assuming they have a language you can ask them. But if they don't (low intelligence score for example)? I think a limited spell could be developed. Probably Clr or Brd, lvl 2 (since it's so limited in it's use). Either way, that could be something to be handled in game by the players. It's not often they get to develop new spells in my games.



Depending on level and mix of party there are already listed Divination spells that might be used. Of course nothing wrong with new spells being developed either. I hope the ideas provided help.

In some ways I wonder why a one way was made and then wonder more if your adventures might be survivors of forefathers that went though a one way portal?

I do know of some designed one way portals being designed as an escape route. Clearly there can be other reasons as well. A way to get rid of those just getting close to something occurs to me (A trap that does not hurt at transport), as well as a way a realm might exile creatures from their realm.
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 24 Nov 2020 :  23:50:19  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal
Depending on level and mix of party there are already listed Divination spells that might be used.


Which ones are you thinking of? Neither divination, augury or commune seem to fit the bill here.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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Kentinal
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4565 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  00:32:43  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal
Depending on level and mix of party there are already listed Divination spells that might be used.


Which ones are you thinking of? Neither divination, augury or commune seem to fit the bill here.



Well some might not work well, these Detect Thoughts , Discern Location, Legend Lore, Miracle, Vision, Wish certainly should provide some information. Not perfect spells as not all likely available (Or willing to be cast) , like even the three you list, might need to be combined to finally come up with the correct answer. Detecting thoughts can provide information of where last was, nothing appears to indicate you need to know language. Some spells clearly high level like wishing for something. These spells I pulled from the SRD 3.5 I suspect in expansions there can be other spells adapted to finding out information.
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  01:15:04  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kentinal
Detecting thoughts can provide information of where last was, nothing appears to indicate you need to know language.


Well, maybe not a language barrier but PHB says the following in the spell description:

"Creatures of animal intelligence (Int 1 or 2) have simple, instinctual thoughts that you can pick up."

So basically the creature needs to have enough Int to be able to formulate a thought about where it was that yields any information. "I was in grassy plain, then purple light, then here" doesn't help much. But I get what you're saying and I agree.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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Ayrik
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Canada
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Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  05:48:30  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, the folks at Stargate Command would send some kind of robotic probe through the gate. These things weren't cheap but they were much more replaceable than precious people.

Their simpler machine was basically just a remote sensor platform - a way for them to examine the surroundings at the arrival point in "realtime".
Essentially the same thing as casting clairvoyance/clairaudience at the other end of the portal.

Their more advanced machine was basically a semi-autonomous recon drone - programmed to scout (drive or fly) around a little before reporting back to the gate.
Essentially the same thing as sending a magically controlled/summoned/created test subject before sending anyone else. (And this isn't necessarily a cruel thing, since a golem or elemental could be unaffected by "hostile" environment, defenders, traps, or other risks at the other end of the portal.)

Sometimes they even sent illusions of themselves through the gate. To send communications, to deceive (or reveal) their enemies, etc.

And on at least one occasion they sent their computer-virus-techno-equivalent of enchantments through the gate. To take control over things they expected to find waiting on the other side.

One important thing they had to determine was whether the "dailing device" at the other end of the gate could get their people back home. This sort of logic might also apply to D&D portals - you might want to know if you can return from the other side, you might want to know if other things can use the portal to access your side.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 25 Nov 2020 06:00:27
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

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Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  09:01:59  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Well, the folks at Stargate Command would send some kind of robotic probe through the gate.


Hey, thanks for joining the discussion. Any idea what they would do if they were at the receiving end of a one-way gate and wanted to investigate where the gate hailed from? That series had so many episodes there's gotta be one where they deal with a problem like that.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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Ayrik
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Canada
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Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  12:07:23  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That question doesn't really have an answer in the context of the series. Because every Stargate could "dial" a connection with every other Stargate across the network. They didn't know where new outgoing dial addresses would lead until they explored the other side. They didn't know where incoming dial addresses came from until someone at the other end somehow identified themselves.

It's why they installed an armored "iris" on their gate, not a very sturdy-looking thing but they explained that because of wormhole-gate-physics stuff it could harmlessly absorb/dissipate pretty much anything up to a nuke.
It's why they put the thing in a big concrete room full of soldiers with guns. It's why the fancy red alert klaxon went off and everybody aimed their firepower at the gate aperture any time they expected incoming.

Of course their gates had exciting lights and chevrons and grinding-spinning and a massively energetic "event horizon" splash and ethereal watery glowing whenever it was active. They always had plenty of warning that something or somebody was on the way.

Portals in D&D are sometimes described as having bright, loud, obvious effects. But they're usually described as operating in less obvious ways, sometimes even so subtly that people simply appear or disappear through entirely normal-looking doorways, sometimes being entirely unaware that they've just passed through a gate at all. (Until they turn around and find out it was somehow a one-time trip.)

They had some sort of tracking/plotting thing which roughly mapped out known worlds (Stargates) and the "traveller" moving across the distance. This functionality was apparently built into their homemade-hacked dialing computer, but it only appeared on the show when needed for dramatic effect.
A D&D equivalent might be magical divinations or perhaps some way of following the trail of planar phenomena like silver cords through the Astrals or psychic imprints through the Ethereals. Perhaps an elemental compass or other device could be used to detect gate directions.
The "node mapping" models/devices described in Lyndon Hardy's Secret of the Sixth Magic might be an interesting tool for navigating gates and portals.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 25 Nov 2020 12:24:19
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Returnip
Learned Scribe

212 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  12:30:39  Show Profile Send Returnip a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I see. I haven't watched much Stargate at all, and didn't know all gates are two-way there.

I think I have my answer to the portal question now though. No traces are available to be examined of the actual passage. If a creature is deposited at the end point of a one-way portal it can potentially be captured and interrogated, and the quality of any information extracted is dependent on the level of intelligence the creature has.

On the other hand you have different fingers.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10016 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  15:11:02  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Returnip

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

Well, the folks at Stargate Command would send some kind of robotic probe through the gate.


Hey, thanks for joining the discussion. Any idea what they would do if they were at the receiving end of a one-way gate and wanted to investigate where the gate hailed from? That series had so many episodes there's gotta be one where they deal with a problem like that.



I have to ask based on your name (Returnip) are you in IT, and are you in networking if you are? The question you are asking is SOOOOO much like a question a network engineer would ask that to see THAT name tied to it (Return IP.... or what's the return IP address for a traffic flow). Essentially, a portal destination acts like a NAT or PAT translation, wherein it masks the source IP by using a layer 4 port designator to map the layer 3 IP to another layer 3 IP and thus mask its source IP. This allows you to step "through" a point at one end, and rather than ending up at the natural point of progression, you instead end up at the "masked" endpoint.

On the question you asked about stargates, the end device, since it could connect to multiple sources or destinations, would spin around revealing the "symbols" in order that correspond to the source of the portal like some kind of grid pattern. They could then use that symbol to map out where a planet was supposed to be located (they had to mathematically account for planetary drift of thousands of years such that the symbols would point to where planets WERE thousands of years prior).

FR portals don't work like this though. The question would come down to one of how do we picture the magic working, and we can use our modern world technology to show that there's multiple ways it can work. Not all portals will necessarily be "built" in the same way. You could create a portal that ONLY tries to create a link whenever its "opened". This may mean catastrophic failure could happen on the other end and the portal still appears to function until its used. You could create a portal that periodically sends a "keep alive" request (i.e. "are you there and functional as a portal destination... i.e. a doorway) periodically as part of the portal functioning. If such were the case you would know if a portal were broken, but someone from the other end might be able to backtrace it if they simply wait for the next keepalive (note, this doesn't need to OPEN the portal, just do some kind of basic "ping" between the two ends). You could also have it that there's a portal that maintains the basic linkage between ends at all times, but without the "backwards translation" built... i.e. another layer up... until such time as someone activates the source and generates a "tunnel" between the endpoints for carrying traffic.

Since there's multiple ways to create such, and we don't exactly have the nitty gritty as to how any given portal functions down to that level of detail, it comes down to "do what you as the DM want". I'd personally reward players who put in some kind of effort and thought to back trace a portal by giving them some kind of percentage chance of it working, even if I honestly didn't WANT them to find it. If I did want them to backtrace it, I'd say "yep, it worked".


Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 25 Nov 2020 15:47:45
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Archmage of Nowhere
Seeker

USA
64 Posts

Posted - 25 Nov 2020 :  20:09:53  Show Profile Send Archmage of Nowhere a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As a portals are 2D invisible shapes fixed in space and one-way portal is further defined as a portal with no pair, I would agree with Kentinal that there is, by that definition no portal to analyze at its target location.

If the goal is to be able to trace back where creatures or items are coming from there are a few things that come to mind. Granted these are all long shots.

If Objects:
Object reading and Scrying come to mind. Especially if we can use both, as Object Reading would give the knowledge perquisite for Scrying.

In a more scripted or "Hand of the DM" sort of way Locate Object extended to miles vs feet could also do the trick as a means of locating. You could even make the creation of such a spell the first step or sub-goal to work towards.

If Creatures:
As stated Speak with Animals and Speak with the Dead or both may be used to get at least some information. Simple stuff like "Was the sun out" and "Where it was in the sky" that plus an Alarm spell for timing the arrival of the creature would give you an approximate idea of the direction and distance of the portal.

A higher level solution would be a using Mind Probe on the creature, if someone had use of it. Even if the creature was of low intelligence they would still yield visual information one could work off of.

Without specific context these are all shots in the dark.
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