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Box of Distorting Dimensions

by André Martins

The origins of this artifact go back to the last days of Blackmoor and it was built with a powerful mixture of magic and technology. In the last years of the empire, the population was getting bigger and bigger and living space was a growing problem, specially living space close to one's work and other commodities was getting more expensive each time.

Some scientists working together with wizards finally arrived to the final solution to the problem, something that would have revolutionised Blackmoorian society, if Blackmoor hadn't blown up 2 years after the first prototype was ready.

What the box does (after been connected to some region, a task that even most intelligent mages of present time would find extremely hard to perform) is to allow its user to alter the topological properties of a region, shrinking or expanding its inner space, without altering its borders. This way, a keep that seems small from outside can be huge when you enter it or a much bigger city than the region would allow can exist in a small area.

One of these boxes (a quite powerful one) was found by a Thyatian adventurer (I can't find the reference to whom among the first Thyatians emperors succeeded in the Immortal Path later, she (I think it was she) could be the one) at the time of the independence war. After sometime studying the artifact, she learned how to use it and tuned it to the city. One of the unexpected effects was that the Alphatians could no longer cast their magics from aboard their flying ships against land targets, unless they were flying very low over the ground. Above the city, the space reverts to normal and trying to target something in the ground would mean solving the complicated equations of curved space, the higher the ship is, the more difficult it is to get a decent target, even if all you are trying to do is to let some rocks fall on the Imperial Palace.

And flying close to the surface is not an easy task. Spatial distortions cause all sorts of weird stuff and unless you know some unmarked sky roads (the ones the Retebius Air Fleet use), the ship or creature will almost certainly lose control and crash. The biggest the ship or the creature the more difficult to navigate there (Navigation or other appropriate check at -4 penalty for pegasi, -6 for medium dragons, -8 for skyships or other huge creatures, unless you use one of the sky roads). Thanks to this effect, the Alphatians have always had a hard time invading Thyatis City itself.

Another power of the artifact is that, for its most knowledgeable users, it allows them to create shortcuts inside the area. Therefore, there are controlled streets in Thyatis City that can take a legion from one extreme of the city to the other one just walking a few blocks. All the streets with this property (all of them above ground, that is) are controlled by the military, as they are vital to the defences of the city.

However, the artifact was lost in 732 AC and spent sometime in the undergrounds of the city, where a crazy mage has used it to create shortcuts and even portals to other dimensions and eras that were closed and sealed by an adventuring party later, but that remain fully operational. It was only recovered in the last Alphatian invasion, when a gladiator stumbled on it while trying to find a way to fight the Alphatians. The name of the gladiator was Thrainkell Torson and the rest is the history of how he managed to defeat the invaders and become Thincol Torion.

The artifact, however, does drain the strength of its owner. Thincol managed to avoid its debilitating effects thanks to his personal power for a while and later, thanks to his mistress, Anya. When he decided not to follow her advice, she stopped protecting him and he decayed slowly after the WotI.

More than one of these boxes are rumoured to exist, of varied powers.