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While traveling along a highway surrounded by open fields on an overcast day, you are surprised when a flash of magical energy appears to rip open the ground not far from you. It vanishes almost as soon as it appears, leaving you to wonder if it was even real.
Cautiously, you continue your journey, until it happens again, a long rip in the air itself above you surrounded by violent magical energies! A bird flies through it and disappears, only to emerge from what appears to be another rip a few dozen yards away, flying straight upwards. Confused, the bird tumbles to the ground before getting its bearings and flying away, squawking loudly.
If you have any knowledge of magic, you might be able to hypothesize that some sort of portal magic has gone awry. Also, anyone insightful may draw the same conclusion based on the obvious facts in front of your nose.
Another rip opens behind you, through which a flood of seawater rushes through, complete with startled fish smacking into you before falling to the damp ground, gasping for breath. As you squeeze the water out of your soaked clothes, another, much larger portal opens above you, accompanied by the rush of air being sucked through into a place of darkness punctuated only by a few points of light.
You stumble backwards to avoid being sucked through, until the hole ceases to exist, leaving no sign of its presence aside from your ruffled hair and clothing. While you consider your next move, another tear opens, revealing what appears to be a small laboratory with an assortment of books, strange compounds and tools gathered around a desk. An older man dressed in blue robes with wild, white hair looks through it at you and gasps in astonishment.
“A tear in the fabric of space and time? Good heavens! Hold still,” he advises you as he grabs a tall wooden staff and a crumpled hat before leaping through the tear, just before it closes. He picks himself up and brushes away some of the mud clinging to his robe, then picks up a fish from the ground before him.
“Cod? In the middle of a field? Balderdash!” he cries. “Sorry, you appear to be a little out of your depth. No, not you, the fish!” He makes a gesture with one hand and speaks a few mystical words, creating a much smaller version of the magical portal you’ve been seeing appear randomly for the past few minutes. He drops the fish into it, followed by a splash before the portal closes again.
“My name is Ellett Green, an accomplished wizard specialized in the mysteries of space and time. ‘But’, I hear you think, ‘if you’re so specialized, why are they still mysteries?’ Answers take time, you know! Now, what we have here is magical teleportation energies being summoned in a sloppy, inartful fashion that’s leading to portals appearing seemingly at random. Look, there’s another one!” he gasps, ducking as a portal opens up right where he was standing.
A cow falls through from the other side, narrowly missing Ellett as it lands heavily on the ground.
“This is getting dangerous,” the wizard remarks as the cow moos indignantly. “We must find the source before a portal connects us to an active volcano and buries us in lava! Or worse yet, a portal cascade begins that unravels reality itself! Give me a moment.” Ellett mutters, whispering an incantation and whirling around as if searching for something.
“Ah, there it is, the source!” her cries as a portal opens up beneath you. Along with the crazed wizard, you fall through it into a strange realm where stars and glowing purple energies swirl across the skies, and huge chunks of rock drift around. You appear to be in an old stone building that is crumbling beneath you, perched on a rocky outcropping floating in the strange realm around you.
“I sense powerful energies from this place,” Ellett muses, looking for something around you. If you’ve a knack for magic, you too will sense this strange energy, coming from somewhere on the floor above you.
“Whatever is causing this disturbance is here, above us,” Ellett says. Before you can act, strange blobs of purple energy drift down from holes in the floor above and start assailing you with crackling bolts of lightning! Should you survive their assault, Ellett urges you to follow him upstairs to find the source.
Before you, jutting out from the rock at the edge of reality is a huge purple crystal, glowing with power.
“This place appears to have been some sort of temple to the Ether, a waypoint for teleportation energies,” Ellett surmises, “but it’s been long abandoned, and it appears someone forgot to turn off the portal crystal before they left. There’s one more of those strange ethereal entities protecting it, and it’s huge! We need to fight our way to the crystal so I can shut it down before it’s too late!”
Should you survive your battle with the elder ethereal, Ellett reaches the crystal and begins a powerful incantation. The crystal sparks and flares, appearing to resist his attempt to shut it down, and great cracks appear in the walls of the old temple starts to fall apart. Then, the crystal flares one last time as another portal opens before you!
“It’s done,” Ellett cries, “go through now or be trapped here forever!” Should you take his advice, you fall through the dimensional rip and land on a soft chair in the small library. Ellett comes through just before the portal closes, brushing himself down and adjusting his hat.
“Well, that was a bit of excitement,” he marvels. “Welcome to my abode. Before you go on your way, perhaps you’d like a cup of tea, and a little something as a reward for averting the collapse of reality!” He offers an assortment of minor magical items as a reward for standing by his side.
Ellett has mostly defensive spells to aid the player(s), letting them do the heavy lifting during the fight. The ethereals are ghostly in appearance, using pure magic to attack with, but in the Temple to the Ether the player(s) weapons are quite capable of dealing damage.
If you’d enjoy more TTRPG resources like this Ruined Temple of the Vast Beyond free map & adventure, take your players to The Place Between which this was written for, as well as 16+ locations in our early access Game Master’s Adventurer’s Guide Bundle, which has over 300 pages of content. You’ll get 74 battlemaps with system-agnostic adventures written just for them, maps of the towns, locations, faction lists, important NPCs (portraits included), more adventure seeds, plus digital item cards with loot your players can find! That’s at least 74 easy sessions of fun for only $28, take a better look here.
Inventor of the SabreRPG system (which we love), Steve's the wonderful GM who hosted many fantastic campaigns for the Seafoot family. He's been writing, illustrating, and publishing his own books for over a decade, and is best known for The Aielund Saga. We're so glad to have him on our team writing these fantastic adventure modules, as well as Adventurer's Guides. His experience as both writer and GM makes him incredible at what he does, and we think you'll agree when you read his work!