The Crystal Orb of Pure Thought is a large, perfectly smooth orb, 35cm in diameter, that appears to be made of bluish glass or possibly psionic crystal. Deep within the orb, wisps of whiteness swirl along, with an occasional splash of colour. The orb is light as a feather, and if dropped, falls in slow motion, as if under the effect of the feather fall spell.
When detecting magic, the Orb shows an overwhelming abjuration aura. Higher-level magic detection spells such as identify or even analyze dweomer reveal no further information, unless enhanced by mythic power.
The Crystal Orb of Pure Thought renders its possessor immune to the effects of madness and mutation in the Far Realm and protects to a lesser extent against similar effects from other sources1.
Though this makes the Orb useful for adventurers travelling alone, the Far Realm has many other dangers to worry about. Travelling alone, even with the Orb, could be suicidal. However, the Orb’s secondary function makes it useful for parties too.
The Crystal Orb of Pure Thought requires only a thought command to activate its secondary function, but it won’t respond to just anyone2 – only someone the Orb judges to be strong can do it. When activating this function, the possessor can set the radius of effect (up to 100ft, or 30m).
Anyone within the radius of the Orb’s secondary effect enjoys some of the protection the Orb confers upon its possessor3. When not in the Far Realm, they enjoy the same benefits as the Orb’s possessor. However, this protection only lasts so far – once you get deep into the Far Realm, the secondary function cuts out4. Only the primary protection of its possessor continues to function from then on.
In addition to conferring protection upon people within the effect, the Orb’s secondary function wards off some of the magic-limiting nature of the Far Realm. Anyone within the radius of effect can cast cantrips, orisons, or low-level spells, as well as manifest low-level psionic powers, though this takes more concentration than usual5. Some supernatural abilities and magic items also continue to function at reduced power6.
The Orb’s secondary protection lasts for only 24 hours. While it is in effect, the Orb melds into the possessor’s body and cannot be discarded or removed by any means. The possessor knows roughly when the effect will wear off7. Once there are less than six hours remaining, the possessor can renew it before it has worn off completely, but this becomes even harder once the effect moves into the final hour8. This renewal process takes a toll on the possessor’s body9, but the strain of operating the Orb takes quite a toll to begin with, which catches up to the possessor all at once when the effect expires10. Renewing the Orb takes less of a toll than allowing it to expire and then reactivating it. The use of mythic power can alleviate this strain11.
The Crystal Orb of Pure Thought was originally created as a means to safely travel through the Far Realm; protecting against similar effects outside the plane is just a nice bonus.
Exactly who created it is not well-known. Some say it was forged by Tethys, others credit Danube, a few credit Cosmeon herself; but the truth is that it was a joint effort between several old gods; in addition to those mentioned, Velka, Atuin, and Io also contributed.
The creation and first use of the artifact is immortalized in the Epic of Enterroth, an epic poem consisting of some 45,000 rhyming couplets, composed by a Scalron bard named Pyndrakos, who was the only surviving member of the party who ventured into the Far Realm with the aid of the Orb.
The first half of Enterroth tells of how gods and mortals alike fought the scourge of Morgoth to a standstill and managed to seal him temporarily into a powerful mythically-enhanced crystal. With the clock running out before Morgoth broke free once more, three parties of adventurers began a quest to build a better, more permanent seal. Enterroth touches only briefly on the two parties who were tasked with setting up twelve anchors for the seal – six spread across the Astral Plane, one in each of the Outer Planes (other than the Far Realm), and one in an enigmatic plane known only as Leng. The thirteenth anchor was in the Citadel of Eternity.
The second half of Enterroth tells how Pyndrakos’s party ventured deep into the Far Realm to deposit the crystal carrying Morgoth into the prison that Cosmeon had prepared for him, which lies deep in the Far Realm, several miles beyond the point where the Orb’s secondary function ceases to work. After spending three days in the prison itself, away from the Far realm’s curses, they notified their allies to start activating the seals and then left, working their way all the way back to the Far Realm’s border, near the River Styx. One of their number lost his life along the way.
Staying in the relatively safe areas near the border, the party then worked their way around the Far Realm’s border until they reached the Sapphire River, at which point they struck out once more into the depths, in roughly the opposite direction from Morgoth’s prison. Their new destination was the Citadel of Eternity, where they would need to activate the thirteenth and final anchor.
Unfortunately, by this point Morgoth had escaped the crystal and was struggling to get free from the larger seal – only the twelve anchors on the seal prevented him from getting out, but he was still able to communicate with his advocates in the world, many of whom set upon the party as they worked their way towards the Citadel. Most of the party lost their lives in these attacks, with only Pyndrakos and one other making it to the Citadel, the latter badly wounded and poisoned. Try as he might, Pyndrakos could not cure his final comrade; she died in the Citadel, leaving Pyndrakos to activate the final anchor of the seal himself.
After spending a long time in the Citadel of Eternity, which Enterroth describes as “centuries upon centuries without the ravages of time”, Pyndrakos finally managed to figure out how to escape the Citadel through the portal, and returned to his own time where he was reunited with the other two parties and received as a hero.
According to the Epic of Enterroth, each party carried a mirror with which they were able to communicate, even while Pyndrakos’s party was in the depths of the Far Realm. The mechanics of how this work are never stated, but modern historians speculate that the three mirrors may have shared a connection to the same Mirror Plane, allowing communications to pass through that plane to reach its destination. The fate of the mirrors is unknown, but it’s likely they were broken eons ago.
The possessor gains a +5 sacred bonus on all saving throws to resist insanity, confusion, or transformation from any source. ↩
In order to activate the Orb, you must be of at least 5th level or possess a mythic rank. If you possess a mythic rank but are below 5th level, you need to expend a use of mythic power in order to activate the Orb (you can do this even if you are higher-level, for additional benefit; see below). Activating the Orb is a standard action. ↩
For every 500 miles (800km) from the Far Realm’s border, each person within the effect’s radius gets an additional +1 sacred bonus on all saving throws against the Far Realm’s insanity and mutation effects, to a maximum of +32. ↩
The secondary effect is classified as a divine power of rank 20, which means it ceases to function 16,900 miles (27,200 km) from the Far Realm’s border. ↩
Only spells of 0 or 1st level can be cast. Psionic powers can only be manifested at 1st level. Only spells or powers with a duration of instantaneous or concentration function, and only if they don’t rely on the accessibility of transitive planes. In order to cast a spell or manifest a power, the character must succeed at a DC 21 Spellcraft or Psicraft check (or DC 20 for a cantrip or orison). If the duration is concentration, they must succeed at an additional DC 20 Concentration check each round to maintain the spell. If the duration is concentration plus an additional period, the additional period is dropped – the spell ends when the character stops concentrating on it. Spell-like and psi-like abilities that mimic spells or powers can be used under the same conditions. Some other spell-like or psi-like abilities of similar strength (including a warlock’s least invocations) may also continue to function with a DC 20 Spellcraft or Psicraft check. ↩
Only supernatural abilities with continuous or instantaneous effect function, or those based on concentration (the latter requires success on a DC 20 Concentration check). Magic items only function if they provide a continuous effect. Both supernatural abilities and magic items perform at half strength. ↩
To the nearest hour. ↩
Renewing the Orb is a free action. Any remaining time that was on the Orb is lost; from the point of renewal, it will last an additional 24 hours. ↩
Renewing the Orb deals 1d3 points of Wisdom damage, or 2d2 points if there’s less than an hour of the effect remaining. Renewing the Orb’s effect fails if it would result in the eventual expiration dealing more negative levels than the possessor has (for example, a 5th-level character can only renew 9 times, suffering 5 negative levels when it finally expires). ↩
When the Orb’s secondary effect expires, the possessor suffers five negative levels, plus an additional level for every ten times the Orb was renewed (rounded down – so, renewing it nine times deals 5 negative levels, but renewing it 10 times deals 6 negative levels). If this brings the character’s level to 0, they fall into a coma rather than dying. These negative levels are instantly restored the moment you leave the Far Realm or step into the Citadel of Eternity. ↩
Expending a use of mythic power when renewing the Orb reduces the cost to exactly 1 point of Wisdom damage. In addition, spending a use of mythic power when first activating the Orb’s secondary function negates the base 5 negative levels when the effect expires. Thus a 1st-level 1st-tier character oould keep the Orb active for up to 20 days – the initial activation, plus 19 renewals. ↩