Balo's Tower

What you would know about the Tower of the Fool if you make a Knowledge (The Planes) check at DC 20; Knowledge (Arcane) or Bardic Knowledge or Gather Information at DC 25; or Knowledge (Theology) or Knowledge (Dungeoneering) at DC 30: The following manuscript was written by Elminster the Sage (i.e. Ed Greenwood) over a century ago:

Elric looked at the pit. It was ragged and deep and the earth in it seemed freshly turned as if it had been but lately
“What must we wait for, Friend Corum?”
“For the Tower,” said Prince Corum. “I would guess that this is where it appears when it is in this plane. ”
“And when will it appear?”
“At no particular time. We must wait. And then, as soon as we see it, we must rush it and attempt to enter before it
vanishes again, moving on to the next plane. ”

…The Vanishing Tower is perhaps the most spectacular of these. It is a small stone castle, sections of which appear shadowy and vague. Lights play about its battlements. It flickers from one plane to another, spending only minutes or at the most a few hours at any location. There should be a warning flicker just before it shifts. The shift is more or less instantaneous and under the directional control of no person or entity. (This prevents those who seek to make it as a cheap means of all-powerful transportation, or worse, a well-nigh unassailable fortress which can shift away to escape danger in any one plane). The only exception to this lack of control is the provision (by means of a Limited (or Full) Wish spell) for forcing the tower away from the plane of the spell caster. The gods only know (and cannot to change) the tower’s destinations and the occasions on which it shifts.

It is said that the ordinary laws of sorcery do not work within the tower due to the rapidity of its shifting and the varying effectiveness of magic from plane to plane.

The tower generally enters any given plane in relatively the same spot (see opening quotation) each time. Note that this is by no means certain, and the irregularity of its presence (coupled with the length of absence) will in most planes deny precise knowledge (and perhaps guarding) of its point of entry. Often only old, distorted legends and
crumbling, forgotten records will hint at where it may be found when it does appear.

Often the tower will be inhabited by creatures venturing into it from the various planes it visits (for example, if the Tower has visited any of the Nine Hells at all recently, it will certainly have been garrisoned; one might assume the archdevils have given standing orders regarding this). Monster possibilities are obvious.

At one time, a dwarf named Voilodon Ghagnasdiak inhabited the tower (after discovering its plane-shifting properties the hard way). Too fearful to leave, but very lonely, he captured those who entered the tower and forced them to be his companions until he grew tired of them and killed them. He had a number of winged, monstrous servants (seemingly equivalent to gargoyles) who could be harmed only by the scythes they bore. Like the monster in [unintelligible], these were initially imprisoned within balls which the dwarf would throw at those menacing him. In the depths of the tower was a vault filled with the treasure of all those who had ventured into the tower and fallen prey to Ghagnasdiak. Such a hoard would include many strange artifacts (perhaps technological weapons and armor) and much magical treasure.

One such artifact was the Runestaff, which apparently has the power to halt the tower’s shifting (although it was
never so used). It can itself shift its holder and anyone touching him or her to any plane desired—whereupon it will vanish…

The following is the appearance of the Tower of the Fool in my game:

The tower is 100 feet wide by 100 feet high, and octagonal (viewed from above). Its color changes from time to time, usually either bright green as though made of jade, or else dark grey like charcoal or even jet black like obsidian. It appears to be almost entirely featureless, in fact smooth, as though it were carved out of a single block of stone; upon close examination it has a slightly bumpy surface texture (similar to a painted wall). The only external feature is a set of eight steps leading to a pair of double doors ten feet high and ten feet wide. The doors have doorknobs, or at least handles, at a height proportional to their scale, about 5 feet up, and are marked with an eight-pointed star, like an asterisk, of arrows radiating from a central point. Anyone who can cast spells or otherwise sense magic can usually tell (Spellcraft DC 10) that the tower is magic, and possibly some specific details about the type of magic involved. (DC 15: Overwhelming; DC 20: Chaos; DC 25: Conjuration; DC 30: Teleportation)

Upon opening the doors (Strength DC 10), the interior of the tower seems to be filled by a single large room 100 feet across and 100 feet high. In the middle of the room is an octagonal pool about 20 feet across with a ledge about 3 feet high, shooting a fountain of water in the air, and there are identical sets of double doors on each of the eight walls. Other than that, the room appears featureless, but the stone of the tower is permeated with the same magic that was sensed outside, and the water of the fountain is magical as well, of a slightly different sort. (As the tower, except not Conjuration/Teleportation.)

Balo's Tower

Terramar JohnFast