SIZE:T (5″ to 1′)
XP VALUE:2,000
AD&D 2e statistics

A curious phenomenon found only in the City of Doors, the halato are on rare occasions seen in peaceful orbit around one of Sigil’s many portals.

The Lady’s eyes, as they are sometime called, take the form of a shimmering, monochromatic ball of light, trailed by motes of a slightly lighter shade. They are generally small in size, and are entirely intangible, ignoring anything physical in their path. Their orbits, which range from one foot to twenty around the portal, often take them right through walls or nearby Cagers. This apparently harms neither the halato or the Cager.

COMBAT: As they exist only in the realm of the visual, it is extremely difficult to damage a halato in any way, much less engage it in physical combat, though some bashers claim that a dispel magic will sometimes scare them off. This doesn’t stop them from causing trouble around them, though. A limited wish spell will drive a halato off for at least a day (they don’t always return), or a full wish will prevent any halato from ever infesting a particular portal. For any other spell, the halato possesses a 100% magic resistance.

First off, any mage or other spellcaster who casts a spell within the halato’s orbit has a 50% chance of setting off a wild surge, as per the rules in the Tome of Magic. With a wild mage, there is no doubt; a wild surge will go off. Rather than whatever the berk was trying to cast it on, the portal itself always counts as the target, with the ‘mouth’ or ‘eyes’ being the portal’s archway, and any body parts being either the material of the portal or the halato itself. If the result isn’t applicable (such as the portal changing gender), roll again.

Proxies and priests usually feel a deep reluctance to go anywhere near an Eye’s orbit. Though they’re not physically restrained from doing so, they tend to be extremely edgy the entire time, and any of a priest’s abilities as a servant of a power won’t function during that time. A proxy will only enter the radius if ordered by his deity.

The portal itself is affected strangely, as well. Any cutter who walks into it bearing the proper key will be immediately shunted off to a random plane. If they don’t make a saving throw versus spell, they’ll be drained of 1d4 hp worth of hit points as well. Smart planewalkers stay well away from a halato’s chosen portal.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: Halato are solitary creatures, and are only ever encountered as individuals. Other than circle their chosen portal and hamper planar travel, the halato has little interaction with the rest of the Multiverse. Certain bashers claim to have conversed with a halato in a manner not dissimilar to that with a will o’ wisp (the beings are though by some planar zoologists to be distantly related; perhaps the halato being plane-touched wisps…), with the brightening, dimming, shimmering and speed of orbiting having subtle connotations. If these half-barmies can be believed, the halato seem obsessed with the Lady of Pain, dabus and powers, though the nature of their concern is not apparent.

It has been often suggested that halato are creations of the Lady of Pain who sometimes wishes to seal off certain portals without putting them completely out of action. The tales go that when a halato is in residence the portal key changes, and should this new key be used instead the portal functions correctly. However, portal feel and other spells and powers used to probe the required key only reveal the original, malfunctioning key, to the inquirer.

Another theory is that the halato are parasitic pests that feed off travellers passing through their portals (remember, the halato only appears on the Sigil side of the portal, so travellers coming into Sigil will be drained, although the portal’s destination is as expected…it is only travellers leaving the Cage that are affected by the random destination). This theory is borne out by the occasional team of dabus who go to great trouble to remove a halato from a particular portal. But this happens only occasionally; many portals are just left infested.

The most popular chant is, however, that the Lady of Pain places halato upon portals she wishes to observe closely, perhaps fearing an invasion or other trouble. It could be that the mysterious halato are some kind of ward against Powers entering the Cage. The saying goes that if all the halato left Sigil at once, the doors would be thrown open to invasion from whatever power fancied taking the barmy burg.

ECOLOGY: It’s often wondered if indeed halato are even alive. It’s quite possible that they are in fact a curse or magical effect created by eccentricities in Sigil’s orbit. They don’t appear to reproduce or even meet others of their kind, and a halato has never been observed outside of Sigil. When one appears, it simply springs out of the portal and begins to circle it. Should one be dispelled or leave of its own accord (again, for reasons equally dark), it moves into the portal’s arch and disappears through it. Where it goes next is unknown.

Source: Center of All, Jon Winter-Holt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *