stacked Mercere Portals

A bit of a discussion about Hermes Portal segued into Stargate.
And how to make it with existing Mercere Portals.

The argument goes that if Mercere Portals are built to a standard size and shape, then they can be stacked to appear to be a very deep arch. So you could go to any of, say, a dozen destinations depending on which Mercere Portal was activated.

Then we considered the possibility that enchantments could be triggered so that if a Mercere portal was activated at point A to go to point B, at point B the Mercere portal to point C would be activated, so any one stepping through the Mercere Portal at point A would arrive at point C without realising they passed through point B. And the same would happen in the opposite direction, allowing point B to be a secret location in the portal network, perhaps only accessible be a special enchanted key that disables the automatic activation of the second Mercere portal.

Then we tried to imagine a network of stacked Mercere portals. You wouldn't need to connect every location with every other, just carry a set of magical keys that causes network shifting.
Say each stack of Mercere portals is 3 deep so that point A can connect with point B, C and D depending on how point A is activated.
Point B connects to points A, E, and F. Point C connects to points A, G, and H. Point D connects to points A, I, and J.
Now point E might connect to points B, J, and L, and point F might connect to points B, M, and N. And so on.
So if you enter point A with the keys to B, F and M, you step through to point M.

And if you wanted to add an extra node, call it point Z1, to the network, you would need to give it 3 Mercere Portals that link to the network. Can be done one at a time over the years.
Say a set of portals from point Z1 to point A, so that point A ends up with a 4 stack of Mercere Portals.
Then point Z2 wants to connect to the network. Create a portal pair Z1-Z2 direct, then say a portal pair M-Z2, then say J-Z1.
Slowly the older network points will go from 3 stacks, to 4 stacks and maybe beyond, while the newer node points start with one connection and try to grow to 3 for redundancy sake (and to reduce the number of keys any travelers need to carry).

Expensive I realise, but otherwise would it be doable?

Doable, probably.

Don't expect it to spin around and flush sideways. :slight_smile:

Actually, there are cathedral doors with a similar stacked theme.

I may have spotted a flaw with the stacked portal network idea.
Assuming that you always enter the portal from the same direction, I suspect that you would be limited to, um, transhipping based on the order of the portals in the stack.

Lets say point T in the network has its Mercere Portal stack set up from entry to go to Z1, Z2, Z3, Z4.
Someone from Z2 can only go to Z3 or Z4 from point T, without stepping backwards to reach the Z1 portal.

But that is assuming that Mercere Portal interface is infinitesimally thin and flat. Or at least no deeper than the archway of that specific portal.

You have piqued my curiousity, as I thought that a non-magical door could only go to single room.
Could you give us some links to to example cathedral doors.

I think he's referring to gothic cathedrals with huge archways filled by a door, that then have a smaller (normal-sized) door set into them so you have a workable, everyday door when you don't need to open up a massive entryway. A bit like a cat-flap forming a smaller door in your house's door.

The great west door of York Minster (started in the 13th century) has a big structure with a couple of doors in it, but I'm trying to remember if it's the north or south transepts that has a door set into a door. ... 02000.html

He is.

You mean a Judas gate? You often get them in warehouses from the Victorian era too. Lots around Manchester.

Just in case anybody misunderstood what I meant about stacked portals, I was thinking along the lines of a deck of cards. Or more like borehole through geological strata, where each stratum is a Mercere Portal.
Not a door containing a smaller door.

If Mercere Portals were of standard design, say an 8' circular disk of rock 1" thick, with a 6' by 3' rectangular door/portal centrally placed, then a stacked set of Mercere Portals would have all the circular disks against each other like a deck of cards, with the rectangular doors aligned with each other, making a cylinder n inches deep, where n is the number of Mercere Portals stacked together.

Right. Like a cathedral gate. One door arch nested inside another nested inside another. Russian dolls, but cut into frames.

Like this - the archways of this door.

If the arches were all the same size, then yes.

Oh. So you have more of a very short hallway in mind?

Yes, with the ability to selectively activate which Mercere Portal(s) under different conditions.

The original thought was that one "archway" could send you to multiple destinations depending on which Mercere Portal was activated.

Then we considered other possibilities, such as covenant A and covenant B has what they think is a Mercere Portal joining them, but instead each of them has a portal to hidden covenant C, where at covenant C the two Mercere Portals face each other with an enchantment that triggers the other Mercere Portal to activate when one is activated from the other side. So at covenant A if you step into the Mercere Portal you end up at covenant C immediately stepping into the Mercere Portal to covenant B, arriving at covenant B without realising you went through a millimeter of covenant C. Similar with the journey from covenant B to covenant A.
Hidden covenant C can keep track of the traffic that passages between A and B, and when necessary can disable the automatic portal activation so that people from C can go to either A or B, or intercept traffic between A and B so that it ends up at C.

Of course, I am assuming that activating the Mercere Portals is done by some sort of CrVi or CrIM spell that generates the correct encrypted key, rather than by expending a pawn of Vis.
That way you can enchant an item for both covenant A and B that generates the correct encryption key for both portals simultaneously, while hidden covenant C has separate keys for A and B.

Now that I have a Tremere character, I am trying to think like a Tremere, and I am inspired by the Oppidum of Tablinum from "Against the Dark" Transylvanian Tribunal book.

Presuming you can make them "arbitrarily" thin, it works like this:

Covenant Duplicitous has a portal to Covenant Occultuous.

Covenant Occultuous has 3 "stacked" portals, each flush with one another. The first one, "D," is the one linked to Duplicitous.

The next one, "S," is linked to Covenant Stultus.
The third one, "F," is linked to Covenant Fatuus.

Covenant Duplicitous has an arcane connection to Portals "S" and "F" that let the Duplicitous magi trigger those portals.

So when someone steps into the portal at Duplicitous, the magi there can trigger portal "S" and the person ends up at Stultus; or they can trigger portal "F" and they end up at Fatuus. Depending on whether each transit can be directly experienced AS a transit, or is largely imperceptible (and afaik that isn't settled in the canon), this may be able to fool people for quite some time.

NOTE however, that neither Stultus nor Fatuus has a portal to Duplicitous: theirs both lead to Occultuous! Unless each of those portals has a built-in Arcane Connection & auto-trigger of the "D" portal, the reverse transit will unmask it all...

Finally -- if we are allowing those "arbitrarily thin" HP's -- the same principle can stretch out to MANY more stacked portals at Occultuous.

There is, however, an inherent security-hole: the reverse-trips. The more portals Occultuous has "stacked," the more Arcane Connections Occultuous has placed into the hands of Covenants who will be VERY pissed to discover the deception...

As it is, a covenant usually hires a couple of specialists to install a Mercere Portal from point A to point B, and they have to cast a ritual to connect the two of them (serf's parma, book elsewhere).

At least you assume there are only two specialists.
For all you know there are 4 specialists creating two sets of Mercere Portal at the same time, the connection A <-> C, and C <-> B, with the C ends stacked together, so that you think the connection only goes A <-> B.
Exactly how powerful is House Mercere?

What happens if after the Schism War this was secretly done wherever possible for "security" reasons?

This is where there is a potential issue. Per cannon, there are only 12 Gifted Mercere. So having four Mercere mage, all four knowing the secret of Mercere Portals and having the skills to perform it (enchanting a ReTe65 effect, then performing a ReTe75 ritual of binding) might be beyond the capability of the House. It is unlikely ("... they [Mercere's mage] jealously guard even this limited knowledge, for they see it as their inheritance: it is all that now remains of their Founder's magic", HoH: True Lineage, p80) - but not impossible - that other magi have access to the knowledge to create such portal, but they better be very secretive about it.

So what long term projects has House Mercere got going on developing this legacy? What similar effects might it worthwhile investigating that might be achievable to get the insight points? Asking for a friend...

Patricia ex Mercere, ReTe specialist for hire.

There is nothing in HoH:TL about expending a pawn of vis. This is a toll that non-members pay to whomever is guarding the portal. If you have a portal in your covenant, then as long as you don't tell anyone, you can use it for free!

The major one that they want is portable portals. A bag or other container which is actually linked with a room back in a covenant.

Temporary Portals - A D:Sun oe D:Diameter version of the spell so you can leave most of your supplies back home.
Alternate destinations - like this thread, you make several devices at the same time, once they are linked, you can exit from any of them.

Can you put a Mercere Portal on a ship?
Somewhere I think it says no, that the portal has to be over solid ground.

But how much solid ground? On a ledge sticking out from a mountain, where the rock ledge is only a couple of feet thick, then 1000s of feet of open air? On a stone bridge over a river? In the hold of a hollowed out stone boat? On top of a large stone slab in a normal boat?

Actually, these same questions should also apply to where you can cast "Conjuring the Mystic Tower".

I thought it was more a fixed location more than solid ground. Say a fixed point and range to the other portal. No idea on canon.