In my previous question I asked about the legitimacy of creating an interplanar portal that would return PCs to the wrong place or time. Can I have an interplanar portal return someone to the wrong time or place?
In follow up, I'd like to ask how to avoid imbalance by suddenly introducing a very rare item. Is there a generally agreed upon, yet believable way to introduce necessary items? If so, should I cause some sort of decay in the item so it doesn't break game balance later on.
Here is the situation
My PCs are level 3 or lower. One of their buddies has been unable to join for many sessions. So I had a phase spider carry him off to the ethereal plane. He is returning this week so I want to launch a rescue mission.
The PCs will need the Well of Many Worlds to rescue their friend. I want their attempt to return home to result in either
- an alternate reality where the location is right but things are very wrong (think Back to the Future 2)
- or they are returned to a very distant land and every attempt to return home results in something different.
To get home they have to solve the puzzle of what caused the "glitch".
The only way I can think to introduce the Well of Many Worlds is via loot from killing a monster but that feels too hokey. What is a level appropriate means by which the players can access that item?
Once they have it, should I introduce decay to this item so the PCs don't carry it forever?
Bottom Line on the Item:
- I'm concerned about the consequences of introducing this powerful of an item so early.
- And I'm unsure of how to go about getting this item into their hands.
A good answer will show a level appropriate way to introduce the item without it unbalancing the adventure tier the players are currently operating in.
UPDATE: I introduced the Well of Many Worlds tonight. An NPC pulled out a black handkerchief and blew his nose on it. It had all the appearances of a silk 'kerchief. He didn't like Orcs. So he cast it on the Orc Paladin feet. The NPC disappeared before the Orc could take action. A bit later the phase spider which has been haunting our Pcs returned and cause the handkerchief to make a faint crystal chime sound. When the Orc picked it up, the slime caused it to fall to the ground and the portal was created. ... And that's how I introduced a very rare necessary item. The phase spider's presence unlocked the power of the once disguised handkerchief. Will add another update when I figure out the limits of Well of Many Worlds to avoid imbalance. Any ideas?