(The following text and images are taken from a pamphlet recently made available for sale by the Skyclan Caravan, a community of dwarven merchants who travel the lands of Mathosia. The pages are credited to Saph Rhan and the pricing scheme is as follows.)

A Practical Primer on Planar Preeminence-goldcoins.jpg Standard Price: 25 gold
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Salutations, smart-shopping adventurer!

My name is Saph Rhan and I'm a Riftstalker. While I'm not much of a writer, I felt inspired to pen this document after attending a recent seminar on magical theory. Mind you, I didn't mean to attend, but I ended up there nonetheless after attempting a long-distance teleport to the bathroom. My curiosity piqued by the impressive turnout, I did a bit of asking around and learned that many such discussions have been held across Telara in recent days, with topics ranging from experimental science to critical assessment of future planar threats.

Theory is mighty nice and all, but if you're like me (and since you bought this pamphlet, the odds of that are pretty good), you're much more of a hands-on type of adventurer. Some of us enjoy hitting the books, but our lot enjoys hitting the things the books are written about. You don't want pipe dreams and postulation, you want proven techniques to better battle the bevies of baddies from beyond!

With that in mind, here are four of my very best tips to ramp up your rift-hunting talent.

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1) THE BIG ENEMY OF MY BIG ENEMY IS A VERY BIG FRIEND

It's common knowledge that the denizens of the different planes do not care for each other, barring a few fleeting alliances from years past. We've all seen examples of invaders from one plane laying siege to an opposing planar foothold. Letting minions beat each other up is always handy when your adventuring party is a bit understaffed, but the full scope of this technique is rarely appreciated.

Have you ever seen a new planar incursion begin while the forces from a successful one are still hanging about? Seek out the biggest fish from both sides and lure one into the other's path! Pictured above is the powerful earth dragon Apophys squaring off against a Battlemaster satyr from House Aelfwar. (Your intrepid dwarven heroine is also pictured for scale.)

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2) HARD DATA EQUALS EASIER MISSIONS

Most of us know how to open a planar tear, but do you know the locations where they frequently reappear, or how many can manifest in a given area? Future tasks will be simpler once you eliminate the guesswork! Open oodles of rifts, take notes, buy maps and stick pins in them. While I'd have to charge significantly more for a full compilation of my own painstakingly acquired records, a quick once-over of the image above will give you a freebie.

That's right, the upper limit on earth rifts in Iron Pine Peak is twenty-eight, not counting the extra-large variety. (I like to call that map "Don't Eat the Golden Snow".)

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3) TO LURE IS SECURE; TO WAIT, NOT SO GREAT

Looking at that map of Iron Pine Peak, you might get the idea that I'm some sort of daft troublemaker, recklessly unleashing planar hell throughout my travels. Don't be fooled! Waiting for rifts to open at the invaders' discretion is never the best option. What happens if one erupts over a populated but insufficiently protected area, causing untold damage before your arrival? Be proactive, track down those tears and use your lures to strike preemptively.

If you're very lucky, sometimes you'll catch the enemy with their proverbial pants down. One such occasion is depicted above. Not yet ready to launch an assault, the undead minions were so flummoxed at being yanked into Telara that they completely failed to attack at all, making them easy pickings. Much better than sitting on one's laurels and waiting for the invasion!

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4) PLAY THE NUMBERS GAME, HIT THE JACKPOT

Finally, we come to an advanced tactic incorporating all three of our previously divulged techniques. This can be difficult to pull off successfully, but it effectively counters the "divide and conquer" strategy commonly employed by planar invaders.

  • Open planar tears experimentally.
  • Observe and take notes on troop movement and targeted areas for footholds.
  • Open rifts selectively to stack the opposing forces in one place.

Pictured above is an entire Storm Legion battalion amassed in a single location, ready to be engaged by a contingent of courageous Ascended ... or if fortune is really on your side, by a colossal invader like Apophys. In either case, the result is one massive all-or-nothing battle, one winning team, and a whole lot of treasure to fund the requisite victory party, where fellow adventurers and grateful citizens alike will sing your praises for being just plane awesome.

If you've enjoyed this practical primer on planar preeminence and plan to proffer your platinum for more pleasantly-priced products, keep an eye out for the Skyclan Caravan the next time we're in town! So long as I get to them first, goblins will never murder our suppliers.

(Some versions of this document end with a handwritten note inviting the presumably dwarven customer to visit a certain wagon at the conclusion of her shift.)