By the light….of the silvery moon… So went the lyrics of a song on the now hideously un-PC “Black and White Minstrel Show” record my parents had and which I played incessantly for a period during my teenage years.
Yesterday in RPGaDay2020 we looked at the shady Empire of the Ghouls. Today it’s light. And I’m going to look at the light of the moon.
Everyone knows the “normal” moon which shines white in the sky and waxes and wanes on a 24-day cycle (slightly less than local month), turning dark night almost into a monochrome version of daylight when full and attracting the attention of lycanthropes everywhere.
What not everyone knows is that there is a second moon, Artesim, orbiting the planet on a longer timescale.
Although the moon’s official name is Artesim, it is more often referred to as The Wanderer. It is orange-red, much the colour of a blood orange, and it orbits on a highly elliptical 55-day cycle. It is much dimmer than the main moon, and while it gives a reddish tinge to the night, it is subtle enough that most people don’t notice, and certainly don’t associate it with anything particular. The effect is most noticable when the two moons are full together, turning the main moon reddish as well, generally referred to as a blood moon.
When full, the Wanderer appears as a small red disc in the sky, but often those who notice it tend to write it off as just an interesting celestial effect, or an artefact of the weather, or some magical flying creature or will-o-the-wisp.
Although its visible effects are not very big, it has a significant pull on the magic aura of the world, changing the Wild Magic which Sorcerers draw upon.
When it is distant, wild magic is quiet, but as it approaches, the energy increases, amplifying the effects and making it much more likely that Wild Magic sorcerers will experience a surge. At these times such sorcerers talk of riding the wave.
In practical terms what this means is that the chance of a wild magic effect varies during its cycle, as follows:
|Day of cycle||Effect|
|1-15|41-55||Normal chance of wild magic (1 on d20)|
|16-24|31-40||Increased chance of wild magic|
1-2 Wild magic surge
3-19 No additional effect
20 Spell effect + 50%
|25-30||Chance of wild magic effects greatly increased:|
1 Wild magic surge with double power
2-3 Wild magic surge
4-18 No additional effect
19 Spell effect + 50%
20 Spell effect doubled
I first came up with the idea of The Wanderer for the campaign I inherited where I literally dropped them into Mystara and Karameikos. One of the characters was a cleric of the moon (which I didn’t have in my world at the time), and I wanted to add some interest and mystery to give the feeling of “this is somewhere alien”.
We never actually got far enough in that campaign for me to really bring it into effect, but I now have a player with a Wild Magic sorcerer who is disappointed about how seldom the wild magic actually triggers – I can’t actually remember an occasion when he has rolled a 1 on his Wild Magic – so I remembered this moon and have repurposed it for the Wild Magic. Early days yet in their time back in Mystara, so still to see how it pans out.
Come back tomorrow for Day 10, and we’ll look at Want – the desire of disabled people to play someone like themselves.