Whom Mortals Call The Moon

 The calendars of the antecessor culture known by scholars as the Saklas or 'Culture of Folly' are unambiguous that the end is nigh. The form of this apocalypse is obscure. Some interpretations of relics left behind by the Saklas suggest that the end will come in a series of massive earthquakes, but mainstream opinion holds that the world has already been destroyed in this way and since been recreated.

A calendar stone purportedly recovered from a ruined city of the Saklas.

 Forward-thinking scholars understand that if humanity is to survive, humans must find a way to leave the world behind before its destruction comes to pass. While fringe theories exist concerning the notion of habitable parallel universes that could potentially be accessed, the most plausible prospect for human survival is generally considered to be relocation to the moon.

 The moon is culturally and spiritually important to most known human societies, and many tribes in the Abraxas region revere it as a god. With the exception of a few little-respected fringe theories, such as those in currency in Heliodor*, the moon is widely understood even by the most rustic tribesmen to be a large sphere that orbits the world at an as yet undetermined distance, whose phases are caused by the shadow of the world falling upon its face.

 Though the changing expressions of the moon do seem to support the idea that it is alive, the argument has been made that the facial features of the moon comprise a monumental carving on a titanic scale, and that the changes in its expresison are an optical illusion caused by the movement of lunar clouds. Nonetheless the expressions are usually considered genuine, and the auspiciousness of various ventures are commonly related to the apparent mood of the lunar body.

The moon.

Mood of the Moon (roll d10)

1. Frightened
2. Sad
3. Angry
4. Disgusted
5. Haughty
6. Surprised
7. Joyous
8. Amused
9. Serene
10. Asleep

 The practicalities of travel to the moon are widely debated - sages agree that it will be no mean task. Some of the theories in currency follow:

A balloon of ancient design.

 The most trivial suggestion is that a good enough balloon, such as advance version of those used by the ancient priests in in the Desert of Red Ruin. Advances in the field of lighter-than-air travel have been made by the Heliodorans, but are unreliable, and still limited in range and scope, but the promise remains.

A balloon launches at Heliodor.

 However, even accounting for great leaps in this mode of travel, the question remains of just how far it is to the moon, the temperature and other risks of exposure at such celestial elevations,  and even if it is possible to breathe there, extrapolating from the thinness of air in the highest mountain ranges. Furthermore, the conspicuous silence of the moon suggests to some wise men that there is no medium of transfer to sound, though this has also been explained by the great distance to the moon, or merely the innate silence of the moon's periodic laughter or fury. There is speculation, notably in Heliodor, as to whether the sky might translate to the Elemental Plane of Air, but there is little support for this, nor has this Plane been conclusively demonstrated to exist - traditional belief holds the earthly and heavenly realms to transition continuously.

Several minor skycrags.

 The moon's apparent defiance of gravity has often called for comparison to the skycrags that drift at various heights above the face of the landscape. The crags drift seemingly at random, but the Abraxan sage Apiaka Seven Silvers, known for his controversial model of the motion of skycrags, has theorized that the elevation of skycrags may be considered as relative both to the earth and to one another, such that by carefully predicting or even altering their drift, the crags could potentially be arranged to chain above one another, so that a balloonist, or even a climber, might traverse moonward from one to the next, forming a kind of "stairway to heaven."

Apiaka Seven Silvers presents an equation demonstrating skycrag dynamics.

 Seven Silvers is strongly convinced that the moon is habitable, taking as a given that the moon is alive, and furthermore that the moon's surface is abundant with edible matter. He argues in favor of the traditional wisdom that the noxious levitating beasts known as Mooncrabs are like unto lice who dwell upon the moon, and are occasionally thrown off by the moon's itchy quaking and float down to Alshain.

A mooncrab.


Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4*
Move: 60' (20')
 Flying: 120' (40')
Attacks: 2 Claws/1 Sting
Damage: 1-8/1-8/1-4+Poison
No. Appearing: 1-4(1-4)
Save As: Fighter:4
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: V
Alignment: Chaotic

 A mooncrab resembles a large scorpion floating uncannily in the air with a ghastly, skull-like face. Its body is about 5' long with a tail of similar length. They levitate via unknown means up to about 4-5' off the ground, and will fall to that point from greater heights as if Feather Falling. The poison sting of a Mooncrab instantly induces a convulsive hilarity equal to a Hideous Laughter spell. Mooncrabs especially delight in  devouring incapacitated foes as the victims continue to laugh, unable to stop even as they are being eaten. Mooncrabs are as intelligent as an average human but speak only Mooncrab. 
The ichor of a mooncrab is a good ingredient for a Potion of Levitation, and its venom as ink for a scroll of Hideous Laughter.

A coven of Mushroom Women.

 Also believed to have an eventual lunar origin are the reclusive Mushroom Women. A popular folk legend, possibly related to the dogmas of the apocalyptic cult of the Kingdoms of the Sixth Sun is the moon is a form of giant puffball of immense scale, with whose spores the earth is dusted. If the spores of Mushroom Women can float down to Alshain on spores in grace and safety, why not the other way?

Mushroom Woman

Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 2***
Move: 90'(30')
Attacks: 1 or Spores
Damage: 1-4
No. Appearing:2-8(5-20)
Save As: Elf 4
Treasure Type: D
Alignment: Neutral

 Mushroom Women are colonial fungus creatures with forms suggestive of humanoid women. They are reclusive, but non-aggressive, and on a good reaction result are willing to converse on esoteric topics. If attacked, they will open with a blast of spores that cause targets in a 15' radius to Save vs. Poison of succumb to a mystical Sleep. Against more powerful targets a mushroom woman will attack a single target with a concentrated blast of spores that cause hallucinations - Save vs. Poison or be affected by Confusion, and the effects of a Potion of Delusion mimicing a random potion for an additional 1d4 hours. The DM is encouraged to describe the hallucinatory experience in great psychedelic detail. If pressed into physical combat, their claws may infect wounds with spores that unless a successful Save vs. Poison is made is equivalent to the effects of a Cause Disease spell.

 Some human priests and medicine men have developed a rapport with these creatures, and have learned to develop their spores into Potions of Flying, Heroism, or Longevity. However there is always a 10% danger of creating a Potion of Delusion when using these spores as an ingredient.

Fra' Lippo Dellamore

A much more radical theory has been advanced by the strange ascetic Fra' Lippo Dellamore, late of Rhadamanthus. After his years of assiduous study of the secret behavior of cats, he claims to have learned that certain rare felines 'leap' to and from the moon so as to "sup on moon-milk," and that thus human riders might themselves travel to the moon, "given a sufficiently large cat." His studies, however, are admittedly inconclusive as to whether cats must jump only in the "dream realm," which notion itself is in contention with the popular philosophy that all life is but a dream. 

While the existence of the Moon-Leaping Cat is speculative at best, the characteristics described in Dellamore's notebooks resemble the following:

Moon-Leaping Cat

Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4**
Move: 180' (60')
Attacks: 2 claws/1 bite
Damage: 1-3/1-3/1-6
No. Appearing: 1 (1-3)
Save As: Fighter 4
Morale: 9
Treasure Type:
Alignment: Neutral

This lean, spotted cat is similar in size to a cheetah. Dwelling most of the time in some misty conceptual realm, it surprises its prey on a 1-5 on 1d6 as it appears seemingly from nowhere. If it successfully hits with both claw attacks, unless a save vs. Spells is made, it pulls its target into its dreamy otherworldly lair where the prey must fight the Cat alone. If the cat is defeated, the character may make an Intelligence check each round to wend his way back to the material world. The cat's lunar leap may only be accomplished under certain celestial conditions, as determined by the DM; the cat is not capable of carrying a human rider.

A spy's impression, drawn before he succumbed to alchemical poisoning.

Lastly, a more purely mechanical solution has been rumores - if a kind of vessel could be contained within a great musketball shot from the blast of the entire great foundries of Tseen Tsang, this shot might reach the moon if aimed precisely -  but how would the passengers survive? And there is concern among sober-headed men that such a projectile might injure the moon! And even barring this, it would surely considered the first volley in a war with any potential lunar inhabitants.

Or perhaps...nobody lives on the moon.

* The "Heliodoran Thesis" proposes that the moon is a kind of shuttered window in the firmament, whose phases are controlled by the opening and closing of its aperture.


  1. you read A Storm Of Wings, right? right? if not get on it

  2. Between the Heliodoran Thesis and the Mushroom Women of the Moon, my guess is that the dimension on the other side of the firmament looks a little something like this:


    In other news, you're killing it.

    1. Thanks!

      Heliodoran cosmology is a little far-fetched, but they're very vocal about it.

      I think your image may have some bearing on the cloudy realms between skycrag and firmament though.

  3. so much quality here!

    We go to... the MOON!

    1. Note to travelers : none of the above methods of lunar access guaranteed survivable by humans.

  4. Potentially useful for alternate Mushroom Women spore effects:



  5. Haha, awesome. I love it.

    1. Glad to see people responding well to this stuff. Taking a different approach to setting development than I usually do. Trying to get some exportable content in along with the world stuff.

  6. Enough goodness here for four or five posts.

    1. Focus is not my strong suit but I think good things can come from conceptual sprawl. Thanks!

  7. In Italo Calvino's "The Distance to the Moon," in his Cosicomics stories, Qfwfq relates the story of the time when he was young, and he and his friends traveled to the moon by ladder. They put the ladders in their boat, and rowed out to the spot where it would pass lowest to the Earth. Qfwfq warns though, of the peril of staying too long. As the moon rises from its lowest point, the climbers risk being stranded on the moon. If the climbers have had the misfortune to visit on the last night the moon will ever fall so low, they will be stranded, forever out of reach of their friends and their ladders.

    1. That's a great one. Calvino is definitely an influence, both in his fiction and in his folktale translations.