Between January 20th to January 21st (depending on location) in 2019, there is an extraordinary celestial event happening. I’m talking about the Super Blood Wolf Moon of course. This special event occurs when the Moon enters into a Lunar eclipse with the Earth, where it produces a reddish hue, and it’s a super moon because this event will also be when the Moon is at its closest to the Earth. Why is it called a wolf moon? The very first full moon in January is typically referred to as a wolf moon. So with all of these lunar events happening simultaneously, that’s how we arrived at the beautiful naming convention of Super Blood Wolf Moon.
The moon has plenty of cultural significance in various myths and legends, and even in fantasy, the moon often has an influential role to play. Here are some lunar inspired ideas that you may perhaps wish to implement in your next game session.
Lycanthropes & Shifters
The classic bond between lycanthropes and the moon seems almost timeless in the mythos of were-creatures. According to the Curse of Lycanthropy feature under Lycanthropes, a creature that resists the curse will find the task impossible when the full moon rises and transform into its beastial or hybrid form. However, those that accept their curse can assume a beast form or hybrid form at will.
In the Forgotten Realms, Selune is the goddess of the moon, and her moonlight is depicted as the source to quell the darkness and even possibly, the madness of lycanthropy. Another perspective might also suggest that Selune’s light reveals the true nature of a lycanthrope.
Interestingly enough, the lycanthropes of 5th Edition are immune to all bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical sources that aren’t silvered. In other words, the attack has to come from a silvered, magic weapon. A lot of work to get through those thick hides.
In Eberron, there is a race of humanoids considered the descendants of humans and lycanthropes (also referred to as weretouched) called Shifters. While they cannot embrace the full animalistic features of their forebearers, they can temporarily enhance some of their traits through a state called shifting. You can learn more about shifters in the Wayfarer’s Guide to Eberron campaign book on the DMsGuild (Reminder: This is not official material yet, but considered a living document). But additionally, Eberron has 12 moons, each associated with a Dragonmark. A lycanthrope in Eberron has to contend with resisting the influence of multiple moons on multiple nights, which is about an average of nineteen nights of the month (YIKES). Shifters may or may not be influenced by the full moons, perhaps their bloodline is too diluted from the many generations. But, there is one event every 7507.5 years with the twelve moons of Eberron – total synchronization (Credit goes to Arlough for doing the math in a forum post back in 2011). So what happens to lycanthropes and shifters in this rare event?
Song of the Celestial Twelve (Celestial Concordance)
During a full moon, a shifter in Eberron may feel the tug and chorus of those twelve heavenly bodies. An echo of from the wild soul within their bloodline, but during a special event referred to as the “The Celestial Concordance,” when all twelve moons are full simultaneously. During such event, some sages and prophets fear the great arcane tides that shall wash over the land of Eberron, fearing that it may allow the Khyber, the Dragon Below to awaken and break free. But, the shifters and the lycanthropes that roam the world will feel an ancient call from the prelude of history.
Shifters. Whenever a shifter uses their Shifting feature, they gain double the number of temporary hit points when they shift. Shifters of certain subraces also gain additional benefits:
- Beasthide. While under the influence of the Celestial Concordance and while shifted, you gain a +2 bonus to AC instead and you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage for the duration.
- Longtooth.While under the influence of the Celestial Concordance and while shifted, your fangs deal 1d8 + your Strength modifier in piercing damage instead. In addition, the target is grappled (escape DC = 8 + your Proficiency bonus + Strength modifier). Until the grapple ends, the target automatically takes piercing damage equal to 1d8 + your Strength modifier by using a bonus action on your turn.
- Swiftstride. While under the influence of the Celestial Concordance and while shifted, your walking speed increases by an additional 10 feet instead. In addition, you can spend a bonus action to use the dash action.
- Wildhunt. While under the influence of the Celestial Concordance and while shifted, you have advantage on Wisdom saving throws and your darkvision extends to 120 feet. In addition, while shifted, you gain Truesight to a range of 30 feet.
Lycanthropes. The Celestial Concordance has a profound influence on those under the curse, regardless of whether one resisted or embraced it. While under the influence of this cosmic event, all lycanthropes gain the following benefits:
- Lunar Weapons. The Lycanthropes natural weapon attacks are magical. Whenever a lycanthrope hits with an attack that would bestow the curse of lycantrhopy, the target has disadvantage on the saving throw.
- Lunar Veil. Lycanthropes during the Celestial Concordance have resistance to damage from spells and advantage on saving throws against spells.
- Fierce Transformation. Lycanthropes (whether resisting or embraced) transform under the Celestial Concordance. Those that resist their lycanthrope must transform into their hybrid form, while those that embraced the curse can choose between their hybrid or animal forms. While transformed, lycanthropes deal an additional die of damage when using their natural weapon attacks. Once the lunar event has passed, lycanthropes revert back to their humanoid forms (embraced lycanthropes may choose to remain in their hybrid or animal forms).
Across fiction and systems of magic and faiths, the moon influences the flow of magic. In the case of the Forgotten Realms, Selune birthed the goddess Mystryl (which became Mystra), the moon goddess was said to provide insight and clarity, ownership and steward to the starry skies, and influencer of lycanthropes.
I have previously featured and wrote a Moon Domain for the Cleric in D&D 5e, which can be found here.
To expand on the theme a bit more, consider the notion of the moon and how casters may sometimes invoke the power of a full moon. In the Dragonlance setting, between the three moons of magic, the different phases of their moons influence the capabilities of Kyrnn’s Wizards of High Sorcery. The moon in Innistrad for Magic the Gathering acted as the magical seal and barrier to protect the plane along with its angelic warden.
To use this feature, you must be a spellcaster with the spellcasting feature. You must spend at least 1 hour to channel the mystical energies (during either a full or new moon) through your body to become attuned to it. You must also have a non-magical object worth at least 500-1000 gold pieces, at the end of the ritual, it becomes a magic item and uses one of your alotted attunement slots. Most lunar cycles consist of a 28-day month.
While attuned, you gain the following benefits:
- While the moon is at high sanctum (a full moon), your spells are potent and difficult to resist. Whenever you cast a spell that requires a creature to make a saving throw to resist its effects, the target of the spell has disadvantage on its first saving throw against the spell. Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until the next full moon.
- While the moon is at high santcum (a full moon), you can infuse its mystical energies into your next spell. As a bonus action, the next spell you cast is treated as being cast using a higher spell slot. Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again until the next full moon.
- While the moon is at low sanctum (a new moon), the energy of your spells are dampened. Whenever you cast a spell of 1st-level or higher, roll a d20. On a 19 or 20, the spell has no effect and is wasted.
You cannot remove the attunement except during a high or low sanctum period.
One of the most iconic D&D weapons regarding the moon would have to be the elven moonblades from the Forgotten Realms. These weapons of renown were hereditary magical longswords passed down their elven lineages. The blades were named for the moonstones that were placed into the pommel of each sword upon their creation, with each wielder contributing a power to their weapons. Each blade was unique along with the powers given to them, but each was capable of summoning a shadow that resembled an elf warrior.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what about a moonbow? After all, we have the goddess Sehanine Moonbow (elven goddess of the moon) for inspiration for this weapon idea.
Weapon (longbow), very rare (requires attunement by an elf)
You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. While attuned to this bow, your darkvision range is increased by 60 feet.
By speaking a command word, you can cast the dancing lights spell at will. In addition, you can speak another command word to cast hunter’s mark, and misty step. Once you use this property, you cannot cast those spells again until the next evening while the bow is basking in moonlight.
You can speak a command word and turn one of your arrows knotted to the bow into a single bolt of condescend moonlight. A line 5 feet wide extends out from you to a target within 150 feet. Each creature in the line excluding you and the target must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw, taking 6d8 radiant damage on a failed save, and half as much on a successful save. The moon bolt turns back into an arrow when it reaches its target. Make a ranged weapon attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes damage from the bow plus 6d8 radiant damage. If the target is a shapechanger, it has disadvantage on the saving throw and takes an additional 1d8 radiant damage on a hit. Once you use this property, it can’t be used againt until the next evening basked by moonlight.
What are some moon-inspired concepts have you always been interested in trying? Any other ideas for lunar or lycan inspired class features or spells? How does the moon(s) function in your setting? Leave a comment below.
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Nicely done, sire. Also… Very interested to see your Shaper reach its final form! I hope the Metacreativity doesn’t get out of hand, balance-wise. And the subclass features should be pretty cool, if you follow the direction of the shaper concept from 3.x