Sunday 17 July 2016

Moon Elves

(This post has nothing to do with Central Asia or ATWC. It's just an attempt to draw together a bunch of ideas I've had rattling around for a while, now...)

They say they came here from the moon, and maybe they did, but if so they have lost or forgotten the way back to it; the old moonbeam bridges are all gone, now, their silvery remains long since tumbled away into the interstellar spaces, and all that remains of the great moon-bats of the ancient world are a dwarfish and degenerate breed, quite incapable of crossing the gulfs between the moon and the earth. Stuck here, on Earth, they pine for lunar glories they have never seen, for the silent spires of their silver cities and the great white sails of the ships their ancestors piloted across the endless seas of sparkling dust. The sun's light pains them, here, and so they live in shadowy places, favouring heavily wooded valleys where there is always something to stand between them and the midday glare. Seen by daylight, they are an unimpressive bunch, pale and scrawny and miserable; but by moonlight, they become luminous. They become glorious.

Their skin is moon-white. Their hair is too, usually, although in some it bears the ghost of another tint: a very, very pale red, or violet, or gold. Their eyes are green or golden or purple. Their bodies are thin, and seem as insubstantial as moonbeams. They know the languages of owls, and bats, and foxes, and all the nocturnal creatures of the forest night, and those creatures know them and love them and serve them out of reverence for their great mother the moon. Humans who see them out in the moonlight often fall in love with them; but such loves seldom end happily, for the moon elves are fickle and faithless, changeable as the moon and tides. They know a secret art for weaving cloth out of moonlight, and another for swimming through dreams as though they were water, going down and down and down like pearl divers until they find the mind of the dreamer whom they seek. Many a comely human has experienced an entire relationship with a moon elf lover without ever being aware of it as anything other than a particularly intense series of erotic dreams.

Their playful love of dreams and shadows hides an intense and chilling purpose. If they cannot return to the moon, they plan to make the earth serve as a substitute. In their secret souls, they dream of roaming a world reduced to a single vast desert of silver dust, beneath a dark and star-filled sky in which the sun will never rise again.

Moon Elf: AC 16 (agility and mooncloth - see below), 2 HD, +2 to-hit, sword 1d8 + 1d6 moonfire (see below), elfshot 1d6 + lunacy (see below), saves 12, morale 7.

All moon elves have the following supernatural abilities:

  • They can communicate with nocturnal animals, who will obey any orders given to them that will not obviously cause them serious injury or death.
  • They can communicate with anyone they have ever met via their dreams. (If someone is aware that a moon elf is contacting them in this way and wants them to stop, they can force the interloper out of their dreams with a successful save vs. spells.)
  • By running their fingertips across a metal object, they can make it erupt with cold white flames which burn for as long as the moon elf carries on holding it. If used on a weapon, this inflicts an extra 1d6 moonfire damage on every hit: this counts as either fire or cold damage, whichever the target has less resistance to. 
  • They can weave moonlight into mooncloth, a luminous white fabric as soft as silk and as hard as steel. Mooncloth garments provide the same defence as chainmail, and weigh virtually nothing. If touched by sunlight they turn into dingy white linen, ugly and worthless. 
  • They can make enchanted arrowheads ('elfshot') which, when used by moon elves, induce lunacy in those struck by them. Anyone hit with one must save vs. spell or suffer uncontrollable insanity for as long as the moon is above the horizon. 
  • They can sculpt moonlight and shadows into illusionary vestments which, when thrown over a creature or object, change its appearance: so a handsome man could be made to look ugly, a stick could be made to look like a sword, a stone could be made to look like a jewel, and so on. The illusionary appearance must be chosen when the weave is created, and must be of something of roughly the same size and shape - so a sheep could be made to look like a wolf, but not like a horse. These illusions dissolve immediately if touched by sunlight. 

Moon Elf Knight: AC 18 (agility and moonbeam armour - see below), 4 HD, +4 to-hit, sword 1d8 + 1d6 moonfire (see below), elfshot 1d6 + lunacy (see below), saves 10, morale 9.

Moon elf knights usually ride giant owls, bats, or foxes, or huge white wolves. They have all the same abilities as regular moon elves, as well as the following additional abilities:

  • They can interact with insubstantial and illusionary objects as though they were real: walking across a chasm on an illusionary bridge, punching ghosts in the face, and so on. This includes objects created with their own ability to sculpt moonlight and shadows: the 'armour' that most such knights wear is actually just cloth covered with a layer of moonweave illusion, which protects them like steel but will function like cloth for anyone else.
  • They can command werewolves, and other shapechangers whose changes are compelled by the phases of the moon. Any such creature they encounter must save vs. spell or obey them without question for as long as the moon is in the sky.
  • By touching someone on the head - a kiss is traditional, although not compulsory - they may inflict a terrible lunar madness upon them. The victim must save vs. spell or spend each night of the full moon convinced they are a wild beast, roaming the woods naked, howling at the moon, and attacking anyone who comes near them with their teeth and nails. Unless the knight chooses to remove it, the affliction is permanent until removed by a Remove Curse spell or the death of the knight who inflicted it. 


  1. snap - have my elf reskinning article in line next to post - love moonknight too - great stuff!

    1. Thanks! I loved your idea of reskinning halflings as Moomintrolls, Narnia fauns, and Wind in the Willows-style talking animals - I look forward to seeing what you come up with for elves!

  2. Years later this has inspired my own take on moon elves, of sorts.