Words about worlds

Intrusion: Moonlight

by | Oct 12, 2022 | Cypher | 0 comments

We didn’t get much sleep last night. Moonlight streamed into the bedroom for hours. I love moonlight and we’ve gotten used to sleeping in a periodically bright bedroom (more or less). However, we have a dog. We trained him to sleep in a crate in our room. He learned at a young age that whining and assorted vocal efforts get him nowhere, so he doesn’t talk at night. What he does do is to shake his head and flap his flopsy ears with such extraordinary vigor that the entire cage shakes in sympathy and frequently wakes us up.

  He did a lot of that last night. We forgot to lower the curtain over his crate, so he could see all that moonlight. As far as he is concerned, moonlight is as good as sunlight for having fun, and if we aren’t up and having fun already, it is his job to see that we get up. Hence his frequent head shakes which, as of five this morning, have earned him the nickname, “ThunderEars”.

  In my efforts to go back to sleep after these repeated bouts, I found myself writing a GM Intrusion:

Moonlight: you have to be at your best tomorrow morning. Sadly, the moon is full. Your dog keeps you awake with assorted loud head-shakes, “I was just turning around in my bed” floor-rattling thumps, and perfectly innocent yet strangely high-volume nail grooming. If you fail a difficulty 3 Might task, you will be hindered in your tasks the next day. This condition will persist until you either use your one-hour recovery roll (translation: take a nap) or drink at least 8 ounces of black coffee.

 Then (because I was now thoroughly awake) I started writing a series, “Intrusions called ‘Moonlight’”, along with some surrounding circumstances.

Moonlight: The night-blooming pennynoble is a vital ingredient in your potion. It must be gathered in full flower. The bright moonlight makes it easy to see your way to the riverbank where you know the rare flower grows. But when you reach the clearing, a terrible sight meets your eyes: the entire field has withered in the strong harvest moonlight. The next nearest cluster of pennynoble grows on the high ground in the middle of Deathsfire Marsh…

Moonlight: You are perfectly hidden behind the triple-trunk oak. Your target will pass by any moment. Any moment…any moment…A quarter-hour late, your target approaches. Suddenly, the target stops, frozen, staring in your direction. Then you see it. The moon beams shifted while you were waiting! One stray beam is shining off the tip of your right boot. Your target starts to run.

Moonlight: Your mentor was right, this scroll can only be read in moonlight. What he didn’t realize was that this scroll had been written in the pale light of a half-moon. Exposed to the brilliant beams of the full moon, part of the scroll begins to brown, then curl, then smoke as if held over a strong flame.

Moonlight: A moonlight picnic is a great date for two college students on a tight budget. You’ve got the perfect food packed in a basket you you borrowed a basket from the dorm chef, you’ve got a blanket, you’ve got the music and the travel speakers..it’s all set. And when you step out into the night together, it is magical.  But the first picnic spot is full. And the second. And the third. Perhaps, if you hadn’t skipped multi-cultural appreciation day to deal with that poltergeist, you would have learned that this week is a holiday celebrated in several cultures, and that moonlight walks and picnics are an important part of the occasion.

I like the Moon Festival, personally, and it’s amazing how many ways you can use it as an intrusion, all by itself. Given a moonlight chase or combat or hunt in a vaguely modern setting, just set the time of year properly and you can have so much fun with pairs, groups, and crowds of innocently celebrating bystanders who need to be dodged, helped, or left in blissful ignorance of the horror the PCs are facing.

I might have come up with more intrusions but Tom came to the rescue with a thick cloth which he put over the front of the dog’s crate. The dog settled down and so did we.

And now I have some ideas for how to use the glory of moonlight to complicate PCs’ lives—without invoking a werewolf.


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