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Spellcraft and Moonfire: Useless Spells

by Sharon Dornhoff

The following categories of magic just plain don't work, in the Hollow Moon. They function normally on the outer surface of Matera, and in the airless half of passages which penetrate the crystal layer, including the permanent entry-tunnel at Mare Orientale. I've only listed the RC and PHB spells, plus spells from Gazetteers and "Glantri: Kingdom of Magic". Other spells' effectiveness should be adjudicated by individual DMs.

As with magics that don't function in the Hollow World, these spells simply don't have any effect when cast. The caster loses the failed spell from his or her memory, and can't replace it until the next time he or she studies/prays for spells. There are no other adverse effects from such a spell-failure, even if the spell normally has side effects upon its caster or recipient (e.g. the Wish or Haste spells in AD&D). Mystaran spellcasters won't automatically know that these spells are non-functional, when they first enter the HM setting; trial and error, or questioning lunar inhabitants*, is necessary to discover which spells will or won't work there.

[* - Of course, many Materan races won't be able to tell PCs what spells are ineffective, simply because they don't know very much about magic! Locals in-the-know about wizard magic would include the aranea, vesper elves, and magic-using residents of human or part-human nations. Clerical magic's idiosyncrasies can be explained by the established clergy of any settled nation with at least a partial human population, except the kopru-dominated territories whose "priests" are actually mages. Most of the nomadic races and cultures in the moon only know of the setting's effects on spells which are available to shamans and wokani.]

In addition to these non-functional spells, there are a variety of spells which are affected -- some weakened, some strengthened, some changed in other ways -- by the Spell of Remembrance. Just because a spell isn't listed here, doesn't mean it'll always work exactly the same way it does on Mystara! Check the next post, for details on altered spells.

Non-Functional Spells

Spells of Memory -- Magics which read, erase, change, or selectively edit the memories of their targets won't work, in the Hollow Moon. This extends to other spells (curses, charms, etc) if they are worded in a way that probes or tampers with a subject's memory. (Zandor's trick of using a Geas to make his general forget Eriadna's survival, from PWA III, would cause the spell to fail automatically in the HM.) Magics that affect memorised spells (e.g. Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer) are also covered by this restriction, and fail in the Hollow Moon. Memory-altering spells were excluded from the HM setting as a joint decision by the Immortals, because they didn't want other species' recollections to be magically sabotaged, the way the pteryx's were, and because memory is fundamental to the SoRs operation.

*** OD&D cleric spells : Quest (certain wordings)
*** OD&D druid spells : N/A
*** OD&D magical spells : Charm Person (certain wordings), Charm Monster (certain wordings), Geas (certain wordings), Mass Charm (certain wordings)
*** AD&D priest spells : Charm Person Or Mammal (certain wordings), Quest (certain wordings), Lose The Path *** AD&D wizard spells : Charm Person (certain wordings), Hypnotism (certain wordings), Forget, Suggestion (certain wordings), Charm Monster (certain wordings), Fire Charm (certain wordings), Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer, Geas (certain wordings), Charm Plants (certain wordings), Mordenkainen's Lucubration, Mass Charm (certain wordings)
*** Gazetteer spells : N/A
*** GKoM spells : Pluck A Petal Of Spellflower, Sathrath's Ingenious Method of ... blah blah blah ;-D

Polymorphed creatures in AD&D games never lose track of their original identities, in the Hollow Moon. System shock rolls are still required of Polymorphed beings, however. The Secret Craft of Illusion/Dream Mastery cannot compel subjects to forget the past, on Matera.

Spells of Holding -- As in the Hollow World, "hold" spells are totally ineffective in the HM setting. Unlike the HW, this even extends to spells such as Statue or Temporal Stasis, that "freeze" creatures by placing them into a magical slumber or transforming them into an inanimate form. Only magics which directly affect the physical body are affected, so spells with a spiritual component to them such as Trap The Soul continue to function in the Hollow Moon. Surprisingly, this stricture was imposed by Ka, in a belated gesture of pity for his fellow-reptile, Demogorgon; he'd thought it was cruel, how Thanatos had revived the crazy pteryx from stasis in a world she no longer recognised, and didn't want other creatures to suffer such a displacement in time. Reversed versions of these spells work normally on Matera; a PC turned to stone by a basilisk's innate petrification ability, for example, could be restored with Stone To Flesh.

*** OD&D cleric spells : Hold Person
*** OD&D druid spells : Hold Animal
*** OD&D magical spells : Sleep, Hold Person, Hold Monster, Flesh To Stone, Statue, Polymorph Any Object (can't turn living things to inanimate objects), Shapechange (cannot assume the forms of inanimate objects), Timestop
*** AD&D priest spells : Hold Person, Feign Death, Hold Animal, Meld Into Stone, Tree, Hold Plant, Snakes To Sticks
*** AD&D wizard spells : Sleep, Feign Death, Hold Person, Hold Undead, Massmorph*, Hold Monster, Eyebite ("sleep" effect), Flesh To Stone, Statue, Binding ("slumber" applications fail), Polymorph Any Object (can't turn living things to inanimate objects), Imprisonment, Temporal Stasis, Time Stop
*** Gazetteer spells : Hold Animal (merchant-spell, Gaz11); Hold Spirit (shaman-spell, Gaz12); Hold Underground Animal, Rock (shadow elf spells, Gaz13); Sleep-Curse (Alphatian, DotE)
*** GKoM spells : N/A

[* - The OD&D version of Massmorph is an illusion, but the AD&D version is a polymorph-type effect. That's why only the AD&D version is banned, in the Hollow Moon.]

Spells of Spiritual Inquiry -- There is no blanket prohibition on divinations, in the Hollow Moon. However, spells that analyse the spiritual makeup or deeper motivations of a creature (e.g. Know Alignment) or which consult extraplanar sources for information (e.g. Commune) will not function there. Divinations that don't touch upon abstract matters (e.g. Detect Magic, Find Traps) work normally, in the HM setting. This is another deliberate imposition by the four Immortals, simply because they didn't want mortals to divine the true nature of the Hollow Moon. But given a choice in the matter, they didn't have any problem with lesser divinations like Detect Invisible being available, so the SoR doesn't prohibit those as the SoP does.

*** OD&D cleric spells : Know Alignment, Commune
*** OD&D druid spells : N/A
*** OD&D magical spells : Contact Outer Plane, Lore
*** AD&D priest spells : Augury, Know Alignment, Divination, Commune, True Seeing (does not reveal alignment)
*** AD&D wizard spells : Know Alignment, Contact Other Plane, Legend Lore, Vision, Foresight
*** Gazetteer spells : Know Destiny (cleric spell, Gaz2); Interpret Runes, Know Rune (cleric spells, Gaz7); Know Intent (halfling master spell, Gaz8); Fate, Commune With Spirit Lord (shaman spells, Gaz12)
*** GKoM spells : Discern The Heart Of The Beast

Spells of Extraplanar Summoning -- Unlike the Hollow World, most spells of conjuration/summoning are entirely effective in the HM setting, although they can only summon creatures or objects which are found naturally within Matera. Spells that summon beings from beyond the Prime Material Plane are not effective in the Hollow Moon, but those spells that bind extraplanar creatures which have already entered the setting under their own power (e.g. Command Elemental, an AD&D spell from the WSpCmp) continue to function normally. Summoned extraplanar beings may also enter Matera in the company of their summoners, in which case control is maintained per the controlling magic's usual limitations; for example, while a druid can't Summon Elemental inside the moon, he or she could Summon an earth elemental on the moon's outer surface, and have it escort him or her into the interior. These changes were made, obviously, because the Immortals wanted to discourage all contact between Materans and extraplanar fiends. An incidental side effect of this stricture is that it's also impossible to conjure up bodiless magical constructs, such as Unseen Servants, in the Hollow Moon.

*** OD&D cleric spells : Aerial Servant
*** OD&D druid spells : Summon Elemental
*** OD&D magical spells : Conjure Elemental, Invisible Stalker, Gate
*** AD&D priest spells : Dust Devil, Aerial Servant, Conjure Fire Elemental, Conjure Earth Elemental, Chariot Of Sustarre, Exaction, Gate
*** AD&D wizard spells : Unseen Servant, Phantom Steed, Sepia Snake Sigil, Conjure Elemental, Leomund's Secret Chest, Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound, Ensnarement, Invisible Stalker, Gate
*** Gazetteer spells : Summon Air Elemental, Summon Water Elemental (merchant-prince spells, Gaz10); Summon Lesser Animal Spirits, Summon Greater Animal Spirits (shaman, Gaz12 -- these spells DO work, when cast in Vedal); Wrath Of Atruaghin (shamani spell, Gaz14)
*** GKoM spells : Spirit Of Servitude

The Secret Craft of Elementalism is seriously set back, by this stricture: all such wizards' ability to conjure elementals is lost, while in the Hollow Moon. A Glantrian Elementalist may attempt to take control of appropriate elemental creatures which he or she encounters within Matera, such as the indigenous desert ghosts, with a chance of success equal to his or her usual %tile chance to summon elementals of comparable strength.

Spells of Instantaneous Travel -- This is exactly the same stricture, as exists in the Hollow World. While the original Spell of Preservation's effect on Teleport-class spells was an accident, the Immortals eventually realised that such a limitation would cut down on Materans' mobility and urge to explore, and thus make it much easier for the Hollow Moon's patrons to shield vulnerable species from potentially-hostile neighbours. So they kept it.

*** OD&D cleric spells : Word Of Recall, Travel
*** OD&D druid spells : Transport Through Plants
*** OD&D magical spells : Dimension Door, Teleport, Teleport Any Object, Travel
*** AD&D priest spells : Pass Plant, Transport Via Plants, Word Of Recall, Succour
*** AD&D wizard spells : Blink, Dimension Door, Teleport, Teleport Without Error, Succour
*** Gazetteer spells : Spirit Walk (shaman spell, Gaz12); Transport Through Rock (shadow elf spell, Gaz13); Fire Gate (shamani spell, Gaz14)
*** GKoM spells : Seek The Traveller*("tag-along" function fails), Grasp The Magic Since Used*, Spelldoor, A Summons One Dares Not Deny

[* - While there are no teleporting spellcasters to trace or retrieve, with these Glantrian spells, they CAN serve to track or retrieve creatures which teleport as an innate monster ability.]

Spells of Command at a Distance -- As will be described in the "Altered Spells" post, spells of charming have a limited range, in the Hollow Moon setting. Because the following spells are so specifically designed to work at a distance, that they can't really be adapted to the SoR, they simply don't have any effect in the HM.

*** OD&D cleric spells : Snake Charm
*** OD&D druid spells : N/A
*** OD&D magical spells : N/A
*** AD&D priest spells : Command, Snake Charm
*** AD&D wizard spells : Domination, Eyebite ("charm" effect fails), Mass Suggestion
*** Gazetteer spells : Command Word (elf, shaman or shadow elf shaman spell; Gaz5, Gaz13, Gaz12); silver tongue (merchant-spell, Gaz11)

The "silver tongue" power of the Secret Craft of Wokanism is negated, along with other purely non-contact charms. The only sorts of charm-magic which DO work at a distance, in the Hollow Moon, are innate powers of monsters or the Secret Craft of Cryptomancy. Monster-powers are never affected by the Spell of Remembrance, and the glyphs of cryptomancy effectively bridge the gap between a caster and his or her subject.

Note that I might have missed a few spells, in ransacking the RC and PHB -- not to mention all those Gazetteers! -- for spells that are excluded, entirely, from the Hollow Moon setting. If a core-rules spell seems to have been omitted from these lists, that you think really ought to be included, feel free to assume I messed up by not mentioning it here. ;-)