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Monsters' Abilities and the SoR

by Sharon Dornhoff

As a general rule, the various changes the SoR works on mortal magic DO NOT apply, with regard to monsters' innate abilities. Monsters which have special attacks or defences, or other magical powers that are hereditary for their species, can use these abilities freely in the Hollow Moon setting, irregardless of whether those same powers can be duplicated by spells there, or not. Nor will the Spell of Remembrance alter the effects of monsters' innate powers; the HM's purpose is to preserve species as they are, not to remove or distort their natural gifts! The one exception is the inherent Invisibility* of certain creature types, as Invisible monsters gain the freedom to choose which sense they wish to be "invisible" to -- sight, sound, scent, sonar, whatever -- just as mages can, when casting Invisibility on Matera.

[* - This only applies to magical Invisibility, such as that of pixies or the "silver warrior" minions of the faedornae. If a creature is "invisible", merely because it is PHYSICALLY transparent -- i.e. if it's made out of air, like an invisible stalker -- then it can't "change off" between which senses it's undetectable to, the way lunar faerie creatures and the like are able to.]

This means that -- even more so than on Mystara! -- there's a LOT of things which Materan monsters can do, that (demi)human magic simply can't duplicate. Mortal Hold spells won't operate in the setting, but appropriately-gifted monsters can paralyse foes with venoms, touch-attacks, contact-paralytic webbing (for arashaeem and shroud spiders), or other "inborn" abilities. Dragons can breathe fire or lightning without spewing "moonfire" or "blood lightning", and the area of effect of their breath weapons isn't impeded in the slightest. And Matera's kopru keep right on messing with peoples' minds, and erasing Charmed puppets' memories when it's convenient, every bit as freely as they did before coming into the SoRs range of influence. Granted, the Ostegos of Stygia aren't able to Teleport Without Error to any locations outside the Hollow Moon, and creatures with inherent Summoning-powers only call up beings which are already present in the Moon -- the lunar bedrock is sufficient to restrict magical passage, even when the SoR doesn't! -- but those are about the ONLY inborn monster abilities, which are continuously hobbled by Matera's magical constraints.

None of this is the case for monsters' use of conventional spells, however. Magical abilities which are LEARNED, and not just something that a particular monster type is born with -- shamans' or wokani's spells; spellcasting dragons' magic; liches' magical repertoires; aranea NPCs' "3rd level magic-user" abilities -- are every bit as subject to the Spell of Remembrance, as are those of the PC races' spellcasters. If a monster's use of a spell-like ability requires that it actually CAST the spell, rather than just activating its power(s) "at will", then that's a good sign that its powers are subject to the SoRs strictures and alterations. Likewise, if a particular monster is described as having the spellcasting powers of a such-and-such level mage or cleric, then it's a safe bet that the monster is using conventional spells susceptible to SoR alteration, not inherent abilities which bypass it.

Thus, a harpy wokan could use her inherent Charm abilities unhindered by the SoR, but would need to touch her target in order to cast Charm Monster. A Materan lich could paralyse opponents by touch, no matter what the SoR has to say about Hold spells; but his or her own spellcasting is subject to the setting's usual strictures. A nightshade in the Hollow Moon (scary thought!) would be totally unhindered by the Spell of Remembrance, except that it couldn't pass through the crystalline bedrock in its ethereal state, and any undead it summoned would have to come from elsewhere in Matera; its power of Invisibility would even be expanded upon (!), so as to conceal its presence from any one sense of its choice.

The Red Steel boxed set's Legacies count as inherent powers, not spells, for determining if they will function in the Hollow Moon setting. Thus, some Legacies may allow RS characters the use of abilities which no other (demi)human in the HM can duplicate! Unfortunately, since there's no vermeil OR cinnabryl on Matera, Inheritors and other explorers from the Savage Coast will have other problems -- like how to stay alive, without these minerals -- to worry about; having Legacies doesn't give a PC a "free ride", by which to avoid the SoRs constraints.

Timing, "Daylight", and HM Monsters

Monsters with abilities which are useable a certain number of times per day, on Mystara, can use them the same number of times every 24 hours, on Matera. Abilities useable a specific number of times per week will "recharge" after 168 hours; those which can be employed only once (or however many times) per month will be renewed at the same hour, of the next "lunar day", as the one in which they were used. Abilities that expire at dawn or at dusk on Mystara will last for 12 hours, no matter what the outdoor lighting conditions, on Matera.

Several monsters from Mystara are specially affected by the planet's day/night cycle, above and beyond their habits as diurnal or nocturnal beings. In fact, their susceptibility to sunlight -- either as a true physical danger, or as a controlling influence over their life history -- is one of the main reasons that monsters like bhuts or shadows were sent to the Hollow Moon (as opposed to the Hollow World), in the first place! Here's how a few (non-undead) monsters from the RC and Creature Catalogue are affected differently, by Matera's twilight conditions and month-long "lunar days":

Bhut : On Mystara, bhuts appear as humans by day, and scaly, clawed-and-fanged monsters by night; they have no control, conscious or otherwise, over this transformation. Upon coming to Matera, they gained a considerable bonus, in that lunar bhuts can voluntarily shift between their human and monstrous guises, at most times over the course of a month. Only at fulldark -- the 56-hour period of deepest darkness -- do bhuts involuntarily transform into their bestial state; conversely, only at skybright are they "stuck" in their innocuous human shapes. (Individual bhuts which are important NPCs may be given access to the PC4 lycanthropes' skill of Transformation, in order to resist these twice-a-month involuntary shapechanges. A good base for bhuts who are assigned the Transformation skill is 8, as even the strongest of their kind aren't all that good at resisting such changes.) During the remainder of each lunar "day", when it's neither too dark nor too bright, Materan bhuts may transform at will from one guise to another, whenever it suits their purposes. These voluntary changes take 6 rounds to execute... or perhaps less, with the PC4 Quick Change skill.

Devilfish : Although vampiric devilfish aren't destroyed by sunlight as conventional vampires are, they find exposure to solar UV -- even the muted UV light which comes through the crystalline beds of Matera's seas -- extremely painful and disorienting. Devilfish in the Hollow Moon (assuming there ARE any; I haven't actually put any there, yet! ;-D) would necessarily be restricted to that lava-floored stretch of the Great Spindrift Sea which flanks the lunar Apennines; it's the one region of open salt water in the entire HM setting, which doesn't get lit up from underneath, every month.

Humanoids : Those humanoids (i.e. goblins and orcs) which suffer "to hit" penalties in daylight aren't hindered by the ambient HM light, even at its brightest. If anything, they usually find the moon's dim, sombre blues and violets more relaxing than Mystaran humans (who'll probably consider the "colour scheme" drab and depressing) are likely to!

Manscorpion, Sohktar : These semi-nomadic ancestors of the Nimmurians were brought to the HM in order to preserve their old, non-subterranean culture, when Ixion laid a curse upon their kind which made sunlight deadly to them. On Matera the Sohktars have no such difficulties, and can function aboveground with impunity even during "skybright"; however, spells which duplicate the effects of full sunlight, such as the AD&D druid spell Sunray, will still inflict horrific damage upon them.

Shadow : These creatures (which are NOT undead, in Mystara campaigns) totally infest and give their name to the menacing Shadow Citadel on the island of Maskelyne, near the eastern shores of Mare Tranquillitatis. On Matera, "monstrous" shadows come in a bewildering variety of shapes, sizes, and original species before becoming shadows; and they have an even better chance of surprising their victims (1-11 on d12) in the murky out-of-doors. Plus, many of their number retain class abilities -- including spellcasting -- in their adumbrated state.