Astral travel is an ability that allows Moon Mages to enter and navigate the Astral Plane, allowing them to bridge massive distances on the Plane of Abiding in almost no time. The ability is dangerous and often fatal and was only recently made possible by the invention of the Naming Ritual, which is used on Grazhir shards to imprint them with a magical pattern of its name which allows a mage to use it as an anchor.
A mage may enter the Astral Plane by FOCUSing on a named Grazhir shard. Assuming they have memorized the pattern of its name, they will establish a link to it by doing this and the Plane can then be entered by casting Moongate or Teleport on the shard. This places them at the end of that shard's conduit. Mana must be harnessed at this point to continue navigation safely, and Moongate is preferred as a method of entrance for this reason despite being slightly more difficult as it allows a mage to keep mana harnessed prior to entering.
At this point, the goal is to navigate to the center of the Astral Plane, where a mage can move into the conduit of their choice from the appropriate pillar. This is done by using PERCEIVE in each room, and following the given directions to the center of the microcosm. Once the pillars are reached, a mage must move to the pillar that is associated with the destination shard. At that pillar, they must FOCUS on that shard's name to move into that conduit and repeat the process of perceiving in each room to reach the end of the conduit. The process used to enter the Astral Plane must be repeated at the shard at the end of the conduit.
Its important to note that not all shards are created equal. The pattern of some shards is harder to memorize than others, being a factor of Scholarship skill, Astrology skill, and Arcana skill. The difficulty of memorization, from easiest to hardest, seems to be roughly: Leth Deriel, Crossing, Throne City, Theren, Riverhaven, Muspar'i, Fang Cove, Cragstone Vale, Shard, Arid Steppe, Taisgath, Aesry, Mer'Kresh. See the Grazhir page for approximate difficulty levels. If you forget, RECALL HEAVENS GRAZHIR will tell you the names of the shards you have learned.
Most use a script to find their way from shard to shard, but it's trivial to traverse the Astral Plane manually. This procedure covers the steps needed to perform travel as described in the Overview above. To begin, make sure you have memorized both Grazhir shards by STUDYing them.
It is still recommended that you have full concentration prior to entry as well as Aura Sight active (see spells and abilities further down this page).
Example of travel
To travel from Crossing to Shard:
- Start at the Rolagi shard in the Crossing Moon Mage Guild (in the first room after you climb the stair).
- PREPARE MOONGATE
- FOCUS ROLAGI (the name of the shard in the room with you)
- HARNESS 50, the more you use the more time you will have in the Astral Plane. You will die quickly if you harness none.
- CAST ROLAGI and you will find yourself in the Astral Plane within the Rolagi conduit
- PERCEIVE and follow the way to the "center of the microcosm". For example if you "You believe the center of the microcosm is to the northwest." then head NORTHWEST
- When you arrive at the Microcosm, navigate to the Pillar of Secrets by traveling UP and EAST. The Microcosm map is very useful for planning your route ahead of time.
- FOCUS MARENDIN will place you within the Marendin conduit.
- PERCEIVE and follow the way to the "end of the conduit".
- When you arrive at the end of the conduit, PREPARE MOONGATE
- FOCUS MARENDIN
- CAST MARENDIN and you will find yourself at the Marendin shard in the Great Tower
- Optional: RELEASE any remaining held mana streams
Concentration and held mana
Concentration and harnessed mana primarly determine how long a mage can stay alive until their body is incinerated by a stream of Lunar mana, although stats play a minor role. The raw mana within the astral plane is deadly as fire to the touch. Bottoming out on concentration means a messy death. While in the plane, concentration hits are measured by your ability to maintain your position among the deadly streams of mana:
- Effortlessly maintaining your position in the mana streams is ideal and should be aimed for at all times.
- Carefully maintaining your position in the mana streams means concentration hits are outpacing your ability to maintain full concentration, but only by a small amount. Harnessing more mana will often return the Moon Mage to moving effortlessly again.
- Struggling to maintain your position in the mana streams means the concentration hits are greatly outpacing your ability to maintain full concentration. Harness more mana can help, although by this point death is likely imminent unless the Moon Mage is near a shard and moves quickly to escape the plane.
Harnessing more mana has two effects:
- Reduces the concentration hits, allowing the Moon Mage to remain in the Astral Plane longer. There is no mana cap on this. The caveat is that the hits to concentration grow exponentially, which means there will be a point at which the system will tell you that you cannot hold any more mana (the current cap on held mana being 999) and the hits to concentration will continue to grow until death occurs.
- Influences perceive times for directions.
On the lower end of astral travel a mage should harness as much as they can manage even if it causes mild nerve damage.
- First, they lower the roundtime on perceiving, allowing the Moon Mage to travel faster. By spending less time in the Astral Plane they ultimately need to hold less mana to travel successfully.
- Second, they increase the accuracy of the directions a mage senses. Going the wrong direction too many times will land the Moon Mage in the Grey Expanse: a boundless void.
Conditions in the Astral Plane
Another major factor of successful astral travel is the actual condition of the Astral Plane when a mage enters. This is seen when a mage focuses on the shard.
- The more distant and weak the mana is, the harder it will be to navigate, and the more skill and mana will be needed to compensate.
- The stronger the streams of mana in the astral plane, the harder it is to sense the correct directions.
- The difference in roundtimes between the ideal conditions and bad conditions can be 2-3 seconds per perceive. While it doesn't sound like much it can be the difference between dying and not dying if on the edge of being able to pull off a trip.
- Another thing to watch for is a message that the mana in the plane ripples and settles into new patterns. That means the paths have changed, and a mage will need to re-perceive to find the right direction. This is important to avoid expansing.
- The frequency of the conduits rippling is greatly influenced by how many people are using the plane; astral pathways in the Platinum instance of the game can stay the same for days at a time because no one ever uses it.
- A Moon Mage can tell if someone is in the astral plane if the FOCUS of the shard says the mana is suffering from minor disruptions.
- In addition to the normal periodic concentration hits, there are occasional one-time concentration hits indicated by a stream of mana narrowly missing you. These appear to increase in frequency the stronger the streams of mana are.
- While inside the plane, a Moon Mage can PREDICT WEATHER to determine whether the strength of the streams in the plane are waxing or waning.
Moon Mage spells and abilities that help astral travel
- Invocation of the Spheres improves your concentration by increasing your Discipline and Intelligence.
- Aura Sight improves your attunement skill and astrology skill.
The Plane is home to many different denizens, some benevolent but most hostile. These random events are rare but can help, hinder, or even kill a mage.
Pelag ai Aldam
The most well-known of these is Pelag ai Aldam, a pale red-haired apparition that will move a mage instantly into the Grey Expanse, where death is almost certain to follow. When Pelag ai Aldam appears you see:
A skinny, pale-skinned Human with red hair appears in the distance. He looks at you with an expression of casual malice, like a child about to step on an anthill. Though his mouth remains closed in a smirk, his voice echoes loudly within the walls of your mind, "The Defilers of Fate are mine to claim and I demand sacrifice.
He points at you and continues, "He will do nicely. Run or stand, cry or rage it does not matter. I am Pelag ai Aldam and Fate's sanctity will be served." As the projected thoughts fade from your mind, the man vanishes.
You feel a sudden, deathly chill in your flesh. The ground beneath you seems to lose all substance: it feels as though you are floating in the air. The color of the landscape around you quickly drains of color, then definition, leaving you with nothing but an endless grey horizon.
Cashek gand Aldam
A seemingly benevolent entity, Cashek gand Aldam appears occasionally and restores your concentration.
A soothing presence grows around you. Gentle pressure is applied to your shoulders as a feminine voice whispers in your mind, "They will kill you if they can, though we struggle here as you do. I will help you on your way, so you may leave quickly."
"Do not judge them harshly. They cannot help but be what you have made them."
The voice fades from your mind, though the soothing presence remains.