Moon Mage new player guide

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Introduction

What Is This Guide?

This guide is intended primarily for players new to both DragonRealms and to the Moon Mage guild. The purpose of this guide is to synthesize a breadth of information from other sources in a relatively concise presentation, so that the new Moon Mage player can decide which skills to train and receive some guidance on how to do so. While some overlap is unavoidable, this guide does not seek to replace the New Player Guide and it is recommended that a totally green player start there.

Background

Welcome to the Moon Mage guild. Here, you’ll find elegance, cleverness, a connection with something greater than the mere antics of a small world in a vast cosmos. If you want to make your foes explode in a shower of fire and ice, this guild isn’t for you. If you want to rely on the power of fickle Immortals, this guild isn’t for you. If you want to bludgeon your enemies to death with a clumsy weapon of steel, this guild isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you want to twist the very fabric of fate to your advantage, pick apart the subtle insecurities in your foes subconscious, and bend time and space to your very whim, then oh yes, you have come to the right place.

The path of the Moon Mage is not one of blood and glory and conquest, but rather of careful study, precise deliberation, and decisive action. We are the purveyors of the stars, of immense and ancient forces, predictable with enough study, but never controllable. Your power will wax with the rising of the three moons of Elanthia, and will wane with their setting. As you grow in power, you will learn to read the skies to your benefit and your enemy’s detriment, to cross the entire breadth of the lands in a moment. Welcome to being a Moon Mage.

Signature Guild Abilities

One of the hallmarks of the Moon Mage is her connection to the Plane of Probability. By studying the heavenly bodies, she is able to catch obscure glimpses of future events, permitting her to make predictions to help her and her allies, or curse her foes. She has access to a unique form of enchanting, used to inscribe the sigils of celestial bodies, rendering mundane objects into powerful magical artifacts.

The most famous attribute of the Moon Mage, though, is her capacity to travel great distances in the blink of an eye. At first, she may only have the power to Teleport herself a short distance to a strategically-placed Moonbeam, perhaps one that she has shifted to a friend she has located. With training, she will soon find herself able to open a Moon Gate, permitting others to travel as she does. An experienced Moon Mage can enter and exit the Astral Plane through the shards of the shattered moon Grazhir, connecting far-flung regions of the realms via a short (though incredibly dangerous) sojourn through another dimension. This art has the perhaps misleadingly tranquil name of Walking the Ways. Powerful mages can Walk the Ways from anywhere; these are true masters of inter-planar travel. The strongest of the Moon Mages can open rifts as if from thin air, permitting those on the other side to pass through to the mage's location.

These powerful gifts come at great risk - making contact with another plane is an exercise fraught with peril. A momentary lapse in focus, the smallest of distractions, or the slightest mistake can all lead to a violent and fatal end.

Roleplaying your Moon Mage

There is a multitude of ways to shape the personality of your moon mage. Othoreke is a bookish gnome who spends all of his time in libraries and observatories, searching for answers to questions he has long ago forgotten - or was it that he hasn't thought of them yet? Though he largely eschews combat, he is no stranger to pain, having been torn limb from limb in the Astral Plane more times than he can remember (though his memory is not what used to be), in his insatiable desire for greater and deeper knowledge. Beran is a Shaman from the Arid Steppe. A hunter and a tracker by nature, she is as skilled with a spear and a bow as she is with magical attacks. Preferring the open sky to a musty library, she is a scholar of the wilds and of the forces of nature; she goes where the stars guide her. Shhneri aar'Lanth is a Tezirite, drawn to the darker aspects of Lunar Magic, whose predilection for Teolologic Sorcery draws the ire of many of her mage counterparts too blinded by prejudice to see the true potential of her work. No matter, their ignorance may well prove to be their downfall.

Moon Mage lore is vast and immersive. Here we point you to some key information that you might find useful in shaping your character's personality and history.

Sects

The Moon Mage guild was originally founded by six groups, or sects, of magic users that were unified by their prophetic ability and use of lunar magic during en event known as the Lunar Accord. Each sect had a unique philosophic approach to the use of these abilities, and many of these differences persist to the present at least in part to the relatively recent re-emergence of the original sects. Although not every (or even most) students choose to join one of the sects, studying the philosophy of at least one is an excellent way to explore ones' own relationship with fate.

These sects are:

Training Philosophy

This guide focuses on developing a balanced and powerful Moon Mage, and as such we will be recommending significantly more skills than the minimum required to circle, which is seven magic skills, five survival skills, three lore skills, and additionally Astrology and Scholarship (for details see the relevant section of the Moon Mage Page). Circling gives you Time Development Points, spell slots, and access to more powerful spells, but does not give you any advantage to the application of those skills. For example, the Moongate spell stipulates that you be circle 25 to learn it, but it will do you no good to rush to this circle if your Utility skill is too low to cast the spell when you get there.

Moon Mages have Magic as their primary skillset, Survival and Lore as their secondary skillsets, and Weapons and Armor as their tertiary skillsets. A common misconception, from which you ought to rid yourself immediately should you share in it, is that tertiary skills are not worth training. Before deciding which skills to train and which to ignore, it would behoove you to understand exactly what it means for a skill to be primary, secondary, or tertiary. This information is in the Skillsets and Experience pages, but we will summarize it here. Relative to a secondary or primary skill, a tertiary skill has a smaller experience pool which will pulse more slowly. As a consequence, if you train a tertiary and primary skill to mindlock, the primary skill will clear faster, and give you more ranks when it does, than the tertiary skill. Furthermore, there are certain "perks" associated with each skillset being secondary or primary; for example, armor secondaries will gain more stance points and suffer less hindrance per rank in a given armor than will armor tertiaries. You should not let these facts deter you from training tertiary skills, however. Aside from being useful in their own right, many skills synergize well with skills from other skillsets, which means that training certain tertiary skills can actually help you better train other primary skills. For example, you will find it easier to train your targeted magic and debilitation spells if your armor and parry skills let you survive in combat longer.

As a summary, here is a comprehensive list of the skills we will recommending, arranged by skillset:

Combat

The primary focus of many Moon Mages may not be combat, but you should not let this deter you if you want to train your Moon Mage to hunt. While it is true that both weapons and armor are tertiary skillsets for you, you have other advantages that will help you; mainly, you have access to a number of strong combat spells from all five spell skills, and you have Evasion, Stealth and Tactics as secondary skills. The key to successful hunting is to take advantage of your strengths to bolster your weaknesses.

Non-Magical Defenses

The non-magical defensive skills can be grouped into five categories:

Of these, the only one that is not tertiary for the Moon Mage is Evasion, which means this will be your strongest non-magical defense. However, the other skills can still be very useful to you if you train them and use them correctly. Because their ranks will be lower than your Magic and Survival combat skills, you will need to take extra care to make sure you are using these skills to effectively complement your combat abilities. Doing so can permit you to train these skills at level, rather than back-back train them, which means more efficient training. To do this you'll need a thorough understanding of combat mechanics. We discuss this next.

Balance, Position, and Tactics

It is highly recommended that you read through the Combat and Tactics pages. We will briefly cover the most salient points here. Both Parry and Evasion, as well as your chances of landing a successful hit, depend on your balance and position. Balance, in turn, is determined by the type of attacks you make and the weapon you use, and position is a measure of the difference between your balance and your opponent's. You want to make sure that you keep your balance as high as possible, by using the right weapon and choosing the right types of attacks, and that your opponents' balance is as low as possible, which you can influence through stuns and Tactics. This is not to say that you should avoid unbalancing attacks; these tend to do more damage and you should take advantage of that, but you do not want to stay in an unbalanced position for too long. After making an attack that hurts your balance, consider making balancing attacks until you have recovered. You should also be aware that retreating gives you a significant, though temporary, penalty to your defenses. Tactics is a secondary skill for you, and you should make full use of it to keep your opponent vulnerable and off-balance. Information about how different types of attacks influence your balance can be found in the relevant section of the Combat page.

Weapons and Armor

Armors and weapons tend to make for some of the most meaningful role-playing choices, and so we begin this section by reiterating that you should not let mechanics be the most important factor in your decisions. This is not to say that there's no such thing as a bad idea; if your heart is set on playing a gnome who wears full plate and fights with a two-handed maul, then you should very seriously consider joining a different guild. The weapons and armor we will recommend here are chosen to make your training easier, and we make every effort to explain why this is the case. The factors behind our motivation largely have to do with hindrance, balance, and encumbrance; in that order.

Weapons

A good set of weapons to train for a starting moon mage is Small Edged, Small Blunt, and Brawling for melee and Light Thrown, Bow, and Crossbow for ranged. The weapons that train these skills are less tiring to use, and are better for preserving or recovering balance. The consequences of this are that you will need to take fewer breaks to recover stamina, that you will hit more often, and critically, that you will be better able to maintain your position and hence get hit less often. Because almost all of your non-magical defensive skills are tertiary, this can make a big difference. Why train so many skills, as a weapons tertiary? Besides the TDPs, training multiple types of melee weapons is the best way to train Melee Mastery (and likewise with ranged weapons for Missile Mastey). These masteries give a bonus to any attack that trains a melee or ranged skill, respectively. Training multiple weapons can keep your mastery skills well above the individual weapon skills, which helps to bridge the gap between your magical and non-magical combat skills. If you train at least three weapons, you can expect to see your mastery skill stay upwards of 120% of the ranks of your highest weapon. This provides a way to train all of your combat skills together, at level, if you wish to pursue this training path.

Armor

Heavier armor provides more protection at the cost of Hindrance. The severity of this hindrance decreases as you get more ranks in the respective armor skill. Additionally, your guild influences how much certain armor types will hinder you; this is in addition to the effects of the skill being tertiary. As an armor tertiary, this means that it is going to be harder to use heavier armor, especially in the beginning.

All of these considerations make Leather or Cloth armor (Light Armor) a good starting choice. You can swap in Chain or even Brigandine armor for the TDPs, or even to get enough ranks in them to wear more of these types of armor. Since you’ll probably want to use Stealth if you’re hunting, make sure you’re in Light Armor when you hide on your foes. It is recommended that you also use a small shield. Different physical defenses are better suited for different types of attacks, and shields are good at defending against ranged. This is useful, beyond just the TDPs.

Magic in Combat

Moon Mages have access to a number of spells that make it easier to train Weapons and Armor skills. Seer’s Sense provides a large bonus to evasion; if you intend to train your mage in combat, do not overlook this spell. Cage of Light provides damage absorption, and Shadows provides a bonus to Stealth. Whole Displacement is a pulsing spell that will remove you from melee range; unlike retreating, it will not impose a defense penalty and will not fail (though it has a maximum pulse rate, and so you may still find yourself in melee for a time before it pulses again).

You also have several stuns available early on; aside from training your magic skills, these can help relieve pressure in a combat situation by restraining one or more enemies. Starting out, look in to Calm, Dazzle, and Sleep. These spells are also all prerequisites for more powerful spells. Many of your Targeted Magic spells, like Burn and Dinazen Olkar, also have a chance of inflicting a stun (especially when combined with effective use of the Tactics skill).

If you use your magic and tactics effectively, choose your weapons and armor wisely, and keep a close eye on your balance and position, you will find that training your Moon Mage in combat is not as difficult as you may have expected.

Magic Skills

To circle you will eventually need to train every magic skill accessible to you except for Sorcery. There are eight of these, counting the unique guild skill Astrology.

Training Astrology

The guild skill is Astrology, which is trained by observing the cosmos and making predictions.

Useful spells

The following spells will aid in stargazing, so use them if you can:

Observing the cosmos

You can start by OBSERVE SKY, which will show you all the celestial objects you can perceive. You cannot immediately observe all objects in the sky, however. As you circle, your guild leader will teach you how to understand more and more celestial objects. To make an observation, just OBSERVE <TARGET>. Keep in mind that when just starting out daytime gazing will be much easier, the easiest observation is OBSERVE SUN.

Note: There is a 2 minute cooldown on observations of celestial objects.
Highlighting the observation cooldown timer message below will help you maintain consistent and regular astrology training.
You feel you have sufficiently pondered your latest observation

Each of celestial object governs a skillset: Defense, Event, Lore, Magic, Offense, Survival and All. Each time you observe an object, it adds a bit of knowledge to a prediction pool of that skillset. If you PREDICT STATE <SKILLSET>, you will see how much you have learned about that skillset from observing the heavens. Detailed information about heavenly bodies, what skillsets they govern, and when they are visible is captured in the star chart.

Using a Telescope

A telescope will aid your observations, making bodies easier to observe and filling prediction pools faster. If you do not have a telescope, you can use one of the stationary telescopes or buy one from Konezu's Lenses in Therenborough (don't forget a case!). To use a telescope hold it in one hand and OPEN TELESCOPE. Next CENTER TELESCOPE ON <TARGET>, where target is one of the objects you find in the sky. Finally PEER TELESCOPE to make the observation.

Predictions

Once a prediction pool is sufficiently filled, you can ALIGN to a given skillset or even a specific skill, and then PREDICT FUTURE <PERSON>. This will give you a vision about the prediction, which may look something like this;

You look inside yourself in an attempt to see beyond the now.
After a few moments, the mists of time begin to part.
You see the midday sun warming you under its soft face.
You see a young boy taking his vows of apprenticeship.
A man stands in darkness clad in plate armor.
A shiver runs through your spine.
Roundtime: 10 sec.

Evaluating visions is a tricky business, but there’s some method to the madness. Read a bit about prediction. At 10th circle you can learn Event Prediction from another Moon Mage. This is a handy way of training Astrology without running the risk of cursing someone, and also a means of telling what is going on in the realms and what is to come. If you STUDY SKY, you’ll start filling your Event prediction pool. When you have studied the sky sufficiently, you can PREDICT FUTURE EVENT, which will give you a vision, and teach Astrology.

Soon, you’ll want to pick up a divining tool, like a set of bones to cast, or starcharts to study, etc. Each of these tools are affiliated with a type of Moon Mage, which is a primarily role playing choice, though there are some differences.

The Five Disciplines of Magic

There are five skills that govern the casting of your spells: Augmentation, Utility, Warding, Debilitation, and Targeted Magic. Every spell belongs to one or more of these disciplines, and as a Moon Mage, most of your signature spells belong to the Utility school. You will eventually need to train all of these skills, though they need not be trained at the same level.

The Magic page has useful information about these skills. In brief, these skills are trained by casting spells, and the experience gained from each cast depends upon the amount of mana streams put into the spell. Combat spells require that you hit your target in order to train the skill, and the difficulty of the target relative to your skills determines how well the skill will train. Because of this latter fact, you may find that your combat magics (Debilitation and Targeted Magic) will train within 10-20 ranks of your non-magical combat skills. It is therefore common that Augmentation, Utility, and Warding will eclipse Debilitation and Targeted Magic in ranks.

Training Attunement

Training Attunement is different for the Lunar Guilds (once just Moon Mage, now Traders are Lunar magic users as well). Instead of room-based attunement with mana differing in each room, and with perceiving mana in each room before moving on (known as "power walking") to train attunement; lunar mana is universal, it is the same in EVERY room. The mana level instead differs by each spellbook the lunar user has, and the mana available for that spellbook varies based on the position and phase of the moons, as well as how many planets one can perceive based on skill. This means that a novice who can't sense any planets is at the complete mercy of the moons, while a high-level moon mage is not as hindered as much when the moons are at the new moon phase and set below the horizon.

Because of this greater complication, the lunar-attuned mage senses a whole lot more than just the room mana. PERC HELP is of good help, as it will list what options you can use.

The Moon Mage (or Trader) trains attunement from perceiving all the various things. Each of the 3 moons, each of the 4 spellbooks (3 for Traders), the PLANETs, MOONBEAMs, the AREA, and WATCHERs observing the area magically. For the 3 moons, MOONS can be used to combine the perception for all 3 moons. MANA can be used to combine the 4 spellbooks.

Perceiving the moons also trains Astrology slightly as you observe their position in the sky, except when low-skill and you can't tell precisely where they are set below the horizon.

Training Arcana

If attunement tends to be the first magic skill, arcana is the second. This skill can be confusing and frustrating for new players, especially because for the first hundred ranks it may not feel like it's useful for anything. It is! Firstly, 100 ranks are needed for most magical feats (discussed below), and secondly, you will eventually want to use mana streams harnessed in cambrinth, though it may not seem so when you're endlessly charging a little ring over and over. Eventually, some spells' maximum streams will be greater than what you can harness, and so to cast these at full power you will need first charge some streams in a cambrinth item. Furthermore, with the appropriate feat (Dedicated Cambrinth Use), you can use the mana streams stored in a cambrinth item to sustain cyclic spells. This way, when you hold open a moongate for an eternity while your slowpoke barbarian friend takes her time crossing through it, you won’t have to step through after her into a room full of Giant Murdercats with your attunement shot to pieces.

To train arcana, you will want to charge and invoke cambrinth items. These come in all shapes and sizes, from a couple mana streams to over a hundred. The most efficient way to train arcana is to charge the item with as much as you can, on every cast. How much is this? Ideally, this will be the amount at which you wish to cast your spell, minus the minimum harness. You cannot prepare the spell at less than the minimum harness, and so this procedure puts as much into the object as is safe to do. There are two limitations to this, which are that you may not have the ranks in arcana to actually charge as much as you want into an item at first, and that the object you have may not be able to take all of the charge. Supposing you can cast a spell at M streams, with a minimum of m, then the general procedure will be to prepare the spell at m streams, charge the cambrinth item with (M-m) streams, invoke it, and then cast the spell when it’s ready. If you have a worn cambrinth item, like an armband, you will eventually be able to charge and invoke this item while wearing it, though at first you will need to remove it and hold it to do so.

Another option, if you are able to find one, is to use a sanowret crystal. They are not commonly sold, but may be found at some festivals, or for sale by other players. To use one, either GAZE or EXHALE while holding it in your hand, or while wearing it. Not all sanowret crystals are wearable.

Survival and Lore Skills

Survival Skills

Moon Mages must train at least five survival skills in order to advance. You are a Survival Secondary, and there are many useful survival skills, so you have every reason to train more than five if you want to. Athletics, Outdoorsmanship, Perception, and First Aid can all be trained out of combat. To train Evasion you’ll need to be in combat, and with the exception of a few NPCs, the same is true of Stealth. Skinning and Locksmithing, while not trained directly through hunting, require dead things which are easiest to acquire by killing living things. Both of these latter skills also provide good sources of income. A reasonable conclusion from this information is that it is a good idea to train by hunting.

Lore Skills

Being Lore secondary, you'll want to use combat Tactics to your advantage. You'll also probably want to pick up a craft. Forging isn’t a bad choice, as it will improve the power of your Moonblade if you choose to use it, though Enchanting, a currently unreleased craft, will likely be a better choice for Moon Mages. Scholarship can be earned from classes and studying star charts, Performance can be learned while playing instruments, and Appraisal can be learned either by APPRAISEing creatures or gear, or ASSESSing your musical instrument.

Getting Started

Starting Spell Choices

Choosing starting spells for a Moon mage can be a rather daunting task, especially considering that the sheer volume of paths one can take and that the number of prerequisite spells is large compared to other guilds. One first needs to make the decision if you are going to learn towards or away from combat, since Moon mages can be successful anywhere on the spectrum since they have no actual combat skill requirements. A neutral approach can also be successful and each has their own benefits and issues to deal with.

For the combat leaning Moon mage, the most common choice for a first spell would be Telekinetic Throw to start gaining ranks in Targeted Magic skill. However, Shadows is also good for those who wish to be more physical in combat and want to train stealth. If you choose your first Targeted Magic spell after you select shadows, Dinazen Olkar is an excellent alternative to Telekinetic Throw. Late bloomers might even consider Partial Displacement if they select their first combat spell after 10th circle. If you are heavily interested in combat, selecting your first Debilitation spell early will help you avoid having this skill fall behind your combat skills. Although Mental Blast is the penultimate moon mage debilitation spell are you will likely choose calm or Dazzle first. Dazzle has perhaps more long term utility since calm will later be eclipsed by other spells (mostly Mental Blast), however it has the major disadvantage of being unusable underground or without the Sun, Xibar or Yavash above the horizon. Calm, on the other hand, is usable at all times and is a prerequisite for many other spells, including the Psychic Shield, which will probably be your first warding spell.

For the (at least initially) non-combat leaning Moon mage, the common choice of spell is Clear Vision, which allows access to many essential Augmentation and Utility spells. After that Piercing Gaze will pierce through inclement weather to allow you to train your Astrology skill even when clouds obscure the heavens. Aura Sight will boost your Attunement and Astrology skills, which will allow you to cast more spells without needing a break and improve the potency of your observations and predictions. All of the spells, are, unfortunately, Augmentation spells and you will likely want to train the other major non-combat magic skill, utility, at some point. If you choose Shadows you can later learn Focus Moonbeam at second circle for no cost, which makes this path a very attractive alternative. Focus Moonbeam is also required for several different later spells such as Moonblade, Moongate, Distant Gaze and Shadewatch Mirror and is a major building block in your future repoire. In addition to this the spell Shift Moonbeam will allow you greater manipulation of your moonbeam allowing you to send it to other locations and facilitate easy movement through Teleport and Moongate.

Statistic Training

For stats, a good first goal is getting everything to a reasonable minimum (people often advocate 30). This will give you a good base.

Next, if you are combat focused, you'll probably want to keep Reflex high, as dodging enemies will be easier than surviving getting hit and let you stay in combat longer. Discipline will improve your ability to hide and your ability to target spells. Intelligence and Wisdom will improve spell damage. All three statistics will improve your ability with Debilitation contests. Charisma will be helpful in charm vs mind attacks but Calm is the only such spell we have in our spell book. Stamina should not be neglected as it will improve your ability to withstand damage and avoid fatigue. Agility will aid in your ability to hit things, as well as help with parrying. Strength and Stamina are likely the stats you can train to a certain range and then ignore, as you will not need to rely on hitting things harder, nor surviving blows better, for some time. Strength affects how much weight you can carry, which may be useful until you can summon a Shadow Servant.

Outside of combat one can choose to focus on mental abilities. Intelligence and Wisdom are very important in speeding your learning rate and should be the foundation of your abilities. Wisdom also improves the probability that a prediction will have a positive result. Intelligence and Discipline both increase concentration and are therefore very important in spell casting. Although it is often neglected, Charisma does improve your ability to bond with prediction tools and strength of your predictions and can be useful. Basically, Moon Mages are the archetypal magical intellectual. You can and probably should focus principally on mentals, then on Reflex or Agility, and finally on Strength and Stamina.

Starting Gear

What weapons and armor you train is up to you, but initially sticking to lighter choices would be optimal. Small Edged and Small Blunt, Light Thrown and Bows all make good choices. The obvious choice for stealth and low hindrance armor is Cloth or Leather, though you can swap Chain Armor or even Brigandine Armor if you're not training stealth at the moment. It might be worth mentioning that Moonblade can be shaped into a Small Edge, Large Edge, Two handed Edge, and Quarterstaff weapon, so if you enjoy using Moonweapons, training those weapons from the start is a good idea, though you'll probably want to pick up lightened versions of the heavier weapons.

You’ll want to find some starting magical items to train with, preferably a small cambrinth, like a shard or a ring or a runestone. If you choose a runestone that contains a non-lunar spell you will also learn sorcery when you focus on it, although, unlike cambrinth, it will stop teaching you around 50-80 ranks.


Now What?

Holder

(more to come)