Sunday, November 25, 2018

Mathetes to Diognetus Chapter 4 Part 2

In the 4th Chapter of his Epistle to Diognetus, Mathetes talks about the various observances of the Jews. Among them he lists the facts that they use a lunar calendar:
And as to their observing months and days, as if waiting upon the stars and the moon, and their distributing, according to their own tendencies, the appointments of God, and the vicissitudes of the seasons, some for festivities and others for mourning…
In Jewish practice (at the time of Mathetes and Diognetus), the day begins at sunset when three stars are visible in the sky.

As an aside, one of the most aesthetically pleasing games I have ever played is Dragon Pass, Avalon Hill’s reprint of Chaosium’s White Bear & Red Moon. I own a digital copy just for the sake of mining it for ideas. I have always far more enjoyed reading the background text and looking at units and maps than I ever did actually playing the game. One factor that always intrigued me was the idea that the Lunar Empire had troops whose Combat Factor was reliant on the phase of the Red Moon.

Since the religious observances of the Jews noted by Mathetes are reliant upon a lunar calendar, as opposed to the solar calendar used by the Empire, I am sore tempted to add some mechanics that suggest the arcane magic ebbs and flows according to various astrological bodies. I am further tempted to have these mechanics differ between the Vrayosi, whose magic is affected by the moon, and the arcane casters of the Empire, whose magic would be affected by the sun.

The mechanic I am most inclined to use is the concept of a bonus spell. In favorable times, the caster gets a bonus spell. If I am feeling ambitious, this spell may even be a specific spell associated with the time of the year/month. During unfavorable times, those bonus spells just aren’t there.

There are, however, other spell mechanics which might prove interesting, such as duration, range, damage, area, etc. One could go to the Metamagic Feats of 3e for ideas and inspiration.

I am also tempted to have all Vrayosi characters (dwarves, elves and halflings) be affected by the phases of the moon in one or more of the following areas:

  • Saving Throws
  • AC
  • To Hit Rolls
  • Damage Rolls
  • Surprise Rolls

At full moon they gain the equivalent of a +2. At new moon they are -2. During the 1d4+1 days prior and after that bonus/penalty is decreased by 1. I must admit that I would probably make players roll on a random table to see which effects take place.

At this point, I am thinking that the Empire version of arcane magic gets the bonus spell (at sunrise? noon? sunset?), the Vrayosi version of arcane magic gets a random metamagic feat and all Vrayosi get a bonus/penalty.

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