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Moonglow (City of Magic)

“One hand makes the gestures, creating the form by which the ethereal forces take, the other hand grips the reagents, which dye and hue the power, the lips shape the words that focus the power into meaning… And thus verity is achieved.”

Location: Eastern Britannia, on Verity Island, south of Dagger Island, east of Vesper.

Virtue: Honesty

Government: Text

Imports: Almost all basic necessities and luxuries

Exports: Magical paraphernalia


Two silver new moons (circles) slightly offset, on a navy blue background


Moonglow occupies nearly the whole of Verity Isle, which lies east of Vesper and the main continent. The island formed during the Cataclysm, fused together from pieces of the original continent, leaving the original village of Moon near the center of the northern half of the isle. From that center area there are three prominent peninsulas, two projecting north and the other east, forming two inlets, one of which is used for shipping. The southern half of the isle is dominated by an elevated plateau, and is less developed than the northern half, there numerous farms dotting the thin region between the coast and plateau.

North of Verity Isle is Dagger Isle, informally known as “Ice Island”, the original name coming from its shape. A grim chain of mountains, The Jagged Peaks, dominates the center of the isle. On either side of the mountains the land slopes down to the sea, and is frozen tundra and perpetually snow covered. In recent years many brigands and rebel groups have taken up residence on the isle, where Lord British’s laws do not reach.



Before the Cataclysm, the village of Moon was a small, sheltered community, located on the opposite side of the continent from Britain, seat of Lord British’s power. The Sosarian mages of old were a sullen and suspicious lot. The peasants distrusted and feared magic, the kings and lords banned its teaching and use, and mages were unwelcome in nearly every city and town. It was only in Moon, one of the last villages dedicated to the Ancient Liturgy of Truth, that they could purchase the precious supplies they needed to live and continue their practices. By the time of Mondain’s ascension into power, Moon had become the haven of any users of the arcane arts in the old kingdom of Akalabeth. After the restriction of magic was lifted the town experienced an economic boom as more and more sought their teachings and services.

The Shattering, and the subsequent Cataclysm, changed the village’s fate and location. The earth trembled constantly as massive plates underlying the land lurched and moved, ripping the section of land upon which Moon rested from the rest of the continent, pushing it far away from the bulk of the land mass. By the beginning of 1 A.C., the destruction had subsided, leaving the small village on a large island, far from contact with its previous neighbors. The mage inhabitants called their new home Verity Isle, in reference to their reverence for truth and knowledge.

This era in Moon’s history is little known or recorded, Moon chose early on to remain isolated from the world at large, interested only in focusing on their Art, rather than outward. The settlement remained small, as most mages were focused on other matters instead of rearing children, and most of the old schools of magic remained isolated and suspicious of each other. Because of the large proportion of mages upon the island, they soon grew to consider themselves greater than the “mundanes” who could not use magic, and treated them as second-class citizens.

Vesper discovered the island in 22 A.C., and established contact with the village two years later. The Mages of Moon were disturbed by this, and forced the Vesper captain to agree to a code of absolute silence upon the settlement’s existence. In return for his cooperation they offered him an exclusive trading contract, crafted items and goods in exchange for magical paraphernalia and services. The merchant house grew immensely rich and powerful from the contract, and went to great lengths to prevent the secret of Moon’s existence from getting out. In 59 A.C. the merchant house, seeking to gain an edge in the magical services trade, cut a deal with a circle of mages, who resettled in Vesper, forming the mage’s guild there. (See the entry on Vesper for further details.) In 88 A.C., a small war among the mages caused the losing side to flee the island and settle upon Magincia, and establish themselves there as well. (See the entry on Magincia for further information.)

In 92 A.C. Lord Blackthorn of Britain visited the island, having learned of its existence through clandestine channels and his espionage network. Although initially he suffered from some suspicion, the mages quickly recognized his considerable talent in the arcane arts, and especially alchemy, and soon he was welcomed everywhere. Much of Blackthorn’s knowledge came from these early years, and it’s rumored he has much knowledge and many artifacts that have since been lost to the realm.

Around 99 A.C., a small group of mages formed a new circle with a very special project in mind. Studying the ethereal plane, they discovered untapped reservoirs of elemental power, which manipulated properly, could actually affect the world at large. As the island’s population had grown the amount of land available for farming had shrunk, and the mages feared the idea of becoming dependent on the outer world for basic necessities. They proposed to the Council to use this new source of power to form a new island to the north, which could be cultivated. Lord Blackthorn heard of the project and studied it carefully, before setting out to warn Lord British.

The project was completed in roughly two years, the circle used special rituals to reawaken the dormant titanic forces, and manipulate them. The seas swept back, allowing the mountains to thrust up from the water. The fiery lava from the mountains belched forth, spreading a vast plain out from the mountains, rich in volcanic soil. The wind blew seeds and rain clouds over the young island, causing life to sprout from its soil. The mages returned to Moon, hailed as heroes.

This grand experiment had dire consequences. The manipulation of the planet’s forces caused the Great Earthquake, shortly after the circle’s return. The destruction was horrific. Over half the town was swallowed by the ocean when a large piece of the north center of the island collapsed. The other half was drowned a few minutes later as tidal waves caused by the Earthquake struck. A little more than a hundred survived the destruction, fleeing upon the few ships that remained intact.

The refugees, after sailing far enough to escape the turbulent waves, sailed to Vesper, but they found no welcome there. The Vesperians angrily denied them safe port for the destruction they had caused, and the three ships were forced to sail onward down the coast. One of them, the Osprey, disappeared, and to date it’s fate is unknown. The others eventually made it to Britain, where they found Lord British sympathetic and welcoming, even though his own city had suffered.

Lord British promised to help the refugees rebuild their home. He blamed none of them for the Earthquake, the instigators were gone or dead, and he felt it would do no good to punish those who were not directly responsible. He spent the next few years gathering the supplies, ships, and people needed, and sent them forth with his blessing in 105 A.C. Fortunately for the colonists, Vesper ships feared to approach either Verity or Dagger isle, and their island was unclaimed.

The colonists were a changed people from those four years before. Those that had seen pride in power brought low in a brutal fashion did not consider magic a force to be toyed with anymore. Rejection and months at sea together had formed a bond between mage and non-mage, which could never be broken. And many of the colonists were new people from Britain, with fresh ideas and different ways that revitalized the former refugees. The most prominent sign of this was the new name of the colony, Moonglow, named after the spectacular lunar eclipses that occurred the first day of founding, a rare event that marked the day well.

The plan to colonize Dagger Isle never came to pass, however. Since the Earthquake, Dagger Isle had slowly deteriorated, the artificial climate going awry as the forces that shaped it took their own chaotic shapes. The budding life on the isle died as it got colder and colder, freezing into a barren icy realm. An old temple was found in the mountain range upon the isle, a lost relic of old Sosaria it was rumored. After the Earthquake had subsided many necromancers fled to the temple, and eked out a meager living practicing their death magic, until the increasing cold forced them out. (Or forced them to use their magic to survive by becoming undead, according to rumor…)

Magical knowledge had suffered great setbacks due to the Earthquake. The mages of Moon had been suspicious and paranoid, and never parted with secrets unless absolutely necessary, hoarding knowledge like gold. The result of this practice was the loss of much theoretical and applied knowledge in the field of magic, which has only recently, began to recover.

The mages decided that never again should knowledge of magic be so threatened. Part of their proposal to Lord British had been to reestablish the city on the grounds that it would be used to conduct magical research, and to act as a storehouse of knowledge for the realm. The structure would be known as the Lycaeum, and was built using stone shipped from Trinsic, and filled with at least one copy of every book scroll, and tablet known to the world. The building was completed in 116 A.C., after ten years of work, although the amount of knowledge stored within increases every year.

One of the first major projects was the development of the Primer, started in 118 A.C., the name given to the practice, rituals, and spells, which make up modern Britannian magic. The old Sosarian colleges used a variety of different words of power, many reagents of different types, some were purely verbal, others totally material. The project took nearly twenty years, and firmly established a logical system that encompassed all known and accepted forms of magic. Although it took many decades to spread and gain acceptance, the result was that even more of the older schools faded into the background and were lost to memory, and many reagents went out of use, and became simple curiosities for collectors. The uniform magical system quickly spread to every city in the world, and soon supplanted all other forms. (With the possible exception of Ocllo and Wind, who’s magic is, even today, somewhat intangible.)


The People

The people of Moonglow vary considerably, talent with magic knows no discrimination, and neither do those who teach it. Skin tones tend towards light hues, however, since most mages abhor the outdoors and rarely develop a tan.

The Clothing

Moonglow fashion trends are fairly stark and uninspiring, compared to other city-states. Mages have never placed a huge value on clothing, except at official functions. Mages tend to adopt colors and styles for any circle they may belong to, or as a sign of status. Robes are common at lower circles; tunic and cloak combinations at higher. One absolute constant, however, is the Wizard’s Hat, which no self-respecting graduate of the Lycaeum would be seen without.

Arts and Entertainment

Crafts and Trades

Although at one time Moonglow was self-sufficient, it has become almost entirely dependent upon importing basic necessities. The local farmers still grow crops, and make enough to get by, but they are considered an anachronism. Moonglow obtains most of the money needed for imports from substantial royal grants from Lord British, raised by taxes. Most crafted items are purchased through Vesper or Britain.

Moonglow does have an active magical community, including alchemists and herbalists, who manufacture magical items for export and sale, although such items are commonly available in most major cities, so they mostly sell locally. The real trade on Moonglow is magical services and training, Moonglow is essentially a “college town”.

The Guild of Arcane Arts is the official name for the guild of mages. It is more or less represents the Lycaeum and by extension Moonglow all over the world. It has branches in most cities, and can offer employment, scholarships, materials, and other resources that the practicing mage will need.


Moonglow is, not surprisingly, the center of magical research in Britannia. The Lycaeum encourages a choleric approach to research, mages tend to find a focus for their research, and drive towards it. This means that they tend to achieve their goals sooner and more often, but that they also tend to miss details. Much of the research done is very well defined in narrow areas, but has little broad coverage. This is related to the nature of funding; most grants are made for tangible results, rather than intangible research.

The Lycaeum maintains fairly small rosters of students from quarter to quarter, magical training is far more intensive than regular study, with much practical and applied research and practice required. The class of ’48 was the largest in recent years at 18 students, 12 graduates. Most of the facilities are used by mages who have graduated, or returned, for research and experiments.

Although individual circles dedicated to specific magical fields still exist, the majority of magic taught is directly from the Primer, which means that the majority of the populace remains ignorant of any of the individual schools.

One of the most well known (and feared) magical colleges is Necromancy, the magic of death and spirits. Mondain revived the art from the elder days early in his career, and taught it to many of his disciples. Some of these minions escaped death by forming alternate identities after the Cataclysm and some ended up in Moon, secretly passing on their knowledge. They were always secretive, and during the Revolution disappeared entirely, and have since been only a vague rumor.


Government and Politics

Moonglow is one of the charter cities of the Kingdom, and enjoys a good relationship with all of them. Vesper is viewed as a potential source of trouble and not trustworthy, the mages have long memories, but trade is allowed, with considerable tariffs so that Britain goods are equal value. Moonglow has no real enemies, none of the city-states want an entire city of mages as one.


City Timeline

1 A.C.                   The island of Verity settles down in its new location after a year of slow movement from the mainland.

5 A.C.                   After a few years of general anarchy the Council of Mages is formed.

22 A.C.                 Vesper establishes contact with Moon, in exchange for respecting their isolation, they give the merchant house who discovered the island exclusive trading rights.

59 A.C.                 A large group of mages, more interested in personal profit than magical research, accepts a generous offer from the city of Vesper to setup a guild there.

88 A.C.                 A minor war among the mages occurs, the losing side fleeing the island and establishing themselves upon Magincia.

92 A.C.                 Lord Blackthorn arrives at the island. After a short period of suspicion he is accepted among the mages.

99 A.C.                 The creation of Dagger Isle begins.

101 A.C.               The Great Earthquake occurs, due to the forces awakened by the creation of Dagger Isle. Moon is destroyed, and most of the population dies, a few ships of refugees manage to escape. They are unwelcome in Vesper, and they sail for Britain. One ship, the Osprey, is lost upon the journey, and never found.

105 A.C.               Britain aids the refugees from Moon in resettling and reclaiming their island. The new colony is called “Moonglow”, in honor of the twin lunar eclipses that shone upon the founding.

106 A.C.               The construction of the Lycaeum begins.

116 A.C.               The construction of the Lycaeum is completed.

140? A.C.             The Primer is completed, unifying most forms of magic into one system. It quickly spreads throughout the world, and supplants most known forms of magic.

180? A.C.             Pirate raids on Moonglow lead to the focus on battle magic and defenses.

250 A.C.               The Kingdom is officially established, Moonglow a charter member.

300 A.C.               Present day.

Last modified: December 30, 2011

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