The Mystaran Moons

Secrets of Matera and Patera

By Daniel Boese


The Visible Moon: Matera

This moon, well known to anyone living on the outer surface of Mystara, is a silvery, lifeless, crater-marked satellite. Like the moon of our Earth, it waxes and wanes in a predictable pattern, controlling the tides and lycanthropy, but it isn't very interesting to Mystaran adventurers - unless, of course, they know of the gateway to the Immortal City of Pandius located in one of Matera's large craters. As of AC 1013, the moon has remained unexplored.

Matera has a diameter of 2,160 miles and orbits 238,600 miles above Mystara's surface.

DMs wishing to liven up Matera up a bit may place unknown, secretive, and very reclusive underground creatures on this moon. Or explorers looking past the uninspiring exterior of this "lifeless chunk of rock" might find evidence of long-lost civilisations here. How about the wreckage of Voidships that undertook the perilous voyage from distant worlds only to crash on an inhospitable moon within sight of a magnificent world?


The Second Moon: Patera (Myoshima)

Mystara has a second moon, unknown to all but its inhabitants and a very few other mortal creatures. The Immortals call this moon Patera; its inhabitants call it Myoshima. The moon can't normally be seen by anyone outside its Skyshield, due to its core's unusual light-bending properties. It is small, with a circumference roughly equal to 3,000 miles, and a diameter of 950 miles. The central core of Patera is extremely dense and magical, allowing a gravity comparable to that of Mystara. It orbits a scant 34,200 miles above Mystara's surface.

This moon completes a full revolution around Mystara in three days and twelve hours (or two revolutions per week). Patera follows an exact polar orbit above the Known World, so that the moon passes above almost every point on the globe. Patera does not have a rotation of its own. One hemisphere (called Nearside) always faces Mystara, and viewers on the opposite side of Patera (Farside) never see the world they orbit. The pattern of day and night cycles on Patera is thus very complex because of Mystara's axial tilt, which provides Patera's seasons. The sun appears to wobble back and forth across the sky over a 3 1/2-day period as it also appears to travel around the Patera globe along a great cycle every 336 days, Mystara's year. (Myoshiman calendars take a year of study to be understood, and its inhabitants have no fixed cycle of wakefulness or sleep.) Nearside usually continually receives a small amount of light reflected from Mystara.

Full daylight on Patera is not as bright as on Mystara, being more like twilight. The sky changes colour during a "day", ranging from fiery tones at noon to tamer red and purple hues at dusk or dawn. This happens because Patera has a light-reflecting shield at the immediate edges of its atmosphere. This shield bends light rays except at the extreme ranges of the visible spectrum - ultraviolet and infrared are unaffected by the shield. Light rays hitting Patera's atmosphere are deflected back to the surface or off into space. In effect, this causes the planet to be nearly invisible from the outside and allows little light to filter in (only Mystara, Matera, and the sun can be seen from Patera's surface). Patera's core generates the light shield's effects.

Patera is mostly covered by steaming jungles and earthquake-prone volcanic mountains that surround three freshwater seas. Rain clouds cover a third of Patera at all times, and precipitation is abundant. The two polar areas of the moon offer at worst a temperate climate.

The vast majority of the sentient population is made of various breeds of rakasta, humanoid felines with human intelligence. Unlike the Mystaran species, these all have infravision good to 60'. It is known that they have an architectural sense similar to the inhabitants of Ochalea - exotic, tiered, slope-roofed structures - and that they breed riding sabre-tooth tigers which, through the use of magical flying collars and airmasks for their riders, fly through the airless void between Patera and Mystara.

Patera is divided into three major political blocks. The largest and potentially most aggressive is the Empire of Myoshima itself, a nation of feudal provinces controlled by daimyos, with a dingle emperor who rules them all.

Next is the nation of Rajahstan, made up of twelve allied realms. Each realm is a sovereign state ruled by holy gurus (who handle law, education, religion, and internal politics) and maharajahs (who handle the economy, military, and foreign politics). Together these form the Spiritual Council to run Rajahstani affairs as a whole.

The third block consists of many loosely allied petty kingdoms and principalities. Among the more prominent territories are Kompor-Thap (a valley of a thousand temples), Selimpore (a mercantile matriarchy), Malacayog (a nation of headhunters), and Surabayang (fierce island pirates). These territories are politically aligned with placid Rajahstan against imperial Myoshima - when they are not fighting each other.

DMs may wish to map out the various Rakastan dominions - or nations ruled by even stranger creatures. Myoshima could provide an excellent way station for adventurers just venturing out into the Void from Mystara's atmosphere. There are plenty of opportunities for adventure in the rakastan cities or in Patera's wilderness. If the PCs get bored with Myoshima's surface, they can get involved in skirmishes between Rakastan Voidships and Heldannic Warbirds or try to negotiate trade agreements between inhabitants of Mystara and Patera.

There are at least two Myoshiman languages: "common" and "poetry".

Very little is known of Myoshima; it was visited twice in recent history by Alphatian adventurer Haldemar of Haaken, and the Heldannic Knights have apparently had unfriendly contact with the Myoshimans, but Patera has not been visited by diplomats or scholars from Mystara since Prince Haldemar, in AC 965.



The Voyage of the Princess Ark, episode 7 (Dragon #160)

Champions of Mystara boxed set

Poor Wizard's Almanac, PWA II, PWA III

Sources missing: Polyhedron #120 (Provides some details on how one RPGA member detailed Myoshima, using material from Oriental Adventures (both rules and modules).)