Orson, This May Sound Strange – Moon Elves

Moon Elves

Author: Maik
Publisher: Planar Compass
Page Count: 22
Available Formats: PDF & Print
PDF/Print Bundle (Exalted Funeral) – $12

Long ago, an empire of artificers, genomemancers, and technomancers sent a large contingent of volunteer scientist cosmonauts to the forested green moon to conduct research in flying ships called Silver Dragons. Upon arrival, they settled in and embarked on their long research expedition to learn the secrets of the moon trees, plants, and the native faerie bugs. The expedition was going according to plan. However, they had not expected a civil war to break out back on Earth. The cosmonauts elected to remain neutral and continued their important work. As the war progressed, it culminated in a nuclear apocalypse. The cosmonauts shut down all communications with Earth and destroyed their functioning Silver Dragons, preventing their return to Earth.

More than a thousand years have passed since they cut all ties with Earth. In the intervening years, the scientists created a socialist utopia. It was a utopian society where collectivism led to harmony and focused on perfecting their research—telepathy, cloning, and genetic manipulation.

Some of the scientists and their offspring returned to Earth, only to find a devastated radioactive wasteland. The surviving humans, mutant orcs, and goblins live in barbaric neolithic-medieval societies. Those returning from the green moon were foreign to Earth’s survivors. Lacking a name for them, they called them “Elves.”

Moon Elves is a system-neutral zine featuring a variety of Sci-Fi-themed tables, professions, and adventures hooks centered around “Moon elves.” Coined as “lunarpunk” by the author, the forested green moon is a socialist utopia that takes inspiration from soviet Sci-Fi such as Bogdanov’s Red Star, Tarkovsky’s Solaris, Zulawski’s On the Silver Globe, and George R. R. Martin’s sci-fi stories.

This full-color A5 zine is lavishly illustrated, beautifully laid out, and published by Planar Compass, known for its Planar Compass Zine. However, Moon Elves contains no rules or instructions in using the material—this is up to you.

Within, readers can expect to find an array of gameable content. Moon Elves contains a d6 random mutations table to customize an Elvish character. Eight lunar occupations range from artists to occultists. Twenty random adventure hooks provide some rather interesting ideas to build your adventure with. A short treatise on The Great Trees, also called Dream Trees, are moon-native telepathic trees that can appear in people’s dreams and influence their minds. Further expanding the Gamemasters’ possibilities are two random tables: d6 random inhabitants of a moon tree and d6 random dreams conveyed by a telepathic moon tree. To further spark creativity, there is a series of fifteen biotech or living technologies made from plants, algae, bacteria, and fungi, briefly outlined. Lastly, a d12 space encounter table to spice up your interplanetary travel.

Moon Elves is unlike any other zine I have read to date. Its distinctive socialist vibe is ubiquitous, but the underlying communist tones are unsettling. One only needs to look at the author’s Itch.io page to see they are a self-professed “Brazillian communist that makes ‘games.” The author’s word choices in Moon Elves lean more toward communist and less toward socialist leanings. For example, labor on the moon is collectivized. We also see repetitive use of the state name Zoviets; a know spelling deviation of Soviet. Unsettling, in this case, is not necessarily bad, but readers should be aware and have an open mind about Moon Elves. The zine isn’t going to change anyone’s political beliefs, but its themes honestly, in my opinion, convey the author’s utopian vision of the Moon Elves and their collective harmony. Readers should also know that English is not the author’s native language. Therefore, some of the prose may be difficult for native English speakers to parse, but the meaning and context are easy mental gymnastics.

Should you buy Moon Elves? Maybe. I’m not going to tell you one way or other on this one. If you think the contents outlined above are something you’d like to work into your game, then yes. If you’re open-minded enough to appreciate that there are other political belief structures out there and that they influence creative works, then yes. If the author’s political influence is offputting to you, then no. If you’re looking for some weird telepathic, space Elf infused stuff, yes, get it.

~ Modoc

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