Selûne, known as Leira to its inhabitants, was the name of Toril and Abeir's only natural moon. Seen from Toril, it appeared to fit within the size of a human fist held at arm's length. It was quite bright on a clear night, able to cast pale shadows.
Selûne was about 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) across and was located 183,000 miles (295,000 kilometers) away from Toril, although some sages from the late 14th century DR claimed the distance to be some 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) instead.[note 1]
Since the revolution and rotation periods of Selûne's orbit around Toril were the same, only one side of the moon always faced Toril, while the far side (referred to by some as the "dark side") could never be seen from the planet.
The visible side of the moon was disguised by a powerful illusion that made it appear to be an airless, barren, desolate place filled with craters and valleys. The illusion drifted about 500 miles (800 km) above the surface. It could only be revealed by a wish spell and, even so, only to the caster. The far side, however, was not obscured by any magic, so its true splendor could be seen from space. All docking ports for spelljamming ships were located on the far side.
Selûne was followed in the sky by the Tears of Selûne, a constellation of very small celestial bodies that was often identified as composed of nine stars, but which in reality consisted of hundreds of asteroids.
Selûne was full at midnight on Hammer 1, 1372 DR, and subsequently every 30 days, 10 hours, and 30 minutes. Selûne was also full at midnight on the first day of every leap year. Selûne made exactly 48 synodic revolutions every four years, so the phase of Selûne was the same at the same time on the same date every four years. Selûne was generally full around the first day of each month, give or take a day; festival days served to keep the moon's phases consistent across calendar months and years.
The surface of Selûne had enormous lakes and two large seas. It was dotted with cities connected with one another by beautifully decorated roads. Three large mountain ranges ran along the surface of the moon from North to South. The mountaintops of the twelve tallest mountains were constantly molten and gathered heat from the sun during the moon's 15-day-long day. As they cooled down, they shone an incandescent light that was bright enough to read by during most of the moon's 15-day-long night.
Selûne had a remarkably stable temperature, thanks to its magical blanket. Except for the hot mountain tops, the surface of the entire moon was relatively cool, although temperatures never dropped below freezing.
Flora & Fauna
The native vegetation required low temperatures of below 60 ℉ (16 ℃). Known in Faerûn as "moonplants", a whole garden of them was carefully maintained in a sensitive ecosystem under the Dome of the Moon atop the House of the Moon temple to the goddess in Waterdeep.
By the hand of Selûne, goddess of the moon and its namesake, the moon could be a conduit of her powers. In 1357 DR, her avatar Luna used a bright beam of moonlight to transport Conner and the kittenlord to her inn, Selûne's Smile, and later to crack open the roof of a cavern and blind ogres holding the paladin Priam Agrivar.
Rumors & Legends
The largest and most beautiful building on Selûne was the Leira Trading Center, located in the center of the moon's far side. It consisted of about 50 spelljamming space docks and was surrounded by numerous colorful businesses, theaters, and dwellings. Visitors from Toril arriving at this large complex were usually confined to it and were not allowed to explore the remainder of the moon.
Selûne's aloof inhabitants, also known as Selûnians, but who referred to themselves as Leirans, had a refined sense of aesthetics that appeared frivolous and foolish to outsiders. The predominant religion among the moon's inhabitants was the worship of Leira. In fact, it was not uncommon for the inhabitants to call their world Leira instead of Selûne. The obscuring illusion that hid the near side of the moon from Toril was a gift from Leira to reward their worship.
Selûnians were extremely suspicious of Torilians, to the point of paranoia. Visitors and merchants from Toril were usually considered spies and were often denied access to restricted areas of the moon, sometimes being even confined to the spaceport where they docked. Selûnians were convinced that Torilians were dangerous and could not be persuaded otherwise. They even feared the Torilians would invade their world at any time, despite having no evidence for this belief and despite all the evidence against it. They would launch a "preemptive counterattack" on Toril if the opportunity arose.
Their leader in the late 14th century DR was High Magistrate and Queen of the Leirans Phlandra Alabaster, who had wizards working for her who would track visitors to the moon.
- For reference, in the real world, Earth's Moon is 240,000 miles (390,000 kilometers) from Earth. It is reasonable to assume that the authors of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting simply made a typo and missed a zero in their figure.
- Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), pp. 25–28. ISBN 1-56076-052-4.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 230. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- Elaine Cunningham (April 2000). Elfshadow. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-1660-5.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 231. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Dale "slade" Henson (April 1991). Realmspace. Edited by Gary L. Thomas, Karen S. Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 1-56076-052-4.
- Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 144, 146. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
- Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 163–164. ISBN 978-0786906574.
- Michael Fleisher (January 1989). “The Bounty Seekers Of Manshaka”. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #2 (DC Comics), p. 10.
- Michael Fleisher (March 1989). “Sorcerer's Moon”. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #4 (DC Comics), pp. 16–17.
- Mike Pondsmith, Jay Batista, Rick Swan, John Nephew, Deborah Christian (1988). Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (Volume I). (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-88038-608-8.
- Eric L. Boyd (September 1997). Powers & Pantheons. Edited by Julia Martin. (TSR, Inc.), p. 164. ISBN 978-0786906574.
Comets: K'Thoutek • King-Killer Star
Nebulae: Galleon Nebula • Color Spray Nebula
Far Realm-infested stars: Acamar • Caiphon • Delban • Gibbeth • Hadar • Khirad • Nihal • Zhudun
Other astronomical bodies: Caer Windlauer • Skull of the Void • Sargassos