Some moon doors are no more than clever adornments that permit the opener to view a shallow, foreshortened-perspective painted scene masquerading as the interior of the building (usually set in cavities, in very thick doors, lit from above or by magical glows).
Moon door traps also exist. They admit hands feeling for keys or latches and bring them into contact with sharp blades, glyphs that paralyze, catch-wire nooses, and the like. (Desired visitors are warned not to touch such a moon door at all, but to look for a key or release-latch in another hidden location.) Other moon doors, which have been created by Spellguards or others attuned to the mythal, teleport unwary persons thrusting body parts or items through them into dungeon-cells beneath their buildings, to somewhere outside the city (also offering their owners a swift exit from Silverymoon), to the center of the Market, or even to just outside a barracks of the Knights in Silver.
Teleport Trap: CR 6; magic device; touch trigger; automatic reset; spell effect (teleport, 9th-level wizard [attuned to the mythal], intruder reaching into the door is teleported to a locale set at the time the trap was built, no saving throw; Search DC 30; Disable Device DC 30. Cost: 33,000 gp, 180 XP.
A few of these translocational moon doors offer both harmful journeys to intruders and alternative (and more favorable) destinations available to those who whisper the right word when opening them, or whose intruding hands bear the correct ward-token ring. These "favored disturbers" are usually teleported to bedchambers, guest apartments, bathrooms, or robing rooms within the building the moon door opens into. This latter feature enables Silvaeren ladies to stagger home in a rainstorm covered with mud, go to a back door or into the stables of their house -- and emerge bathed, scented, and freshly dressed, with their hair done, from an inner room of their home to receive waiting guests (without having to trudge out of the storm, dripping, past those same guests). Many tales tell of such features being located -- by mutual secret agreement -- in the houses of other folk, so thieves, evening escort lasses, and other "shady characters" can get out and about, but appear to have been "home all the time" when authorities came calling.
A few moon doors are set not within regular doors but just beside them, and they offer entry into tunnels in the building walls that lead to separate apartments or living areas within the building intended for creatures of tiny stature. Some connect with dovecotes or cellar pens, and are for the use of message-birds or -beasts. Still others -- none of which seem to have survived today, probably because of security concerns -- permitted vendors of coal or firewood to reach a lever that opened a much larger delivery-hatch in the building walls or foundations permitting them to make deliveries of fuel directly into cellars.
Other moon doors are false features intended purely for decoration, or they open into very shallow cavities that display notices (that can be changed from within) along the lines of: "Thereld the ranger has moved to Stormgates House on Northwind Lane, and Justelle the shadowdancer is no longer accepting new pupils. Fair fortune, reader; may thy day be bright." or "The blue bellpull alerts Neivarra of the Nine Lanterns: listen for the chimes and then ascend her stair/The crimson bellpull summons Lhanghras the Loremaster, or releases a scrip and blackstick for the leaving of messages if he does not desire to be disturbed at this time/The flame bellpull awakens one or more of the Three Sentinels, who are generally less than pleased to be disturbed when off-duty, but the daring may reach them by using the descending stair."
Of the surviving moon doors of Silverymoon that are simply doors within doors, the most beautiful are at the house of Aumartha Stanmyr on Starstill Lane, at the Hunters' Hearth Boot and Cloak Shop on Standstag Alley, and at Trunstral's Resthouse (a mansion converted to a "rooms for rent by the tenday" establishment) on Five Flagons Way.
Aumartha Stanmyr's moon door (built to her specifications) is a brass-framed oval of stained glass depicting a feminine human hand cupping a white flower that catches a descending ray of the moon in a deep blue night scene. The moon door opens from bottom to top, on hinges stiff enough to hold it up for a few moments ere its weight causes it to swing down again; a metal thumb-catch on the inside permits it to be held in the open or "up" position. It is cut into a 7-foot-high, copper-sheathed oval entry door. This larger door has been sealed with fire-fused oils to prevent the copper weathering from its "shining metal" hue.
Find out more about specific moon doors in Silverymoon in the next article.
About the Author
Ed Greenwood is the man who unleashed the Forgotten Realms on an unsuspecting world. He works in libraries, writes fantasy, sf, horror, mystery, and even romance stories (sometimes all in the same novel), but he is still happiest churning out Realmslore, Realmslore, and more Realmslore. There are still a few rooms in his house with space left to pile up papers in . . .