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Friday, July 18, 2014

Freaky Friday 07-18-14

Welcome back to another daily post for Dungeon Mastering by Candlelight. If you haven't already become a follower of this blog, why not? Worried we might follow you home?  Its to late you know.  You hear that heavy breathing outside your door?  That's me.  Quick become a follower and maybe I'll be appeased and go away.

Today I reached into the random pile of AD&D campaign stuff piled near my desk and pulled out a folder containing calendar information.  I thought to, how utterly boring is that, but what a fantastic and completely appropriate random thing to post on Freaky Friday.  So here we are anyway, me writing and you reading about creating a fantasy calendar for your home campaign.

First, why create a calendar in the first place?  I am so glad you asked.  Eventually players are going to want to know how many days have passed since the last time they were in dungeon x or town y.  They may even be so crude as to ask you what day it is.  Responding with Wednesday is both inaccurate and not especially inspirational for the sense of immersion into the story for your game.  We already experience far to many Wednesdays at our day to day jobs but how many Starly days have we had?  Just about zero Starly days I would guess, until you happen to play in my campaign and survive to the fifth day of the week.  

This begs the question of course as to how long are the days in your world?  How many days are in a week?  How many days are in a month or in a year?  Are there any fun things you can use a fantasy calendar for in your Dungeon Master notes?

Kingdoms Chimerical

In my home campaign I decided to make it simple and go with a seven day week.  There are seven days in a week, four weeks in a month, thirteen months in a year and twenty four hours in a day, so not exactly the same as here on planet Earth but close enough for the players to relate and carry in their heads without much trouble.

The calendar is divided into four seasons with winter having four months while the other three seasons only have three months.

Winter Months    1.  First Snow, 2.  Ice Grip,  3.  Storm Hearth,  4.  Last Frost.
Spring Months    5.  Greenwood,  6.  Planting Song,  7.  Blossom Gale
Summer Months  8.  Far Road,  9.  Festival,  10.  Dragon Wind
Fall Months    11.  Harvest Song,  12.  Weaver Tale,  13.  Romp

The seven days of a week are called (in order) Westerly, Easterly, Northerly, Southerly, Starly, Farwing and Hearth.  It is thought to be good luck for the direction of the prevailing winds to match the named direction of the current day while it is sometimes believed to be an ill tiding if the direction of the wind blows against the wind name for the current day.

Rumor Sheet

One easy application of your fantasy calendar is to draw out the calendar for the current month or perhaps several months in a row and write down 2d12 worth of rumors.  I like to make sure that about thirty percent of the rumors that the players encounter while they explore a city or town are completely and utterly false.

Let me add to this bit that every month or every few weeks your rumor list might change based upon what you have in store for the campaign.  The changing rumor list from month to month can come straight out of what the characters are doing or it can be a mix of unfolding mini and major plot threads you have going on in your campaign along with what sort of trouble the characters have been getting into.  I like the second option.  It doesn't take long to bash together a 2d12 list of rumors for the next month in the campaign and you will be surprised at how often you can make use of it from game to game.

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