In D&D there are a lot of things that are just glossed over and given little consideration. One of the big ones is time and the yearly cycle. However, I noticed that if I don’t keep track of the time of year it always feels ‘spring-is’ unless they head north where it constantly feels ‘winter-ish’. If I’m not mindful of the time of year I regularly throw weather, festivals, and other things that make the world feel more real out the window.
Now if you decide that a calendar would be useful, there are several options available to you (including our real world one) that you could simply copy and past. However, I found that using a real world one broke the suspension of disbelief in my players, and calendars from other systems were too lore heavy to be easily adopted by my players (what season is Eleint again?). So I made my own!
I decided to start with the math first. I eventually settled on 12 months that each had 6 weeks, and each week had 5 days (12X6X5=360). Also, since it takes a full year for the moon to go through its lunar cycle in my game I added 4 holidays bringing the total to 364.
Days of the week
I wanted the days to reflect lore of the world, so I based four of the days on the progenitor gods of my world (Essul who gave the world body, Thudebar who gave the world spirit, Asaj tempered their spirits with reason, and Roth who then brought order and civility). The last of the 5 days is named after Ragnarok which is the cataclysmic of my last campaign (player caused) and death of the 4 progenitor gods.
I named my months pragmatically to remind me and my players of the season.
Premoon, Midmoon, Postmoon (Winter)
Prerain, Midrain, Postrain (Spring)
Presun, Midsun, Postsun (Summer)
Prefall, Midfall, Postfall (Autumn)
I could have just themed each holiday based on the season, but that felt boring. So I also said it takes 1 year for a moon to go through its lunar cycle and placed each of the holidays on a notable part of the cycle. Each holiday is between the 3rd and 4th weed of the mid-months.
Midmoon | Full Moon
This holiday is celebrated during the longest and brightest night of the year. It is a time of renewal as people commiserate over the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better tomorrow.
Midrain | Spring Equinox
This holiday is a time spent with loved ones. People exchange favors with those who they appreciate. It is a time of laughter and feasts.
Midsun | New Moon
This is the longest day of the year and people capitalize on it with this day of games and festivals. Dancing, drinking, and music are consumed in abundance on this day of frivolity.
Midfall | Autumnal Equinox
This is a yearly vigil for the dead. People sit around and tell stories of their dead friends and family. It is a time of tears and happy reminiscence of love shared.
A Living World
Once I had I calendar and created the prop to keep track of it I had a much easier time keeping the season in mind and I began having NPCs get ready for holidays and being mindful of the weather. I found that it really helped me ground my world and made it feel organic.
I hope you found my musings interesting if not benefitial in some way 🙂
Thank you for reading.