Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Arandish Calendars and Chronology

One of my players -- the ever-inquisitive player of Innominus the Cleric -- recently emailed me to ask about religious days and calendars in Ara.  An abridged version reads:

I've been thinking about more cleric stuff, and in particular I've been pondering TIME in Ara. One of the most important roles at least for Catholic priests that went on expeditions or campaigns (e.g., crusades in medieval times, and colonial endeavors in the renaissance and later ... and in fact are still engaged in) is recording what the hell the soldiers/explorers did each and what the hell day it was. Most of this, as I understand it at least from Spanish accounts in the new world, would involve knowing what holy day it was and doing the right masses to honor the day's saint or feast, and in fact many of the Spanish place names in New Spain reflect the day that they were encountered by the Spanish, like Easter Island, Santa Cruz, San Jose, San Bernardino, San Francisco, etc. Anyway, they kept track of time, and they were in charge of preserving the souls of these men who were out there trying to capture souls for the glory of God ... and rape and pillage and commit all sorts of atrocities. Basically, outside of probably the officer types, they were the only ones that could read and write. Also, aside from total assholes like this, many other cultures have "day-keeper" types, and this seems like a common clerical duty.

Anyway, I'm not in a position to invent hundreds of saints and feasts for Innominus's order, but this made me think: What day is it in Ara? There was an Old Calendar and now we're on a New Calendar. When did that change in Old Calendar years, and what year is it now?

In one of the stories about Awra we see a log tracked in at least two seasons, summer, followed by the season of storms, and it looks like there are 3 28-day months per season. What are the rest of the seasons? Also, is there a solar component, like an extra day to reconcile the lunar calendar (i.e., 13 * 28 = 364)? And leap days or any of that crap?

I think we established that the campaign started sometime in autumn as well.


Truthfully, I had never thought about what the other seasons besides summer and the season of storms would be called. Winter? Planting season?  I had also never considered an extra day to reconcile the lunar calendar, nor any leap days. Maybe the elves or the wizard councils have a way of magically keeping the calendar on track? And/or maybe one of those needed extra days would be a major Arandish holiday?

But fortunately, I CAN answer the first part of my player's email, because I DO know about the Old Calendar and the New Calendar.  To this end I have posted a pdf of the Historical Chronology of Ara. A few highlights:

3002-3100: The Old War between Telengard and Achelon.

The Old Calendar ends in Old Calendar year 3101.  The New Calendar begins that same year.

New Calendar 682-719: The legendary Sword-Cleric Silverblade of Noffel finds Gathar and completes many heroic quests.

The current (campaign start) year is New Calendar year 1284.

Of course, I have encouraged Innominus' player to invent away, to start incorporating HIS ideas about Arandish festivals and Innominus' sect's Holy Days into our ongoing Labyrinth Lord campaign.  I look forward with relish to what he might bring in; his email concludes:

You know, after a week and half in Stonehell maybe there's Innominus's version of Christmas and a whole session will be spent finding last minute gifts for the rest of the party ... at great peril to friend and foe alike! It could happen.


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