Friday, December 23, 2016

Creating an RPG Campaign Calendar

Devising a yearly calendar for an RPG campaign setting can have numerous benefits. For one thing, it helps create a more concrete sense of how time passes, weaving the events from a series of adventures into the overall scope of the setting, rather than just focusing on those specific days on which the PCs encounter problems and peril. For another, it provides a frame of reference for players who like to keep detailed notes about their characters' exploits. What is more, it can be used to introduce holidays and their related religious observances and popular festivals, thereby introducing plot hooks for the GM to use in the campaign. Most importantly, though, it helps to make the campaign world feel like a real place, one in which other NPCs live their lives in ways that makes sense given their environment and the passage of time.

As with the Sol System in general, this calendar uses Earth as Homeworld and thus is based upon its astronomical movement. It was devised by clerics of the Sun God and the Universal Architect, and is generally accepted as a useful and accurate method of tracking time. An exception to this is the elves, who find that it does not fit well with their lunar-based religious rituals, which end up passing from day to day throughout the different months (see below for more details).

Thirteen Months of Twenty-Eight Days Each
To best approximate the 365+ days of Homeworld's revolution around Sol, scholars divided the year into thirteen months that each contain twenty-eight days. Each week is made up of seven days, named for the known bodies in the solar system, and each month consists of four such weeks. As such, every month looks the same:

The thirteen months, then, are named for the thirteen constellations of the zodiac—those groups of stars in front of which the sun is seen to rise during that month. They are:

Capricorn – Aquarius – Pisces – Aries – Taurus – Gemini – Cancer

Leo – Virgo – Libra – Scorpio – Ophiuchus – Sagittarius

One Extra Day
In addition to these 364 days is a New Year day that falls after Sagittarius and before Capricorn, the day which marks the start of a new revolution for Homeworld around the sun and thus that is set aside as a day of rest and celebration for the start of the new year. It happens to be the winter solstice, the day in which the northern hemisphere sees the smallest amount of light, and thus marks the end of the sun's “old life” and thus the beginning of a “new” one.

Behind the Scenes: Rationale
This calendar is designed to use a system already familiar to the players and GM, while adapting it so that is seems a little more exotic and takes more inspiration from the Earth's heavenly movements.

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