Monday, June 22, 2009
Festivals and Holidays of Lornn
I try to keep a strict calender when running a long-term campaign, to give the players a sense of the passage of time and changing of the seasons. Printing up a little calender so I can check off the days is the easiest way to do this, and plenty of these are available for free online. I also pencil in various holidays and festivals to give the PCs something to do in between adventures. Here's some of the festivals and holidays peculiar to Lornn, some inspired by real-world pagan holidays, and others based on the campaign history itself:
Mahadragan Eve: The day before the last day of the year, or Oenlornn 24th, is normally spent carousing and hanging gifts from the Mahadragan Tree. The Mahadragan Tree is a huge Evergreen placed at the center of a town or community to represent the enduring and undying power of Mother Lornn. The brightly wrapped gifts hung from the limbs of the tree represent her plentiful fruit. After nightfall, each member of the community may place a burning candle upon the tree and remove a gift at random. By midnight, the gifts are gone and the tree is brightly lit, becoming the center of activity for the remainder of the night, and a great feast served under its branches. The following day, Mahadragan Day, is usually more subdued and is commonly spent gathering with one’s closest friends and relatives.
Apinfeld: This holiday falls on Soender 13th of each year. The day honors the birth of the twin gods Selwyn and Nidramangst. Each community selects a pair of local twins, usually very young, to serve as the kings or queens of the Apinfeld Fair. The Apinfeld Fair typically features those things held in high esteem by the twin gods, such as music, wine, dancing, fortune telling, and mischief. Apinfeld Pranks are a source of great delight amongst the youth of Lornn, as well as a source of great misery for the adults, who are forbidden to punish mischief on this day alone.
Landing Day: Celebrated on Voander 6th each year. Landing Day is typically celebrated with a feast at the first light of dawn, during which a large cart is filled with gifts, commonly coins, by the local folk. Following the feast, the cart sets off on the long journey to the Tower Palace, where the gifts are left in thanks to the Emperor for his liberation of Lornn from the clutches of the foul Mordrimm. It is considered uncommonly bad fortune to rob or hijack one of the so-called Emperor’s Carts, so even the farthest journey is usually bandit free. Incidentally, the cart driver is selected at random from the local citizenry, and the lucky fellow not only gets a vacation and tour of the Empire, but also a small share of the Cart’s treasure.
Masking Day: Also known as the Eve of the Faceless God. During this daylong festival held in honor of the unknown agenda and identity of the Faceless God, all folk go about their feasting and carousing masked and completely anonymous. It is considered very bad form, if not heretical, to try and determine a person’s identity on this day. Many trysts, duels, and other behavior not typically characteristic of the anonymous folk are committed on this day and forgotten and absolved by dawn the next day.
Weaver’s Feast: Also known as Midsummer’s Day. Held on the extra day falling between the 12th and 13th of Faerlornn, though the actual time of celebration begins as soon as the first summer crop is harvested, typically 3 to 6 days before Weaver’s Feast, and for up to one week after. This time features much feasting and carousing. As a celebration of fertility, the festivities can become quite lurid at times, and the days before and after Midsummer are popular for wedding ceremonies. Children are especially revered during this time, and are basically given the run of the community. At high noon a great pile of various products of the harvest is set ablaze in sacrifice to Mahadra, the Mother of Lornn.
Dramsenflay: This holiday, which falls on the 5th of Ozander every year is celebrated mainly by the Keerfolk of Wilderrun and the peoples of the Eastern Kingdoms around the Sea of Aramaz. This day marks the onset of manhood for all male youths who turned fifteen before the holiday. Each youth is given a spear, and a starved and furious wild boar is released to run the streets of the town. The youth who runs down and slays the boar is considered favored by the gods to become a great hunter and the carcass is burned in offering to Drase.
Ruemark: This is a somber holiday falling on the 15th of Morgus each year. It honors the Lornnishmen who fought and died in the wars to overthrow the evil Mordrimm four centuries ago. Often, gray, featureless effigies are burned in bonfires to symbolize the destruction of the foul changelings.
Starfalling: This holiday begins at nightfall on the 24th of Toemus and celebrates the end of winter and the coming first day of spring. Lanterns, candles, and even magical lights are hung from every home, tree, and horse, set afloat in tiny paper boats, or even sent wafting through the air on the wings of cantrips to bring the night alive with light. Many traditional Starfalling songs are sung throughout the night, and new songs written by local bards are performed. Each bard hopes his song will become a traditional favorite, and so they work very hard all year long on their Starfalling compositions.
Grodefell: Also called the Day of the Dead, the 6th of Baelus celebrates the new “life” of loved ones and ancestors who have passed into the Underworld. Despite the serious subject matter, it is a light-hearted holiday. Many folk dress as ghosts and skeletons and run about attempting to scare each other or just carousing in general. Some families who have recently lost a loved one hold more somber gatherings, and family tombs and crypts are often cleaned and decorated on this day.