As I approach this week and my favorite holiday of the year, I’m always left wondering… what exactly makes a holiday special? And how can we create holidays in our roleplaying worlds to embrace some of that level of social interaction?
Well, this year I’ve come up with a plan to create my own holidays with four simple die rolls.
First, what kind of holiday is it? Most are based on religious events, historical happenings, or the changing of the seasons.
- Historical event
- Important figure
- Religious significance
- Season ending
- Season beginning
- Military event
Step 2: What do people do to celebrate? (d6)
Next, we wonder what happens on this particular holiday. Do folks share food and drink with one another?
- Give presents
- Follow ceremony
- Share food
- Share drink
- Make noise
Some holidays are relatively recent, while others seem to have been around forever in one form or another.
Step 4: How is it viewed today? (d6)
This one is key. Often holidays fade over time, either being forgotten entirely or celebrated by only a few.
Now let’s come up with a few examples…
Halls of the Harbinger – Historical, Follow ceremony, Decades, Reviled
The Halls of the Beloved echo each year with the building chants to the Harbinger. Though the ceremonies are built to be celebrated, they culminate each year in the death of an innocent. Many have done their best to subvert the proceedings with interruptions, demonstrations, and outrage, but each year the party goes on. There are those to whom the worship is the holiest of holies, believing that what they do is for the greater good of the society at large. But this year, a small group of fanatics has come up with a plan guaranteed to stop the event. Will it raise the Harbinger from his slumber? Only time will tell.
Feast of Aventia – Season ending, Forgotten, Decades, Necessary
As the autumnal equinox approaches, a few of the elders do their best to keep the Feast of Aventia from being completely forgotten. An annual gift to the creatures of the Wildwood meant to keep them from loosing the hunt upon their streets. This year, the donations barely cover a single offering circle, when years ago when the peace was brokered there were a dozen offering circles left for the beasts. None of those who brokered the deal are still alive – only their children hold the line. Will it be enough or will the younger generations pay for their inability to abide by the contract? How much blood will run as a result?
Trail of Gifts – Season beginning, Give presents, Millennia, Beloved
This year, the entire city has gathered to celebrate the Spring Run. Some years the weather keeps folks from attending but this year the storms abated just in time to melt the ice upon the trail. The well-off will be able to send presents to the false peak of Mount Grande and the needy can use whatever they can from the gifts left to them. Some years it is the givers in needing of gifts, so the cast of characters changes frequently based on how the Fates have treated the people. Anything left is taken by the mountain tribe to help their people and it is rumored that nothing goes to waste. The cycle turns. The learners learn. And the Father smiles upon them all.
So there you have it – a four step process to create a few holidays for your worlds, wherever they may be. And as we approach the holiday season around our own world, I wish you all the best!