Holidays in Games

Monday, 1. November 2010

Something I think that’s sorely lacking in a lot of game settings is proper holidays. Obviously in the case of modern settings, they are very easy to work with in that you can simply look up the holiday. Perhaps more importantly, you can look up the predecessor to the modern holiday, as Samhain is to Halloween or Saturnalia to Christmas. This gives some good historical backgrounds to work with and figure out possible rivalries of secret societies and a lot of other toys to work with.

In the case of other settings however you are at the mercy of your source books or your own creativity. They’re typically very sparse on the information only to give a general portfolio and maybe some favored performances of miracles even if that. If you are lucky it’s like D&D’s 3rd edition where you get a whole book about it, Deities and Demigods. Oh, wait – that was stats so you could battle gods. So essentially you are almost on your own for this, which is rather a shame. There are great possibilities for events and disruption on these days, so they can almost be an adventure within themselves.

A good start would be to come up with 1 or 2 major holidays or each of your major deities, and intersperse them appropriately throughout your game calender (You do have a game calender don’t you?) The harvest deities goes in the fall, rebirths in the spring and so on and so forth. That in most cases should give you a dozen or so to play with throughout the year. From there, it’s just a matter of figuring out what do with them. This certainly doesn’t mean everything should be celebrated or role played, but it definitely gives a good breakup of the normal adventuring patterns.

Celebrations typically require a lot of logistics and planning, so that could be an adventure in and of itself. Rival deities sniping at each other is another good possibility, with disruption of said events. Gods and Goddess’s displeasure is typically well known; so if the proper holidays aren’t celebrated.. your game world might be in for a rough year. This isn’t even bringing in cultists, religious wars or the other amounts of entertainment just a little added detail can bring.

Celebrations of course, give a good opportunity to have a little out of game fun as well. Since I’m all about having fun, appropriate cooking, desserts and drinks only enhance the experience when not taken to too much excess and can give a good additional flavor to your gaming.

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One Response to “Holidays in Games”

  1. Oz Says:

    Actually, in 3rd edition and even 3.5 D&D, if you managed to get any of the realm specific source books, such as The Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance or even the 2nd Edition version of Dark Sun, built into them they had monthly, yearly and even holiday Calenders…or the at least the most celebrated holidays if not a complete list. Still, I find that a well worked out world…as a GM, needs to have the holidays if for no other reason than to give the game that little extra bit of flavor.

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