Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Calender of Holidays Wrapup

So to have an easy reference list here is the months and their major holidays:
Cold Dark: High King's Day
Deep Snow: Day's of Innocence
Melting Snow: Nature's Friend Day, Spring's Return
River Rain: Feast of the Running Rain
River Swell: Flowers of Spring, Celebration of Storms
Green Planting: Blessing of the Druids, Targon's Delight, Summer's Birth
Warm Sun: Days of Sun
Sun Scorch: Race Against the Sun
Harvest: Fall Celebration
Leaves Turn: Harvest Festival
Leaf Fall: Week of the Holy
No Grass: Festival of Snow

Monday, July 30, 2012

Holidays of No Grass in Tridon

This month, at the beginning of winter, is the most life threatening and dreary month of all.  The days are short, people are often stuck inside because of the weather, and travel is very limited.  So holidays are always welcome in this month.

One is the Festival of Snow.  This festival celebrates the shortest day of the year and in most of the northern Houses in Tridon snow has already begun to fall.  Again with the giant feasts, though a little more sparing since no one is sure how long the winter is going to last and this time of year gifts are given that have much thought put into them.  In poorer areas quilts, new sets of clothes, even new boots are ideal presents.  For those a little better off, horses, fine jewels and even small estates.  It is a time a reflection of the year and many seek to atone themselves by giving goodly donations to their favorite temples.  And it wouldn't be the Festival of Snow without playing in the snow.  Sled races, overland races on foot and even races with dogs sleds are often held.  Children build snow forts to be judged and sometimes the adults join in.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Holidays of Leaf Fall in Tridon

This month is crammed full of holidays, though all pretty much the same week named the Week of the Holy.  This is the month which humans and other mortals celebrate their Gods.  Each temple has a week long celebration highlighting the benefits of being a follower of that certain God.  Certainly the darker Gods have trouble getting many people to attend, but they do have participates.  Each temple is different, but always highlight the ethos of their God.  For example, the followers of Sarjon have war games with the temples of Shade.  Taniger's followers have competitions of forging (though these are usually observed only by dwarves) and Pezuta's temples have gambling the whole week.

My suggestions for the Week of the Holy, if you wish for your players to observe this, is to pick your God and decided what sort of thing that particular God's followers would do. 

Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Holidays of Leaves Turn in Tridon

Leaves Turn is when the weather begins to turn cold, there is a scramble to get ready for winter, and just about every crop you can think of is ripe and ready to pick. To celebrate such things most places have a Harvest Festival to celebrate the bounty.

Food is cooked, bonfires are made, and small gifts are given.  Candied apples are a favorite, as are pumpkin pie and zucchini bread.  Livestock are also traded and sold at this time of year and materials for blankets and clothes are traded for food stocks.  Whole trading grounds will spring up along with the celebrations and everyone usually leaves happy.  In cities food and treats are shared, as well as small gifts being exchanged.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Holidays of Harvest in Tridon

Harvest is a busy time of year, with little time to sit around and celebrate anything.  But humans being humans there is always time for a party in there somewhere.

Harvesting begins this month and runs through Leaf Fall.  Farmers are busy and merchants are busy buying the farmer's wares.  So naturally a celebration of a bountiful harvest should occur this time of year.  Celebrating the turn of the times from summer to fall, Fall Celebration is held through out Tridon.  Food is a large part, of course, with farm wives trying to out cook their neighbors and chefs of Houses and noble Houses doing the same just on a grander scale.  Farmers have wheel barrow races, harvesting races, even log cutting races (got to keep warm somehow during the winter).  The prizes for farmers is just the bragging rights, but in the larger cities it may mean a better job or in the case of the chefs, it might mean becoming head cook at a noble House or the House itself, for the nobles only want the best in food.

Quilt contests are also a big deal in the rural areas.  Women spent the winter before making the best blankets to keep their families warm and some get rather creative.  Also carved furniture is often judged and prizes awarded for those men with little to do during the winter and to give ideas of what to do during the winter to come.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Holidays of Sun Scorch in Tridon

This month is pretty devoid of holidays, but in the eastern part of Tridon in Karoon is the Race Against the Sun.  Every year, in the warmest part of the year, the bravest (or stupidest as you wish) young men come to Karoon to race one hundred miles across open plain with little shade or water to see who can be the fastest to reach the sacred pond of Iktomi to the west.  The runners are given only what they can carry so few take more then a few water skins, knife and fire starter kit.  They put themselves to the test by running in heat sometimes over a 100 degrees (yes, I will stick with the English system, I'm not that creative lol) in hopes of being the winner for the year.  Those who can not make the full trek are usually rescued by the priests of Iktomi who follow the racers.  The winner has no need to pay for housing and food for the year (though they have to be reasonable) and women often swoon over the winner, inviting no lonely evenings. 

This began as a race between rival tribes to see who could honor Iktomi better but over the years youth from all over have joined in.  Occasionally a woman will win, but usually the winner is a man.  If the same winner wins five years in a row the Leader of House Karoon will give them a small plot of land and a title.  This has only happened twice in the history of the race.

In the time of the Chosen and after the tribes which live there continued the tradition, but without the House being there only small rewards are given.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Holidays of Warm Sun in Tridon

There is plenty of sun in Warm Sun, thus many places celebrate the Days of Sun with relish.  Crops are planted, wood is brought in, fish and fowl are smoked for the winter.  These are good days and people like to celebrate.

The Days of Sun are a celebration of Tymara, the Gods of the Sun and Elements.  Feasts are held and giant bon fires are lit in the middle of the night to represent the sun.  Races are held with who can carry a basket full of fire the farthest without it going out, the winner getting first pick of foods at the feast and bragging rights.  Originally, especially in the northern Houses, a runner would run from village to village bringing a torch which may or may not be magically lit, to see if they had made it through the winter snows and spring floods and to bring news from other villages.  The runner was always fed as he or she made their way across the landscape so eventually it simply became a holiday in the middle of summer for fun and feasting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Holidays of Green Planting in Tridon

There is, of course, Summer's Birth (detailed earlier) but there also is a few other, smaller holidays this month.

One is the Blessing of the Druids.  Many of the rural farmers and villages have druids bless their livestock as well as their crops in the hopes of having a fruitful year.  Many times meals are prepared for the druids who attend to the village and promises to live with nature are given.  Such promises include not clearing any more nearby forest land, maybe not over hunting or perhaps leaving a certain animal alone in a certain area.

The second is Targon's Delight.  Originally this was a joke put forth by the Temple of Targon in Stormvale as they wanted to make the Temple of Catiana look hide bound, but it now has grown into a festival looked forward to many.  Priest and mages of Targon will go about towns or villages performing little, flashy magics (or even fixing magics) for free.  Food is served by the temples and at the end of the day the priests perform firework like magics in the sky.  Temple donations soar during this time of year.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Holidays of River Swell in Tridon

River Swell is aptly named.  Rivers swell and travel upon the rivers become very hard to travel inland.  No one wants to celebrate the inconvenience, but they do like to celebrate the flowers and new plants brought on by the excess water.

Flowers of Spring is not celebrated by everyone, though some of the more innocent Gods' temples celebrate these days with gusto, (such as Aiyana, Tinaka, Iktomi).  The gist is to celebrate nature's beauty and bounty.  Some places will leave baskets of flowers and fruits on peoples' door steps, others will decorate themselves in flowers and yet others will make living sculptures out of the flowers and plants themselves, (some use magic, others just use lots of flowers to make the sculptures).  Sometimes there are contests to see who can put the most baskets of flowers on peoples' doorsteps.  This can occur between priests in a certain temple, or even between temples. 

Children like to run around putting their version of baskets of flowers on doorsteps and this often earns them little treats from adults that just can't help themselves.

On the flip side, the Temple of Furere celebrates this time of year with the Celebration of Storms.  They bring gifts to the temple and pray for a windy, blustery spring for the God of Storms and Wind always brings such things in the spring in great abundance.  A feast is usually  held at each temple and those who wish to seek favor with Furere so they do not fall afoul of his "gifts" bring gold and trade goods to the temple along with their prayers.  The feast is usually chaotic and sometimes degrade into other "group activities".  (If you have young players in your campaign this would NOT be an appropriate celebration for them to attend.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Holidays of River Rain in Tridon

This time of year is wet and farmers are trying to till their fields to plant, (though this might not be very successful, especially near the coast).  Trees are blooming and rivers are running high.  So what better excuse to have a feast then to celebrate the rain.

The Feast of the Running Rain isn't celebrated everywhere in Tridon, (its a little drier east of the Tsalagi Mountains), but most of the time the theme is the same.  Everyone gathers to share food (have you ever noticed food is always a big thing with holidays) and stories.  Children are encouraged to make small wooden boats and race them in the creeks and streams near the villages.  (No, the parents aren't backwards and allow their children  near swollen rivers this time of year...).  Small tokens of appreciations are given to Furere, God of Storms and Winds, to help keep the village safe from flooding and make sure that their crops are given enough water throughout the year.

In the cities the boat races are taken to the extreme and huge prizes are given out (though fees to enter are required) and mostly adults enter.  People sabotage each others boats and often these de-evolve to fist fights.  Furere temples are open to all, but donations are expected to enter.  Blessings are given (though not always for the good) and promises are made by donors.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Holidays of Melting Snow in Tridon

This month is always looked forward to after months of snow, especially in the north.  The major holiday is the Spring's Return (detailed earlier) but there is a lesser known holiday known as Nature's Friend Day.

Nature's Friend Day is meant to celebrate Iktomi and Wesa, the two immortals who love nature.  Mostly celebrated by druids and woodsman, this day is when the priests of these Gods and those who wish to find favor with them leave small gifts of food at make do shrines in wild places.  Nothing more is asked of the Gods other then to protect them as they make their ways through wild places.  Merchants sometimes leave offerings in hopes to make good runs through those dark and wild places without encountering Wesa's children.

Every once and awhile the holiday will become popular in the city and people will run around in animal masks, leave good offerings at the temples of Iktomi and Wesa and have grand balls in wild themes.  Villages will use the day as an excuse for a good get together but often leave small offerings for the wild animals which might threaten them during the spring.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Holidays of Deep Snow in Tridon

As this month infers, there is usually a lot of snow laying around, especially in northern Tridon.  Thus there is a lot of time to sit around fixing nets, gear, and weapons.  The women tend to get their best weaving and sewing done this month and a lot of people fall in love.

The celebration of Aiyana takes place about half way through the month of Deep Snow.  Called the Days of Innocence, these three days are celebrated a little different in each community of Tridon but essentially the same.  Some men take this as a time to ask a woman for her hand in marriage, often bringing her beautiful gifts, whether expensive or just heart felt.  Married couples often exchange gifts to renew their love for each other and deep love is remembered in the case of those loved ones lost.

In some villages, and cities, the cutest girl child is selected to run about the village showering people with flower petals or handing out sweet treats.  In other villages beauty pageants are held for the children and sweet treats are giving to all of them.  Flowers and gifts are left at the temples of Aiyana and often the temples will hold small feasts of fruit and treats to show the love Aiyana shows everyone.  Mock captures of Aiyana are sometimes staged, where the hero Mouse comes and saves her from Shaniko and his minions.  This is always a favorite with the children because they throw rotten fruit at the person playing Shaniko after Aiyana is rescued.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Holidays of Cold Dark for Tridon

Cold Dark is just that, cold and dark.  There are no major holidays (such as Winter Solstice) and everyone is stuck inside.  To combat the boredom, the people of Tridon traditionally celebrate High King's Day.  This day is a default birthday celebration for the current High King (whether it's his birthday or not) and to celebrate all the High Kings which came before.

Most people celebrate with feasts (or at the very least large dinners with special deserts) with family and friends.  Whole villages may do this together or it may just be a simple family affair.  In larger cities the mages will create light shows for all to see.

Debates over the best (and worst) High King are held in every nook and cranny and on this Holiday the High King will release criminals.  (The criminals are usually thieves or petty criminals, never murderers or those accused of treason.)  It is also tradition for the High King to give awards to his most deserving Knights and infantry men, as well.

Knights use this day as a pilgrimage to the tomb of High King Peter in Stormvale, those who can doing so every year.  Children like to dress up like the High King and those who do the best imitation in some towns and villages earn sweet treats as a prize.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Monthly Calander of Martapa Part I

I want to expand on the calender of Martapa for roleplaying campaigns (because there are always roleplayers who MUST know the exact date) so here is a recap of the months.  Then in later days I am going to expand on holidays in each  month.  Later I hope to expand on examples of how those holidays are celebrated in different places.  Some holidays have already been detailed, but I'll just skim over them.

Martapa's months are as follows:
Cold Dark
Deep Snow
Melting Snow
River Rain
River Swell
Green Planting
Warm sun
Sun Scorch
Leaves Turn
Leaf Fall
No Grass

If you need a corresponding month to help you figure out where you are, Cold Dark would be our January, Deep Snow would be February, etc.  These are the months as they would be in Tridon.  I'll get back to you on Ariella (cough, cough...haven't put that much thought into that one, bad author me...)

Next I will delve into Cold Dark's holidays...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Personal Protections

Personal Protections was started by a retired thief who wanted some money to supplement his savings (and to explain where he got all his wealth).  Daniel Watch never worked an honest day in his life until his fifth decade and he opened his trap making store.  Catering mostly to the rich, Daniel provides fine mechanical and magical traps to keep those pesky thieves out of places they were not meant to go.  Over the years he has hired a few mages since he has little experience with making magic traps (disarming them is a different matter) and a few more fellow trap makers since his eyesight isn't what it use to be.

For your campaign either they can hire Daniel to make traps to protect their property or maybe they could consult him on how to defeat a trap (whether they should be defeating it or not).  His consult fees are reasonable, as is his traps fees.  (Normal prices with maybe a little fee tacked on).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chay Sunstar

Though no where in my High King's Sword, Chay was a pivotal point in my original series of books upon Martapa.  I needed a character for our new friend at college (I loved making characters after my friends) and though he despised elves, a very long story, I couldn't help but make him one. 

Chay is a Wolf Warrior without a charge, who is trying to rebuild the Wolf Warriors after the previous Clan Leader disappeared.  He is honor bound, fights with a curved blade which looks very Japanese like (another influnence of my friend), and has a shock of red hair kept in a partial top knot.  He is tanned, muscular and has a quick wit.  He strives to help his fellow elves as well as be true to his own core values, which sometimes conflict.

He meets the Chosen as they go in search of clues for Amber's past which will help save the world from Shaniko.  He jumps right into the fray with relish and holds little back.

If you are playing an elven campaign in the time of the Chosen he will be encountered in Qalataqa, the capital of the elves.  If the party is elven (or mostly elven) they will be greeted with open arms and aid.  If there are a few humans (or other races) his attitude will be stiff, though he will not hold their race against them unless the players do something to cause him to dislike them.  He will give aid or information if asked, though he may ask for a favor in turn.