Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gods and Seasons, Part 1 - Spring

During the course of thinking about my not-Western-Marches setting, I did a little contemplating of deities and time.  I'd like the passage of in-game time to be a relevant factor; wandering through the wilderness in the winter means you might get caught in a snowstorm, but you can also cross that annoying river because it's frozen over.  That kind of thing.  I've also become discontent with the Greyhawk pantheon, so I decided to come up with my own; I decided to build a pantheon comprised of gods representing archetypes rather than properly-named gods, much as with the Seven in Game of Thrones / Song of Fire and Ice.  As I was working on it, I realized that linking the two might not be a terrible idea, with the mortal world passing closest to each deity's place in the heavens once a year.  So, behold, a combined calendar and pantheon!  I've decided to use a 336-day year, with 12 months of 28 days each (corresponding to 28-day moon cycles) for the sake of simplicity.  Thus begins a series of posts with each season's deities in order.

Spring:

The Traveller - In early spring, as the snows finally begin to melt, travel between towns resumes.  This is the Month of the Traveller, a god depicted as a weather-worn older man, and the patron of pilgrims and hunters.  Festivals of the Traveller often involve footraces, though races by horse or sail are not unheard of.  During the Month of the Traveller, it is forbidden to deny a traveller hospitality, for the Traveller himself has been known to walk the earth during this season.  The time of the Traveller is a superstitious one, as the equinox means that mysterious forces wax powerful during this month.  The Traveller stands across from the Trickster on the Great Wheel, and is her elder brother.  The clergy of the Traveller typically walk the roads, guiding flocks of pilgrims; when they become old and infirm, they instead tend wayside shrines.

The Maiden - Plants begin to grow again in mid-spring, and the first crops are planted, signalling the Month of the Maiden, the fertility goddess.  The Maiden is depicted as a young woman with flowers in her hair, and is a favorite deity of farmers and women.  Festivals of the Maiden tend to be centered around dances and the blessing of crops.  The Maiden stands across from the Reaper on the Great Wheel, representing the duality of youthful innocence and hardened suspicion.  Priests of the Maiden are always female, and usually reside in small towns, where they bless crops and serve as midwives and healers.  The Halflings are the Maiden's chosen people, forever innocent and fertile, and known also as the Maiden's Children; as with the children of many maidens, though, it is uncertain who their father is, as they take after both the Travller and the Gallant, and both gods look kindly upon them.

The Gallant - With the planting done, the preparation for the summer campaigns begins.  This is the Month of the Gallant, depicted as a young knight in armor.  The Gallant is a patron of knights and heroes, and favors all who are bold and audacious.  The Month of the Gallant is a time of boasts and oaths for the coming summer, and is a time when young men are stirred to action, both taking up arms and wooing ladies fair.  Festivals of the Gallant are raucous affairs of feats of strength, drinking, and boasting.  The spring tourneys also take place during this time among the nobility, with the selection of squires often occurring as well.  The Gallant stands opposite the Drunkard on the Great Wheel, as they are sides of the same coin of youthful recklessness, and oaths uttered in the Month of the Gallant are brought to task during the Festival of the Drunkard.  Proper priests of the Gallant are few, though there are several knightly orders dedicated to him who tend his temples and shrines, which are often located in perilous places.

To Part 2

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