Sunday, December 18, 2022

Christmas Crunch Time......and RPG Holidays (or Lack Thereof)

Christmas Crunch Time......and RPG Holidays (or Lack Thereof)
It's a week before Christmas and it's pretty much crunch time for a lot of people. Last-minute presents, wrapping what you already have, maybe one too-many holiday parties/obligations, oh, and the inevitable travel plans (even if it's people coming to you).

For me, my "crunch-time" is trying to figure out just how I'm going to get in all of my Christmas movies: Elf, Bad Santa, Bad Mom's Christmas, Scrooged, Miracle on 34th Street, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, Anna and the Apocalypse, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Die Hard (I know it's not a...whatever), It's a Wonderful Life, Office Christmas Party, Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Eight Crazy Nights (I know, it's a Hannukah film, but deal), Fat Man, Mixed Nuts, and the Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special (for the 4th time). I have some other Christmas movies, but I don't need to see .....every .....single .....one.

Now as far as the holidays and gaming intersect, I have rarely seen a GM/campaign that has regular holidays as a thing. My HackMaster campaign did (I can envision of few readers rolling their eyes.......of course HackMaster had holidays!), but to be fair I didn't use my calendar, but one provided by somebody else. He had this whole bit of math done up to track lunar cycles (three moons) and specific holidays based on intersecting moon phases with some set holidays. I took all the math and created an Excel sheet so all you had to do was enter the year and *poof* here's a calendar for the year with holidays marked. My campaign was set thousands of years after the destructions of the Old Gawds, so I had to use Excel to make it work.

Granted, since Christmas is a religious holiday, as is Hannukah, and the majority of RPG campaigns have multiple gods...so would there be a LOT of "Christmas" holidays? Or maybe there is a predominate religion in each region and only that one has a "Christmas"?

Since before modern times almost all of our/the holidays we had were religious, not secular...holy crap that would be a HUGE amount of holidays to figure out for a campaign calendar. I mean I think it could be fun to do all of your gods, but if you use the Petty Gods book (like I do/would), you might need to lump a few together or your calendar would be only religious holidays!

Now.....if I can find the time between Christmas movies (and other last-minute holiday tasks), I think I'm going to stat-up Santa Claus for OSR....I'm thinking a dual-identity Fae that is Sinterklaas/Krampus that is (unfortunately) real easy to strike a bargain with, but like all dealings with the Fae.....there can be issues.


  1. Let's apply the history of Christmas to rpg holidays. Christmas is not, in fact, a Christian holiday. Well, sure, it has become one, but originally it was a Norse pagan holiday.

    Yule was primarily a celebration of the winter solstice. There were customs for Odin (who was said to ride across the sky and visit children). Mistletoe was an important symbol of the death and resurrection of Baldr. Yule trees were decorated with statues of all the gods. Most modern Christmas traditions are rooted in those old customs.

    The point here being, in a fantasy rpg world with many gods, it's easy to see how there could be a single seasonal holiday that involves all the gods. It could even be one that changes through the ages as religions wane or become more popular. For worlds where there are many pantheons of gods (which lacks any semblance of verisimilitude in my opinion) the holidays could be dedicated to a particular pantheon. For example, Winter Solstice is for the Norse gods, Harvest Festival is for the Egyptian gods, etc.

    1. I only meant the current holiday sans history.

    2. I think that Einar's last paragraph is very relevant to your question. The solstice was a holiday for many peoples (not just the Norse) that worshipped many gods. In a D&D world that has seasons the solstices and equinoxes those days will be holidays for many religions. Each religion or pantheon will have specific holidays, too.

  2. In my setting I just have "Yuletime" be a general celebration of life (like "Lifeday" in the Star Wars Xmas special, heh heh), the end of the year, and "warmth during winter" that includes celebrations, feats, and gift giving. No religions ramifications, no Santa, minimum real world notions of other things attached to the time of year in my fantasy games. Now superhero campaigns, Call of Cthulhu campaigns, sure. Hell, I even had Santa be real in one Champions session I ran during the holidays. Though I did draw the line at him flying around delivering billions of presents. He stopped doing that around the time of the industrial revolution.


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