I never had too much to do.

There’s a quote that makes the rounds of the Internet from Gary Gygax about the importance of tracking time in a campaign. It makes things meaningful. I dig it.

It’s just hard to do, you know?

I’ve been trying to think of a lot of different schemes for making time-tracking easier over the years — even written about a few on this blog, all though I’d certainly have to dredge them up at this point.

This post from Cirsova got me thinking about calendars.

Actually, I’ve been going around and around with star charts and moon phases and weather patterns for a long time, and I keep wondering if there isn’t a “better” way of doing things by minimizing the bookkeeping involved.

The thought started with multiple calendars.

If you grew up in the West, you’re likely familiar with the Gregorian calendar — and you might be aware of the Chinese calendar, with its rats, dogs, oxen, dragons, and so forth. But are you aware of other calendars?

It was common enough practice — before nations and globalization — for budding states to establish their own calendars, beginning with the founding of their cities? (Or Governments.) Or something like the birth of their founders.

What this all made me think was — overlapping, potentially contradictory calendars might be a fun, if insane idea — I started weighing options.

Really, the days of the week or phases of the moon or whatever only matter if the game makes them matter — and the kind of schedule that appears in a game with a calendar (see: Harvest Moon, or Persona) requires characters.

However you choose to look at the physics of time and space, the most important parts of time as far as most people are concerned are related to how time affects people. If it’s nighttime, (many) people go to sleep.

Then I thought something like — what if calendar events worked like random encounters, complete with stocking/restocking encounters and other stuff?

Actually, I have a great roll for you, to differentiate them from your other regular encounters — 4d8 gives you 29 potential results (8+7+7+7), which is coincidentally about the same number of days in a lunar phase.

Now you could use this to create a fairly uninteresting lunar phase/tidal table, or you could mix in moon phases and tides with some other cool stuff that would be based on calendar days — usually, repeating stuff like festivals, or fairly regular stuff like weddings or birthdays. You could have hearings and court cases.

Possibilities! Woo!