Time & Seasons
The article below was kindly donated by Neon Knight from his campaign world of Auren. It is provided here for now only as a reference, as it has yet to be modified to fit into this project. Please note that any references to places or names in this article do not reflect places or names in this word building project.
Calendars & Time Recording of Auren
Auren has as many different calendars as there are intelligent races & cultures. Most of these calendars are quite simplistic and follow either the cycles of the moon, like that of most barbarian tribes. Others are based on the changing of the seasons similar to the ancient Clindenese Calendars and the Seldarine, while others are more elaborate and based on non-observable phenomena like the Thermal Calendars of the Dwarves & Gnomes.
The first, widely used Human calendars were either lunar or solar based, and led to much difficulty for the fledgling human kingdoms. Important meetings were difficult to schedule, and trade envoys experienced many hardships trying convert between various calendars to draft trade agreements. As a result, Kilious Jurn, Court Sage of the Nation of Nyrm, devised a calendar based on solar events, now known as the Jurnian Calendar. This calendar takes the Winter Solstice as it’s first day, and hence this day is called ‘First Day’, and likewise the first month of the Jurnian Calendar is known as ‘First Month’. Further, the calendar was divided into the four seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall), with each season further broken down to 3 equal months of 5 weeks of 6 days each. What exactly Jurn’s reasoning for the breakdown of the weeks into 6 days in unknown, though it is suspected it was done so because that was the length of time for a trade caravan to travel between Nyrm’s Capital and the capital of her ally, the Kingdom of Alt.
Most of the other months in the original Jurnian Calendar had names that were associated with either the time of birth of Important leaders of Nyrm, or to reflect important events during the year. For example, the months of Highsun (with it’s first day being the longest day of the Year), Endwinter (marking the end of Winter), Darkening, Winter Ready, and Yearend. This calendar was widely accepted first by the merchant leagues of the First Nations, followed soon after by the diplomatic courts of the Nations, and eventually spread most other walks of life. Most common citizens it should be noted still have little regard for the calendar concerning themselves only with the passing of the seasons, and when to plant & harvest.
The Jurnian Calendar is listed below with the four seasons and its respective months and the Gregorian Calendar as a comparison month.
|Jurnian Calendar||Gregorian Calendar||Season|
The days of the week as Jurn named them and their order in the week are shown below:
The Jurnian Calendar is also used for two major chronologies. The Orlien texts use the Jurnian calendar (though older, original manuscripts use various pre-Jurnian Calendars and can prove difficult to translate), and has an origin date of 1 OY, with the founding of the Nation of Nizmor, and the Age of Man.
The second more commonly accepted calendar is that based of the founding of the Brighton Empire. Not as old as the Orlien Calendar, this calendar (referred to as the Common Calendar) is only 406 years old. Other countries have been known to ignore the Brighton/Common Calendar and instead use their own count for years, usually basing it on the year of their independence or other important year. For example, Naxmor is currently in what the Naxmorians call ‘Year 81 of the Land’.
Of course, while the majority of the human nations of Auren follow the Jurnian Calendar, there are those human nations that do not accept the Jurnian, as well as the scattered demi-human nations that use other calendars.
Lunar Calendars & Barbarian Tribes
Most barbarian tribes and humanoid races mark the passage of the years by the cycles of the moon. Because Luna becomes full every 18 days for three days each, with every 5th full moon falling on either the Spring & Autumn equinox or Summer & Winter Solstice, these calendars are very easy to translate over to Jurnian Calendar.
Unfortunately, this is where the easy conversion ends. Lack of meticulous recording keeping and written records from these cultures limit any accurate translations to only knowing roughly around which moon an event of importance took or will take place.
To further confuse things, the majority of the barbarian tribes do not track their years, rather tracking time by the number of summers or winters that have passed since someone’s birth or death. For example, amongst the Red-Wolf Tribe of the Tilnos in Destri, it has been 4 summers since Chief Harln died of the Withering Death during the Great Winter, an event known amongst the Destrians as the Fell Winter of 402.
Seldarine Calendars & Time Recording
The Seldarine, never overly concerned with the passage of time, use a very simple calendar. The Seldarine Calendar is divided into four months, each roughly associated with the four seasons: Ducin (winter), Helithina (spring), Ashino (summer) and Caileth (fall). These are not true months as we see them, as the month of Ducin may change to Helithina some time in Endwinter this year, but next year if the winter is particularly harsh, Ducin may not end until early or even late Elast. Also, it is the general public opinion of the Seldarine community as to which month it is, and this may vary between two communities separated by only a few leagues.
Similarly, Seldarine do not track the passage of years, instead recording history by the appearance of a celestial event known amongst themselves as the Celestial Harmonince (what most astrologers call the Grand Conjuncture). This event happens sometime in late summer/early autumn every 104 years, and is heralded by the appearance of the Dragon Star. This comet appears every 26 years, and on its fourth appearance, a smaller, yellow comet known as Draco’s Bane accompanies it. This smaller comet appears to overtake the Dragon Star, and remains in the sky a full month longer than the Dragon Star. During this time, a collection of additional, smaller comets appear in the sky and converge on Draco’s Bane. These comets may number as few 4, or as many as 12, and the Seldarine name these after their various gods (Draco’s Bane is called Corellon Larethian amongst the Seldarine), and is referred in Seldarine legends as a royal court that Corellon calls. As is the want of the Seldarine, some attend, some do not, but regardless some will answer their lord’s call so not to appear rude. The celestial event only lasts a week before the smaller comets depart. Draco’s Bane is always the last comet to depart.
Whether this passage of time can be called a year or not, is a topic hotly debated by human scholars, but all Seldarine history is codified by this event. Further, each Celestial Harmonince (or simply Harmonince) is broken into four periods known as (in order): the Emergence, the Developing, the Completing, and the Fading. The beginning of each of age is marked by an appearance of the Dragon Star, with the commencement of the first age coinciding with the Celestial Harmonince.
It is interesting to note that the most ancient of Seldarine texts notes being penned during the 28th Harmonince, and Brighton was founded during the Fading of the 347th Harmonince, and it is currently the 351st Harmonince, with the Fading having begun only two years earlier. This means Seldarine recorded history dates back at least almost 36,500 years.
Dwarven Calendars & Time Recording
While it is unknown what the majority of the Dwarven conclaves use for recording the passage of time, the Dwarven nation of Earthholme is noted for tracking time through the use of a thermal calendar. The Dwarves in their vast exploration of the reaches of the under-earth, and through their use of geo-thermal sources for heating their communities have discovered certain constants in geo-thermal pressures.
These thermal pressures follow a cyclical nature that seems to tie indirectly to the day cycles of Auren. The Dwarves have long known that thermal pressures reach a zenith every 3 hours, and knowing that Auren’s days are 24 hours long, the Dwarves were able to mark their days off with the “thermal clocks”. These mechanical constructions are operated by the buildup of thermal pressure, which every three hours causes the clock to sound a bell. The bell is further operated by a series of gears, which sounds the bell in an increasing number of tolls, from 1 through six tolls. A typical Dwarven day is divided into two groups with a different toned bell to mark them. ‘Day’ is marked with a deep, base tone, while ‘night’ has a softer pitched bell. Dwarven work shifts are also 12 hours, or four bells in length, with a typical Dvarve taking four bells for work and four bells for rest.
Because the majority of Dwarven communities dwell beneath the earth, they do not note the passage of seasons, and most have no concept of spring, winter, summer or autumn. To them, there is only work or rest. Dwarven communities do though have a ‘Time Warden’, a hereditary position of a chronicler who records the passage of time. These Dwarves track years as being 300 cycles of the bells, or 300 days by Human reckoning. Thus, Dwarven years are shorter than human years by 64 days.