Introduction:

In a world where different populations have existed more-or-less in isolation for extended periods of time, it is likely that each will develop its own calendar. Some will have calendars based on lunar cycles, some on a mixture of lunar and solar cycles, some on the movements of the stars, some on the cycles of a local river or a local animal population, etc. Religious holidays, commemorations of national victories and other dates relevant only to the local population are likely to colour these calendars. As they develop, they become increasingly useful to their developers population and increasingly useless to everyone else. Imagine trying to organize a track meet if what I call March 21st you call the 31st of Chaitra, or the 5th of Wayeb! We would never get anywhere.

In our world, the solution to this problem has been the global adoption of the Gregorian calendar. While many groups still work internally on religious or national calendars (take as examples the Muslim calendar and the Indian national calendar respectively), international affairs are all Gregorian, all the time. The Common Calendar is designed for this very purpose, to function as an international business calendar.

In the game-world, it could be a calendar mutually agreed upon by many different groups in regular contact with each other, in order that they better might coordinate trade. It could also have been imposed, for similar purposes, by a single economic, intellectual or military superpower. (Both of these is somewhat true of the Gregorian calendar.) Either way, it is likely to be recognised if not officially adopted by every civilised group in the game-world.

This calendar is, I think, fairly colourful system. I have tried to provide enough information to provide interesting beginnings for plot hooks in every season. I have deliberately avoided attributing astrological powers to the seasons. I hope that this will make the calendar more adaptable rather than less interesting.

As virtually every society is built on the farmers that support it, agriculture is the foundation of the Common Calendar and the primary source of its universality.

Structure:

This is a pure solar calendar; it ignores the movement of the moon completely. As such, it does not measure the year in months, but in seasons. The year corresponds almost exactly to one revolution of the earth around the sun, and is divided into eleven equal seasons, each lasting 33 days on the Standard Year. To account for the slight discrepancy between the rotation of the earth on its axis and the revolution of the earth around the sun, the seasons of Fires and Floes are both 34 days long on the Eighth Year.

The Common Calendar is base in two solar/yearly sequences:
a) climate patterns. There are 4 dry seasons, 4 wet seasons and 3 cold seasons.
and b) the variation of the days length. There are 5 seasons of long day, 1 of middling day and 5 of short day.
Both of these cycles is extremely important in agriculture.

The Season of Planting (33 days long)

Weather: Dry.
Daylight: Long.
Festivals: New Years Day: 1st of Planting. This day marks the midway point between the Day of the Sitting Sun (9th of Floes) and the Day of the Standing Sun (24th of Fires). Days are becoming longer and nights are becoming shorter.
Agriculture: Dry season crops are planted. These include beans, corn (maize), onions and melons.
Society: Stores of food from the War season harvest are probably ample. Food is fairly cheap.

The Season of Busyness (33 days long)

Weather: Dry.
Daylight: Long.
Agriculture: Dry season crops are growing.
Society: Stores of food from the War season harvest are probably being stretched. Food is not cheap.

The Season of Fires (33 days long on the Standard Year, 34 on the Eighth Year)

Weather: Very dry. Droughts and forest fires are likely to occur.
Daylight: Very long.
Festivals: The Day of the Standing Sun: 24th of Fires (25th on the Eighth Year). This is the date with the longest day and the shortest night of the year.
Agriculture: Dry season crops are growing. Some may be harvested early to avoid drought damage.
Society: Stores of food from the War season harvest are probably running out. Food is quite expensive. Crime and rebellion may be sparked by the lack of food.

The Season of Switching (33 days long)

Weather: Wet.
Daylight: Long.
Agriculture: Dry season crops are harvested. Wet season crops are planted. These include cabbage, peas and potatoes.
Society: Stores of food from the War season harvest have probably run out, but dry season crops are widely available. Food is fairly cheap.

The Season of Rains (33 days long)

Weather: Wet.
Daylight: Long.
Agriculture: Wet season crops are growing. Any dry season crops not yet harvested are destroyed by the rains.
Society: Stores of food from the Switching season harvest are probably ample. Food is fairly cheap.

The Season of Floods (33 days long)

Weather: Very wet.
Daylight: Middling.
Festivals: Mid-years Day: 17th of Floods (18th on the Eighth Year). This day marks the midway point between the Day of the Standing Sun (24th of Fires) and the Day of the Sitting Sun (9th of Floes). Days are becoming shorter and nights are becoming longer.
Agriculture: Wet season crops are growing. Some may be harvested early to avoid flood damage.
Society: Stores of food from the Switching season harvest are probably being stretched. Food is not cheap.
Travel: Travel is difficult in most river- and seaside areas and impossible in some due to flooding.

The Season of Reaping (33 days long)

Weather: Wet.
Daylight: Short.
Agriculture: Wet season crops are harvested.
Society: Stores of food from the Switching season harvest are probably running out, but the wet season crops are widely available. Food is fairly cheap.

The Season of Plenty (33 days long)

Weather: Cold.
Daylight: Short.
Agriculture: Nothing can be grown. Any wet season crops not yet harvested are destroyed by the frost. Even permanent crops like berries, grapes and wheat are no longer producing.
Society: Stores of food from the Reaping season harvest are probably ample. Food is fairly cheap.
Travel: Travel is difficult in some areas due to snow and ice. It is increasingly difficult to lead armies in war, and peace may be forced by the elements.

The Season of Floes (33 days long on the Standard Year, 34 on the Eighth Year)

Weather: Very cold.
Daylight: Very short.
Festivals: The Day of the Sitting Sun: 9th of Floes (11th on the Eighth Year). This is the date with the shortest day and the longest night of the year.
Agriculture: Nothing can be grown.
Society: Stores of food from the Reaping season harvest are probably being stretched. Food is quite expensive. Crime and rebellion may be sparked by the lack of food.
Travel: Travel is difficult in most areas and impossible in some due to snow and ice.

The Season of Thaw (33 days long)

Weather: Cold.
Daylight: Short.
Agriculture: The land is thawing. The short season crops are planted. These include cabbage, fungi and peas. Permanent crops like berries, grapes and wheat begin to produce again.
Society: Stores of food from the Reaping season harvest are probably running out. Food is quite expensive. Crime and rebellion may be sparked by the lack of food.
Travel: Travel is difficult in some areas due to snow and ice.

The Season of War (33 days long)

Weather: Dry.
Daylight: Short.
Agriculture: The land is fully thawed. The short season crops are harvested and some dry season crops are planted early.
Society: Stores of food from the Reaping season harvest have probably run out, but the short season crops are widely available. Food is fairly cheap.
Travel: Travel is quite suddenly made easy. Generals are able to easily lead their armies to war again.

Some reference lists:

Seasons in which travel may be more difficult/impossible:
The seasons of Floods, Plenty, Floes and Thaw.

Seasons in which the nocturnal will be particularly active:
The seasons of Reaping, Plenty, Floes, Thaw and War.

Some common crops, and when they will grow:

Permanent crops:
Berries, grapes and wheat.
(These crops are harvested every couple of seasons, and grow all year round excepting the seasons of Plenty and Floes.)

Dry season crops:
Beans, corn (maize), onions and melons.

Wet season crops:
Cabbage, peas and potatoes.

Short season crops:
Cabbage, fungi and peas.

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