Sarah (clawfoot) wrote in roleplayers,

A call for ideas

I'm running a D&D 4e campaign, and I'm currently filling out some cultural details of common, daily life in the Nentir Vale. As such, I've been going through the list of deities and sketching out some holy days, celebrations, observances, etc., that would be both commonly observed by all as well as one or two that only devoted followers of said deity would observe.

I managed to come up with a small handful for each god but one. Maybe I just burned through my creative juices, but I am utterly stumped for ideas for Ioun.

Ioun - unaligned
Ioun is the god of knowledge, skills, and prophesy. Sages, seers, and tacticians revere her, as do all who live by their knowledge and mental power. Corellon is the patron of arcane magic, but Ioun is the patron of its study. Libraries and wizard academies are built in her name. Her commands are also her teachings:
  • Seek the perfection of your mind by bringing reason, perception, and emotion into balance with one another.

  • Accumulate, preserve, and distribute knowledge in all forms. Pursue education, build libraries, and seek out lost and ancient lore.

  • Be watchful at all times for the followers of Vecna, who seek to control knowledge and keep secrets. Oppose their schemes, unmask their secrets, and blind them with the light of truth and reason.

Any ideas for festivals, holy days, prayer days? Bear in mind that there is no printing press, so books are rare and valuable.

I'm usually pretty good with this kind of stuff, but for some reason, tonight I'm seriously blanking.

For those who are curious, here's a list of the holidays I've detailed so far:

Journey Day (Day of Roads) -- when the roads first dry in spring, followers of Avandara celebrate the beginning of a new adventure and the availability of travel once more.
Resolution Day (New Year’s Day) -- first day of Spring. Followers of Avandra pledge to make changes for the better in their lives and their communities.
Avandra’s Day (the goddess’ birthday) -- early winter. A celebration of Avandra, mostly with games of chance, masked balls, festivals and feasts.
Homecoming - on the first snow of winter, the official traveling days are done, war is over for the year, and soldiers, mercenaries, and road-weary travelers return home for the winter. It is a reunion with loved ones, a homecoming, and a celebration of survival. Shared mostly with Kord, but also with Bane.

For individuals: Avandra encourages her followers to keep track of and celebrate their own birthdays, as well. This requires careful track of the date, which is not a normal aspect of common, day-to-day life, and so only the clerical or most devoted of her followers are able to do so.

Day of Oaths -- on the autumn equinox is a day sacred to Bahamut, and any oath sworn on this day is sworn in his name, and is believed to be both protected and enforced by Bahamut. Breaking an oath made on this day invites Bahamut’s displeasure. One would think that it would be a popular day for marriages, and it is, but only among devoted followers of Bahamut. Others have learned to be more careful. This is the common day that paladins and priests of Bahamut take their vows.
Execution Day -- on the winter solstice, this day is shared by Bahamut, Erathis, and the Raven Queen. Cities and regions that don’t have much call to carry out executions do so on this day and this day only if they have any to perform. The executions must be done in the name of law and justice and order, or else risk angering Erathis and Bahamut. The Raven Queen is invoked to carry the souls away to their just reward.
Ancestor’s Day - in mid-to-late autumn, sometime after Homecoming and the Day of Kin, all people take time to remember those who died in battle for them, valiantly and honourably. This day is commonly observed, but privately celebrated in different ways for a few people: followers of Bahamut and Kord honour their fallen; followers of the Raven Queen celebrate her role in life; followers of Bane honour those who came before and conquered in Bane’s name.

Corellon’s Day -- on the first day of spring in the Feywild is a celebration of beauty, art, music, magic, and spring. This is usually marked with art shows, concerts, beauty pageants, mage tournaments, and displays of beauty and art in all its forms. Most Feywild cities hold some sort of beauty pageant at other times of the year, the winners of which are sent to the Court of Stars on the first day of Spring for Corellon’s Day and the biggest pageant of the year, where Corellon’s Pride is crowned as the most beautiful of the fey. Both males and females enter and win, the judges being winners of old and high-ranking preists of Corellon.
Night of Stars: held sometime in the late summer, the Night of Stars is Corellon’s gift to the eladrin: a festival celebrating all eladrin achievements, heroes, and figures of note. It has been expanded out into a week showcasing cultural and individual achievements, with concerts and music, plays, lectures on history and magic (and the history of magic), and all things eladrin claim as their own. To eladrin, it is affirming and inspiring. To non-eladrin, it can get a bit nauseating.
Art Days: Just about every kind of craft or art has its own day in the Feywild -- pottery, smithing, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, sewing and fashion, tapestry and weaving, woodworking, just about anything that can claim its own sphere of art has a day dedicated to its celebration and exhibition.

Execution Day -- shared by Bahamut, and the Raven Queen.
Community Day -- in the late winter, when stores are growing thin and the world isn’t quite yet at the finish line, Erathis encourages his followers to take stock of what they have and ration what’s left both fairly and generously, among those who need it. It’s quite a socialist and almost Marxist/communist sentiment: from those, according to ability, to those, according to need. This is a day where followers of Erathis take care of their communities and do what they can to help those who need it and encourage those who have excess to share for the good of the whole. For those who are less fortunate, this day often marks a turning point, and more food and resources are made available to them. For the more prosperous, this day marks the start of a more spartan and modest existence, as they share what they have with others.

Day of Farewell - in mid-spring, the soldiers head off to war again, and it’s time for mercenaries to look for new work. Celebrations include family feasts and ceremonies of farewell, as soldiers part from their loved ones and head out on dangerous roads from which they may not return. It’s common to give friends or family small gifts or tokens -- things to be remembered by. The days leading up to the holiday are often spent by soldiers writing letters to be opened in case the soldier does not return, or by loved ones to the soldiers to be opened in times of loneliness or homesickness. (Followers of Bane consider this New Year’s Day, and it is a happier time for those who are eager to get back to making war.)
Homecoming - shared with Avandra and Bane.
Ancestor’s Day – shared with Bahamut, the Raven Queen, and Bane.
Battle Days: in summer, in years where there is no active campaigning, followers of Kord organize and host grand tournaments of martial skill. Exhibitions of talent, contests of skill and strength, marketplaces of nothing but weaponsmiths and armorers are all common on these days. Champions are found and celebrated, and should a thunderstorm roll in on one of these tournament days, it heralds a great outdoor party.

Melora does not have any specific holy days that she wishes her followers to observe. She instead prefers her followers to live life to the fullest every day, to balance love and respect for all life, to celebrate victories and remember defeats in small ways, every day. Melora does not want to be remembered and celebrated on any one day over any other; she wants to be a part of her follower’s day-to-day lives, to love with them, laugh with them, cry with them, live with them. As she commands her followers to live with nature in balance, so too does she wish them to live with HER in balance.

Kin Day - in the early autumn, followers of Moradin celebrate family and the close bonds they bring with feasting and gifts. It’s a sentimental holiday, recognizing not just family by blood, but family by choice. Hearthfires crackle, game birds roast, and people exchange gifts with those with whom they are closest. Especially valued are gifts made oneself, as that, too, honours Moradin, god of artificers. It’s a time of warmth and love and loyalty. Dwarven cities and communities basically shut down for the entire week as they prepare, celebrate, and recover. The exact date kind of floats around this time: after Homecoming, but before Ancestor’s Day.
[Note: It was so incredibly tempting to call this “Life Day,” but even I couldn’t swallow that amount of cheese.]

Fertility Festival - at the spring equinox, agriculturists of all types (farmers, orchardists, animal husbandpersons, etc.) celebrate the renewal of the world. The festivals are happy, joyous, and, for some true Pelorians, often carnal.
Songs for the Sun - starting at exactly midwinter, an entire week of singing happens at many temples and monasteries of Pelor, a symbolic calling to their god and inviting him back into the world. The songs implore him to return his light to the world, and invite him into their lives and hearts. The last traditional hymn sung is one from Pelor to his followers, asking “what do you do to keep my light and warmth with you in the cold darkness of winter?” The Songs for the Sun culminates in the beginning of the next holiday:
Breadgiving Day - one week after midwinter, followers of Pelor load up their baskets and wagons with bread and preserves and other supplies and go into population centers to feed the hungry and give solace to the downtrodden. It’s a day of generosity, compassion, and caring for all those under the sun.
Sun Day - the first day of summer. Celebrations, festivals honouring the summer and the sun, etc.

Night of the Raven: on the first day of winter, people pause in their lives to remember those who have passed on, and to take solace in the natural order of the world, and to honour the Raven Queen and her tireless dedication to the preservation of the cycle of life.
Ancestor’s Day – shared with Bahamut, Kord and Bane.
Execution Day – shared with Bahamut and Erathis

Night of the Moon: the first full moon after the first day of autumn is Sehanine’s Night. This night is celebrated with music and food, and is often chosen for nights of harmless trickery. Parties thrown on this night are often masked balls.
Lover’s Night - this late spring night was set aside by Sehanine herself to give courage to those who love in secret. On a night of the new moon, under the shroud of darkness that results, those with undeclared loves are encouraged to confess – either in person, in a letter, or by leaving a simple token – to those whom they love. If they confess anonymously, they are bound by an unspoken promise to Sehanine and their intended that they will reveal themselves within a year, or risk being revealed by Sehanine herself on the very next Lover’s Night.

Day of Dedication: (see Homecoming), shared with Kord, Avandra. This is a loud and rambunctious celebration that uses much drink, food, and companionship. Campaigning is over for the year, and soldiers get to go home to their families. It's a celebration of survival ("we lived through another year!"), and a time to look back on the year's accomplishments and conquests and celebrate them. It's a time to count the spoils of war and divide them among comrades. Most soldiers (those who only pray to Bane when war is upon them) who have families use this holiday as a reunion with loved ones and as a homecoming celebration. Others who are more dedicated (true Baneites) generally participate in ceremonies that dedicate the year's past conquests and victories to Bane. These ceremonies are declarations of valor and glory, and tend to be loud and extremely testosterone-driven. Each is encouraged to recount his victories, enjoy the accolades that result, and dedicate them to Bane. The feast afterwards is likewise raucous, doused in drink and food and (afterwards) carnal pleasures. This is the day you gorge yourselves on the spoils of war and allow yourselves to enjoy them utterly. This is Bane's reward for loyal and successful service.
New Year’s Day: (see Day of Farewell), shared with Kord
Ancestor’s Day: shared with the Raven Queen
The Black Day: Falling in mid-winter, this is the anniversary of Bane's defeat by the other Gods, a day of reflection and learning. Bane commands that his followers study the mistakes of the past and learn from them, and identify current weaknesses and shore them up. It's a day for regrouping, recalculating, taking stock, and honest self-assessment. It is a day for admitting fear and weakness, and for taking responsibility for it, and taking steps to address your own issues, and reaffirming your commitment to mastering yourself and your craft. It's a very solitary day, and a very quiet one. It's meant to be spent in seclusion, contemplation and prayer. This holiday is only known to and observed by devoted followers of Bane.
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