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Seasonal Maps

Discussion in 'World Building' started by OberonLordofSylva, Mar 18, 2020.

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  1. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    Hello! This is my first proper post in Mythic Scribes and I'd like to ask a question that's been in my mind for a while. When making a fantasy world a lot of people just rename the months on the Gregorian Calendar or use a lunar calendar if they're feeling extra creative that day. I feel that this is lazy so I thought about making a calendar based on the passing of the seasons rather than the phases of the sun or the moon. How would this calendar work? How many months do I have to work with? Do I even have months or do the people tell have different increments of time? I do have holidays for each Solstice and Equinox although I don't have all of them figured out. For simplicity's sake I'll use the four seasons of earth, at least as a foundation.
     
  2. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

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    If it is a world like our own, it is fairly likely that people would pay attention to the phases of the moon and divide their year into 12 or 13 months (I have cultures that do one or the other). If, on the other hand, we have multiple moons and/or suns, strange elongated orbits, etc. things would become way more complex (so I've mostly avoided that*). One of my cultures breaks the year into eight 'months' that are essentially half-seasons, divided at the solstices and equinoxes but also at the half-way points between them (the dates neo-pagans and Wiccans celebrate these days).

    *My "Atlantis" (which exists in a different universe/world) has twin suns and several moons (I've never specified how many exactly). This not only has an effect on the seasons but also creates very high tides on occasion, leading to the flooding myths about the place.
     
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  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    If they have months, they have a moon. Monat = moon. Days are defined by the sun, months by the moon, seasons by the weather. Weeks, otoh, are quite arbitrary and do vary in length depending on culture. Then again, you could invent your own unit of time (e.g., a fortnight). Don't neglect longer units of time. For example, there might be some phenomenon that happens every 17 months or some such. A jubilee is every fifty years; biblically, celebrated in part by freeing slaves. A centennial is purely numeric--every hundred years. And that's just the Western stuff I happen to know. I'm sure there are still other measures in Africa or Asia.

    You have lots of choices.
     
  4. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    Thank you. The first people to colonize my world were Elves who fled to the planet after their world was destroyed by a God. They're the ones who made the calendar as an attempt to help transition going from an ageless realm to a mortal one. If I ditched months altogether, what exactly would I use instead? Making weeks as a foundation could be done but I feel uneasy about it.
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Well, I'm a believer in story first, so I wouldn't even bother unless the units of measurement actually mattered to the story. If it did matter, then I'd let the story need drive the choice, then work out whatever needed to be worked out in worldbuilding terms. Others have made some suggestions along those lines.
     
  6. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    While I do agree with what you're saying I am in the phase of my pre-writing where a timeline is necessary. My world, while similar to Earth, is still a different planet. I feel as though it doesn't make sense for them to use a Gregorian-esque calendar because it is another world. Furthermore, most of the works in the series I'm using this for takes place in an industrial setting so whatever system of time I develop is going to be common knowledge. I'm not trying to disrespect you or invalidate what your saying, this is just a minor detail I need help fleshing out and I'm tired of putting it on the backburner.
     
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  7. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Have a look at the alternative ways of counting time there have been in human history.
    I think the Babylonians used base 12 for their system [they had a 360 day year and it is why? we have 360 degrees in a circle].
    The Incas [may be and/or the Aztecs] used base 16 to count. And I think they had a pretty funky calendar.
    The Mayans had interlocking loops of different lengths of time [in years] to work out when things needed to happen a long way in to the future. It was wehy 2012 was the end of the world, according to some.
     
  8. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    I have been told to look at pagan calendars for inspiration but I don't really know where I'd find something like that.
     
  9. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Google phrases like "pagan calendar", "wiccan calendar" and have a hunt. You'll soon find something and then you can riff off that to find something else...
    you can waste - I mean "research" for hours like this...:whistle:
    I'd also look at the native american calendars. They tend to be moon based and there are some great names!
     
  10. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    Thanks a bunch! Will do!
     
  11. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    So I went looking for pagan calendars and I found something interesting. An astrological calendar. The text on it is really small so I'm going to have to take some time later on to analyze it but I'd like your guy's thoughts.
     
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  12. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Link? I can't comment on it if I can't see it!
     
  13. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    For those interested in a more complex cycle, there's this
    Metonic cycle - Wikipedia
    Which reminded me of another way to anchor a calendar: according to eclipses, both lunar and solar. Make those regular in your world and you have a great way to create month-like cycles plus longer ones.

    Also, doing that research reminded me that in pre-modern times we had seven planets (sun and moon each counted as a planet) to go with the seven days of the week. Let your world have five or nine or whatever numberr of observable planets and you have the grounding for days of a week.
     
  14. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    Thanks! I think that'll all go great if I use astrological calendar.
     
  15. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    Here''s an idea for a seasonal calendar: base it around the migatory patterns or behaviour of certain creatures that have an impact (both good and bad) on the society where your characters live.

    For example the arrival of the first drongo bird could indicate to farmers it''s time to harvest the crops because the drongo bird is the first of the cold loving birds to arrive. The arrival of the ice heart bird announces that winter is here because they're the last of the cold loving birds to arrive. Over time a calendar could emerge based on the arrival, breeding and departure of various birds.

    Months could be measured by the time between the arrival of certain birds, their breeding, and their departure. For example, the time between the arrival of the first of the ice heart birds and the hatching of their eggs could be one month. The time between hatching and departure of the ice heart bird marks the second month. The departure of the first ice heart birds marks the moment when the weather will start to get warm so this day is a day of celebration.

    A seasonal calendar does not need to be mathematically perfect nor does every month have to have a certain number of weeks or days.
     
  16. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    That's a little too druidic for my tastes, the world has industrialized which could create problems for the birds. Good Idea though!
     
  17. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Inkling

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    Hmmm... good point.

    In a more industrialised world the calendar would become more formal. Using the example I gave earlier let's say the gap between the arrival of the drongo bird and ice heart bird varied between 45 and 55 days. Over time the decision was made that the average period between the period of those two birds arriving was 50 days. The month of Drongo is established as having 50 days. The time between the arrival and departure of the ice heart bird is between 65 and 80 days. It''s agreed that the month of Ice Heart would be 70 days and so on.

    Over time the seasonal calendar becomes more detailed. Ten day weeks are established. Days are determined by the time it takes the planet to do a full rotation. As time progresses the origins of the calendar become obscured but people know it has something to do with the birds the months are named after.
     
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  18. OberonLordofSylva

    OberonLordofSylva Troubadour

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    I see... Once again I thank you! I've been thinking the Elves could've been the ones in-universe to develop the calendar and doing it like you said makes sense from that perspective. And I get to create eight, I've been thinking eight months for my calendar, new species of bird to fill my world with!
     
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