It's got me thinking about the passage of seasons. Calendars, you see, are generally one of those things that I despise in an rpg setting. Too much opportunity for piddly annoying book keeping and confusion. ("In my setting, there are 10 months, six of which have 46 days, three have 30 days, and one has 15! They're called Janubacky, Februbacky, Mar..z.z..z...zzzz...") And when are they ever really used? "The Baron of Snoozeville expects you to be back on the fifth doy of Octobacky, and not a waak later."
But what if each season brought with it something unusual? For example, here in Japan the seasons have rather distinct flavours - snow in winter, cherry blossoms in spring, sweat in summer, and red leaves and cedar pollen in autumn. (I used to think of this as an annoying Japanese cliche, because it's not as if Japan is the only country in the world with four seasons, but what's certainly true is that the seasons here have very distinct beginnings and ends, as if somebody up in the sky is flipping switches on and off.) It isn't a great stretch to imagine some sort of extreme climatic change bringing with it game-affecting side-effects. For example:
- In spring, a certain tree begins giving off a pungent pollen which causes dwarves to become sexually active.
- In autumn, the dragons are out in force looking for food to build up fat reserves for their winter hibernation.
- In winter, colder temperatures in the valleys allow frost giants to raid further into civilised areas.
- In summer, swarms of cockroaches scour the land of food, causing localised famine. Some varieties even eat flesh, and strip the weak and old down to the bone.