So I was recently asked what the current year of the Legend of the Archons game is.
Heh. I’d been resisting deciding just what year my own personal online campaign is set in for a while, but I’ve decided to finally bite the bullet. Note that, naturally, anybody else running a LoA game wouldn’t have to set their game in the same year as mine. Golden Rule and all. Plus I’m not particularly interested in foisting my own campaign’s plot on others (I’m a little “over” metaplot).
But first, a bit of examination of the calendar itself. Since Occida is pretty much dominated by the Sentieric faith, I’ve decided that the current epoch dates to an important event in the history of Sentierism rather than some civil event like the founding of some empire or other. I decided to go with a solar calendar, even though the crepuscular preferences of the Alanir initially had me thinking that I’d go lunar, but I then decided against those. First, because it’s easier to write what you know, and second a carefully calculated and justified solar calendar seems to fit the early alannic scholars that set the thing up to begin with. Also, since clocks have not yet become commonplace (though they are starting to appear), the day is reckoned to begin at dawn rather than at midnight. As timekeeping technology advances, this may well change, but for now Occidans mostly count their day to have started when they and the sun rise together. And yes, I’ll have the year begin in midwinter for the convenience of our playgroup. I’ll stick with the 12-month thing as well because that’s based partially on some rather clever geometry.
The primary calendar system in Occida is the Raleshisian Calendar, after St. Raleshis, an early Church father who formulated it based on his own observations and the astronomical writings of the Prophet. St. Raleshis chose the epoch from which his calendar would count its years as the year in which the Nine Archons first convened at the Prophet’s call and covenanted to operate as a cohesive body henceforth. This epoch was set well after the fact of course, and in fact was adopted after the Prophet’s departure from mortality. Thus, this calendar was formally introduced in its own year 200, a year carefully chosen by St. Raleshis and ratified by the Archons of his own time.
There are of course a few competing calendar systems out there, for example the lunar-based Hassamic calendar which is in use by the Ubayyads and Olmayyads and the ancient Hellesic calendar, still in use in parts of eastern Occida. Certain isolated bodies of pagans dwelling in Badhb and the Jotlaw still use their hoary and arcane calendar systems as well.
But what year is it now? Well, Legend of the Archons is set in the Age of Reawakening, which is pretty analogous in most ways to our own European Renaissance. To go with that, I’ll use a scale of years similar to our own AD/CE rather than some vast scale of time assuming that culture and technology have remained fairly static for numerous millennia like some games do (the dreaded “Medieval Stasis“) or the conceit that the Archons rose up sometime in the unutterable past, which has never been how I saw things. Plus, remembering what I learned of the apocalyptic religious hysteria that hit Europe in the runup to 1500 AD, I’ll say that we’re a little bit shy of 1500 in the Sentieric Era as well. It’s a good round number, and it can feed into some creeping dread, panicked penitents and the like.
I’ve decided that the abbreviation in use for the current epoch is “R.S.,” from the Old Alannic phrase Ras Sentieris, which translates to “On the Path” in English, thus indicating how many years the Thinking Peoples have been, well, on the path.
Accordingly, my own current campaign is currently set in the springtime of 1499 Vos Ras Sentieris (year on the path).