Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Cool Idea with a Short Deadline

Illustration by Craig J Spearing from Pathfinder Adventure Path #47: Ashes at Dawn.

Fenway5 over at Sword & Shield had a cool idea:
"it would be fun to do a kind of spooky 'advent calendar' book of adventures for use with Old School role playing games.  Kind of an "Ocktoberfeast" of spooky gaming goodness.: 31 one night adventures for the 31 nights of October!"

Since I like the idea, I thought I would spread the word about it as well as offer some suggestions and thoughts.

Fenway doesn't specify the shape the adventures would take beyond "use with Old School role playing games."  I wonder if it would be helpful to adopt Roger the GS's Original Standard elements to write the adventures, and then narrate and describe any other elements.  GMs could take these basic stats and narration and add any mechanics or missing stats per the versions of the game that they are using.

Brainstorming for a Name
I don't feel like the idea has yet arrived at an equally cool name, but I don't have that name in my hip pocket, either, so I toss the following out in the hopes that it might inspire someone.

What's an appropriate name for a countdown to Halloween calendar?  The eve[ning] of All Hallows counts from sundown to go with the day following rather than the day preceding, so Halloween is the night of 1 November (All Hallows=All Saints] before the day of 1 Nov.  Romans called the first the Kalends, so it is the Kalends of November.  It was the harvest festival Samhain in Celtic lands, and that is also the name of November in Celtic dialects. 

Advent calendars are called Julkalenders in Nordic lands (Yule Calendars).  I couldn't find any synonyms for "countdown calendar," the generic concept that Advent calenders have spawned.  The name October makes me think of orcs and Orcus.

A calendar is a list, catalog, or table.  The idea of counting down isn't really that different from the idea of counting up, so I'm not sure there is that much need to refer to countdown explicitly.  And of course, the ancient Romans knew the word was cooler spelled with a K: Kalendar.  Because we think of Halloween now as a scary holiday filled with horror imagery, what we are really shooting for is something unhallowed.  I'm looking for a word to indicate adventures.  I think of the term harrowing in the phrase harrowing adventures.  To harrow means to cause distress, to torment or vex.  Now that's more like it, and its alliteration sounds cool with hallow to me.  Furthermore, the archaic meaning of the word is to plunder or pillage, which is what adventurers are often hoping to do.  So my attempt to spark brainstorming for a name will lead off with:

  • A Harrowing Kalendar of Unhallows
  • A Kalendar of Harrowing Unhallows
  • Kalendar of Unhallowed Harrows

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