Athasian Calendar

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At long last, I’ve added dates to the campaign. Campaign 1 began on Highsun, Dominary 1st, the Year of Priest’s Defiance, 190th King’s Age. Campaign 2 began on Fifthover 1st of the same year. I’ve entered the date that every session began in its Tagline. I also entered every session from Campaign 1 (except the first three, but they all take place on the same day as A Little Knowledge, Session 4) into the Adventure Log, with the Athasian date that the session opened.

The problem here is that there are three separate known Athasian dating schemes: One on page 85, DSRB, one on p. 15, DSCS, and the Merchant’s Calendar from the Ivory Triangle module.

This creates confusion. I actually don’t mind your characters being confused about calendrics; it’s likely that your character only knows one system, possibly not even one of those listed above, and has no idea how any other system works or how it translates into what they know.

However, I’ve taken to using the Merchant’s Calendar system to date Adventure Logs, and if players look at those dates and compare them to the “official” system on p. 85 of the Dark Sun Campaign Setting, they’re likely to get very confused. Since at some point I would like players to take over the job of determining the date for Adventure Log purposes, this generates a problem.

Here, therefore, is an outline of the three different systems and how they interact. In particular, month names differ between the Merchant’s Calendar and the DSCS, and sometimes different months actually have the same name in different calendars.

Ages

The King’s Age system is the same in all three calendars; see p. 85, DSRB for details.

Years

Year names are determined the same way in all three calendars. In addition, the Merchant’s Calendar format that is being used in Adventure Logs abbreviates the year as “K.A. 190.26”, meaning the 26th year of the 190th King’s Age, that year being the year of Priest’s Defiance.

Phases

There are three ‘seasons’ in an Athasian year (which is exactly 375 days long, by the way), which are known as ‘phases’: High Sun, Sun Descending, and Sun Ascending, each phase being exactly 125 days long (which comes out to four 30-day months and one five day festival in each phase).

Months

Athasian ‘months’ are not related to the periods of Ral and Guthay; that would create a very confusing and difficult calendar (and I’m sure some sages and halfling tribes use just such calendars). Instead, they are associated with the constellations of the Athasian zodiac. But here’s where the confusion comes in. In the DSRB, there is no system of months named; instead, it is mentioned that many people use dates such as “thirty five days past highest sun,” which is true enough. This is the system I used when this campaign first began, thirteen years ago. However, I’ve translated those dates into the Merchant’s Calendar system for purposes of the log.

Both the Merchant’s Calendar and DSCS use a system of twelve thirty-day months, interspersed by three five-day festivals, one per phase. However, the month names differ greatly. In all honesty, I don’t care if your character uses the months in the DSCS (or for that matter some other scheme); that is actually quite likely. This will generate confusion in game, since, as stated above, there is overlap of some of the month names. Great! Character confusion is wonderful. But the campaign log will be kept in the Merchant’s Calendar format—mainly because I use an excellent Athasian calendar program that uses that scheme.

Following are the months and festivals in each format (bonus: Determine the astrological sign your character was born under!):

DSCS MC Star sign Notes
High Sun
Sorrow Hoard Scratch the Basilisk
Smolder Flagstaad Krawler the Kank
Festival of the Highest Sun Zenalia on the cusp High Sun festival
Scorch Dominary Balimarash the Caravan Highest sun, the start of the year
Morrow Sedulous Fiddle the Beetle
Sun Descending
Rest Fortuary Hesper the Kenku
Gather Macro Saurus the Lizard
Festival of the Cooling Sun Dessalia on the cusp Sun Descending festival
Breeze Fifthover Hortle the Spider
Mist Hexameron Sylk the Wyrm
Sun Ascending
Bloom Morrow Tasker the Scorpion Lowest sun, the midpoint of the year
Haze Octavus Pyrus the Wheel
Festival of the Soaring Sun Assalia on the cusp Sun Ascending festival
Hoard Thaumast The Dragon
Wind Anabasis Tyrospur the Lion

Weeks

There are five weeks of six days in each month, and five days in each festival.

Days

The days are named simply for their position in the week: 1day, 2day, 3day, etc., or their position in the month: Morrow 3rd, Hoard 27th, etc.

Hours

There are 24 hours in each day. Presumably, an Athasian ‘hour’ is not the exact same length as ours, but it’s close enough to be treated as the same for campaign purposes.

Athasian Calendar

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