The Gassy Gnoll: Happy Birthday!

Ok. So this week has been a bit crazy and I apologize for the lack of posts. End of the school year and spring soccer season always brings with it some insanity. But today I want to bring up the concept of anniversaries and birthdays in our game worlds.

Gassy Gnoll

Gassy Gnoll

When is your PC’s birthday? Any ideas? I certainly don’t. I have an age for both my current characters but have absolutely no idea what time of the year they were born or whether they were even hatched. Are their birthdays important? Perhaps. How much emphasis does the culture place on such dates? Is a birthday something to be celebrated or bemoaned?

Important government or religious figures, or myths and legends may have particular holidays named for them. Who wouldn’t want to remember a king’s birthday or celebrate a beloved princess? But what happens when a dictator’s birthday is more important than the rest of the people in the country? This sort of crunchy detail can really offer some interesting roleplaying opportunities as well as hooks for GMs and other players to sink their creative teeth into.

Such a simple thing can become the centerpiece in a larger chunk of history. But consider all the other anniversaries that can become part of the tapestry of a world.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Birthdays (becoming parents, birth of an heir, preordained religious figure)
  • Date of passing (murder, assassination, death from natural causes, sacrifice, war)
  • Weddings (alliances, romances, arrangements, oaths made and shattered)
  • Office (taking office, losing a position)

Each of these can be worked into a PC history just as well as an NPC backstory or part of the story of the world and how things came to be… Ultimately these are mortal events binding individuals to the greater fabric of time and space. Think of all the individuals we know of our own history and how they are connected to our heroes and national identity.

Shouldn’t we have a few more of these simple events to help us hang things on as characters and worlds? I think so!

(If you’re wondering why this gassy old gnoll is talking about birthdays, it’s because it’s the gnoll’s birthday today! Yes, he’s getting older and grayer and wondering when the “wiser” part will kick in. 🙂 )

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