The Gassy Gnoll: Summer is Coming (July RPG Blog Carnival)

This month’s RPG blog carnival topic is hosted by Dice Monkey and it’s wide open. All we have to do is talk about summer and how it pertains to gaming. Sounds easy enough, so let’s see what we can come up with…

RPG Blog Carnival logoSummer can be interpreted a few ways. There’s the warm season of the year where the sun is beating down and we use swimming pools, squirt guns, and ice cream to keep cool. There’s the iconic summer vacation like we had as students in school. There’s the concept of summer as the opposite of winter… I could go on, but since I’m a fan of fantasy settings let’s look at some possibilities for what summer might mean to a medieval/magical/mostly agrarian world.

If I was developing a new fantasy world, I might approach summer and winter as two magical or mystical forces constantly in opposition. Perhaps there are two gods facing off with the world in a perpetual tug of war and slight shifts in the start or end of a season could be interpreted by the clergy to mean various things in the spiritual realm. Maybe an extra long summer hints that winter’s forces lost a major battle somewhere on an aetherical plane and ceded ground to the enemy. Maybe a freak storm brings an unexpected freeze and the forces of summer were ambushed and lost ground back to the land of cold. A PC or NPC priest could get quite a bit of mileage from interpreting the weather.

But what about the edges of summer? On one side you have spring and the transition from cold to hot; and on the other side you have autumn and the transition from hot to cold. Each brings with it some traditional aspects of agriculture… Planting in spring. Harvest in fall. And the hope that the heat between doesn’t destroy your crops. A war between countries could deal with such evil techniques as salting the earth, introducing disease or poison into a heavily used water supply, or even just burning crops so a kingdom couldn’t feed its people over the colder months. An entire campaign could center around finding and stopping a group of mercenaries causing trouble for a local economy.

And what of the truly fantastic aspect of fantasy worlds? What happens if with summer comes an annual migration of dragons from a different part of the world? Could a group of PCs simply be involved in pest control, eliminating dragons before they cause problems through eating crops or livestock or burning villages to the ground and snacking on villagers? Of course! Nature can always throw a monkey wrench into a hot day with a crazy creature or two…

So there are three different ways I might use summer in a campaign. What can you come up with? Leave some comments or write up your own post to share with the carnival!

A big thanks goes out to Mark Meredith and Dice Monkey for hosting this month’s topic! For past topics, pop over to the RPG Blog Carnival Archive over at the RPGBA!

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