Author Topic: Calendar Revision  (Read 5340 times)

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avisarr

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Calendar Revision
« on: February 20, 2011, 09:51:19 PM »
This is going to be a complicated post with a bunch of different ideas smashed together... so bear with me. It will, hopefully, all make sense by the end... :)

I've been poking around the history section for a little while. Also, there have been some forum requests regarding the lunar cycle - i.e. fixing the lunar cycle in place. Those two things have led to a realization... I've been thinking that it was a mistake to make a Khoras month 3 weeks long. Instead, maybe it should be four weeks. There are several reasons.

First of all, the Khoras month was originally defined as 3 weeks of 9 days, but there was no particular reasoning behind it. This was one of those early decisions made long before the world had coalesced into its current state.

The concept of a "month" in the real world is a surpisingly complicated thing. Have you ever read the Wikipedia entry for "month"? Good grief. It's dizzying. There are many different versions and definitions of a month on several different calendars. Also, on Earth, the term month is approximately equal to one lunar cycle, but Khoras has 3 moons. So, would they try to tie the month to the greater moon? Even if they did, the current Khoras month is 3 weeks which has nothing to do with the orbital pattern of any of the 3 moons.

It seems to me that a much more logical way to divide the year up by months would be to synchronize it with the solar cycle. In other words, one month would be equal to one complete cycle of the two suns. If you start the month, say, at the point when the two suns are equally balanced, then you would start the next month at the same point. The solar cycle is very steady and predictable. Also, the two orbiting stars have an effect on the magic of the world while the moons have only a subtle effect on the tide. Seems like the solar influence on magic would be a bigger cultural deal than the tide.

One benefit from this would be that every month would be the same. Instead of having to look up the what stellar phases fall within a particular month, every month would have the exact same pattern. It would simplify things a great deal.

So, if anyone would like to comment on this, feel free. Do you think that the cultures of Khoras would base their months on the solar cycle of the two stars circling each other? Or would they base it on the phases of the moon? Or maybe it should vary by culture. That's a possibility too although that would complicate things tremendously. Would you really want to deal with 20 different calendar systems?

One thing I've always liked is that almost all cultures across the entire face of Khoras would have unknowingly synchronized their calenders when the Sundering occurred. A single cataclysmic event that wracked the world with storms and quakes and gave birth to two stars would have been enough for any culture to start their calendars over at "Year 1". And, in so doing, all cultures would inadvertently have been in sync with each other. A nice side effect that keeps some of the calendar math simple.

As a side note, I've always had in mind that there would be one culture that would have kept their "Old Calendar", without disruption, despite the Sundering. Perhaps the sarthak/trossoli because they are an underground race. Anyway, just a thought...

So, I'm curious if anyone out there has an opinion on the Khoras calendar. I'm seriously considering making it 4 weeks to sync with the solar cycle. Does that make more sense? What of the moons? What about different cultures having different calendars? What about the length of the year or the week? As a game master, does it matter to you if the week is 9 days long? Does it matter how many days in the year there are? Currently a Khoras year is 324 days long. Changing the month to 4 weeks would bump that up to a total of 432 days in a year. That's a big change. We could keep the length of the year from changing drastically by shortening the week to 7 days or by simply making it fewer months in a year.

I'm trying to figure out how this would affect a game or a work of fiction. Are there any bad consequences? We still have a world with 4 seasons - Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. We still have a timeline of historical events and the sequence of historical events all still happen in the same order. Yes, I would have to make sure that the timeline is updated to correspond to the new definition of "month" and the new calendar system. But the sequence of historical events and the relative space between them would have to be maintained. That would, of course, be very important. I don't want to rewrite history.

So, there it is. This is a big change. Before I even THINK about starting to shuffle months and weeks around, I wanted to throw the idea out there and see if there were any comments. Many of you have, in the past, brought up the most interesting conversations and sometimes great ideas spring forth from the debates. By the way, I'm not set on any particular course. If I get a chorus of people saying that I should just leave things the way they are, then I will probably leave things alone. :)

Offline Delbareth

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Re: Calendar Revision
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 08:07:26 AM »
Woaaaa!
When I said it would be interesting to set the lunar calendar I didn't imagine it would lead to that! ;D Anyway it's a very interesting discussion. Here is a first though.

The calendar with 3 weeks of 9 days has some very good points :
  • it's original (I mean not completely similar to our calendar)
  • it's not complex because it lead to month and years approximately the same length as ours
In one word, it is well balanced between originality and complexity

But I agree with you there is no reason to cut the year in twelve such strange months. I guess their suns are a lot more important than our moon so I think they actually would divide the year according to star rotation. It would be better for the coherence and the deepness of the World of Khoras.

Now let's see if we can find a way to change that (with some maths, I apologyse ;)).
As you say if we have 9 days/week, 4 weeks/month, 12 months/year, it leads to 432 days/year (+33% in comparison with actual system). To be coherent it would imply to decrease all durations (I mean interval of time between events) by -25%. Something wich takes 4 years to changes (1296 days) would now take only 3... The question is : is it really necessary to implement that or could we accept that all developpements were 33% slower? I personnally guess it's acceptable.

If not we have several ways to explore :
  • change to number of months : 9 months would keep the actual year duration, 10 would lead to the Earth year duration. I think it's not very practical to play in such a system (in addition neither 9 nor 10 months can by divided easily by four seasons). What is the weather in the 5th months? Or in the 8th? Even if it's stupid we make some very strong anthropocentric comparison to draw a mental picture of a scene (cold like in january, snowy like in february, confortably hot like in july of uncofortably hot like in august). What about 8 months/year? It can be divided into seasons and (like 9) could be converted into 12 in a not-too-complex way. But it shortens the year to 288 days.
  • change the number of days per week : of course 7 days/week is fine (336 days/year) but it is nearly exactly the Earth calendar and I would find it very deceiving to come back to such a very reasonnable solution ;). 8 days/week would lead to 384 days/year (less than 432 but, well I don't like this solution of 8 days/week :-\) and 6 to 288 days/year (too short).
  • change time duration at small scale (day, hour, second) : hum... it seem dangerous to play with a day of 18 hours, or an hour of 45 minuts (!), or a second of 0.75 Earth' second. One of my friend tried this for his own psychedelic world : hours of 100 minuts and days of 50 hours but with smaller seconds (or something like that). After some years we are still unable to remember that dumb system ;D
  • change both months and weeks : as said previously it's hard to change the number of month because it would be very confusing for us. The only way it would seem barely acceptable would be 6 months or 24 months. The first one is not dividable by four seasons (but it's not very complex to translate into human months), but would lead to weeks of 13-14 days to keep the 324 days/year. The second one is dividable by four but in this case, week only last 3 days (288 days/year) or 4 days (384 days/week).
  • forget the hypothesis that there is an exact number of star cycle in one year : the year are determined by one complete revolution around the suns, but these stars may rotate a fractional number of time (+/- 0.5 only, to remain "simple"). It is a more natural but very complex solution, even more than the one with 9 months. But I wanted to point out that.

Well... After having listed these possibilities, I think the best ones would be :
  • either to set 4 weeks/months and keep all texts as they are (WTF option)
  • either to set 4 weeks/months and 9 months/year to keep constant the year duration. After all, perhaps it's not so complex to convert Khoras month in our head to set idea...
  • either to set 4 weeks/months, 6 months/year and 13-14 days/week to obtain nearly the same year duration (312 or 336 days/week). The conversion is easier : each Khoras month equals two Earth month (jan/fev => 01 ; mar/apr => 02 ; ... not very complex)

Anyway, again, very interesting topic! :)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 09:20:52 AM by Delbareth »
Delbareth
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avisarr

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Re: Calendar Revision
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 01:57:10 PM »
Yes, there are a number of different ways we could resolve the mathematics. I tend to favor simple solutions. So, with regards to the calendar, the simplest solution would be to maintain 12 months of 4 weeks each and then to redefine the week to 7 days.

The month goes from being 27 days long to 28 days long. So it's a very minor change in the total length of a year. A year goes from 324 days to 336. The historical timeline will not be adversely affected.

This gives us the advantage that the stellar cycle is stable and repeats each month.

I realize that this gives us a very Earth like world where a week is 7 days, but that would simply be the result of each phase of the stellar cycle taking 7 days. The people of Khoras determine the length of a week by different means, but it would really be a coincidence that their week ends up being 7 days long. I'm sure that we will probably discover many strange coincidences among the planets and moons as we explore and expand out into the universe. :) 

To be honest, having an Earth-like 7 day week doesn't really bother me. Tolkien's Middle Earth was VERY much like Earth with regards to time keeping. Middle Earth had months like "October" and days named "Sunday" and 24 hours in the day and Middle Earth proved to be pretty popular. So if Khoras happens to be somewhat Earth like in one small way, I'm in good company. :)


Offline Delbareth

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Re: Calendar Revision
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 02:24:01 PM »
You're right!
I should have selected this solution in my list (even if I don't like it very much :'().
I would like to add that it's not by chance that it fit the Earth week length. It's juste because we want to keep 12 months like on Earth (in order to be able to imagine the weather and all that stuff), and approximately 350 days/year like on Earth (otherwise all long duration we know should change (for example lifespan)).
Anyway, we'll perhaps see other opinions...
Delbareth
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Offline Lance

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Re: Calendar Revision
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 04:14:51 PM »
8days/week
3weeks/month
16months/year
4months/season
384days/year

Different enough that it seems original but close enough that you wouldn't have to drastically change the timeline to fit it.

Offline sid6.7

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Re: Calendar Revision
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 08:13:18 PM »
i vote for a lunar cycle its more medievil in taste than the solar cycle.

come see Kramxel at  http://cruzan.info/kramxel

Offline tanis

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Re: Calendar Revision
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2011, 08:21:12 PM »
Personally, it only makes sense for the Khorasian calendar to be solar. If our sun blows up and suddenly we have two stars and cataclysmic events and mutating people and animals, we're going to treat it like a new era of Middle Earth. The date is going to stop, and an entirely new calendar system will start. And actually, that's exactly what happened. Everyone restarted their calendar on the day that Khoras stood still, as it were.

I, personally, like the 9 day week, but if a 7 day week is going to make things fit perfectly without extra effort, then why work hard when you can work smart.

HOWEVER, what I WOULD like to see is some very traditional group who still use an archaic calendar. The Jews, Muslims, and many others do NOT use the Gregorian calendar, but instead a lunar calendar with shifting months and all the complexity of that. I don't think that most people are going to do this, however, in Khoras. The only group I could see continuing to use a lunar calendar unchanged from before the Sundering would be the Myrians or the tribes of the Fire Isles, because as a tribal society with little strong magic, they would be much more focused on the agriculture of Khoras and seasons, and thus they would potentially have enough reason to merit a calendar that ignores the solar change.

Remember, this is a huge change, but if we get very complex and try to keep some of the originality, it will simply get in the way with crazy year lengths and awkward months and weeks. I will probably mourn the 9 day week, but I can provide no reason for David NOT to change it to 7 day weeks with a slightly longer year. Besides, this same issue came up with the Julian and Gregorian calendars upon their initial use, so it's not surprising that our Khorasian fanculture will have to absorb the new calendar.

Does all that make sense??? >,>;
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

avisarr

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Re: Calendar Revision
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 12:40:43 AM »
Yes, that makes sense. :)  Different cultures can use different calendars. I'm proposing a change to the "standard" calendar. I figure it would be used by most races and cultures. But yes, I think there would be a couple of races that would stick with some archaic variant. I agree with your suggestions. I'm thinking the Myrians, the Alakubu (Fire Isles) and one or two of the major subterranean races. Most of the surface dwelling "civilized" races who trade and interact a lot would settle on a standard calendar.

Sid6.7 - I promise at least one culture will base their calendar entirely on the moons.  ;D And I'll try to keep a medieval flavor throughout the calendar systems.