Monday, March 30, 2015

Spectacle of Lights - Festivals, Spectacles & Holidays

The first in the series of Festivals, Spectacles & Holidays, here is the outline. Be sure to change the bold text to match details of your own campaign world.

Spectacle of Lights

Description: The Spectacle of Lights is held to celebrate triumph of good over evil. A legendary king, his brothers and their armies won a mighty battle and imprisoned a demon. Though they won the battle most everyone lost their lives in the process. Annually the ghosts of the fallen dead rise from the battlefield and march to the ancient ruins of the castle. It is a common belief that it is the power of the ancestors that keep the demon imprisoned.

In most villages the spectacle has become a 3 events during two days: Beseeching the Dead, Spectacle of Lights and Triumph of Light.

During Beseeching the Dead all fires are extinguished and businesses are are closed. Everyone except guards and soldiers are released from their normal duties. Today is a holy day of fasting and prayer. Each person will make offerings, either at a family altar or at the temple of the dead, praying that their ancestors keep the demon imprisoned.

At sundown, the Spectacle of Lights begins. Everyone covers their face in ash, lights tapers or lamps and proceeds to the main road through town, chanting ancient hymns in honor of the dead. Depending on the distance to the site of the ancient battle, the dead will march through town sometime between sundown and midnight. After the dead have made their way through town, people will disperse to their homes.

At sun rise on the following day, Triumph of Light begins. Today there will be public feasts, entertainment, an open air market and much more. Everything from plays to jugglers to musicians can be seen at the feasts. Some people exchange gifts at this time and in some lands, this is celebrated as the first day of the new year.

Game Effects
During day one:

  1. All turning and rebuke checks against undead take a -4 penalty (or it may, in fact, be impossible to turn or control them on this day).
  2. Saving throws against spells of the Necromancy school (divine and/or arcane) take a -2 penalty.

During day two:

  1. To hit rolls against evil beings have a +1 bonus (this effect stacks with any other such effects).
  2. Priests of the God of the Death cast all spells at +1 caster level (this effect stacks with any other such effects).


  • The priests of this order have been perpetrating this lie through the centuries in order to fill the church's coffers. Find a way to expose the truth.
  • Legend says the ancient king will one day return from the land of the dead to defeat the demon and his people will forever rest in peace. Some years ago it was noticed that the king no longer leads the procession to the castle.

It is through the supplication of the citizens that the demon has remained imprisoned. Spells and rituals are also required.


  • The characters are ignorant of the holiday. They come to town the night of the spectacle just as the ghosts come into town. If they attack the ghosts, they run the risk of disrupting the rituals which keep the demon imprisoned.
  • A terrible drought has struck the land. The time of the spectacle is at hand and the priests need certain materials to complete the rituals. A quest or a caravan escort is in order.
  • The priest of this order have all have vanished, been murdered or died mysteriously. You must travel to another temple of the same god and get them back in time to perform the rituals. Next solve the mystery of the priests.

Notes: Inspiration for this holiday came from Hindu festival of Diwãli, Day of the Dead holiday from A Dozen Festivals and Holidays and Legend of Earthsea.

This post contains OGC

In accordance with OGL:

Content in Courier Font is Open Gaming Content

A Dozen Festivals and Holidays copyright © 2004 Michael Hammes. Published by Ronin Arts

© 2015 Phillip Riley

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