Reprise: The Generic Villain on the Effects of the Calendar

In some places, the calendar is more than that thing we mark to ensure that we aren’t sacking three different villages a hundred miles apart at on the same day. It itself gives us a situation in which the world itself either aids or opposes us, depending on what we want to do and how we’re going about doing it.

Much of the time, it’s our status as servants of the darkness that gets us entangled in the calendar. On some days, something about the world is much more open to darkness. Maybe the mechanisms that mark the changing of the seasons in some ideal order need to be reset, it’s the day none of the gods (or at least, none of the good ones) had any use for, or someone’s done something that makes it that much easier for us to work. But for every one of those, there’s at least one day whereon, through the same sorts of factors that give us our days, Good thumbs its nose at us. Religious holidays are good ones to watch out for—and be careful, if you’re unfortunate enough to be in one of those worlds where you can’t live a week without hitting one. Though if they’re that common, it’s likelier to be the high holy days you need to steer clear of. Either way, if there exist days of this sort, try to make sure that your plans take them into account. If you must operate on a Good day, be sure to set up extra contingencies; if you can, just stay home and plot. I know I’ve been in a spate of Alignment Inconvenience Leave lately.

Other times, it’s a fact about whatever else we base our powers on. Maybe there’s some sort of balance between types of magic that for whatever reason swings around like a Focault’s Pendulum of potential narrative convenience, and you happen to practice a type of magic affected by it. It might be that you’ve set up a lot of long-term effects that need to be renewed, and you need to remember to renew them by a certain day. (There’s a death and taxes joke to be made here, I’m sure of it.)

And sometimes, it’s just societal. Some days are particularly good for making trouble, because nobody expects trouble; others are particularly bad, because people will have their eyes open. On the other hand, the potential reputation fallout from using these days tends to be inversely proportional to the vigilance-based difficulty; the more people are watching, the less they’re going to treat it a Particularly Unconscionable Outrage. This isn’t supernatural, just people being people, and often it’s hard to tell it from true Holy/Unholy days. But it’s good to try to figure out which is which, and try to minimize the impact of both.

I’m not saying pull out the astrolabe and charts and figure out what day would be most auspicious to make your move—just keep track of the relationships between the feasibility of your plans, and maneuver to take advantage of them (or to avoid overextending yourself on them). The calendar is a tool like any other. Make sure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot with it.

The Management wishes enjoyable celebrations on those with holidays in this time period. You know who you are.

(Originally posted April 4, 2010)

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