Time in the Realms

Time in the Realms

The following calendar is common enough to apply to all regions within the Realms (especially the northern regions). The year consists of 365 days: 12 months of exactly 30 days each (due to the single moon and its followers), plus five days that fall between months. These days are special occasions. Leap year is retained purely for social convenience, and provides a sixth special day that is used as the basis for long-term agreements and such contracts and activities.

Months are subdivided into three ten-day periods. These are known variously as eves, tendays, weeks, domen, hyrar, or rides throughout the Realms. In the Realms, the phrase “a week to ten days”
means the same as “six of one, a half-dozen of the other.”

Although the months that comprise a year are standardized, the system of dating years varies from place to place. Usually, years are numbered from an event of great political or religious significance. Each nation or region has cultures with unique histories, and thus, different reckonings. The system of naming the months is named for its inventor, the long-dead wizard Harptos of Kaalinth, and is in use throughout the North.

The Calendar of Harptos
The Calendar of Harptos is summarized in the table below. Each month’s name is followed by a colloquial description of that month, plus the roughly corresponding month of the Gregorian
calendar in parentheses. Special days are listed when they occur between months, and appear in italic type. Each special day is described in the Special Calendar Days section, below.

Order Name Colloquial Description Gregorian Month Equivalent
1 Hammer Deepwinter (January)
—Midwinter—
2 Alturiak The Claw of Winter (February)
3 Ches …of the Sunsets (March)
4 Tarsakh …of the Storms (April)
—Greengrass—
5 Mirtul The Melting (May)
6 Kythorn The Time of Flowers (June)
7 Flamerule Summertide (July)
—Midsummer—
8 Eleasias Highsun (August)
9 Eleint The Fading (September)
—Higharvestide—
10 Marpenoth Leafall (October)
11 Uktar The Rotting (November)
—The Feast of the Moon—
12 Nightal The Drawing Down (December)

Special Calendar Days
Midwinter: Midwinter is known officially in Cormyr as the High Festival of Winter. It is a feast where, traditionally, the local lords of the land plan the year ahead, make and renew alliances, and send gifts of goodwill. To the commonfolk throughout the Realms, this is Deadwinter Day, the midpoint of the worst of the cold.

Greengrass: Greengrass is the official beginning of spring, a day of relaxation. Flowers that have been carefully grown in the inner rooms of the keeps and temples during the winter are blessed and cast out upon the snow to bring rich growth in the season ahead.

Midsummer: Midsummer, called Midsummer Night or the Long Night, is a time of feasting and music and love. In a ceremony performed in some lands, unwed maidens are set free in the woods
and “hunted” by their would-be suitors throughout the night. Betrothals are traditionally made upon this night. It is very rare indeed for the weather to be bad during this night—such is considered a very bad omen, usually thought to foretell famine or plague.

Higharvestide: Higharvestide heralds the coming of fall and the harvest. It is a feast that often continues for the length of the harvest so that food is always on hand for those coming in from the fields. There is much traveling about on the heels of the feast, as merchants, court emissaries, and pilgrims make speed before the worst of the mud arrives and the rain freezes in the snow.

The Feast of the Moon: This festival, also called Moonfest, is the last great festival of the year. It marks the arrival of winter and is also the day when the dead are honored. Graves are blessed, the Ritual of Remembrance is performed, and tales of the doings of those now gone are told far into the night. Much is said of heroes and treasure and lost cities underground. Wars, by the way, are often but not always fought after the harvest is done, continuing as late as the weather permits. The bulk of the fighting takes place in the month of Uktar, and the ironic practicality of the Feast of the Moon is readily apparent.

Shieldmeet: Once every four years, another day is added to the year in the manner of February 29 in the Gregorian calendar. This day is part of no month and follows Midsummer Night. It is known as Shieldmeet. It is a day of open council between nobles and people, a day for the making and renewing of pacts, oaths, and agreements. It is a day for tournaments, tests and trials for those wishing to advance in battle fame or clerical standing, for entertainment of all types, particularly theatrical, and for dueling.

Marking the Years
Years (winters) are referred to by names, each name consistent across the Realms. Each kingdom or city-state numbers years differently, usually to measure the reign of a dynasty or the current monarch, or since the founding of the country. The result is a hodgepodge of overlapping numbers that serve to confuse the ordinary person and frustrate the sage. The widespread differing year dates include the following:

Dalereckoning (DR): Dalereckoning is taken from the year that humans were first permitted by the Elven Court to settle in the more open regions of the forests. The current year is 1357 DR. In some texts, primarily those which do not have direct ties to Dales history, Dalereckoning is called Freeman’s Reckoning (FR).

Cormyr Reckoning (CR): Cormyr Reckoning begins at the foundation of House Obarskyr, the dynasty that still rules that land. The current year in Cormyr is 1332 CR. The 25-year gap between Cormyr Reckoning and Dalereckoning has caused much of the confusion regarding elder days. Timelines and calendars of the period often use DR designators, but place the founding of Cormyr at 1 DR instead of 26 DR. This is understandable, given that the two reckonings are from two nearby parties and spread by a third (the merchants of Sembia), but it causes learned sages to slam their heads violently against their desks trying to figure things out.

Northreckoning (NR): Used in the City of Waterdeep, Northreckoning dates from the year Ahghairon became the first Lord of Waterdeep. The current year in Waterdeep is 325 NR. A more archaic system called Waterdeep Years (WY) dates from the supposed first use of Waterdeep as a trading post. Now largely abandoned except in ancient texts, the current year would be 2445 WY.

Dragon Years (DY): The use of Dragon Years is an ancient form of counting in dragon generations of 200 years each. There are 10 cycles of 200 years to a color, and each two-millennium color is named after a type of dragon. This reckoning is long-since abandoned, such that it is uncertain whether the current year is 135 or 137 of the Adult Red Dragon.

Mulhorand Calendar (MC): One of the oldest calendars in use in the Realms, this ancient scheme of record-keeping dates from the founding of Skuld, the City of Shadows, reputedly by a Mulhorandi god. The current year in the Mulhorand Calendar is 3491 MC.

The Roll of Years
The wide variety of competing and often conflicting calendars causes no end of pain to the historian and the sage. Most use as their recording device the Roll of Years, a system by which each year has its own personal name.

Names for the years are known collectively as the Roll of Years, as they are drawn from the predictions written down under that title by the famous Lost Sage, Augathra the Mad, with a few additions by the great seer Alaundo. The Roll is a long one; here is the relevant portion of it.

YEAR OF THE LION (1340 DR)
YEAR OF THE GATE (1341 DR)
YEAR OF THE BEHIR (1342 DR)
YEAR OF THE BOOT (1343 DR)
YEAR OF THE MOONFALL (1344 DR)
YEAR OF THE SADDLE (1345 DR)
YEAR OF THE BLOODBIRD (1346 DR)
YEAR OF THE BRIGHT BLADE (1347 DR)
YEAR OF THE SPUR (1348 DR)
YEAR OF THE BRIDLE (1349 DR)
YEAR OF THE MORNINGSTAR (1350 DR)
YEAR OF THE CROWN (1351 DR)
YEAR OF THE DRAGON (1352 DR)
YEAR OF THE ARCH (1353 DR)
YEAR OF THE BOW (1354 DR)
YEAR OF THE HARP (1355 DR)
YEAR OF THE WORM (1356 DR)
YEAR OF THE PRINCE (1357 DR— – current year)
YEAR OF THE SHADOWS (1358 DR)
YEAR OF THE SERPENT (1359 DR)
YEAR OF THE TURRET (1360 DR)
YEAR OF THE MAIDENS (1361 DR)
YEAR OF THE HELM (1362 DR)
YEAR OF THE WYVERN (1363 DR)
YEAR OF THE WAVE (1364 DR)
YEAR OF THE SWORD (1365 DR)
YEAR OF THE STAFF (1366 DR)
YEAR OF THE SHIELD (1367 DR)
YEAR OF THE BANNER (1368 DR)

(SOURCEThe Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting)

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Time in the Realms

Daggerford and the North RobertThomson