The season of the dead is slowly approaching. Shambling, really. And there’s a bit of pus leaking from one eye. Better get the candy!
Halloween is delightfully wierd when you think about it, and it’s one of my favorite in game holidays. The real fun, for me, is thinking about how my characters celebrate it. Halloween is particularly fun because it’s so fitting in so many different settings- high fantasy, steampunk, zombie survival horror, vampire, cyberpunk, whatever! No matter what the setting, there will be characters, and there will be dead characters.
What does your character’s culture think about the dead? Do they have a holiday like Halloween? What does your character, specifically, think about the celebrations?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Lawful Good Unicorn Clerics have to hate Halloween. Maybe, for them, it is a time to honor the dead and remember those they have lost, and those they have slain in battle. If the game’s celebration is about horror and the unrestful dead, your LGUC might be offended- or they might take it upon themselves to put the dead to rest.
If it is a holiday your character celebrates, think about what material goods they might use to celebrate it. Usually, we play adventurers. We are far from home, separated by distance or time or unspeakable tragedies. So our characters don’t often have the ability to go all out for a holiday. Instead, they do little things, like:
The possibilities are endless. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, remember this: holidays and traditions come from three places: a culture, a family, and a person. What does your character’s culture do? What about their family? Do they have any odd traditions that they do just because it feels right? Maybe your character loves the way the locals celebrate the holiday- finally, they’ve found a group who understands how they feel!
How various places in our world celebrate the holiday:
A History of Halloween (as it’s practiced in the US)
Dziady (A Slavic feast of the dead)
La Toussaint (All Saints Day and All Souls Day in France)
Martinstag (Germany; scroll about halfway down the page)
Mischief Night (US, UK, Canada)
Hungry Ghost Festival (China and countries influenced by it)
Double Ninth Festival (China and countries influenced by it)
Bon Festival (Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia, US & Canada)
Ayamaraca (Inca; scroll all the way down)
What about you? Do you know any cool interpretations of death holidays?