Wednesday, 6 April 2011

AtoZ April - E is for Equinox

Winter Solstice is the time of darkness and encroaching death (see "use it or lose it" rule). Bar the windows, pile high the fires and all that...
Summer Solstice is the time of light and excessive growth. Yes, the light of the daystar the source of all life, but it also kills you through dehydration and gives you cancer. Why? Because it hates you.

What then are the equinoxes? In a word: Balance. Equal parts light and dark. Not too hot; not too cold. The dead aren't tearing out of their tombs hoping to chow down on the great-grandkids; the ankhegs aren't running wild in the fields and the old dears aren't keeling over in the heat. The equinoxes are a time for man and all his works.

Vernal equinox
is (traditionally) when the shipping, adventuring and campaigning season traditionally start. Everyone shakes off the langour of winter, kisses the wife and pats the livestock (or vice versa), and heads out anew to make their mark on the world.
Autumnal equinox is when harvest is taken in, when taxes and debts are settled and, traditionally, when the livestock is butchered for the long winter ahead. Some isolated northern tribes bury their wives and children under the first hard snows for the winter.

All this overlapping activity at a symbolically significant time means adventure!

Of course, in the crapsack, gnawed-at-the-edges, plaything-of-idiot-godlings world of the Wilds (where 'reified' isn't just a six-buck word; it's a survival hazard), it's never entirely that simple. Balance implies an inherent tension, which can be tilted in one way or another really easily. So the equinoxes are when all the Chaotic big bads schedule for their crazy power-garnering, world-wrecking schemes to come to fruition, revelling in the irony of using a time of balance as the power source of their plans. So, yeah. Hectic.

10 Equinoctal WTFs?

  1. "...the charioteer of the sun/winter moon is [held prisoner/AWOL/drunk/sulking/up for retirement]. We need someone to climb the Mountains of Dawn and volunteer as a replacement."
  2. "...King Winter is refusing to relinquish his throne in the Temple of the Seasons, as usual. Queen Summer is throwing a snit over it, as usual. We're going to need a bunch of mugs to straighten them out, again."
  3. " it looks like we're going to have to go straight from spring to autumn for tax purposes. No summer adventuring season this year I'm afraid [link to suggestion]."
  4. "...the particoloured priests of the Twins are threatening to hold the equinox hostage this year. You can imagine the loss of public confidence such ontological terrorism will cause if it's allowed to continue. Try and resolve it without a sectarian massacre."
  5. " accordance with the prophecy I, and I alone, will enact the Rite to bring about The Summer Unending/The Fumbulwinter!"
  6. "...of course, the Five Worlds are especially close at such a cosmologically significant time. An excellent time to change the spirit of the age for one more congenial (?)."
  7. "...whole new mirror areas of the Vaults open up at the equinox. Only for a limited time, mind you."
  8. "...flip this coin. Gold on one side; silver the other. Such a pretty thing. Where could be the harm?"
  9. "...blood for the gods! Blood alone makes the crops grow/keeps the frost wolves at bay!"
  10. "...then, at the height of the spring festival parade, the Galvanic Blood Engine will fire, tearing a rift to the Demon Realms. I /hate/ parades."


(aka Mustinks, rouncids, palfreeks, pongys)

Horizontally-streaked wild horses which appear similar to zebras. That is until you get downwind of them. At that point the unbelievably foul reek of these creatures assaults the nose, irritating the muscous membranes and causing eyes to water uncontrollably. Toxic stink discourages predators, makes area noxious enough to sicken or kill other livestock over extended period. Troglodytes don't mind it.

Treat as normal wild horse which exudes a constant stinking cloud effect (LLAEC, p77)?

[Surprisingly there's no Skunk in the LL/-AEC/MF bestiary, or in the otherwise intimidatingly comprehensive OSRIC. The Companion Expansion (available from has both normal and giant skunks listed.]

Pic Source
Equinox Celebration 3D Tarot Set by Amir Bey from New Times Holler


  1. @Chgowiz: Nah, pretty weak IMO. Not proud of this. The shame of it shall be the lash that encourages me to do better.

  2. Don't be so hard on yourself. Some days are skunk-horses and others are chronominceurs. THe balance must be maintained. ;)


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