Fictional Time


One of the goals I have for the D&D game I have planned is to make it feel more real by setting it firmly within the history of the world. In order to do that I would like to have a firm grasp of how the inhabitants of my world measure time.

As I see it a Universe crafted by the hands of the gods would have no need for ambiguity in their measurements of time. The wheel of the sky being a perfect 360 degree circle we would tick through those degrees one day at a time and we would enter into a new constellation each month.

Historically the reasoning for a two day weekend was to accomodate a holy day for both christian and jewish workers. With a single ‘true’ religion for the world I can get away with a one day weekend. 5 working days plus one day for obligatory religious activities. 360 days in a year divided by 6 days in a week gives 60 weeks in a year. 

60 weeks can divide out into 15 months with 4 weeks each, 12 months with 5 weeks each, or 10 months of 6 weeks each. While I was going to avoid matching against the real world’s 12 months… 12 is nicely divisible by the 4 seasons for 3 months each of winter, summer, spring, and fall. I already have the constellations ticking away the months so just for fun I think I’ll put the moon(s) on a quarterly schedule to track out the seasons. That’ll help villages then who only need to deal with werewolf rampages once every three months.

So that’s 6 days to find names for and 12 months to find names for. I like naming the day’s after the old (dead) gods and the months after the Animal Lords both of whom are major players in the setting but I’ll save the details for another post.

If we assume that the wheel of the year is divinely crafted then we can only assume that something similar is happening when you go up and down the scale. Upwards if you assume that a year is equivalent to a day then a week of years (6 years) is a planting cycle for farmers, a month of years (5 planting seasons) is a generation, a season of generations is a century (ok 90 years) and a full turning of the wheel at 360 years is an Age.

Before getting into the timing of days I want to touch a little on cosmology. This is a flat worlds where everything is the same. There is no opposite side of the world where things are warm while it is cold here. Days don’t get shorter as the world turns. When winter comes it is because the sun isn’t shining as brightly in the sky anymore. When it is colder to the north and south it is because the sun travels down the middle of the world and its light doesn’t touch the north and south as brightly.

The fractal clockwork of the world continues downward with each day broken out into four seasons. Morning starts when the sun rises in the east and goes until it hits mid arc at noon. Afternoon covers the rest of the day. Evening and night cover the same ground except for the moon traveling southward. Each portion of the day is broken out into three watches which I like mostly because that’s around the same length of time that an adventuring party will put up a watch at night.

A watch is made up of five ‘weeks’ called a ghurry. A furry is a real world unit of time based on how long it takes for a big bag of water (also called a ghurry) to empty out. Traditionally a ghurry is about 24 minutes. Divide that by 6 and you get an unnamed unit of time(a degree?) that makes up 1/360 of the wheel of the day.

In practice the degree is almost completely unused except in clockwork devices but a quarter of a degree is a minute which gets used quite a bit. Each minute is made up of three breathes… the time it takes to breath in and out slowly. Ok I know that one is the weakestof then. The practical uses are minimal.

A breath is composed of five rounds. I like it because it is only a little shorter than a Dungeons and Dragons round and puts a game term into the world. Finally a count of 6 makes up a round. 

So what does this all mean? Well if I set a ‘count’ at 0.66666 of a real world second and then multiply on a repeating 6, 5, 3, 4 pattern then I get values that match against the real world where a minute equals a real world minute, a ghurry equals 24 minutes, a watch is 2 hours, and a day is 24 hours. All while giving the whole thing the aura of divine clockwork.