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    Default Halloween Celebrations of Humanoid Races

    Racial Halloween Celebrations


    First what is Halloween? Is it the Festival of Harvest? The Day of the Dead? It has elements of both. It is a day where the spirit world is closer, and it is also often a celebration of the harvest upon which our lives would depend for the next several months till Spring brought life forth from the Earth once more. So looking at it in context of D&D what celebrations might other races have?

    Dwarves:

    The Day of the Hallowed Dead:

    Dwarven fungal and thermal farms barely notice the passing of the seasons; even their solar farms are deep enough that as long as the surface reflecting arrays remain undamaged or clogged the heat is barely affected by the sun or the chill above. As such they do not have a specific “harvest” season, nor do they celebrate the harvest as such. However dwarves do celebrate a “Day of the Hallowed Dead” during the middle of autumn.

    This celebration involves, like many dwarven celebrations, a great deal of libations. On this day when the barriers between the world of the living and the worlds of the dead grow weak, souls from the realms of the dwarven gods are allowed to manifest in the temples of their patrons once more. Conjured forth by bowls of ale, mead, and other spirited drinks poured in their honor by blood kin revered dwarven scions may return to a sort of shadowed half-existence for a few hours. In this way for a few short minutes, or hours if truly legendary brews are acquired, a dwarven family torn by death can be made momentarily whole again, and dwarven kings my ask the legendary sires of their lineages questions of rule and import for the stronghold.

    The Day of the Hallowed Dead is one of somber happiness among the dwarves. It is a celebration of the gods, the ties of blood, and the fact that death is not the end and those who live well within the dwarven way will be reunited with their families in the embrace of the gods. As the more dilute the blood relationship and the longer a soul has been passed on the more difficult the calling, many families do not participate in the Day of the Hallowed Dead unless they have a recently deceased loved one, only joining every few years to talk to some particularly noteworthy sire of the clan, or if there is a particular question to be asked; it is not unheard of for a dwarven widow or widower to ask their dead spouse’s blessing on a new marriage for example.

    Elves

    The Day of Last Bounty

    Even the high elves only partially accept an agricultural lifestyle, preferring the old ways of hunter and gatherer. While they have perforce accepted the modern way of life, their celebrations remember earlier days. The Day of Last Bounty, is a festivity as autumn takes full grip celebrating the last easier collection of fresh fruit and food. Knowing it will not last long they preserve what they can and feast happily on the rest, drinking with it nectar-wine and singing songs deep into the night. The high elves consider it little more than a quaint festival of days long past, but the Day of Last Bounty still has strong meaning to the hunter-gatherer wood elves.

    Not all things about the Day of Last Bounty are pleasant, however. Legend tells that the next night is one of danger and horror for the angry ghosts of elves which died of starvation or cold in the last year haunt the woods hunting them for the living. On this night their wraiths rise forth again, seeking to sate that hunger that slew them, to warm themselves with the inner fires of the living. Few elves die in any given year, much less to hunger or cold, so whether this is true or not is hard to discern, but stories are still told of wraiths met on that night, and of how the deep woods should be avoided in the week following the Day of Last Bounty.

    Gnomes

    The Accord of the Woods:

    Gnomes celebrate the harvest and the weakening of borders much as humans do, but not quite. For gnomes it is not a weakening of the borders between the living and the dead, but between our world and that of the fay. This day, known as the Anniversary of the Glorious Accord of the Woods Most Revered and Honored by the Gnomish People Throughout the Ages of the World Upon Which We Meet With Our Fay Brethren and Perform an Exchange Most Respected… usually shortened to the Accord of the Woods, though each gnome says its full name out of superstition at least once during the day.

    The Accord is an ancient pact between the gnomish people and the fay courts both seelie and unseelie. On this day the gnomes surround their places of residence with lanterns made from hollowed gourds and squashes, lighting the insides of their halls with wood fires, and then that evening the fay folk arrive. It is a night of celebration and pranks, with gnomes and fay both pulling pranks upon one and all with one iron clad rule. No act of malicious intent will be undertaken in the light of the flames, nor shall they be extinguished to allow for malice.

    During the accord a representative of the gnomish community will offer to the fay folk a bag of gems in exchange for a plate of fresh fruit and food grown in the fay realms. This exchange is the true purpose of the Accord, an exchange of gnome cut gems for fay grown food throughout the winter and good will between the two people, a symbolic recreation of the pact first made by Glittergold with the Kings and Queens of the Fay Courts.

    This is also a day in which the gnomish people welcome travelers with food and drink, even the worst miser will feast a traveling gnome on the day of the Accord. Legend and tale says that Garl himself takes upon the guise of a traveling gnome visiting village after village and testing those within on their accordance with guestlaw on this night, and any who fail will be punished by the prankster god… sometimes lethally. This isn’t quite true, Garl only makes a single visit personally each year, but his proxies and celestial servants make up the difference and some are more vindictive than their lord.

    Halflings (shire-folk):

    Harvest Day:

    To halflings it is not a night of fright and fear. The gentle shire-folk care little for the weakening of boundaries; instead they celebrate the harvest with a great feast. It is a day of farming and cooking, the last major harvest of the season being brought in before the town joins together for a communal feast. A great pot luck dinner, it is a celebration of life in the face of the shortening days and growing nights. The shire-folk are a simple folk and the celebration is mostly simple and fairly interchangeable with their other celebrations, although with a different theme to the food.

    Orcs

    The Ghost Raid

    While many orcish raids are launched in the harvest season, they are merely the acts of raiders seeking food, and precursors to more to come as food becomes scarce for hunting and gathering. The true festival of the season is the Ghost Raid. It is a rite of passage among the orcish people. Upon the night where the veil grows thin, young would-be warriors gather and drinking strange potions concocted by the elders their souls move away from their bodies to join with the spirits of orcs long dead. Twisted by untold ages spent upon the battlefields of Acheron, or other resting places of orcish dead (such as the fetid swamps of Carceri, or the twisting tunnels of Pandemonium), the spirits are barely recognizable as orcs any longer. Even so they accept the youngsters into their ranks and wander deep into the realms of the dead upon a hunt no mortal can enter while alive.

    In this raid the young warriors assail the spirits of the dwarven and elvish dead, attacking them with their elders. Some will die in this raid, their souls skewered by the unworthy dead of the elves and dwarves, their life’s blood flowing from their bodies in physical reality even as they die among the ghosts. Most will return, even most normally fatal wounds to the spirit not enough to kill them in the physical world. Of these those who slew at least one foe among the spirits is considered a worthy warrior, those who failed are forever relegated to fodder to be used to slow down foes and nothing more, unworthy of the title of warrior, and no longer a child to be coddled, but merely an expendable body in battle. Some perform with surprising distinction among the spirits, and the shamans and seers of the orcish tribes will mark them as potential chiefs and champions to be valued. Some return changed.

    Even the shamans do not know what changes these few, their visions of the spiritual battle shrouded by warriors of old. Some believe it is a melding of souls, both old and new, others believe it is mere possession, and others the birth of something new and monstrous. Whatever the truth those which return changed are distant from their past life, often forgetting loved ones and seemingly remembering it as if it were all events that happened to another. They are cold and distant, but even the weakest orc if they return so changed will become a fierce warrior. The shamans mark these as well, and watch them carefully. They will become great warriors, and they can become legendary chiefs, but they can also become blood thirsty murderers who cut down their own tribe for sheer pleasure, and even those who become chiefs of legend and renown seem to consider their fellows little more than tools. In some cases they grow stronger, and their very physical structure can change, bones shifting, size increasing, taking on an appearance more like those souls of the raid which once were orcs but now can no longer keep the title.

    Goblin

    Ride of the Ghost Wolves

    Not truly a goblinoid festival, but one of their close companions the worgs. The Ride of the Ghost Wolves happen where worgs are concentrated when the boundary between life and death grows weak. The spirits of old worgs long dead will burst into reality where their living kin dwell, howling into the air, stirring blood fury in the worgs. To the worgs it is a celebratory hunt, a night of intoxication and fury, in which they feel more alive, more powerful, and in the act of predation celebrate that they still live.

    The worg spirits which participate in the hunt seem to have no thoughts, no will, other than the hunt. Incapable of directly interacting with the world except through sound and their appearance, these ghostly wolves will drive prey to their brethren to be slaughtered and devoured. The living worgs are more subtle, letting their ancestors drive prey to them to spring out in ambush. They prey upon whatever is in the woods, showing no particular preference for sapient creatures, though on occasion they will band together with other malicious spirits loose in the area in the night.

    Though it is primarily a worg rite, goblins seeking closeness to their worg companions will sometimes join in the hunt. Some merely ride upon the back of a worg, bonding through the act, hunting with a savage ferocity. Others, though, are said to offer their bodies up to the worg spirits, allowing the spirits to enter them and use them as a host. This is a dangerous act as the spirits can rend one’s soul to pieces and because it will induce a loss of self in the sheer blood lust of the hunt. Even so some goblins take this risk, hoping to gain some power from doing so. Legend tells that goblins who join in the hunt “fully” can gain the powers of the worg, possibly even the ability to assume its form or qualities.

    Lizardfolk

    Feast of the Great Crocodile

    Deep within the swamps some lizardfolk practice a dangerous religion worshipping great and ancient animalistic spirits. Among these spirits, gods of a sort, is the Great Crocodile. The Crocodile is god of hunger, feasts, death, and especially living death, making him the patron to many forms of lizardfolk undead especially ghouls. The Great Crocodile is also the King of the Dying Light, Lord of Autumn and Winter whose power grows every day from Summer Solstice till the Winter Solstice, and whose reign begins in truth when the boundaries between the worlds grow thin during the autumn.

    As the night of thinnest barriers approaches, the lizardfolk tribes set out taking captives from other tribes and other nearby people, keeping them in the swamp. On the night with thinnest barriers undead lizardfolk, normally destroyed upon sight, are welcomed into the tribe as representatives of the Great Crocodile and fed these captives as a sacrifice to sate the Great Crocodile so that his hunger does not grow enough that he devours the sun and ends life entirely. There is a certain pageantry to the event, scale paints being used by living and dead both to blur the line between them, victims dressed in ceremonial garments, ordained with markings of the sun as they are sacrificed in its place. The Great Crocodile, in exchange for this sacrifice, compels the undead to avoidance of the living during the months to come, granting the lizardfolk safety from these terrors of the night, and even on occasion directs his minions to provide the lizardfolk tribe with some windfall of large prey to grant them a feast in the dark of winter. A tribe which fails to find sacrifices can offer from their own members. A tribe that refuses sacrifice entirely will be plagued throughout the coming winter by the servants of the Great Crocodile and used as a feast for his children.

    Dwarves (Duergar)

    Day of the Laborious Dead

    Laduguer is a god of hardship and effort, rewarding it and only it. Unlike the hill and mountain dwarves’ day of the hallowed dead, the Day of the Laborious Dead is not a day of ease and relaxation. On this day the dead rise to serve the living for 12 hours, and the duergar put them to good use, either as expendable soldiers, or tireless workers, there numbers swelling as every member of the hold or clan to have died within the last 1000 years is with them again. There is no strict rules as to what the dead will do, that is for the lord of the hold or the clanfather to decide.
    The day of the laborious dead is a reward from Laduguer to his faithful people for their hard work throughout the year. A hold or clan which has been lax will find it withheld. As it is a reward for effort, some holds and clans use it to justify a day of feasting; while the dead are with them they labor hard and long, but they return to a large feast one of the richest of the duergar year. Others scoff at such a notion, and consider it simply an opportunity to impress Laduguer more in preparations for the next Sunriver Week.

    Elf (Drow)

    Night of Pilfered Graves

    To drow neither the harvest nor the weakening of boundaries is worth celebrating in and of themselves, but their hatred of their surface cousins is dogmatized and strong. When the boundaries grow weak they return to the surface in small groups to attack not the elves themselves, who hide from the night for superstitious fear, but their hallowed dead. Each group includes a cleric and wizard each capable of controlling the undead or destroying them by some means, and precautions against incorporeal spirits. Entering these elven tombs they desecrate them in profane rites taught by the church of Lolth, rites which use the thinness of the barriers to strike at the soul itself twisting it with pain. In this way they create hungry dead and spirits to prey upon elven nations.

    Few of these groups are truly successful in more than petty vandalism, the ritual’s rate of success being slim, but they ultimately serve as a typically easy mission for young drow to bond during, learning how to rely on others in potential combat situations… and just how far they can without being killed. As stated the mission is typically easy, and as such many young drow use it as an opportunity to assassinate their rivals; which may be the true purpose of the stunt. Additionally they kill the hallowed protectors of the elven dead if any show up, so even if they do not create a plague to threaten the elven community it is a profit to the drow.

    Goliath

    Spirit Walk

    The goliath festival on the night of thinnest boundaries is very similar to the orcish one. Young goliaths hoping to be shamans (divine casters, especially druids) drink a concoction of sorts which causes their spirits to wander among the souls of the dead. There they are tested and tried by the spirits that went before them. Each shaman’s testing is different a personal experience for them and them alone. It ends with the prospective shaman being given a task to complete over the course of the next year; this could be as simple as picking a wild flower, or as difficult as being kind to everyone you meet for 1 year, or as violent as slaying a monster a day for that time. Each spirit chooses tasks based upon their own judgment of the soul before them and their own taste in challenges.
    The next year during the spirit walk the prospective shamans set forth into the spirit world once more to be tried again. Whether they failed or succeeded their assigned task is not a guarantee of success or failure in this one. This time in addition to the spirits of the dead the spirits of the land watch them, and those who are decided to have passed are illuminated by a glow of light (fairy fire spell) and anointed as new shamans of the tribe.
    Peanut Half-Dragon Necromancer by Kurien.

    Current Projects:

    Group: The Harrowing Halloween Harvest of Horror Part 2

    Personal Silliness: Vote what Soulknife "Fix"/Inspired Class Should I make??? Past Work Expansion Caricatures.

    Old: My homebrew (updated 9/9)

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    Default Re: Halloween Celebrations of Humanoid Races

    This is great! Mind if I use aspects of it for one of my campaign settings?
    Come check out my setting blog: Ruins of the Forbidden Elder

    Inspired by LudicSavant, I am posting deities: Erebos, The Black Sun

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    Default Re: Halloween Celebrations of Humanoid Races

    Quote Originally Posted by Jendekit View Post
    This is great! Mind if I use aspects of it for one of my campaign settings?
    I'd be quite glad if you did.
    Peanut Half-Dragon Necromancer by Kurien.

    Current Projects:

    Group: The Harrowing Halloween Harvest of Horror Part 2

    Personal Silliness: Vote what Soulknife "Fix"/Inspired Class Should I make??? Past Work Expansion Caricatures.

    Old: My homebrew (updated 9/9)

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    Default Re: Halloween Celebrations of Humanoid Races

    Thanks, the lizardfolk one has actually given me ideas for the origin of that race in one of my settings.
    Come check out my setting blog: Ruins of the Forbidden Elder

    Inspired by LudicSavant, I am posting deities: Erebos, The Black Sun

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    Default Re: Halloween Celebrations of Humanoid Races

    I love the idea of Halloween being the druegar day of rest. I wonder what they do with their spare time.

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