Jul 03

Summerland: An Overview


RPGBlogCarnivalLogoSmallAt the end of May I announced Summerland as the theme for June’s RPG Blog Carnival.


Hosting the Carnival was a wonderful opportunity for the blog, and a great chance for me to meet new Blogger friends. I shall definitely volunteer for another chance to act as host.


However, even though the Carnival has moved along to another blog, I still have one more task to perform. This essay brings together all the posts submitted as part of the Summerland topic.


Themes of Summer

As the articles rolled in over the course of June, several themes emerged. In the previous Carnival posts I listed the articles in the order they were submitted. For this summary, however, it is more informative to group the entries together by theme. I have identified five themes to Summerland:

  1. Holiday
  2. Festivals
  3. Food
  4. Setting
  5. A Broader Summer


Let us look at each one in turn.


1. Holidays

The theme of holiday is perhaps the most obvious, as summer is the time of year when people take a break from their normal routine.


James at World Builder Blog explored this theme with two linked articles. He described additional options for the Heroes in their downtime between quests. There are some great story seeds here, as plots can easily arise from the connections or organizations established during the downtime. Plus, as these downtime activities are Player-led, they provide the GM with lots of information about what the Players want to do in the game.


Downtime activities for Heroes


More downtime activities for Heroes


2. Festivals

The origins for modern holidays lie in the religious festivals of the past. Several writers submitted essays on this theme. Religion and belief should play a strong role in fantasy games, as this was such a central feature of historical cultures.


On this topic, I wrote an overview of summer farming festivals. These celebrations highlight the importance of the farming calendar, especially to rural communities. If the Heroes take on the role of the Lord of the Manor, then they need to preside over many of these festivals.


Summerland: Farming Festivals


While I took a broad focus, looking at several festivals, some writers chose to focus in on a single celebration. The first of these was Jay at Philgamer, who explored the azure dragon festival. Jay presents an amusing festival with plenty of entertaining possibilities for involving the Heroes.


The Azure Dragon Festival


Meanwhile, Sean at Sea of Stars described a civic festival celebrating the Empress’ Birthday. Summer is a time for all manner of festivities, and this one is suited to an urban setting.


The Empress’ Birthday


Over at the Moebius Adventures blog, grnknight described the mysterious blessings of the Sisterhood of the Long Summer. Just who are these strange sisters, and what is the real agenda of the cult which builds up around them? There is a great plot here, with the potential to develop however the GM chooses.


The Sisterhood of the Long Summer


Nor was grnknight alone in exploring the darker side of summer. V at Leicesters Ramble submitted a brief ritual for those who do not welcome the long days of summer. The Night of Hunger presents summer from the perspective of night creatures. One of the great joys of hosting the June Carnival has been seeing the ingenuity of our community of RPG bloggers, and this is a prime example.


The Night of Hunger


3. Food

As the Night of Hunger suggests, the topic of summer food also appeared. However, I was the only writer to explore this aspect of summer.


My first essay on food explored the forgotten hunger gap, that period in July when the stores ran out and prices rocketed. Inevitably, the poor suffered the most and the solution often involved hallucinogenic foods. This essay is ideal for fantasy games with a darker, more sinister tone.


The Hunger Gap


My second essay explored using summer foods to evoke a setting. I also suggested how modern and SF settings can use food to establish a sense of time and place in the game. Food is a great way to distinguish one location, or season, from another.


The Taste of Summer



4. Setting

In my original launch post I suggested how Summerland could be the name of a setting. This aspect of the topic also provided us with several essays.


I had a lot of fun writing a description of my version of Summerland, a fae Kingdom of Eternal Summer.


Summerland: Kingdom of Eternal Summer.


This version of Summerland also rang true with Tim Brannan at The Other Side, who wrote a description of a suitable fae queen. I described Titania in my article, but Tim’s entry is a lot more interesting.


Elena the Fair, the Witch Queen of Summer


Quinn at Dungeon Hacking was also inspired to write about Summerland as a setting, but adopted a more conventional approach. His Summerlands are a broad setting for his 5th Edition D&D campaign. Quinn submitted a whole series of articles about the setting.


Summerlands overview.


Origin stories and an important Summerlands feat: The Ritual of Evolution.


The sea kin human sub-race for 5th Edition.


A farmer/ fisher background for 5th Edition.


When I checked the above links, I found yet more entries by the prolific Quinn.


 Summerlands Antagonists: Sea Kin Enemies and Allies


Races of the Summerlands: The Varanus Lizardfolk


Classes of the Summerlands: The Feral Druid


Nor has the end of June stopped Quinn. He has already posted on the topic in July.


Danger in the Summerlands: Insects and disease


I am sure there will be many more posts to come, so if you are interested in his Summerlands setting, then visit Quinn at Dungeon Hacking. Thank you once again for your extensive contribution to the June Carnival, Quinn.


5 A Broader Summer

Finally, there were a few entries which adopted a broader approach to Summerland. These topics underline the creativity of the bloggers writing in our hobby.


Grimnir asked the important question “how does one fight against the sun?” This was a timely reminder of the cumulative effects of the sun and heat in general. I can relate to this approach on a personal level, as I sit here suffering from the heat.


Summerland, hot and bothered.


Dagorym at Arcane Game Lore reminded me of the need to include SF games in the carnival. He created a system to determine, and keep track of, the current season on any planet across a host of worlds in a sci-fi game. Summer is not just for fantasy, all our games have seasons.


What Season is it anyway?


Finally, there was Mark at the Grymvald Gazetteer corner of the CMG Blog Triad from Creative Mountain Games. He wrote a short article citing links to all manner of fascinating articles. Each dealt with the topic of summer, so I shall conclude this summary of Summerlands with another summary post.


CMG Summer links


July Carnival

Which brings us to July. Just as the seasons roll onwards, so too does the RPG Blog Carnival. The new host is Scott over at Of Dice and Dragons. The topic for July is Weapons of Legend. Scott describes the topic as follows:


When someone speaks of a legendary weapon most folks immediately go to those that have been called out in stories for centuries or popularized in the novels and movies of today. Some examples would include:

  • Excalibur, King Arthur’s war sword
  • Mjölnir, Thor’s hammer
  • Grayswandir, Corwin of Amber’s sword
  • Glamdring or Foe-hammer from J.R.R. Tolkien’s work


To learn more, and see more examples of Weapons of Legend, see Scott’s blog.



So that was the Summerland Blog Carnival. I had a great time reading the entries, and chatting with some great bloggers. I will definitely try to host again, but for now the baton has passed to Scott.


What was your favourite Summerland article? What important topic was missed by the bloggers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


To learn more about the RPG Blog Carnival, see Johnn Four’s page at Roleplaying Tips.


Happy Gaming



Something for the Weekend last time: Why I Love HeroQuest 2.


Something for the Weekend next week: Trollbabe and Endings Part 1



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  1. Hi Phil!

    Thank you for hosting. I had a blast writing all the entries, and Summerlands content will be rolling out all summer, everything from summer-y race write-ups (grippli and aarakocra sub-races) and poisons of summer, and some fun monsters for the setting. The theme really inspired me, and it’s been fun to play it out. Reading the other entries was a blast (and instructive – particularly the world-creation by writers who did far more with far fewer words than I did).

    I’ve learned a lot from the experience, both reading and writing. When the Summerlands posts are done, I’ll have been blogging for four months, and I’m so glad I got to play with the theme. I haven’t done this, before, but I also think that you also were a great host. I’m looking forward to seeing what you write, in the future.


      • Phil on July 5, 2015 at 7:22 am
      • Reply

      Hi Quinn,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I am so pleased you enjoyed the theme. I shall certainly write some more about my version of Summerlands, although perhaps not until after the summer holiday.

      Sometimes blogging can be hard work, but when you have a topic you enjoy, then it is a lot of fun. Keep working, and exploring your setting. Your Players are going to have a blast exploring it.

      All the best

  2. Thanks for hosting, Phil. This was a great topic.

      • Phil on July 7, 2015 at 6:01 am
      • Reply

      Hi James,

      Thank you for saying so. I certainly hoped it was a broad topic, and it did spark a great range of articles.

      All the best

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