To create a more immersive world for your roleplaying games, it should feel lived in. The NPCs of your setting need to be more than statblocks and methods of delivery for plot hooks. They need to have their own lives that the PCs are merely a part of, rather than being the center of it. One way to flesh out your setting for the sake of this immersion is through the introduction of festivities or calendar events that the people of your world enjoy.
As in real life, a celebration can mark the anniversary of any significant event. Perhaps the birthday of the king, or the day that a group of people won their independence from an oppressive dictator. It can be celebrated in many ways. Special foods, dancing, music, games, competitions, and other merrymaking activities can all be present. When trying to flesh out your celebrations, think of what is being celebrated, when it is being celebrated, why it is being celebrated, and how the celebration is conducted. Filling in these details will help convey information about your world. The reason for the event could be wrapped up in some interesting history, and the celebration itself could tell you a lot about the lifestyle of the people celebrating.
Apart from adding to immersion, a celebration can be a method of giving your players some downtime between sessions. Various games and distractions present at a celebration can serve to entertain and amuse your party. It gives your players a chance to interact with your world in a way that isn't in the typical hero role (unless the festival is in their honor) and to simply enjoy some entertainment rather than having to carve their way through hordes of enemies.
That said, you could use the celebration as an adventure hook in itself. Maybe a band of gnolls decides to crash the celebration and attack everyone while their guard is down. Suddenly, your party will (probably) spring into action to defend the innocent people. Or maybe every ten years a festival is held in a village the party is visiting, and they come to find out that an innocent child is sacrificed in accordance with the rituals of the festival, and then the PCs need to figure out how to deal with that. Think outside the box. The celebration itself can be the adventure hook.
Hopefully this is something to think about for your campaigns and world settings as you are enjoying your own festivities this 4th of July (if you're American.) And for everyone else, I hope that this gives you something to consider for your own games as well.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.