Winter is Coming II is a RPG Blog carnival hosted by Mark Meredith of Dice Monkey. I choose to participate this year. In my D&D home campaign, the setting changed season to winter. I had notes for events during a festival celebrating the change of season but the players decided to take a vacation into the Feywild. In the spirit of Winter is Coming II, I present to you the Winter Festival of Whiteoak.
The town of Whiteoak celebrates the yearly winter festival. It is a festival of endings and transitions. The festival officiates the transfer of power from Sehanine to the Raven Queen. It takes place when autumn turns into winter. Usually, the first few snows has covered most of the blood-red leaves in Skull Forest. The inhabitants of Whiteoak and the area maintain several different traditions during this festival.
The fortune tellers come out in force for the festival. The stars and signs are strongest during this period to tell the fate especially in matters of love. Many couples consult with fortune tellers and learned if they are fated to stay together. Those who discover it wasn’t meant to be participate in the ceremony of endings. Armageddon, daughter of Whiteoak’s Lord Amnon, receives the title of honour as a seer. While terrifying, her visions are accurate.
At the local cemetery, the caretaker performs the yearly rituals. She blesses the tombs on the morning of the first day in order to renew the protection against the undead that lasts for a year and a day. The ceremony is attended by the families with lost loved ones. Each family brings a token blessed at the last full moon. The families feel the strength of the protection is influenced by the moon where the goddess Sehanine resides. Lord Amnon brings a shield with the Whiteoak crest to honour all the soldiers that passed away in their duty. Sir Pelaios and Armageddon brings a bouquet of chrysanthemums for their late mother who passed away at Armageddon’s birth.
Traditionally, the winter festival is the occasion where the Ice Queen summons the lord of Whiteoak on his 20th winter. The Ice Queen is a terrifying white dragon who claims all of the north which includes Whiteoak. None of the previously summoned lords return. The stories claim the Ice Queen feasts on their bodies or she has a museum of their frozen bodies. Lord Amnon is celebrating his 19th winter this year and his son, Sir Pelaios, hopes to put forward a plan to end the Ice Queen’s terror with some brave adventurers. On the years with no summons, agents of the Ice Queen take large portion of the harvest to her. Whiteoak adapted by cultivated a larger amount of crops but they struggle when the weather turns foul.
When the harvest is plentiful, Whiteoak celebrates with a large feast where each family brings a signature dish to share with the town. On those years, you see a multitude food competitions. When the harvest is poor, the families hold personal feasts rather than public ones. Lord Amnon holds a feast for his family and invited the less fortunate into his household to partake a good meal.
There are physical activities held during the festival. Caber toss is a popular sport where a large wooden pole is thrown at a far distance. It is a sport started after observing the northern giants toss uprooted trees. The militia equips some folks for friendly games of hockey at the local ice rink. They use the militia’s armours and the blacksmith developed some ice skates. Knights from the surrounding area arrive to Whiteoak to participate in the yearly joust. Sir Pelaios participates in the yearly tournament but he never became champion. The current champion of the past 6 years is Sir Curan of Bloodrock. Unfortunately, Sir Curan did not show up for this year’s Winter Festival and the news claim there is an ominous dark cloud over Bloodrock. Lady Nivory of Applewarren claimed the title of champion this year.