Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
The hot, breezy week of Richfest is not observed in full as a public holiday in Greyhawk. The third quarterly diplomatsand-directors meeting takes place on Starday, Richfest 1st. Details
are much the same as described under “Needfest.”
Midsummer Day (Richfest 4th) is the only real holiday, when the city closes shop to celebrate the height of summer and give thanks to the appropriate gods for good fortune. All but the most essential personnel (soldiers, the Watch, and so forth) are free from their obligations. As this is also Godsday and most people attend a worship service at some point during the day, the work-free directive primarily affects workers in the local entertainment industry and those government and religious workers of a general nature, such as messengers, clerks, and cooks. Priests are “on duty” all the time, but nonessential clerics may get the day off. Most shops and both city markets are closed on Midsummer Day by long tradition, and entertainment activities like gambling, the theater, and gladiatorial events are prohibited.
Midsummer Day is called the Holy Day of Pelor. Pelor – master of the sun, light, and healing – is beloved of many of Greyhawk’s populace, and this day sees the largest religious festival held in the Free City in Pelor’s honor. Every priest of Pelor around assists in preparing for the event. The public is invited to the grounds of the Temple of Pelor in the Garden Quarter, and the mass of worshipers fills the open space from the Millstream on the east to the Nobles’ Wall on the south, and spreads westward to the Path of the Sun, the road between Pelor’s Temple and the Grand Theatre nearby. The service lasts from dawn to noon, and the weather is usually altered by the priests just enough to let the sun shine for most of this time.
In the afternoon, a huge feast is prepared and served free to all comers. “A starving man is not a wise one,” the priests say as they hand out cups of soup, mugs of fresh water, and loaves of bread to all. “The sun gives freely, and we do as well.” After the feast, the priests, clad in yellow and gold, lead a festive parade down the Processional to the Old City, where they spread out in small groups and administer healing spells, food, and comfort to all who ask for it. Children are given special attention; if any require greater care than can be given on the spot, they are carried back to the Temple of Pelor and given treatment there, free of charge.
One effect of this benevolence is that many members of the Guild of Thieves, the Guild of Assassins, and the Beggars’ Union who were raised in the Free City remember being helped by priests of Pelor, and the temple and clergy have come under the protection of these three groups. Anyone who harms or steals from a priest of Pelor is hunted ruthlessly and subjected to a horrifying fate. The priests of Pelor have no clue at all that this occurs.
If Pelor’s priests have any fault, it is that they have a very cynical attitude about the city’s nobles and much of the middle class, recognizing that most people will not give charity until shamed into it. The priests have become quite skilled at creating tear-jerking situations at a moment’s notice when they recognize an incident that they can exploit for example, carrying diseased, maimed, or dying children from the Old City along the Processional to the temple of Pelor, in full view of all passersby. Onlookers are simultaneously approached by minor clerics who beg for donations to defray the costs of healing these innocents. Priests exhort all folk they see to give, give, and give again: “To give twice is to be twice blessed! To give thrice is to be thrice blessed! Give!” Miserly citizens complain that they are coerced into donating all their carried wealth by unseen figures who stand behind them and softly murmur encouragement such as, “Give the nice lady your money, or I’ll cut out your heart and you can give her that.” Few believe this really happens.