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Running the adventure in "Eberron: Rising from the Last War", there's a ghost of a gnome that died during the War of The Mark, which takes place at roughly -500 YK. The ghost still thinks he's in that time period, and provides the players with information about the city based on that.

Clearly someone living 500 years before Galifar was founded wouldn't describe the year using the YK scale. Is there an easy way to get across to the players that the ghost believes himself to be living in the past?

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The Pre-Galifar Calendar System is not addressed in the 3.5, 4, nor 5th edition rule books

Rule books have two systems, and neither are useful for an NPC that acts as if the year is -500YK

The YK or "years before now" systems in the book are not useful for the context of this NPC's dialog.

Eberron Campaign Setting (3.5e):

The common era is reckoned from the birth of the Kingdom of Galifar (in the Year since the founding of the Kingdom, or YK). Events from the more distant past are shown as a number of years before the current day (-10,000,000, for example).

Eberron Campaign Guide (4e):

Years in this book appear in one of two forms. Years in the current age typically appear as “years of the kingdom” (YK)...

Earlier years are presented simply as how many years before the present time they occurred. The first year of the kingdom (1 YK) is also –998...

Rising from the Last War (5e):

The common calendar of Khorvaire tracks the years since the founding of the Kingdom of Galifar, using the abbreviation YK.

Narrative options for ghost

  1. Reference times in relation to some big event, e.g. the start of the War of the Mark.
  2. Reference any times it terms of "years ago" from whenever the ghost believes it to be.
  3. Fill in the gap by inventing a calendar.

Of these options the first fits in naturally with dialog. It also offers an opportunity to clue in the player characters if the events referenced are those that the characters recognize clearly as in the distant past. E.g. "Oh when the houses took up their inquisition against Tarkanan about five years back, all the bowyers started making longbows. Even they didn't know it was going to be an all out war. I do hope it ends soon."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The ghost could also mention prophecies that have actually occured already if the players ask for legends and such. \$\endgroup\$ – Maiko Chikyu Jul 3 at 18:43
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A simple reference to the War of The Mark or some other past event in the present tense, or some question about a long past event asked in the present tense.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this deserves the downvotes, as it directly addresses the problem of coming up with dialog for this guy. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Monego Jul 6 at 20:17

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