Behind the Screen: Some weather we’re having…

2008 February 3
by Dante

Here in StupidRangerVille, we have been experiencing some very strange weather today. It is what is known as a thundersnow (or winter thunderstorm) where the primary precipitation of snow and sleet is accompanied by thunder and lightning… it is relatively rare and quite interesting to behold.

Sir Geekelot, one of our current campaign-members messaged me to confirm said strange weather and heralded it as a sign of The Apocalypse… and that got me thinking about weather in the context of our D&D sessions.

Wow, it’s raining again…

In most of my campaigns we have often hand-waved weather, or used it as a relatively cliche’ foreshadowing element to illustrate impending doom. I know that many rules systems exist for actually interacting with weather-systems and how to use it in your settings, but often having to look up those charts for movement encumbrance or situational modifiers to attack and damage is too much work for me so I regularly just use an ad-hoc method of doling out pluses or minuses depending on the situation in front of me.

I have found that as characters advance in levels, their level of concern for environmental conditions seem to wane. Flipping through a few of the Monster Manuals, I have found a few elemental based baddies that seem to be intense concentrations of (or elementals created by) terrible weather conditions. We had a seafaring campaign in college that actually got to experience some of those creatures first-hand, and I can tell you that it is a unique experience.

If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few days.

I haven’t loosed any of these terrors on our current campaign (yet), but I would be interested to hear if anyone has done anything cool with the weather based elemental creatures or used weather in an interesting way to color your campaigns.

Has anyone been able to make the environment significant enough that characters actually care how it impacts them as they progress to higher levels?

Before everyone starts sending us boxes of E.L. Fudge cookies and order-by-phone pizzas as provisions, never fear… its supposed to be 50 degrees here tomorrow! (Although donations of sugar and pizza are always readily accepted!)

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