Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Weather -- Part 2: Random Weather Tables

And now for the weather...

Weather is something I like to include in a sandbox style game. It adds a bit of realism to the game and it creates additional choices and costs for the players and their PCs. Maybe you'd rather not stop at the seedy looking inn off the highway, but it's raining chats et chiens and you chose to travel quickly so you don't have a pack mule train with tents and such. So you now choose between the seedy inn and enduring the discomfort of sleeping wet with the ancillary risks of rusting weapons and armor, wet powder, your food spoiling, and maybe catching pneumonia.








http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_DSs2bX13hVc/TFBYnPtEmhI/AAAAAAAACVA/KFGR2kxXuTE/s1600/griffinmt.jpg
One of the best early treatments of weather I encountered was in the Chaosium Runequest 2 supplement, Griffon Mountain, from 1981. It included seasonal weather charts for Glorantha's five seasons. Rolling weather each day added interest and made traveling and exploring the wilderness of Elder Wilds seem like the Lewis and Clark expedition. I'm certain weather added to that feeling. The weather table had 10 different entries for each of the five seasons that outlined Temperature, Precipitation, and Atmosphere (wind and clouds). Rather than rolling 1d10 each day, the GM started the weather (selecting or rolling 1d10) for the first day and then adjusted the weather for the next day by rolling two dice to get a +/- 1d4 change. Because of the way the ten results were laid out in the tables this small change created a certain similarity between one day's weather and the next which enhanced the feeling that the weather was reasonable. (A 1d4-1 might have been a better result so that weather might remain exactly the same from one day to the next.)


Balazaring Weather Table
Type/D10
Sea
Fire
Earth
Dark
Storm
1
T
Cold
T
Warm
T
Hot
T
Cool
T
Cold
P
None
P
Heavy Rain
P
None
P
None
P
Heavy Ice
A
Clear
A
Storm
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Storm
2
T
Cool
T
Warm
T
Warm
T
Cool
T
Cold
P
None
P
Light Rain
P
None
P
None
P
Light Snow
A
Cloudy
A
Cloudy
A
Clear
A
Cloudy
A
Cloudy
3
T
Cool
T
Warm
T
Warm
T
Cold
T
Cold
P
Light Rain
P
None
P
None
P
None
P
None
A
Cloudy
A
Windy
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Clear
4
T
Cool
T
Warm
T
Warm
T
Cool
T
Cool
P
Heavy Rain
P
None
P
None
P
None
P
None
A
Storm
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Cloudy
A
Ligthly Cloudy
5
T
Cool
T
Hot
T
Warm
T
Cold
T
Cool
P
Rain
P
None
P
None
P
Light Snow
P
None
A
Cloudy
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Cloudy
A
Windy
6
T
Warm
T
Hot
T
Cool
T
Cold
T
Cool
P
Rain
P
None
P
None
P
Light Snow
P
None
A
Cloudy
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Cloudy
A
Clear
7
T
Warm
T
Hot
T
Cool
T
Cold
T
Cool
P
Light Rain
P
None
P
None
P
Light Snow
P
None
A
Cloudy
A
Clear
A
Windy
A
Storm
A
Cloudy
8
T
Warm
T
Warm
T
Cool
T
Cold
T
Warm
P
None
P
None
P
Light Rain
P
Heavy Snow
P
Rain
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Cloudy
A
Storm
A
Windy
9
T
Warm
T
Warm
T
Cold
T
Cold
T
Warm
P
None
P
None
P
Heavy Rain
P
Heavy Snow
P
Light Rain
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Storm
A
Storm
A
Windy
10
T
Hot
T
Warm
T
Cold
T
Cold
T
Warm
P
None
P
None
P
Light Snow
P
Ice Storm
P
Varies
A
Clear
A
Clear
A
Storm
A
Storm
A
Major Windstorm


I've wanted to add weather to my H+I campaign, but I've struggled with how to implement it. Unlike the Griffon Mountain campaign I ran, I don't run a day-by-day game in H+I. The players are using a mix of mission oriented adventures and sandbox style city exploration. As a result, time frequently gets skipped over so that no record of day to day activities is tracked. This speeds up the pace of the game, which I like, but it makes weather persistence less important or noticeable. So I need something else for weather.

Another random weather tables for RPGs was contained in the Dragon Magazine #68 from December of 1982. I looked at this to see if I could adapt it, but it was way more complicated than I wanted.

Recently I came across a set of simple seasonal weather tables at Elf Maids & Octopi on the Year on the Domain. Each season (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) has a D12 table for weather. This looks simple and varied enough to be dramatically interesting while not being too cumbersome. I'll try using these tables when the group of PCs in Lyon set off down the River Rhone.

Another general method which includes quite a bit of detail was proposed by OldHouseRules, This method would work for many campaign settings, but it does require some effort and knowledge in setting up the climatic regions and relevant tables. After all, a game system's weather is only as good as the tables or method used to generate the weather. OldHouseRules suggests five main steps.

(1) Establish a calendar and a seasonal progression.
(2) Divide your campaign setting into regions. I recommend by latitude (north to south) and, where applicable, by elevation (as mountains impact conditions substantially).
(3) Determine the average weather conditions and possible extreme events for each month in each region. Conduct research on what's possible by relating to comparable regions in the real world.
(4) For each month (by region), determine the probability of an extreme event occurring and create a random table for deciding what extreme events actually happen (if any). These should be region-appropriate.

(5) At the start of each session, determine the weather and apply relevant impacts.


Do you use weather in your campaign and if you do, how do you generate the weather?

Previous post on Weather

Next post on Weather 

7 comments:

  1. Hello! Sorry for the rather unrelated comment, but I followed a link to this blog from a forum, where you mentioned using a "framing" initiative system. I looked into it more but I couldn't quite grok it. Would you mind expanding a little? I'm going to start an H+I game soon and I would love to use a more dynamic initiative system.

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    Replies
    1. Unrelated comments are fine.

      Framing isn't per se a different initiative system, but more a way of looking at the scene. It's an idea/definition I saw on someone else's blog (I think). I'll have to search for my post where I talked about framing and find the original reference. Then I'll write a post on that. It will probably be a few days before I get to it though.

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    2. Take as much time as you need, I appreciate you going out of your way.
      http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?t=31634&page=3
      That's the link I followed to get here, if it helps at all.

      Delete
    3. Monday's post has some additional detail. Let me know if you still have questions.
      http://honorandintrigue.blogspot.com/2015/08/framing-combat-alternative-way-to.html

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  2. I eyeball the weather and try to add the necessary precipitation, mostly because I've been somewhat out-of-love with campaign building over the last year and a half due to law school. However, this is a great weather chart. It's time to start cooking up some of my own...

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Griffin Mountain is such a standout campaign setting supplement in so many ways. It also had a great Found Encounter chart.

      (Note to self, add that to list of future topics.)

      Good luck with law school and the requisite bar exams afterward.

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  3. i have seen your post for Random Weather Tables and griffin mountain which is i really like it...elegant bedroom furniture

    Thanks..

    ReplyDelete