Friday, June 22, 2012

Weather as Campaign Dressing

Lower Manhattan just had one hell of a thunderstorm cell roll through as I was getting my overpriced lunch, and the thought came to me - I pretty much leave weather out of my campaigns unless it's part of the plot or theme. I don't really put rain / snow / wind / heat waves and the like into the game as window / campaign dressing.

That might be a failure on my point, but I suspect if I added it now, the players would suspect the weather to be a plot device that it isn't. Actually, maybe that would be fun anyway, as some of them see plots devices in the dark that I never planted in the first place.

What about you?

Do you use weather in your campaigns as part of the back drop, as a plot device, or not at all?


  1. On occasion, I'll use weather as a plot device. I do use weather lots for setting a mood. I generally always describe it during overland journeys, as I feel it lends credulity to play, plus my players always seem to like to describe their reactions to the conditions.

  2. I vlogged about this a while back. :-) http://youtu.be/PL4LFoec-YY

  3. I didn't know you were in New York! That weather was rattling my office building up here in the Flatiron District. We should game sometime!

  4. @Vanguard - work in SoHo, live out in Queens

    Sounds like a plan :)

  5. I try to describe the weather for every ingame day. This way I can use the weather for plot purposes without setting off all the alarms. Also, having a few notes on the weather also works wonders when the players begin crawling in sewers, swamps, wetlands, or crossing rivers etc.

  6. I use seasonal changes fairly often - in fact, heavy snows in northern mountains made my players decided to winter over in my megadungeon. Their magic-user finally got a Teleport spell about the time the Spring came (of course, it took about a year and a half of real time!).

  7. I don't like rolling dice for weather and feel that it's cheating to set it. My preferred system is to fix the game and real world calendars and use whatever the weather is like outside.

  8. I tend to keep track of general seasonal conditions, but also have "Unusual Weather" entries on my wilderness random encounter tables. Most days are pretty normal, but every now and then you get a mean thunderstorm and navigation gets more difficult, hireling morale drops, and rivers flood.

  9. Our Buffy the Vampire Slayer campaign is set in mid-1990s Massachusetts, and we always start the session with a report of what the weather actually was on the date the adventure takes place. I've always thought that the same approach could be used for any campaign - just pick a starting date and track the weather of a city that approximates the climate of your setting.

  10. I had customised the tables in Dragon #68 for my campaign game, and I used to use them extensively.
    Now that I mostly play in Glorantha I tend to rely less on random tables for weather. I believe weather follows the seasons pattern closely in Glorantha what with every god having their say during the various seasons.


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