01
Mar
11

Quick and Dirty Weather Tables

Sometimes you want to know what the weather is like in-game, whether solely for flavor or because it’s relevant to the party’s hex-crawl. Can they see their enemies amid the downpour? Will muddy ground impede their movement? Did they bring cold-weather gear? Could they get caught in a flash flood?

For a long time, I’ve been rolling a couple of six-siders to figure out what the weather’s like. Now I’ve formalized my system in order to pass the savings on to you, the consumer.

* * *

Temperature

Modifiers: -1 to -3 in winter, +1 to +3 in summer

0-: Freezing
1: Cold
2-3: Cool
4-5: Warm
6+: Hot

* * *

Precipitation

Modifiers: -1 in dry season, +1 to +3 in wet season

0-1: Clear skies
2-3: Cloudy
4: Light (drizzle / flurry / haze)
5: Moderate (rain / snow / fog)
6-8: Heavy (thunderstorm / blizzard)
9: To The Max (hurricane / tornadoes)


11 Responses to “Quick and Dirty Weather Tables”


  1. 1 1d30
    March 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    You missed wind :P

    Wind

    Modifiers: -1 to -3 in the calm season, +1 to +3 in the storm season

    0: Dead calm, not a breath of wind
    1: Occasional faint breezes, flags are limp, weak waves
    2: Light breezes, flags ruffle a little, weak waves
    3: Light wind, flags audibly rustle and creak, normal waves
    4: Moderate wind, flags shift to and fro, stiff waves with some whitecaps
    5: Strong wind, flags unfurl completely, strong waves with whitecaps, sailing requires skill
    6: Heavy wind, flags strain and snap, minor roof and sail damage, walking difficult, may fell trees
    7: Gusty wind, small structures may collapse, swelling and crashing seas, sailing barely possible
    8: Light hurricane, normal structures may collapse, sailing impossible, may swamp ships in port
    9: Heavy hurricane, damage to non-castle structures, twisted and uprooted trees, probably swamp ships in port

    I’d suggest also adding to the wind table a wind direction table, which gives a possible shift away from the prevailing wind direction. For example if it’s usually an East wind (from east to west), on a 1-2 it’s southeast and 5-6 it’s northeast. For battle-mat purposes the DM is always north.

  2. March 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I’d also like to suggest Kellri’s CDD#4 which has a great weather chart for all seasons as well as some interesting “strange weather” results.

  3. March 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Let’s not forget humidity and barometric pressure! Also important to understand cloud formations (as applicable), Surely one would never challenge a storm giant neath a strato-cumulus front!

    I’d also add tables for the smell of the breeze, character of the light, and weight/nature of suspended particulates in the atmosphere.

    These should probably be rolled for every 3 hours of in game time. Hm… it might be better to simplify this down to a binary…

    Weather
    1: Yes
    2: No.

  4. 4 Adam
    March 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I’m not sure I’ve ever felt the need for weather tables, but since you do…

    In the first table, the asymmetry between hot and freezing bothers me. During the spring and fall, you can get a “hot” result on a natural 6, but the coldest result you can get is “cold”; you need to have the winter modifier for freezing to be possible. As someone who has spent time in New England and the upper Midwest, I can vouch for the possibility of freezing weather in fall. :)

    Now, you could argue that it gets colder in winter than it ever gets in the spring or fall, but I’ll respond that it also gets hotter in the summer. So I would prefer either:

    1 or below: Freezing
    2: Cold
    3-4: Cool/temperate
    5: Warm
    6+: Hot

    or:

    0 or below: Freezing
    1: Cold (includes barely freezing)
    2-3: Cool
    4-5: Warm
    6: Hot
    7+: Sweltering

  5. March 1, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    @1d30: I didn’t miss wind, I simply chose to ignore it! :-D A wind table can be added as needed, but I haven’t felt much need thus far. I’ll probably draw up a simple d6 wind table when the PCs get to the coastline and procure an ocean-going vessel.

    @Adam: Naturally you’ll adjust the tables for climate. Not every location is as cool as New England or the upper Midwest! Once the party’s journey takes them to the tropics, I’ll apply a constant upward temperature modifier, just as I’d apply a constant downward modifier if they traveled to more frigid climes.

  6. March 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Highly useful – nice job!

  7. 7 biopunk
    March 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I’d suggest a d8, not a d6, for easily using cardinal points to determine wind direction/travel.

  8. March 2, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Agreed. I enjoy old school 1e style tables. I hope to see more.

  9. March 2, 2011 at 5:15 am

    I use a very simplistic weather mechanic that has worked well for our group for years. Its designed for a temperate environment with rainy and dry seasons.

    Roll 2d20, each die of a different color. First d20 is the precipitation threshold. Second d20 is whether or not precipitation occurs and the overall intensity of the weather (rainy season and second d20 is lower, it rains; dry season and second d20 is lower, its dry.) The rest depends on GM whim and season.

    For example, in the Spring of Southern England there is lots of rain. So I use the rainy season logic. If the results are [17,16], then it rains hard with a fair bit of wind and possibly a thunderstorm. The second die (16) is lower than the first (17) and is a generally high number. A result of [17,3] would mean a mild rain. A result of [17,19] would mean no rain.

    This approach gives me lots of free reign for describing whatever weather effect strikes my fancy while still coming up a result with one shake of the dice.

  10. 10 Charlatan
    March 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Two things that I very much like about this approach:
    1. It’s really fast.
    2. The abstraction of the terms (if you read “freezing” to be more expressive than literal): You can capture the possibility of a literal freeze in the Fall by thinking of “cold” as a departure from the expected temperature. It does seem like a 7+ result for sweltering has a nice parallelism to it.

  11. 11 delta
    March 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I’m attracted to this, although I prefer seeing specific in-game effects if weather’s being generated.


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