terça-feira, 2 de janeiro de 2018

Them Bones of Adventure - XV: Enduring the Seasons (Weather part II)

Continuing my exposition on table procedures for common exploration feats & rules, which began here with part one.


The table from the previous post was intended to represent fairly stable weather and, in a pinch, it feels amply sufficient. Just adjudicate a reasonable baseline temperature and roll from there. But one can dig a little deeper even without much effort, it being perfectly possible to adjust all sorts of parameters until we end up with a vastly different weather experience, made to reflect different lands and bring their exoticity into contrast.

Like I said before, considering that one doesn’t roll for weather in a dungeon nor are its consequences usually felt while in town, the Wilderness becomes a lot more of a place once weather has to be contended with. But the ultimate question remains: can the players tell the difference at the table? Therein lies the only answer that matters to me.

Deep Goeth the Rabbit Hole – Ancillary Table for Climate Types, Seasons and Geography

The following table modifies - and significantly complicates - the proposal from last post. I don’t know that I’ll apply all of it, I’m just reaching about and exploring options for now, some of these being markedly more important than others. It’s broken down into the following elements:

Temperature Ranges and Weather Modifiers: A handful of broadly inclusive types of climate, each with a different temperature range, chance of rainfall and timings for checks of temperature/precipitation/wind direction and speed.

Elevation: Exposure to the elements by gain in altitude affects the Temperature Range and the Wind Speed.

Shade and Night: Drops in temperature, including both the nightly drop and that experienced when out of direct exposure to light.

Seasons: Influencing Temperature Range, Turn of the Weather and Chance of Rainfall.

Climate Types & Other Effects

Fighting the Elements: Clothing and Shelter

Wanting to give some measure of accordance to clothing insolation without falling down a precipice of complexity, a table for clothing on Delta’s D&D Hotspot drew my eye and seemed in equal measures practical and robust enough that I coopted it with only minor tuning made to account for 5th.

Clothing versus Temperature Levels

Since I’m cribbing from Delta’s blog and he was thoughtful enough to include a Farenheit scale it’s no skin off my nose reproducing it here as well for the benefit of those concerned.

Clo, a human-biased metric, is here scaled from 0-4 to match the temperature, otherwise the weather’s considered to be either too hot or too cold. One degree of Clo is defined as providing warmth allowing for a human to be comfortable while idle, which means that physical activity should be taken into account.

Shelter is likewise graded as a Clo modifier, though one that can both provide warmth or protect from heat if dealing with a hot climate, with better and more complete shelter being accordingly more difficult to find, as stated earlier.

Implications of Weather

I’ve had it impressed upon me that travelling must have a price tag, waxing prose is both welcome and necessary but relying only upon narration to convey the weight of a journey is simply not enough, there has to be an equipment and Hp tax to be levied for things to gain in gameable substance. 

I also defend that if a party counts a Druid or Ranger amongst its number, they ought to see the weather roll and obtain some measure of foreshadowing of what's coming.

The Hot

If the temperature exceeds the clothing level a character is wearing, he’ll have to shed cloth on the pain of suffering an hourly d4 damage per difference in clothing level, with an additional d4 added to the roll for every passing hour. The die size can be aggravated if labouring under direct exposure to the sun or while wearing armour.

The Cold

If the temperature drops so as to demand a higher clothing level than what a character is wearing, he’ll have to acquire further layers or, again, suffer a mounting pool of d4 points of damage per level of difference. Dice size aggravated for the character being wet.

& the Extremes

Once all of an explorer’s Hp are depleted and the temperature (or other conditions) reach the point of unendurability, the exhaustion rolls come to the fore.

Wind and Water

Once rain or wind speed go past a certain degree, they too inflict Hp loss, generically dealt thusly: every time the condition metrics total up an integer equalling or rounding down to a die's worth, that die is inflicted in Hp loss every hour. For example: a Gale (level 4 of wind speed) along with light rainfall (Precipitation 3) would imply a rounded-down Hp erosion of d6 per hour.

Closing Thoughts – Unhinging the Weather Roll and Worldbuilding (or “Could Hel really freeze over?”)

I reread all the above and get this jolt on my spine: the weather, folks’ll say, as modelled on a 2d6 roll, is much too unstable and chaotic, with the only predictable result being how much of a completely unrealistic clusterfuck this will turn out to be.

I want to adjudicate what I can and dodge what I can't, but I’m left pondering that this same thought might serve as the butressing for the argument that we are to use a fictional world as the setting of our play. We’re not after modelling the world, after all, we’re after modelling A world. Does it feel disingenuous to make an appeal to the ignorance present in the unknowable? Well, here we are.

We can turn to the barrier of human knowledge to find our warm solace in its rainshadow, much like any charlatan from ages past: add a second moon to the firmament, say the world is hollow or flat-out-flat, I don’t care. And neither can classic meteorology from that point on. Unless anyone's versed in computer weather modelling and willing to put in the hours, everyone at the table will just have to accept the fact that winds, rain and temperature will display a far more erratic pattern than any amount of realism would condone.

By this point I’m ready to admit that it might be possible – interesting, even – to build a setting from inference of the front-loaded mechanic effects that rule a world’s meteorology. Kind of like setting funky parameters on a graphic renderer and iterating to see where it gets you.

After all, if it gets hotter as a mountain chain is climbed, colder when descending a fissure in the ground and the winds become wildly unpredictable at night, it can dawn on the players that, in known lands, knowable weather; for Terra Incognita, weather may well be playing free-for-all.

2 comentários:

  1. Lurking through your posts. I like what i see. Keep going sir.

  2. Given that I recognize you from other blogs as being a very well grounded commenter, Kimbo, I'll gladly take your lurking approval as a feather on my cap.