31 January 2015

The weather report: Stuff You Can Use

In my eternal quest for verisimilitude, I really like making sure weather is part and parcel of things.  Aren't storms part and parcel of thrilling adventures at sea?  Isn't it worth knowing whether it's going to be raining or not, going to be moonlit or not, when you try to get over the castle wall tomorrow night?

Now there are a couple ways of doing it.  I won't post any Random Weather tables; you can find them in carload lots on the Internet, and you don't need mine.  That's one, of course.

Another method is a surprisingly simple one I wonder why more GMs don't use.  Want random weather for your setting's area today?  Terrific.  What season is it?  Late spring?  Fair enough.  It's well into autumn here in New England as I type, but that's okay.  Fire up the weather site on your computer (you can find those in carload lots, too, and I use wunderground.com, myself) and pull up a town on the other side of the world.  So okay ... the weather report for Melbourne, Australia, right now has a daytime high tomorrow of 68 F, a nighttime low of 48.  They're predicting overcast with a chance of rain in the morning, and definite for the afternoon.  Light winds in the daytime, and winds from the WSW of 5-15 MPH after dark.  Morning twilight is at 5:30 AM, sunrise at 6, sunset at 8 PM, twilight until 8:30.  That's something you can get at a glance, and that's good enough to be going on with.

For my part, when I'm doing up an adventure, I work out the weather six days in advance, which doesn't take me very long -- 15 minutes or so?  The following is an example:

Weather for north and east coastal Avanari regions, next week:

1)    Scattered clouds    Morning fog                   

Silver Moon: waxing crescent, Red Moon: new, Blue Moon: waning gibbous

    High 79 degrees, Low 66 degrees
    Wind from the W, 11 mph
    Veering due south at night, 6 mph
    Waves 2 ft or less

2)    Partly cloudy        Light rain late                   

Silver Moon: half, Red Moon: waxing crescent, Blue Moon: waning gibbous

    High 81 degrees, Low 71 degrees
    Wind from the WSW, 12 mph and rising
    Veering SW at night, 25 mph
    Waves 5-7 ft and increasing

3)    Overcast        Light rain, squalls               

Silver Moon: half, Red Moon: waxing crescent, Blue Moon: waning gibbous

    High 73 degrees, Low 56 degrees
    Wind from the W, 27 mph with gusts
    Veering WNW at night, 12 mph
    Waves 8-10 feet ...

That's more or less what it looks like.  Wind speed and direction, and wave height, are important for my heavily-nautical campaign; they might not be for yours, although a 25+ mph crosswind is something of a suckfest for archers.  If I'm in a really complete mood, or the group's doing a planned night assault, I'll throw in when those moons are rising and setting, information I have on hand but don't often bother with putting out there.

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