Friday 21 July 2023

Bad Weather after Judgment Day

The world has ended and the weather is fucking terrible.
Oh it's not as bad as a decade ago, when the poison storm of a Gas Front would sweep through and turn your body into even more poison, but you still don't want to be caught out in this new weather. It sucks.

These are 6D weather tables a la WWCD.
Roll a d6 and move the weather in that direction. If it would go back, go forward.
If you reach the edge, stop if you hit an X. Otherwise reverse course.

Weather can have Outfield effects (ie. what happens during each 4 hour Watch of travel) and/or Encounter effects that kick in during smaller timescale activities like chats or fights.

And so -

There's very little white Clear weather in the Spring, so you're usually looking at green Haze or purple Rain with a chance of intermittent brown Sporestorms.


Clear: Rare but occasionally occurs after the rains. Clear skies and clear sinuses. A mercy.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion.

Hayfever Haze: Sneezing and coughing and trying not to rub your tired red eyes because the pollen is everywhere. Nevertheless this is generally the best you've got for travelling weather.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion

Metamorphic Rain: Like a nice warm shower which is lovely until you see what it's doing to your skin and your clothes. Absolutely do not get it in your eyes. Whorls in your flesh where the droplets pulled your skin with them, your axe-haft is growing leaves, your axe-head is looking at you.
Outfield: Exposed equipment gains a Notch.

Spore Storm: Fat chunks of fungal matter bloom across the landscape, soon bursting to release a choking fog thick with spores. You can barely see through the smog, but that's ok because the hallucinogenic visions are really starting to kick in.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion and Save vs Doom to avoid taking 1 Wisdom damage.
Encounter: Slowed, and crit/fumble range increased by +4.

Thorn Warning: The air fizzes with static and the sky is covered with a low ceiling of unbroken cloud. The Growth is coming. Animals flee only to be snatched into the sky by the thing (things?) that live up there.
Encounter: Within a few minutes of killing something it's lifted into the clouds by sticky threads. If you stop to loot or butcher a corpse, 1d10 Cloudfinger tendrils soon follow.

The Growth: Feel the soil, feel the loam, let yourself go to heal the world with the blood that is turning to sap inside your veins. Kneel down and kiss the Earth and take it into you. Heal the world with your soft embrace.
Outfield: Take 1 Constitution damage per Watch as your body converts to plant life.
Goblins are not immune, but they become big mushrooms instead and retain their consciousness within the fungal mycelia.

Real life example! The weather was Clear then went through the Warning and a brief Summer Storm. Luckily for them, they were in a dungeon when The Hive occurred.
Summer has plenty of white Clear hexes, which leads to cloudless summer skies which can last for days at a time..


Clear: Warm and bright, silver clouds covering the worst of the sun. In the summer these warm days can stretch for weeks.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion

Insect Heat: Hot days buzzing with lazy insects and bumbling bees. Comfortable long days of sunshine and joy and strolling by the hedgerows and falling asleep only to find that you've got a whole day left. Too hot for heavy armour though, I'll tell you that much.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if wearing Heavy gear.
Encounter: Clouds of biting flies are attracted to any bloodshed. Dead creatures attract a cloud of flies that Slows anybody nearby. Take Bleed damage even if you Stay Down.

Summer Storm: After the sticky days, a smell of petrichor followed by the lashing rain. Cool and fresh and so very beloved by plants, you could swear that the grass is growing high and lush before your very eyes.
Outfield: Half Overland speed.
Encounter: Ranged attacks at -4

Heatwave: Absolutely stinking hot. Too hot to think, practically too hot to breathe. A real bastard of a day, but the bugs don't seem to mind.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion, 2 if wearing Heavy gear.
Encounter: Anyone in Medium or Heavy gear is Slowed.

Swarm Warning: Wispy cirrus clouds high overhead and a subtle crackle as metal zaps against metal. Flying insects fizz and pop, flash-fried by the electricity that makes your hair stand on end, only to be devoured by the smarter kind of beetle who knows to stay in contact with the ground.
Encounter: Hitting metal with metal causes a spasm of static, making the victim(s) Dazed for a round and making them drop held objects.

The Hive: They're inside you you can see them under the skin crawling inside you where did they come from why are your pores getting larger and larger and the glimmer inside is shiny and they're all so shiny and crawling and scuttling and they are nice they are friends they are part of you this is how it should be
Outfield: Take 1 Strength damage per Watch as your flesh becomes home to thousands of insects.
Goblins become hollowed out with seeds, and beloved by pollinating birds.

Autumn is very changeable and very rarely Clear, but at least the red doom weather is always preceded by a Warning, and so often swings away.


Special: In Autumn the weather brings abundant Forage, trivially gathered. Every traveller gets one ration of the appropriate Forage per Watch if they want it, and falls deeper into the dreary malaise of Autumn if they eat it.

Clear: Damp moist air and clear bright skies. Rare but beloved. A welcome but short-lived respite.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion

Melancholy Mists: You sigh and you yearn for purpose. There are better things beyond the mists. Lives lived with meaning. Unlike yours. Your goals and dreams are a bit silly really, not the sort of things that other people would care about. Still, travelling weather if you care to try.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion.
Forage: Fat berries grow on the thorny bushes, eating them sustains you but makes you lose yourself in painful memories. Eating them deals 1 Cha damage.

Forgetful Rain:  A sustained drizzle that falls with a white noise susurration that makes your mind wander. At least the rain-fruits are out, withered but tasty, and they make you think about other things.
Outfield: Double chance of getting lost and/or crashing your vehicle.
Encounter: Ranged attacks at -4. Those in the rain are Slowed.
Forage: Trees bear withered fruits, which fill your belly and fill your mind with fog. Eating them deals 1 Int damage.

Unmaking Rain: Proper rain, this. Sheeting down with a wild wind that tears at clothes and hair and rips the seams and unties the bindings and shivers the nails out of the shingles. Get caught out in this and you'll get home naked, your clothes in rags.
Outfield: Half overland speed. Exposed equipment gains 1 Notch.

Tired Warning: The sort of sustained drizzle that doesn't get you wet but somehow soaks through your clothes. The grey sky overhead flickers with cloud lightning, the low rumbling warning of what's to come.
Encounter: All creatures are Slowed.
Forage: Tubers and ground fruit swell from the soil, which fill you up yet leave you hollow. Eating them deals 1 Wis damage.

The Soft: The clouds are soft and inviting. Childhood home. A parent's arms. Skin like crepe paper. Older better times. Crinkling fingers. Times before. No worries at all. You wobble. Bones like cartilage. A soft fall. So much to be done. What were you doing? Oh yes, that.
Outfield: Take 1 Dexterity damage per Watch as your body becomes unmoored from your mind. Eventually your body moves on its own, your skin feels soft and crinkles like paper, your joints bend strangely around your rubbery bones. You will spend the Autumn tending the plants in calm harmony, until your body softly shuffs to the floor, a bag of loam. Goblins instead merge onto the side of a tree, and tend the area with tentacle-vines with goblin minds.

Winter has snowfall broken up by Mushroom Slush or Clear days.
It's very possible to get caught in an interminable Blizzard at the bottom of the table though.


Special: Snow builds up over time, so several types of weather only affect you if the previous weather was marked as Snow.
You also need Cold Weather Gear, which counts as an Oversized item and can be broken like a splintered shield to cancel damage from one attack. If you don't have it, take the Frostbite effect.

Clear: Bright and cold, the air cool in your lungs without stealing your breath. Clean and fresh and sparkling, you can see for miles.
Outfield: Travel +1 Hex and remove any Exhaustion

Snowfall: Long nights leading to little days of calm white snowdrifts. By the time you leave your house it's starting to get dark, snowflakes following behind to fill your footsteps.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if the last weather was Snow.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.

Mushroom Slush: Sleet that melts the snow to black ice and cakes you with a thin layer of slush, not soaking in so much as piling on, making you feel shivery and clammy at once. Worse, the fungus. A hardy strain of swift-growing mycelium lives under the warm snowy blanket. Exposed by the sleet, it will try to evade the slush by climbing the closest tall warm thing and making a home there, filling pockets and bags with uninvited slime.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if the last weather was Snow. Gain an Oversized item called "Slush Fungus" - getting rid of it requires a wash in warm water or chucking affected gear out into Snow to kill the slime.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.

Blizzard: Complete whiteout. A death sentence to travel through.
Outfield: Gain 2 Exhaustion if you're not resting in Comfortable conditions. Food cannot heal you or remove Exhaustion during the Blizzard.
Encounter: Slowed. Ranged attacks at -8.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage and Save vs Doom or freeze to death.

Thundersnow: Hail and snow, flickering with flashbulb lightning. The dense white blanket surrounds you and gently softens the faint sounds of thunder.
Outfield: Gain 1 Exhaustion if the last weather was Snow.
Encounter: Hitting metal on metal causes a lightning strike! Victim(s) must Save vs Blast or be blasted back and take 1d6 lightning damage.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.

Mirror-Vine Sunshine: The winter snow tamps down the growth waves and the warnings, allowing the most tenacious mutant plants to shoot up over the winter. Foremost of these are the Mirror Vines which emerge from the snow covered in their searingly bright silver-leaved new growth, reflecting extra light onto their leaves while they've got the chance.
Outfield: Double chance of getting lost/crashing in daylight.
Encounter: Increase fumble range by +2.
Frostbite: Take 1 Dex damage.


How to use:
At noon and midnight, roll 1d6 and move the weather in that direction. If it would go backwards, go forwards instead.
If you're at the edge, stop if you hit an X. Otherwise reverse course.

Simple right?

If you've got a Ranger equivalent, let them roll weather in advance so they can be all "hmm the rain will turn to fog by midday". In my game this can be a group Bushcraft roll.

The main penalty for walking around in the nasty weather is Exhaustion.
Each point of Exhaustion gives you -1 AC and +1 Encumbrance, but you can get rid of it all by having a break with food. An army marches on its stomach after all!

Sometimes the weather rots your gear, giving a Notch.
A Notch decreases a weapon's damage die, or reduces AC by 1. This generally only affects armour when hiking around because I assume weapons are sheathed.
Notching other gear is on a case by case basis but I assume that most stuff is in a bag if you're not using it.

Weather effects are on this spreadsheet too -
Post-Apoc Weather


One last thing - daylight is based on season, which is another reason why winter travel is grueling.

A day is 6 Watches long, with each Watch being 4 hours.
In Spring and Autumn there are 3 Watches of Day, 3 of Night.
In Summer there are 4 Watches of Day, 2 of Night.
In Winter there are only 2 Watches of Day, 4 of Night.

I absolutely cannot be bothered to make it more granular.

At night you'll want torches or something because you can't see very far and could get lost or crash your wagon.
For more, see -
Hexcrawl Rules

And a minor aside to that one last thing -
Initiative is side-by-side: At the start of each round, both sides roll initiative, highest goes first. Reroll each round.
If the PCs have enough light they win ties.
If they have not enough light they lose ties.
If they have no light they always lose.

So they'll always win ties in the day, but at night it's down to torchlight.

Weather-Based Encounters

And of course a last important thing - Encounters!
Each weather type has its own kind of monster that only shows up when it rains or whatever, hopefully setting up some foreshadowing from a wizened old crone saying "watch out when the summer storms sheet down, my boy, or the clicking eels will getcha..."

Roll 2d6 down and 1d6 across for a result.
You'll notice that it's the classic (?) array of Encounter - Lair - Spoor - etc.

Number 8 is a Weather Special which gives an Encounter with the relevant beastie, or more often some unique weather-based effect.
Number 5 is Weather Effect which is generic, but has a chance to change the weather! Woe betide the party who thought they could travel through the Warning and finds themselves caught in thorn weather.

What mysteries lie in the Drudge Wastes??


The only change I've made to the gimmick since its inception is to make it player-facing and make the "forward" direction a bit more likely, to add a little more consistency and predictability for players looking at the weather sheet.

Mechanically I want weather to be a consideration but not onerous. Atmospheric in both senses of the word. Interesting but not a gotcha. But still, if you get caught out in it unprepared you'll have a bad time.
Same with predicting the weather - have it out on the table and let people plan for what's coming (although they will have to work out the colours, of course).
Originally I was all "he he he, they will have to learn that Doom Weather is guarded by a Warning" but honestly it's better to be player-facing when possible, especially since they can see the red next to the blue and go "hmm.. In wonder if red is bad".

Materially it also has to consider the fact that I'm always going to have PCs cycling in and out of the game each session, so it isn't going to be satisfying if you only missed a session and now you're taking 1d4 Drip damage per round because you missed your chance to buy an Umbrella from the Brollymen or whatever.
Plus I cycle to work every day and always have my wet weather gear on me just in case, so I imagine that someone whose only job is adventuring would at least have some sort of medieval festival poncho on them at all times.

Generally per season - 
Green is the Standard Weather, travelling weather but probably sucks shit.
Purple is Rain of various horrible sorts. Can you tell I'm a Brit?
Brown is the seasons's Storm, awful to be in but you can push through if you desperately need to.
Blue is an electrical Warning, heralding the arrival of the worst kind of weather. Tends to be good travel weather if you're willing to risk it.
Red is Thorn Weather. In the past this killed you instantly, today it merely takes your mind.
White is Clear. The only Good weather with a capital G. Straight up clear skies and far horizons.

One Last Thing

Don't forget to vote for Barkeep on the Borderlands!

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