The Gassy Gnoll: ‘Tis the Season of Change…

The time change always throws this Gassy Gnoll for a loop. Not sure if it’s the lack of sleep (is losing an hour, even on a Sunday, really necessary?) or the aggravation of changing clocks or adjusting schedules that affects me, but it does. So between the time change and the fact that we are chugging through Spring already here in Colorado, there’s entirely too much change for me.

Am I a grumpy old troll? Some would say yes. And to those I’d say no, I’m a Gassy Old Gnoll, but I understand how you’d get confused. Similar pattern to those phrases.

Gassy Gnoll

Gassy Gnoll

That said, for some reason I’ve been pondering the changing of seasons and how it applies to RPG settings.

Here in Colorado we have four pretty distinct seasons – Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. And though we sometimes get more snow and bad weather in Spring than we do in Winter, it’s one of those transition periods
between the Winter and Summer Solstices we call the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes. We’re constantly heading from one solstice to the next, making change the only true constant.

Meanwhile, when we lived in Arizona, I would break the seasons into two major categories – hot and not – roughly equating to summer and winter. We really didn’t see much fall or spring except for on a few trees in Phoenix. Living in the desert we were caught between the extreme heat (usually the first 100 degree day would happen around the middle of May) and we wouldn’t cool off until about November when we’d fairly consistently be in the 50s and 60s. I loved the “not” season and hated the “hot” season, but if you like warmer climates it definitely can appeal I guess.

So where am I headed with this? Often in my campaigns I’ve kind of assumed the nirvana of weather. It’s fairly temperate all year round with the occasional rain shower or storm, but nothing major. Obviously I was ignoring the whole solstice/equinox dance in my world design and focusing more on the PCs, NPCs, and plots than anything else with my open sandbox approach.

Now that I’ve been looking at more complete worlds like Wolfgang Baur‘s Midgard, I’m pondering the more global picture with seasons and storms, climate, and all of the different variables that brings into play.

Here’s my question… What broad techniques do YOU use in your games to handle seasonal and climatic changes in your game worlds? I’m especially curious about any rough guidelines or simple ideas to add such variables into an existing world without completely tossing out the baby with the bathwater. Though I could start my world again from scratch, I’d just as soon find ways to adapt it to add more realism without going overboard or killing myself in the process.

Any ideas?

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2 comments to The Gassy Gnoll: ‘Tis the Season of Change…

  • I’m having in fun in my Cyberpunk game at the moment, with the idea of controlled weather and ‘perfect’ season. You know, the idea that summer is all about long days, and a few slowly scudding clouds, while winter is deep snow and a frosty breath. And then changing it every once in a while, just to see how the players respond…

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