Weather and the world

So in the last two weeks I covered How weather can impact the story, and how it can impact the mechanics of your game. This week I want to go into what weather can say about your setting as a whole.

Some places in the world are nearly synonymous with certain weather. Canada gets snow, Scotland gets rain and fog, Britain gets rain, Texas gets heat waves, you get the idea. Even though of course these ideas aren’t always accurate they are a part of the very mental image of these locations.

Your world can have that very same effect and make use of those powerful associations. Imagine a powerful NPC who always seems to show up during raging thunderstorms. A vast city perpetually wracked by blowing sands to the point that every market is held in great indoor buildings. A little village built on great stilts to account for the many flash floods common to the area. These are memorable in an instant, they are evocative and reactive. The moment a thunderstorm picks up and your players double check their battle ready you will know you’ve done it.

The best way to establish this connection is really quite simple, just use repetition and integration. If a city has different weather every day, it’s kind of just a normal city. There’s nothing really noteworthy about changing weather patterns. But when it’s rain, rain, rain, torrential rain, rain, flash flood, the players will notice a pattern. Secondly, all of my examples in the previous paragraph are extra easy to remember because they have something tied to them. The town knows they get floods, so they put their city on stilts. There is some aspect of the location, of the world, that has taken notice and accounted for a pattern. These are the details that players will remember. These are the things that let them have gondola duels, and parkour chases in raging sandstorms, and to kick someone out a window and into frozen lake 600 ft below.

There’s really not much more to say, it’s a simple but powerful concept that’s really easy to implement and I hope it helps bring your game to another level.