“Close the shutters, grotesquelet. I have it on good authority we’re in for a stormy night.”
“With pleasure, Oh Round One. Hail?”
“Don’t grovel. My dear friend Ragwort the Amaranth Wizard tells me he’s expecting toads.”
“Please, proffer him my congratulations master.”
“Don’t be impertinent, and get that cat oiled.”
For One Night Only are occasional articles within YWH to spice up a single evening’s play. They are quirky changes of direction enabling you to throw a distinct bouncer (or should that be ‘curve-ball’?) at your players to keep them on their toes.
The latest addition details obscure weather conditions likely to occasionally grace any fantasy table—storms. Our precipitation is, of course, more outré than standard. Fantasy weather can be strange, which makes a great way to threaten or indulge in moments of great import or in prophecies about to come to fruition.
Devotees of YWH may recall that such suggestions come with a few simple suggested rules and situations to throw into the mix for the occasional evening’s play. This article is no exception. Each suggestion comes with a short description of events, included to save you time, but of course, vary, expand, and ignore these as you feel.
Hail of Stones
“The noise is growing, the sound of a storm unlike any you’ve ever heard—almost as though the world were a percussion instrument heralding the end of days. But it isn’t rain. It’s a storm unlike any you’ve ever seen. This is a coming wave of stones, pounding and destroying as they approach, a colossal hailstorm of destruction.”
This storm is particularly dangerous—exposure to its affects may be lethal. For every round in the open, a character must make a Reflex save (DC 20) or take 3d6 damage; cover should modify the save and damage. Such pounding begins to break even the strongest buildings: wooden structures are pelted and pulverised while slate is too brittle to withstand much. Only buildings with stone rooftops or very steepened gables—such as churches—suffer less. Perhaps, these buildings even survive the storm, evidence of their divinity maybe.
Those who have to brave outside—and of course this is likely to include the heroic PCs—face not only the damage but the land is obscured. Visibility is at best 15 feet and even then shady, indistinct. Movement is tricky and Perception checks reduced accordingly.
The Cloud of Crooked Birds
“The cloud is black—and very, very strange. It descends from the heavens in a coiling plunging maelstrom, and as it does, the reason for its peculiar nature is revealed. This is no mortal storm or terrible black thundercloud. This is a cloud of birds—swooping black ragged birds.”
The cloud of crooked birds gives you another angle to consider—and one that is briefly hinted at further below: living weather. Here, the birds bring the obscuring effects of weather like those above but with a more dangerous degree.
Those trapped outside are smothered within this impossible mass of crooked birds as though trapped in a vast swarm. The distraction DC is 22, the base damage is 3d6. As the swarm is so vast, this effect occurs each round and likely to only be survived by being within a building or other suitable cover—and even then, breaking of windows and ingress are likely.
Even Weirder Weather
This is fantasy weather, so customary colors, shapes, and mechanics of physics do not always need to apply: imagine rain that is like phlegm and falls in great sinewy lines from choked rooftops, snow that is the colour of vomit, or hail that contains frozen eyes. Take that a step further as we have above and think what a swarm of elementals would do to a village or high city district…
The twisted types of storms and rain you can throw at your PCs are limited only by your imagination.
For more of Pett’s perilous puns and collected oddities from Your Whispering Homunculus, check out More Whispering Homunculus.