Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Different Way of Using Weather Flowers (Hexmap Stuff)

So you're all familiar with weather flowers, or will be when I explain them in a second:


This one's itty-bitty, for demonstration purposes. Larger ones are more common.

    We start in the central hex (labeled "SUNNY"). Put a little smiley face on that one in Paint, if you want. Every weather-time-interval (a day, a few hours, whatever) we roll a d6 (or a d8 and treat 7s and 8s as "stay still" but whatever). If we roll a 1, we move straight up on the diagram (into one of the "RAIN" hexes), if we roll a 2 we move to the 2'o'clock hex (also "RAIN" on this flower), and so on. When we encounter an edge we slide across it to a new hex as best we can. In this example, when we hit a grey hex we return to the "SUNNY" hex in the center — imagine a damp rainforest, where it's never "SUNNY" for more than one weather-time-unit consecutively but the bad storms never last long either.

    Simple, reliable, versatile, handy visual aid, and a little more verisimilitudinous than just rolling on a list (note that, in the example flower, you can't enter a bad storm hex unless you started in a rainy hex). Makes sense that people like them. Let's try something with no playtesting instead:


STORMS AS ENCOUNTERS


Yes, that's a hexmap of Middle Earth. It was the first appropriately sized map I found.

    Here's the pitch: The weatherflowers operate like a hexmap, so let's try putting them on a hexmap. Treat them like creatures (purplecthulhu gave me this link when I described this idea; it's good stuff and you should check it out as well). When you roll a d6 for the weatherflower this instead determines in which direction the storm moves. This allows weather to pass over the players while they stand still, allows players to see storms coming and outrun them or hunker down, allows tracking of weather in areas not immediately surrounding the players, and whatever other applications you can think of.

    Here are a few examples (hurricanes "slide" across mountains, wildfires stall on mountains and water, swarms swarm):

NORMAL STORM
HD 10, AC as weather, Morale 13
Movement: as hurricane (24").
Morality: no.
Intelligence: none of that either.
Attacks:
Light Blue Drizzle (automatically makes targets damp. Boats move at half speed).
Blue Thunderstorm
(those with metal equipment or otherwise endangered save every 10 minutes or are struck with lightning. Boats as Drizzle, but also move at half speed in a random direction).
Dark Blue Hurricane (unarmored enemies save every 10 minutes or are struck with flying debris, 1d6 blunt damage. those with metal equipment or otherwise endangered are struck with lightning. Boats as Thunderstorm, but also save or are damaged).
Abilities: Normal Storms are invulnerable to mundane weapons and magical weapons not specifically enchanted to harm Normal Storms. For the purposes of magic, Normal Storms are not "alive" and are not in a spell's area-of-effect unless entirely engulfed or the spell says otherwise. They take 6 damage every time they roll to move.

    This one might be encountered on the high seas, or in coastal areas during the rainy season. Fairly standard. It "dies" after a certain amount of time, depending on its HD roll and if the players know any spells which can hurt storms.



GREAT FIRE
HD 5, AC as fire, Morale 12
Movement: as wildfire (12").
Morality: hungry for destruction-with-fire (Chaotic Neutral).
Intelligence: animal.
Attacks:
Yellow Smoke (stench of burning, sounds of death).
Orange Fire (flammable objects destroyed, flammable creatures take 1d6 damage per round unless protected).
Pink Hellfire (non-bedrock objects destroyed, flammable creatures die, inflammable creatures take 1d6 damage per round).
Black Salamander Court (creatures with less than 12 charisma take 1d6 damage a round. possible to perform the Rite of Agni).
Abilities: Great Fires are invulnerable to mundane weapons and magical weapons not specifically enchanted to harm Great Fires. Great Fires are immune to fire and lightning damage. They take 6 damage every time they roll to move.

    I like the idea of a vaguely-malicious wildfire as an enemy. If you want that Rite of Agni (whatever it is), you're going to have to either snake your way into the center through the normal fire in the orange hexes or figure out a way to survive the hellfire in the pink ones.



SPIDERSTORM
HD 20, AC as swarm, Morale 9
Movement: as spiders (18").
Morality: careless with lives, obedient to the Spider Mother (Lawful Evil).
Intelligence: stupid, jumpy, prone to biting.
Attacks:
Brown Recluses (unprotected meat is painfully bitten, disease follows if not swiftly cared for).
Black Wolves (harmless but hand-sized spiders swarm over everything, hirelings and animals refuse to continue).
Red Widows (unprotected meat is painfully bitten, save every ten minutes or seize out frothily).
Hazel See-Me-Nots (unprotected meat is painlessly implanted, eggs hatch in 3 days and baby spiders pour forth).
White Spider Mother (4th level Priestess of Lolth casts spells on creatures).
Abilities: Spiderstorms follow swarm rules (if you don't have swarm rules: takes 0 damage from attacks but automatically fails saves and the like). If its Spider Mother is killed the Spiderstorm also dies.
Spells: Envenomate, Flesh to Webbing, Lesser Polymorph (Giant Spider), Web and Ten-Thousand Hungry Children. 4MD, mishaps and dooms as Priestess of Lolth
    Spiderstorm! Incidentally:

Priestess of Lolth (Wizard School)


Perk: You may speak with venomous creatures at-will. Spiders will serve you loyally, and will spin web and bite at your command. Other venomous creatures aren't necessarily obedient, but will be friendly and non-aggressive.
Drawback: Spiderstick. Your fingers are always a little tacky — not enough to climb with, but enough to be inconvenient at the worst possible times.

Cantrips:
1. When you pass through a doorway or narrow opening, you may cross it with delicate and near-invisible threads.
2. You may choose to bleed silk rope instead of blood, 10' per hitpoint lost.
3. At-will, once per night, permanently increase the length of your teeth by 1d6 inches. This replaces missing teeth and you may file them down (given sturdy tools).

Spells:
  1. Envenomate. Envenomates.
  2. Web. As the Wizard spell.
  3. Spiderclimb. Ditto.
  4. Urticating Bristles. Sprout defensive equipment.
  5. Ballooning. Flying, but spider-themed.
  6. Flesh to Webbing. Like it says.
  7. Webbing to Flesh. Ditto.
  8. Lesser Polymorph. Random: 1. Giant Spider 2. Normal Spider 3. Hot Elf.
  9. Dimension Trapdoor. Like a Dimension Door, but there's a huge fuckin' spider in there.
  10. Ten Thousand Hungry Children. Like a Cloudkill but way, way worse.

Mishaps:
  1. Your dice return to your pool only on a result of 1 or 2 for 24 hours.
  2. Take d6 damage, adding the result to your [sum].
  3. Spell cannot be cast again for 24 hours. 
  4. Spell fails entirely, instead you cast [Sum] Times Ten Thousand Confused, Imminently Mortal Children
  5. Gain X eyeballs for 24 hours, where X is your current number of eyeballs. Every time you reach a new pinnacle of eyes, depth perception is impaired for the duration.
  6. Gain X limbs for 24, where X is your current number of limbs. Every time you reach a new pinnacle of limbs, movement is impaired for the duration.

Dooms:
  1. Gain X eyeballs, where X is your current number of eyeballs. Every time you reach a new pinnacle of eyes, depth perception is impaired for the duration.
  2. Gain X limbs, where X is your current number of limbs. Every time you reach a new pinnacle of limbs, movement is impaired for the duration. 
  3. Turn into a sexy drider. For every doom past this one, gain X eyeballs and X limbs.

2 comments:

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  2. New meaning to "that was a monstrous storm". This also makes those weather control spells much more useful and opens the door to weather damaging spells and items as a requisite for journeying through certain regions. "Better get that 'spider to butterfly' ritual figured out before we hit the plains."

    Very cool!

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