Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How's the Weather?

Any ongoing campaign inevitably has to deal with the weather. From day to day rain or shine decisions to the changing of seasons, the GM has to put some thought into a reliable system.

One basic trick is to base the weather on a particular location in the real world. Our Slaying Solomon campaign does this by referencing the historical weather in Massachusetts on the dates that the episode takes place. But what to do if your campaign isn't actually set in a real place? Recently, I came across some cool science that can help out: the Koppen climate classification. (Sorry, I can't get Blogger to do the umlaut.)

Courtesy of the University of Melbourne via Wikipedia.

As you can see on the chart, the system has 29 categories of climate, broken into various groups, based on annual temperature and precipitation averages. What's cool about it is that it groups regions from around the world into the same category, so you can see that Mexico City, Johannesburg, and Addis Ababa, for example, are all in the same category.

So let's take Markaz, the city at the center of my world. Roughly, I imagine the climate to be like Amman, Jordan. By consulting the Koppen system, I can see that Amman falls into the same category as Denver, Boise, Kabul, and Samarkand. Holy crap. Now I have not just one city to model my weather on, but an entire host of them. Maybe it would be easier to borrow Denver's weather than Amman's for a campaign.

Drawing parallels across different regions of the world can also help in developing descriptions and characteristics of locations. Maybe I'll find inspiration for something in the Samarkand countryside. I surely wouldn't have looked there before.

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