Princes of the Apocalypse: Random Unusual Weather
Early in Princes of the Apocalypse it is repeatedly suggested that the Sumber Hills have been experiencing unusual weather lately. To reinforce that theme, I developed a set of random unusual weather tables for use while running the adventure.
Random Unusual Weather In Sumber Hills
Roll once per day on each of the tables below to determine how the weather is out of the ordinary. With these tables, there is around a 41% that some sort of strange weather will happen on a given day. If results happen too frequently or infrequently, the DM should feel free to reroll or just decide that something does or does not happen.
The DM can decide that unusual weather happens at any time during the day, or at multiple times, depending on what makes the most sense with the results on the table and what the PCs are doing. A sudden thunderstorm can break up an otherwise uneventful day of travel, or disrupt a night camping under the stars forcing the PCs to find shelter.
The duration of the events are also up to the DM’s discretion and what makes the most sense with the results rolled. For instance, unseasonable hot or cold temperatures might last throughout the day (and return to normal the next day), but a tornado is more likely a single event. Because later events in the story tend to amplify the weather and produce greater, longer effects, it’s probably best to keep these random strange weather events limited to a smaller period of time: a sudden, violent storm that develops quickly and stop just as abruptly a few minutes or an hour later; a series of small tremors that last a few minutes and then stop.
Connections To Random Encounters
There are several random encounters (p.30) that, when paired with an appropriate weather event, can help get across the idea that the strange weather is tied to the various cults. For instance, a sudden violent downpour may indicate that nearby is a group of water cultists (“Water cult marauders” encounter) gathered at the shore of a small pond upon which as water priest is conducting a rite of Olhydra. If you roll for random encounters and unusual weather at the start of the day, and both occur, feel free to let one inform the other, e.g., if the random weather is tremors, then instead of using the random encounter rolled, change it to something involving the earth cult (and include a priest or other magic user). Or if the random encounter is fire cult related and something came up when you rolled for random weather, change the weather to unusually high temperatures in the area around the encounter.
Be prepared for your players to draw the wrong conclusions about random strange weather. For instance, if you randomly roll up tremors the same day that they make it to Feathergale Spire, they’ll probably think the Feathergale Knights were responsible. You could mitigate this by having the strange weather correlate more closely with the Haunted Keep that best reflects it (i.e. high winds near Feathergale Spire, downpours closer to Rivergard Keep) but the randomness of the weather and its possible lack of correlation with places the PCs visit may also help hint at the fact that there is something larger happening and many factions at work.
I used the Weather table (DMG p109) as a starting point for this set of tables. You could easily include the light wind/precipitation from the DMG tables in the ones I published above; I opted not to for simplicity and to accentuate abruptness of the unusual weather.