Thursday, November 6, 2014

Autumn in Greyhawk

Hello Greyfriends, autumn is my favorite season of the year so let's have an esoteric look at what weather conditions are like on Oerth in the Domain of Greyhawk. The World of Greyhawk boxed set as most know has the most elaborate weather generation system in all of D&D. For this post however I'm going to break open Roger E. Moore's quite excellent book from 2e, Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins. In this sourcebook he streamlines the climate rules of Greyhawk with this sensible if not blunt explanation.

"A few words should be said about weather as experienced by the average adventurer. First, almost no one bothers to measure it. Thermometers are not in great use in the Flanaess because they are fragile and mercury is hard to acquire; only a few sages, priests, and wizards have them for research purposes. Instruments exist that measure air pressure, humidity, wind speed, and so forth, but again, these are considered the province of the learned and homebound, with little practical application given them by explorers, treasure hunters and adventure seekers. To be fair, nearly all lower-class commoners and even many nobles have a similar regard for the value of meteorological equipment."

On autumn in the World of Greyhawk; there is but two months considered autumnal here (not including Brewfest, the week long festival leading in to autumn). One of the best things about this setting is the variety of cultures and their own names for things. In the case of seasons, the first month (October to us) is called Patchwall, or Brightleaf in elven lands, Hare by the nomads of the northern reaches and Feast by the peoples of Hepmonaland. The second month is Ready'reat (November), also called Tinklingice by the elves, Hawk in the north, and intriguingly Lovers in the jungles of the south.

Using The Adventure Begins, here's the current autumn condition for Ready'reat in the Domain and City of Greyhawk (assuming average die rolls and chances of change):

Sunrise 6:43 am
Sunset 4:42 pm
(10 hours, which is noted as a normal day's march. Also, unlike temperature, apparently adventurers do keep track of time.)
Sky partly cloudy
Temperature cool (40-55 degrees if you must know)
Precipitation none but 42% chance of light to heavy rain tomorrow
Winds blowing from the south (must be the Woolly Bay effect).

Now because I'm curious and for comparison, I will use the Weather Generator from the Glossography:

Sunrise 6:46 am (3 extra minutes to sleep in)
Sunset 4:45 pm (3 extra minutes to prepare for vampires)
Sky partly cloudy
Temperature low 35, high 57 degrees (a bit colder but close enough)
Precipitation 40%
Wind 4-9 mph (the Glossography says prevailing winds in the Flanaess come from the north and northwest during fall and winter)

Overall not too far off, so the streamlined weather rule tables in TaB are definitely worth using for DMs who don't need too precise information. More next time!

1 comment:

tom said...

Cool article. And you are definitely right to recommend the TAB weather rather than the overly complex and largely useless system from the WoG boxed set.

When I first saw it printed in The Dragon as an unofficial fan submission, I thought: ok, parts of it seem useful, but it's way too complicated and it has some glaring errors that can lead to patently absurd results.

When it was reprinted almost verbatim in the WoG boxed set, I was extremely disappointed and annoyed that TSR had wasted that much precious space in an otherwise excellent product. Of the 8 pages, the Baseline Data table plus maybe 1-2 more pages are worthwhile and the remaining 5-6 would have been better used for just about anything else Gary Gygax might have considered including.