BTTD #21: Well, the weather outside is frightful (and deadly).

Friends,

The holidays are upon us! What is happening?! I’m recovering from writing that ding-dang novel over the past month and I can finally start writing a bit more. (And some of you have asked about reading my book—when it’s past its first draft—you got it. I’ll put the word out right here.

This is Our Year—2020: the year of the crit!

I’ve been walking around calling 2020 the year of the crit (if you roll a ’20’ in most games, it allows for a bonus or a ‘critical’ success) or 2020: the critical year.

Now I used to write in the productivity space for years and I was big into New Year’s Resolutions, goals to accomplish. Sure they tend to drift away come March, but I’ve accomplished some, which is better than none.

But instead of burying myself in a hundred resolutions (which says something for my self-esteem), I’m just sticking to two or three. That’s it. That way I can measure progress and keep them front of mind. I’ll share those later!

The Weather

Previously I talked about weather. . . somewhere in one of these newsletters. . . But let’s talk about winter specifically.

Surviving a winter blizzard can create some great adventure ideas. It’s maybe not appear as thrilling as a dungeon, but a simple snowstorm can create some terrible burdens for your characters.

All the trade routes for food have been shut down. Robbery starts to uptick because people are starving. Characters have some choices:

  • Go after food deliveries and make sure people eat. Fight off brigands or invite them back into town.
  • Stave off wolves or other creatures looking to get into town. They are hungry. The people are food.
  • Is the storm the source of some elemental portal that’s opening? Do the characters have the wherewithal to close the portal?
  • Are fae involved? The winter queen? Has she lost control of her abilities? Is she scorned?

This is good for a beginning campaign just to simply get the action started, to go through rules and such. And it’s a good start for your characters—snowy nights let your characters get to know the NPCs in town. Other options for weather:

  • Magic literally rains from the sky. On certain nights, maybe once in a century, rain is imbued with magic and wizards collect it to recharge old dead magical items. Maybe it’s limited to a very small area and there’s a “fight to the death” mentality.
  • A thunderstorm gets out of control is raining down lightning at a huge rate around a city. Some say a god is angry. Some say something above the clouds is responsible. An experiment from an old wizard might have gone wrong. But the lightning is getting more and more prevalent and dark forces are starting to harness the lightning into something more sinister.
  • An earthquake has revealed a hidden temple outside of town, a long forgotten cult. Instead of the spooky, scary kind, this seems pretty benevolent. But why was it swallowed and why are other cults in a rush to get there? What could be hidden?

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