Super lightweight ways to keep track of time and weather?

Hey @joshleeper and everyone else - I think it’s helpful to focus on specific situations that happened during specific games with real players. Maybe we could return to that? Much of the above … doesn’t seem very practical to me. I am speaking as a private individual and not as a mod.

Yeah, that’s fair! To make it more concrete and specific:

In an FKR-style game, a player had the ability to detect when storms were approaching, and the play session took place in an area where storms could be very dangerous. I had a weather table but when the session ended I realized I never rolled on it because I simply forgot about it; it was a missed opportunity. I also prepared night encounters and day encounters, but never really advanced the time after the session started. It probably made sense that I didn’t advance the time during play based on the duration of their adventuring, but it bothered me that I hadn’t kept track of it at all. What tools or procedures could help me track time and weather, ideally in a minimalist fashion?

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I think that’s very specific and helpful for my understanding. The advice I can offer is flawed, in the sense that I’ve only used this in modern-day settings and not fantasy.
Some folks benefit from calendars. In modern settings, I usually establish the day of the week at the beginning of session. I don’t recommend tracking every hour - because like me, you seem to prefer minimal methods and have some trouble remembering all the many details (that weather ability is an interesting wrinkle!).
There are various procedures for dividing the day into watches. The one from the *Dark of Hot Springs Island comes to mind.
Also, this bookkeeping doesn’t have to be all on you. I have a dry erase board at my table for quick notes (publically visible) and there are similar tools online, depending on your style.
For things I tend to forget, sometimes I can pre-reroll a few “days” of encounters (or weather?) in advance. Hopefully some of this helps!

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I cleaned this up a little (image below), so it looks more organized than I’m really like during a typical session – but here are some tables I used in a d20 game earlier this summer. Alongside the one and only hex flower I’ve ever used, for some seafaring exploration on a randomly generated hex map. It’s a variation on Goblin Henchman’s Weather Flower, but I like the colors a lot. I’m just using a d8 to select a new hex on the flower, although the listed procedure was different, if I recall correctly.

Screen Shot 2021-12-15 at 10.20.51 PM

Recently, even though I don’t always use this exact table, I do still improvise 2d6 rolls for generating a time of day. If I roll an event, but I’m not sure when it should happen, I then roll for a random time of day (the table is biased toward “usual hours of waking” but you can flip the bias as needed). So if I know, “OK, it’s going to storm tonight … [rolls 2d6] … and you notice the first thunder around 8PM. What do you do?”

The “gradient roll” was my way of adapting PbtA moves from Perilous Wilds to d20, although I’ve made my scale a little less forgiving for my current d20 games. :slight_smile:

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I think dividing the day into watches is very useful, but I understand you don’t want to do that?

Anyway, you could overload your encounter rolls, meaning that if you have, say, an encounter on a roll of 1 on a d8, a roll of 2 means the weather changes instead.

You could use these tables which are very simple: Pits Perilous: Weather Tables From a Real Meteorologist (and a Simpler Alternative He Also Uses)...
So, when you roll a 2, you progress down this tables.

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This is pretty slick; it might be more detailed than I need but throwing it into a spreadsheet makes it seem pretty approachable. Thanks for sharing this!

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That’s an elegant approach to weather tables! I like it!

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Roll d8, higher is good weather for players (in general, or if an predictions of prophesizing about the weather has been made it means the weather turns out close to that) lower weather is worse for the players (or opposite predictions), Generally high would be nice sunny calm days, and low would be horrible thunderstorms, gales, and blizzards, interpret middling results as INDICATIVE of weather to come (wind starts picking up, light rain, fog) make a table for your region (1-8) if you’d like.

Then, once a weather has been established, roll d8, if its high it clears up completely the next unit of time/day, if middling it starts (or seems to start) clearing up (or just moves to a lower increment of that kind of weather ie: thunderstorm becomes rain shower), if low it continues unabated.

And repeat rolling this oracle as you go along, ad infinitum.


Example :

It starts out as a clear sunny, no weather at all day, hardly a cloud in the sky. The players are making an overland hike, a d8 is rolled, it gets a 5, pretty middling result, so the day remains sunny but heavy clouds start straying into the sky promising rain.

The next day roll again, a 7 this time! In good luck the clouds keep from bursting, and just remain sitting there (this result could also be interpreted as them moving past entirely, but I thought it’d be more interesting to expand on them and later rain would have more oomph if the clouds had been sitting around for sometime)

The next next day roll again,
a 6, still no rain, but the clouds loom ominously on, perpetually overcast.

The next next next day roll again, a 3! Thats fairly low, low enough to interpret as rain from all those clouds to start coming down in sheets upon players.


And there you go! Its a bit swingy but the swing can be ironed out by gm interpretation which is the fun of it. And it works solidly if you combine it with a small table of common weather for this region (specially if its a 2d6 curve table).

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