I’ve recently survived both Hurricane Irene and a completely separate, unrelated 2” deep basement flood. After having successfully survived these brushes with death moistness, it got me thinking: sometimes, you don’t get to game under sunny skies with Disney bluebirds singing in the trees and fluffy squirrels begging you for scraps like fuzzy, adorable homeless people.
Sometimes, the skies grow dark. The winds begin to howl. The thunder rolls, and the lightning strikes. Sometimes, you have to game under less-than-ideal conditions. And for your benefit, I have compiled a handy gamer survival guide for dealing with the most extreme of gaming-unfriendly weather conditions. Don’t let Mother Nature pwn your next gaming session!
Severe Thunderstorms [DC Outdoors:20; DC Indoors:11 ]
These can be tricky to prepare for, since weathermen have about the same tendency to correctly predict them as monkeys throwing darts at the wall stock market “experts.” But don’t let that dissuade you! Leave that to the lightning, thunder, and hail.
Clearly, gaming indoors during a thunderstorm will yield the lowest amount of weather related interruptions and game disturbances. And the intrepid DM can incorporate the weather conditions into the narrative of the game if desired; after all, why use that lame imagination of yours when Mother Nature is more than happy to provide?
Be sure to stock up on flashlights, bottled Mountain Dew, and non-perishable Doritos/Funyuns beforehand, just in case the power goes out. Oh, and if it does, the DM is officially required to narrate the action like this for the rest of the game:
[DC Outdoors: 24 DC Indoors:14-18*]
Once upon a time, the only people who had to worry about tornadoes lived in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and, if Mother Nature was in a really pissy mood that particular day, Nebraska.
We will never forget the horror…of having this book on our assigned reading list in 5th grade
But times are a-changin’. Tornadoes can pop up nearly anywhere these days, especially if a thunderstorm is already taking place. So if you’re going to game during a tornado, you have to prepare yourselves accordingly:
- Steer clear of mobile homes/trailer parks, as these are a tornado’s favorite food
- Windowless concrete or brick structures offer the greatest protection from most tornadoes
- *The best place to game during a tornado (in order to avoid pesky interruptions from flying cows and other noisy debris) is either a basement or a bomb shelter. Either will give you a very handy +4 AC bonus
[DC outdoors: 30; DC indoors: 10]
A hurricane is one of those weather events that can easily be turned into lemonade while Mother Nature hurls lemons at you anywhere from 74-237 miles per hour. Hurricanes are one of the most conducive weather situations for gaming. Think about it: you have to stock up on non-perishable snacks and beverages and lock yourselves indoors for 24-48+ hours. What does that sound like to you? Because to me, that sounds like the most EPIC. GAMING. SESSION. EVAR!
Beware, however; your virtually unlimited game time might leave your gaming session wide open for every single player to take 20 on every single action they perform. While the invincibility of this might be appealing at first, the slow and unchallenging tediousness might just have you wishing for a lemon to be hurled towards your face at the speed of a major league fastball.
[DC outdoors: 15; DC indoors: -2 ]
Blizzards are not entirely dissimilar from hurricanes, but are colder and have the potential to last a few days longer. Make sure you double or triple the amount of planned food/drink stores that you acquired for the hurricane, stock up on warm, fuzzy socks, and prepare to break up the gaming marathons with some cardiovascular snowball fights and creative snow sculpture construction.
[DC outdoors: 12; DC indoors: 10]
Sunny days can be a tricky situation to deal with. On the one hand, all those aforementioned cute little Disney birds and homeless squirrels are beckoning you to come out and play in the pretty, pretty sunshine. Sometimes, however, sunny days can get a little too sunny, like when the UV index is off The Weather Channel’s scale and highway road signs are forgoing Amber Alerts to advertise ozone warnings.
Under these conditions, you have to make sure that a) you bring enough food to keep the homeless beggar-squirrels from turning on you and b) carry a fairly strong SPF with you to your gaming session. Every 20 SPF your sunscreen contains will give you +1 to your AC. And yes, these bonuses stack, but only if you reapply every hour, on the hour.
Really Windy Days
[DC outdoors:17; DC indoors: 5]
While not always as dangerous as tornadoes, windy days can have their own challenges. For example, keeping your character sheet in place on the table can be a pain, and you can’t even use your D12 to anchor it down. Plus, while you may not have to worry about major distractions such as flying cows, other noisy or distracting debris (such as leaves, squirrel nuts, and other player’s character sheets) could come flying into your face at any second as you’re prepping to roll that critical hit (which you know you’re due for, because you’ve totally primed the crap out of your dice already).
Really Humid Days
[DC outdoors: 18 DC indoors:14]
You know what I’m talking about; those really humid days, where every inhale feels like a slow, painless step towards drowning. Or where everything in your room is covered in a distinct, disquieting layer of moist because you were silly enough to leave your window open. On these days, gaming isn’t necessarily impossible, but will be annoying as hell. Your ink will smear on your character sheet, you won’t be able to tell whether you’re sweating uncontrollably or whether your shirt is just soaking up the moisture in the air, and everything you touch will feel slimy and slick.
[DC outdoors: 50; DC indoors:37]
Gaming outdoors during a zombie apocalypse is highly inadvisable; but if you must be outdoors (and constantly reminded that the sun will still rise and fall and the stars will still twinkle with their could, soulless indifference despite the death of civilization), make sure you are on a secure rooftop with the door thoroughly barricaded.
Clearly, indoors is the safest place to game during the zombie apocalypse. Even if Jeremy sucks at boarding up windows. Even if you had to accidentally break Jeremy’s arm in a scuffle over the last funyun three days ago. Even if shoving a fully-loaded Glock 19 in your face makes Jeremy think you won’t fight him to the death over that last can of Mountain Dew. Even if –
HOLY #$%! THEY JUST BROKE THROUGH THE WINDOW!!! WHAT DID I TELL YOU, JEREMY?!
Lethea has only been gaming since 2006, unless you count the lost years of her childhood that were spent mastering Tetris and Dr. Mario. When not writing her satirical column "Loaded-20" or gaming, she enjoys kickboxing and hoarding rescue kittens. She also has a 97% chance of surviving the impending zombie apocalypse.