When using random weather tables for D&D, you want to see weather conditions that are varied and interesting, but not so extreme as to be hard to play in. The 20 entries for each season break down nicely into about 5 entries each for mildly cold, cold, very cold, and frigid conditions. This allows for each entry to be played once per season.
The nice thing about the random weather tables is that the weather conditions can be used to add depth and detail to the campaign world. For example, if the campaign takes place in the deserts of Ankhapur, the players should be familiar with desert heat and the various nuances associated with the blazing heat of midday, the cool shadows in the early morning, and the intense dry heat of mid-afternoon. They should also be familiar with sand storms, torrential rain storms, and extreme cold.
The tables are meant to be used in a random and spontaneous way. The DM need not announce that it is cold and sleeting, or hot and humid, or whatever. The players should not know what the weather is when they wake up in the morning. If you want to spice up the weather, and if you want to give your players a real sense of what the weather is like where they live, use the appropriate weather tables and announce that it’s hot and dry, or cold and windy.
For the next example, let’s look at the weather in a small town located near the edge of a forest on the east side of the Ankhapur Desert. The town is called “Fivestar” and it is known for its quietness and peacefulness, offset by the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. The area is sparsely populated and there are few travelers, merchants, and farmers in the area.
The townspeople live a life of quiet solitude, caring for their families and tending to the crops. There is little drama in this town, and each day, each person occupies themselves in typical, mundane ways (except for the occasional fracas between two farmers who are battling for the same plot of land).
The weather in Fivestar is moderate to moderately cold most of the year, especially in the winter. There is rainfall in the spring, and the springtime is a nice time to visit Fivestar. In the summer it can get hot, but it is rarely unbearable. The most interesting weather comes in the autumn and early winter. The leaves change in the autumn, and the cold winter winds blow in and bring with them snow. Snowfall is not uncommon, and a one foot snowfall will usually occur each year.
As you can see from this example, having a good grasp of the overall climate patterns in your campaign world will make the random weather tables a lot more useful. The season and temperature tables are rendered useless if you do not know what a typical day in the game world is like.
The following is a list of the 20 entries in each weather table. Use them whenever you feel the urge to throw in a little variety into the game.
20 Spring Weather Entries
1) The clouds on the horizon part, revealing a large, angry, red sun.
2) A breeze blows which increases in strength as the day wears on.
3) Bright sunlight illuminates the earth for about an hour accompanied by soft breezes.
4) A warm northern wind blows, raising a dust which soon obscures everything.
5) A stiff breeze blows which gradually increases in strength.
6) The temperature goes up suddenly.
7) A warm, dry wind blows.
8) It begins to rain. As the rain falls it gradually turns to sleet and then to snow. The sleet and snowfall is accompanied by a dramatic drop in temperature.
9) The sun is brightly shining through a thin layer of clouds.
10) It begins to rain. The rain turns to sleet and then to snow. As the rain falls the temperature rises slightly.
11) The sky is overcast. Occasional rays of weak, diffused sunlight break through the clouds.
12) Sunny, warm, windless weather.
13) It begins to rain. The rain turns to sleet and then to snow. As the rain falls the temperature suddenly falls to a low point, and then begins to rise.
14) It begins to rain. The rain turns to sleet and then to snow. As the rain falls the temperature suddenly goes up and then begins to fall.
15) The sky is overcast. Occasional rays of sun shine through with no perceptible warming effect.
16) A warm gentle breeze blows.
17) The sun comes out from behind the clouds.
18) A strong wind blows from the north.
19) A warm, gentle breeze blows from the northeast.
20) A strong wind blows from the south.
20 Summer Weather Entries
1) A cloudy day. Mild wind.
2) A light northerly wind blows all day.
3) The wind picks up and thunderclouds roll in from the west.
4) The sky is mild and clear … for now.
5) A strong wind from the west.
6) The wind rises and turns from the east to the north.
7) The sky is overcast and the wind is blowing hard from the west.
8) A summer shower blows through the area.
9) A warm wind blows.
10) A hot wind picks up but it is not uncomfortable.
11) Strong winds from the southwest.
12) A warm gentle breeze blows.
13) A strong hot wind blows.
14) A strong gentle breeze blows.
15) A strong hot northerly wind blows all day.
16) Hot light winds blow all day.
17) A storm blows in from the west. Thunder claps are heard and the rain pours down. The storm soon leaves, but the rain continues to fall.
18) A hot wind blows.
19) A warm wind blows.
20) A hot wind blows.
20 Fall Weather Entries
1) The summer heat continues.
2) A strong warm wind blows.
3) Warm, hot breezes blow all day.
4) A strong wind picks up and blows from the south.
5) The wind changes from the east to the north.
6) Overcast, with a light warm wind.
7) The wind picks up and a gentle rain begins to fall.
8) A warm, gentle breeze blows.
9) The wind picks up and a warm rain begins to fall.
10) A light wind blows, throwing leaves to and fro.
11) A strong wind blows, scattering leaves in all directions.
12) A strong, hot wind blows.
13) The air is chill and the wind blows hard.
14) A strong wind blows. The leaves, stirred by the wind, fall in an almost continuous stream.
15) A hot, windless day.
16) A gentle, warm wind blows.
17) The sun shines brightly through clear, warm skies.
18) A gentle breeze blows.
19) A strong wind blows.
20) On the horizon a storm looms. As the day wears on the wind picks up, the sky darkens, and it begins to rain.
20 Winter Weather Entries
1) The sky is overcast and it begins to sleet. The rain turns to snow as the temperature drops.
2) Snow begins to fall. The temperature drops 5 degrees.
3) A gentle snowfall begins. It is not very cold.
4) The snow picks up and a light breeze blows.
5) A light snow begins to fall.
6) The snow picks up and it is accompanied by a strong breeze.
7) It begins to snow. The sleet and snowfall is accompanied by a dramatic drop in temperature.
8) Snow flurries blow around.
9) Snow begins to fall.
10) Snow begins to fall. The temperature falls.
11) Snow begins to fall. The temperature drops suddenly.
12) Snow begins to fall. The temperature falls.
13) Snow begins to fall. The temperature falls.
14) The snow begins to fall. The temperature falls.
15) Snow begins to fall. The temperature falls.
16) A strong blizzard blows in from the north. It begins to snow.
17) The snow begins to fall. The temperature drops.
18) The morning is cold and clear. As the day wears on the weather gradually turns worse. By evening it is a full blown blizzard. It begins to snow.
19) A strong north wind blows. It begins to snow.
20) A northerly wind blows. It begins to snow.