weather 1. 39 Supernatural Weather Event Ideas ============================================================ * Tsunami. Preceded by a violent earthquake, everyone knows it’s coming to shore; time is running out to evacuate everyone before it hits.
Also, the water level drops to create the huge swell. The lowered sea level reveals parts of the sea bed not usually seen from the beach. What if it revealed a sunken ship or a castle? How much time is there to investigate before the tsunami hits?
The tsunami is driven by a supernatural horse that is trapped in the waves. Now is his chance to try to rush upon the land and get free. It is said that the right horserider, catching the wave, might assist the creature in escaping.
The horse is actually an evil god/demon/devil trapped in the waves by retribution of a sea god; the villain of the campaign is trying to free the horse; the PCs need to help people escape, stop the villain from freeing/allying himself with the horse demon, and not get killed when the tsunami hits. Good times.
It’s raining tanglefoot bags. During late spring storms, a certain tree saturates the air with sticky seeds. Storm rains gel with the seeds to create a temporary glue. After the storm, as things dry, the seed water congeals, trapping anything in it. This effect is especially dangerous if pools are trapped in large fronds and other places that can be accidentally disturbed, resulting in fast entrapment even days after a storm. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goodsAndServices.htm#tanglefootBag
Thunderstones. A certain storm carries hail that emits deafening booms when it strikes hard surfaces. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/equipment/goodsAndServices.htm#thunderstone
The unlocking. Once a year or so a dense fog rolls in that has the strange power to magically open all but the most difficult locks. Mechanisms mysteriously spring open, tumblers turn, and rods move, making people very insecure.
Fireballs. What GM can resist weather that throws random fireballs around? Fortunately, during fireball storms, the flames are fuelled solely by storm energy and quickly snuff out after impact, thereby leaving just impact points and debris.
Random thoughts. A hot wind blows infrequently from the east that seems to pick up the thoughts of those it passes. Trained listeners can pick out carried thoughts, and masters of the art can even identify who a thought came from through visions.
A tornado that does very little wind damage but sucks things up and deposits them in another location or dimension.
Undead fog. On a certain night, when the time of year and moon phase is just right, a fog will emanate from a graveyard, bringing with it the shades of those buried in there. Some seek comfort, some want justice, others want revenge.
Fog of succor. This often rises to enshroud the helpless or lost, providing a protective cover and putting those caught into a deep sleep. Upon awakening, victims have been healed, rescued, or set upon the right path.
Dirt devils. Heat driven mini twisters that whip across dusty landscapes are actually a type of demon struggling to burst through the planes onto this world. Normally harmless in a rural area, they are dangerous if they gain a handhold on this side, such as a building or a person.
Wildwinds. The relatively warm wind blows in once a year. Anyone touched by the wind becomes carefree, ceases to do chores, and will only laugh, frolic, make music, and eat food. Make it fun by contrasting the way different towns respond to the effect. One town prepares feasts, decorations, and even those not affected join in the fun. In another town, people see the winds as immoral and temptations. They isolate themselves inside to pray while the winds pass by; maybe they tie up livestock or other animals outside so they can find out if the effect is over.
The elements. Every weather event is controlled by an elemental. For powerful weather forces, elementals team up. It is said that, if you can find the elementals controlling a particular weather event you can end the event by slaying the creatures, or striking a deal.
Rains of the earth. A strange torrent of rain that turns metal into stone, stone into mud, and mud into dust.
Warm winds. These winds come in winter from the south and carry with them memories of those still enjoying their sunny weather. Those affected think it is much warmer than it is, refuse to put on warm clothes, want to sun bathe and swim. They do not feel cold until they collapse of hypothermia. Concerned well wishers must restrain those affected until the effect passes.
Winter chimes. Especially common after ice storms. Wind in the trees sound like tinkling chimes. Children and the simple minded hear fey promises of candies and treats. If you follow the sounds you will be led deeper and deeper into the woods, facing environmental or even more supernatural dangers within.
Zephyr of harvest. This strange wind affects only small areas and can appear at any time of year. Plants grow, blossom, and mature wherever the wind passes, creating small, bountiful crops of fruit and nuts, and other food if the plants have already been seeded. Many villages perform special ceremonies each year to attempt to attract the zephyr.
Quick fall. In this part of the world, fall comes quickly. The leaves change colours on one day, and the next, strong downdrafts tear them from their tress. Anyone caught in a downdraft has visibility reduced, might get buried in leaf drifts, and has their strength drained from them (possibly aged). The third day the leaves (and anyone caught in them) are carried away on gale force winds to a great sink hole in the north where the locals say a demon feeds on the decay until the next year.
It’s raining fish. Water spouts form and throw fish and other small marine life into the clouds, where they rain down later over land. Perhaps this time it’s raining mermaid(s), and with only fresh water near, how do we help them? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterspout
Mana from hell. In a distant mountain meadow, dew on grasses in early morning smells and tastes like nectar or a favourite food. Few can resist once they start tasting it. Those affected just want to stay and eat, wait until the next morning, and eat more dew. They are unaware they are not gaining any nourishment and will waste away in a contented stupor, leaning against small bump on the ground until they die of hunger. At this point, the grasses cover the person and a new small but comfortable bump in the meadow appears.
Quick change. In a valley between two large continents, winds converge from all directions to a great rift canyon where the earth inhales them. Temperatures fluctuate rapidly between scorching dry heat, humid, tropical gales, and icy, cutting winds. You can get drenched, frozen, steamed, and lightning bolted in a matter of minutes. Keeping your footing is difficult, your body gets shocked by the changes, your skin gets chapped and sore. The only thing tougher than the climate is the people who live there.
Mood weather. For a couple of days a year each person gets their own micro-climate that changes according to their mood. Two people in a long conversation usually end up with similar weather until parting. Ten people with strongly opposing moods might create small twisters. Leaders of countries have sought to use this time for treaty making, as cold, bitter winds reveal lies and betrayal, while rays of sun peaking through clouds foretells hope and promises of peace. Doubtful lovers might seek confirmation of compatibility, and used car/horse salesmen toss up their hands and take the days off, “In honour of these special times.”
Rain of life. Every now and then, at the height of the rain season, a certain cloud seems to travel against the wind. Trees touched by its rain animate. Some blame the elves and druids when this happens, and so far they have not denied these accusations. “Dad, where’s the forest?”
Ebb tide. The lowest tide every 77 years that lasts for 7 days. Submerged land seen for the first time in decades might reveal all kinds of interesting things.
Slowflakes. This unnatural phenomenon happens before winter ends to give way to a warmer season. Those caught on this rare occurrence see unnaturally large and slow falling blue snowflakes. Everyone touched by the flakes are slowed down as per the Slow spell. http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/slow.htm
Light, temporal storm. Crackling blue-white flashes of energy and misty reflections mark this strange event. It is disorienting to most normal creatures and has random effects on speed, direction, and time:
Victims are hasted, slowed, timestopped, or timeslipped.
Time duplicates from the near future appear.
Creatures disappear for a few moments.
Melee attacks hit a random creature.
Time breezes might cause a mass slow or mass haste.
A gust might cause a mass stop.
An eddy might cause a mass timeslip.
The eye of the storm might be clear of effects, or a highly charged magical area that could be useful for certain epic magics.
The wall of the eye might have random, chaotic effects.
Echoes of past and future contain misty/cloudy/smoky images that form into whatever the DM wants.
The calm preceding the storm might seem eerie, quiet, and slow.
Dirt devils open small, one-way gates to the air elemental plane. Trapped creatures must find another means to get home.
A poisonous gas cloud. Perhaps a wizard experiment went horribly wrong and the periodic gas cloud is the result.
Acidic rain. It starts to rain and exposed flesh and other vulnerable materials take damage. Remember that animals, such as mounts, familiars, and animal companions, will be affected.
Snow visions. A strange snow falls in some areas that has a hallucinogenic, memory-altering, or amnesia effect on those trapped in it.
Green Flash - a real phenomenon. In the game world, when it happens during a waxing moon, all druidic or nature magic is memorized at one caster level higher. During the full moon, it’s two caster levels higher. During the rare Solstice + full moon, it’s three caster levels higher. (This is why nobody messes with the druids at Solstice.) http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/
Shocking hail. Hailstones are “frozen electricity.” Those struck by this springtime phenomenon take electrical damage unless they are grounded. Local merchants sell “Hail Protection” devices (steel umbrella dragging a copper wire, tin conical hats with the same wire) of dubious value.
Bloody sun. When an upwind volcano is active, the sunrise is a bloody red color, and even daylight has a reddish tint. Legends say a (evil deity, demon, local wizard) is stirring up trouble. Bloody sun days can be singular events or last for weeks. Crops, flowers, and other things that depend on sunlight act as if they are still in darkness, and creatures sensitive to regular daylight are unaffected by the ruddy light. Evil or darkness spells are cast at +1 caster level, and good or light spells at -1.
Summer snow. In the hottest summers there will sometimes be a sudden snowfall from a clear sky. Thought to be a blessing from the Gods of Winter, this snow, if eaten fresh, is reputed to cure injury, disease, and other maladies. The melt water is holy, and can be further blessed to create double-strength holy water.
Rain of light. Instead of water, it rains droplets of light. When it touches people it heals them for 1 hp for each hour spent under it. It also cures diseases if exposed to 2 hours under it.
Phantom whirlpool. Suddenly and without a warning a whirlpool appears under the ship. It is rumoured this happens when not enough is sacrificed. To appease the sea goddess valuables must be tossed to the sea quick or the ship will sink.
Fire rain. Instead of water it rains an oily and flammable liquid. If for some reason fire is applied to it, everything in the area burns hotly.
And it rained gold! Rocks with raw gold begin to fall. Sure, it killed a few persons and destroyed most of a town, but it’s gold! Is this a gift from the gods or a curse? Everyone is seen rushing to the area to get rich while they can.
Lighting strikes twice. In the village of Deathcliff, once a year during the thunderstorm season the gods smile upon those foolish or brave enough to test themselves. Anyone who calls upon the favour of the thunder gods and raises his sword to the heavens is rewarded by a lighting bolt falling twice on him, dealing damage as usual, but bestowing for a year magical properties upon the sword if he survives.
The garden of love. On this small area during spring, the scent of the flowers make people who smell it fall in love until next spring. Locals know this and take precautions by not going near that field during spring except for occasional young lovers who willingly subject themselves to it.
- Start With A Concept ============================================================ As with many design tasks, it’s often easiest to start with a blank page and write down any ideas that come to mind for a particular theme - this time, for supernatural weather events. Don’t edit or deny any ideas, just keep writing. Even if an idea is poor, writing it down anyway helps the process, causes more ideas to flow, and turns off the self- critic that prevents creativity.
After five minutes or when you’ve sat for awhile without writing anything new, check out your ideas and flag the best ones for development or future consideration.
If inspiration evades you, try these activities:
Google for ideas: strange weather, bizarre weather, supernatural weather, alien weather.
Turn a spell into an event. Pick a random spell and see what weather ideas come to mind. For example, I just visited [ http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/spells.htm ], closed my eyes, and clicked. I got Magic Fang, which makes natural weapons more effective.
Weather ideas from that: o A special rain that buffs monsters for a couple hours. o Thorns rain down, perhaps delivering a toxin or beneficial bite. o Clouds turn into fang shapes thus warning of an incoming weather event. o Fang-shaped illusions appear over creatures of a certain type or alignment. Bad to be pointed out when secrecy is desired. o Fang-shaped lightning. o Fang-shaped hail that is deadly.
Some of those ideas are ok, and some are not so good, but regardless, the spell inspired.
Any game rule has good inspiration potential, actually. Tanglefoot bags from D&D, for example, inspired the sticky storm idea in the Weather Event Ideas tip. The skill for opening locks inspired the weird unlocking fog idea.
Look at art for inspiration. Pictures of weather are good, as are pictures of strange environments, fantasy locations, and alien worlds.
- Design For All Six Senses ============================================================ Think about the six senses while you craft your supernatural weather:
Use the senses to inspire interesting effects and craft engaging descriptions. Use the above bullet list as a checklist, perhaps picking two or three senses that are affected more than the others for each event to keep design moving along quickly, and to make the experience of each event different.
- Give Supernatural Weather A Fixable Cause ============================================================ The first part of this tip is to give each weird weather event a specific cause. What is the source? What triggers must happen for the weather to occur? Is there motive behind the cause?
The second aspect is to give each cause a solution. What must happen for the weather events to stop? Can the events be stopped forever, or just temporarily? Feel free to make solutions difficult or near impossible. The important part is that you define at least one cause and solution.
In books and movies, it’s fine to have absolute conditions that cannot be controlled. The window of time and interactivity of those entertainments is very small. World depth is not a primary concern.
With RPGs though, it’s all about interactivity. For campaigns, the window of time is far beyond 120 minutes or 700 pages. Depth in your game world is an important tool for crafting campaigns that thrive.
Game world depth is more about relationships than details. You can list a thousand details about a region and it might still feel shallow. Relationships are what drive game world forces and elements. They spawn details in a natural way, but they also link your game world elements together and provide levers for the PCs to investigate, learn about, and pull.
For example, I would rather have the names of 10 NPCs and knowledge of their conflicted relationships to each other than a thousand-name list of an entire town’s population. The relationships give me story, plot, encounters, and NPCs the characters can interact with. The roster of names just gives me a static inventory and no depth.
Ahem. Got off on a tangent there. The principle is, if you can provide a game world with relationships and elements that the PCs can change, you have depth and a strong campaign base. Providing cause and solution for supernatural weather, even if you don’t think the PCs will get involved, builds depth in your world that will have beneficial downstream effects.
In addition, it’s odd how, once you create something with some potential interactivity, it finds a way to weasel into your gameplay….
- Design Pre-Event Anticipation ============================================================ Some weather phenomena might occur without warning. Gameplay still benefits from the effects of the event, but you could get even more value with a little pre-event build up. Value doubles if the PCs have experienced the event before and realize what’s coming….
The best way to communicate that an event is coming is through signs and warnings. These should be visible or noticeable by PCs, else the effect is lost.
It helps to divide potential event signs and warnings into four categories.
For each category, think about:
How they react. Behaviour, actions, activities. For example, humans might board up windows, plants might curl up their leaves, animals might get nervous and make noise.
Warning time. How much notice do you want to provide? Start the signs and warnings at this point. For example, winter omens might indicate certain storms in the summer, or fleeing creatures might indicate an event is minutes away.
Location. How far away do the signs reach? If the PCs are deep underground or just in a building, will signs reach them?
Precision. Are the signs accurate? Do they indicate the exact event, a range of event possibilities, or just that something is not right? Best case is the signs create a puzzle for the players to figure out, such as a code or pattern.
Coping strategies. The signs might take the form of preparation. Some might just weather the storm (sorry for the pun) and heal or repair afterwards. Others might take steps to achieve protection or immunity. Alternatively, some might try to maximize advantages from events with good effects, such as by placing containers out to capture healing rain.
Creating a few signs to warn of an upcoming event gets you more value out of that event. It also provides a few extra details that have relationships or can spawn additional GMing ideas:
- Encounter details. Reveal the signs over several encounters. They might pose a bit of a mystery, and will add interesting details to encounter locations or backgrounds. Signs don’t need to be the basis of these encounters, but can be picked out or noticed by players who like to get into that type of thing.
For example, an encounter with a monster could start with the PCs noticing a creature digging a large hole (for protection against an impending storm). The PCs fight, parley, or evade as normal, but the extra detail lends additional flavour and might make them curious.
Another encounter involves helping merchants with an overturned cart combined with a wild dog attack targeted at one of the horses. In the background, observant PCs can spot birds fortifying their nests and other animals fleeing south.
Upon arriving at the village, all the buildings are empty. The place is quiet, though cooking pots and chimneys boil and smoke away. As the characters move through, they hear a strange moaning. They approach the noise and find all the villagers engaged in some kind of ceremony. To interrupt would win the people’s wrath. To participate wins their friendliness. To watch gives a chance to figure out what the ceremony is about. Regardless of the PCs’ choice, a storm is coming….
- World building. Daily life is a difficult thing to develop for each culture in your world. Create different reactions and coping strategies to supernatural weather to add new cultural details.
Supernatural Weather, Part 2
By Johnn Four
Thanks again to the following for their help: Robgonzo, Eric FitzMedrud, Gus, Lorele Phoenixjade, Bobby Nichols, Telas.
Here’s a suggestion if you have the time this week. Use the tips in this issue and in part 1 to craft five types of weather events that can occur in your current campaign region. Not only is ongoing world-building a worthwhile task, but having a specific design case will help you use and remember these tips better.
Once you have crafted your strange weather, send the ideas on over and I’ll put them in the e-zine to inspire other GMs.
Note that stranger is not better. You are welcome to design high-fantasy weather, but often the best supernatural weather for your world, and the type that fits into other campaigns with ease, is that which has something just a little strange or unusual about it. Subtle often plays out best.
- Design Weather Effects ============================================================ Determine what attributes and effects the weather event has. Some effects might require game rules, and others just a brief description. Think of effects as occurring in two stages:
- During the event
- After the event
Mid-event effects are based on the direct qualities of the weather. For example:
- Storm surges - flooding
- Fierce winds - broken trees and building damage
- Strange lights - panic, temporary blindness, feelings of peace
Post-event effects deal with the consequences once the weather has passed.
- What kind of recovery efforts are required?
- How do those affected cope with, or take advantage of the situation?
- How long until life returns to normal?
Examples might be refugees, a temporary sellers market for magic hail stones, attacks by crazed or supernaturally buffed monsters, incredible stories from survivors.
Another way to think about effects is to classify them as weal or woe. Doing this gives you a sense of the design’s balance. A tip from Gus is to avoid events that decimate commoners. Ensure your weather designs don’t create worlds inhospitable to life.
|At the minimum, you should record a few weather attributes|
|to get an idea of the base event experience.|
- Wind speed
Temperature: Does it change? By a little or a lot? It can also be a requirement - snow, for example, requires cold. Note any important or relevant details about temperature.
Precipitation: Is there any, what form does it take, how much is typical for the event? Look at temperature to inform what kind of precipitation falls: a warm summer rain, cool spring mist, cold sleet or ice rain, and so on.
A little precipitation gets things wet, a lot might cause problems such as flash flooding or rivers that are impossible to ford, and huge quantities cause disasters.
Wind: Is there any, and how fast is the air moving? Wind is a huge factor in determining destructiveness of your weather. Here’s a handy chart to help you out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale
|We didn’t come here to just talk about wind and rain. You|
|wanted supernatural weather, right? You should first decide|
|if the weather has supernatural causes, if it has|
|supernatural effects, or both.|
For example, a heat wave in winter caused by fire devils is still interesting, even if it just involves a mundane weather effect.
For supernatural effects, the limit is your imagination. You can make it rain goblins, open portals to other dimensions, or unleash plague-curing air tunnels.
If your effects are destructive, try to avoid a design that only does damage. There are so many other things in your campaign that can hurt your PCs that it seems like a waste to have supernatural weather just be another wounds roll. If you want damage, ok, but wrap it into a challenge or something interactive the characters tangle with.
Here’s a short list of weather events and effects for inspiration:
- Animated clouds
- Aurora Borealis
- Avalanche, mudslide
- Ball lightning
- Brocken Spectres - shadows of mountaineers projected onto low clouds and reflected back by the tiny water droplets in the mist
- Crop circle
- Dust devil, water devil
- Extreme temperature shift
- Hail, sleet, snow
- Hoar frost
- Meteor shower
- Methane rain
- Raining animals, such as frogs or dead birds
- Reverse magnetism
- Solar wind
- Sundog - illusion of multiple suns caused by ice crystals in the sky
Have any other weather effects ideas to add to the list? Please send them along: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make Weather A Plot Element ============================================================ Get double-duty from your weather designs by making them a plot element. You could involve the fixable cause (see the related tip from part 1), but there are other ways to involve weather in your stories as well:
- Helping with pre-event preparations
- Dealing with post-event consequences
I think the last bullet point is the most interesting to me. In the real world, nothing operates in a vacuum. Everything is interconnected to a certain degree. Ye old butterfly -> windstorm chaos theory tale. Therefore, it seems right that after a supernatural event there will be a variety consequences that will take more than a night of healing to deal with. These consequences seem ripe for storytelling, either as sideplots, backdrops, or primary encounters.
For example, suppose an event creates healing rain that can be stored and used for up to a month. After 30 days or so, the rain loses its healing properties. I imagine people would go to a lot of effort to capture the stuff. How would this affect the healing potion business? Perhaps an overbearing religion would declare it a sin to trap the holy water and hire the PCs to enforce the law?
You might strategically build up to the event and then have a torrential rainfall just as combat with a stage boss or villain occurs. What would the PCs do if their foes heals all his damage each round? Along the same vein, imagine the PCs’ reaction when the critter they’re fighting flees outside into the rain and then runs back inside, surprised by the healing but ready to fight for its lair again.
If enough signs are present, the sick and wounded might rush to the expected downpour location. Perhaps priests divine the event weeks in advance, word spreads, and a region unaccustomed to visitors must deal with a flood of a different kind.
After all this thinking, you might decide that maybe the rain doesn’t heal everything. Maybe certain races get healed and others injured. That would create a bit of conflict.
Could be the PCs are quested to determine where the next healing rains will fall. They might need to retrieve a special component for the divination. Foes might be aware of this ingredient and try to find it first and horde it or destroy it.
Maybe the rain gives too much healing. Just like a negative charge is induced when you charge a partially drained battery, perhaps healthy people suffer if they have no need for healing and get caught in the rain.
Too much fun! Time to get on with the next tip.
- World Building With Supernatural Weather ============================================================ An inspirational world-building exercise is to reverse engineer your weather’s effects, and to brainstorm ideas and consequences surrounding the event.
For example, here’s a quick brainstorm I’ve done for lightning hail:
o Lightning hail strikes once every two months, on average.
o Each storm kills 1 commoner per village, 10 per town, 100 per city. Non-fatal injuries amount to about 10 times that number.
o Staying in a fortified, dry structure is the best protection.
o Hail keeps its charge for a few seconds after landing.
o Maximum size of stones are 1” diameter, and most average 1/8”.
o Certain creatures have evolved in reaction to the hail. Some are capable of absorbing the energy and go on devastating rampages after a storm, or perhaps they store the energy for future self-defense. Other creatures have developed immunity to electrical damage.
o Plants can take advantage of the hail too. Lightning trees have long, low-hanging branches that deliver shocks to passing animals. Lightning berries sound like fun. Perhaps some plants have developed resistance and can be made into special armour or lightning resistant clothing.
o Some believe drinking meltwater from the hail protects you from future storms.
o After the hail stops, some will risk injury to gather hail stones to melt them down for drinking, or to sell or trade them.
o Myths, legends, and stories abound about this event as part of a cultural warning system.
o Give the event a different name in each culture. Thor’s Tears, black hail, Mendel’s Curse, ha’il.
o Regardless of the true cause of the hail, use the hook or premise of each of my world’s cultures to create their explanation for the event. A religious culture might see it as divine punishment; a primitive, warlike culture will blame it on their enemies; a magical culture will blame an experiment gone awry or ancient mages with too much power.
- Give Your Villain Special Weather ============================================================ Couple your villain with the presence of supernatural weather to make him appear larger than life. Imagine how memorable and fun encounters would be if lightning storms always accompany the villain, or if an evil wind always preceded his arrival.
You can have supernatural weather occur during villain appearances, or you can make the weather shroud his home base. Both ideas are great and will entertain players.
- Avoid Apparent GM Agenda ============================================================ A quick note of caution. It’s a frequent error of design to prop-up a specific plot hole or campaign weakness; rather than fix the cause, it’s tempting to treat the symptom. If the design looks forced or seems to target the PCs directly and unfairly, the players will lose their sense of disbelief or get frustrated.
If you want to design a supernatural event to achieve a specific purpose, such as challenging buffed PCs or providing a reason why a poorly designed predator would not dominate the region, you are better creating an event with general or non-targeted effects, and then tailoring the consequences to suit your exact needs.
Don’t make it look like your weather was designed to specifically foil the PCs, weld together awkward plot moments, or prop up unbelievable campaign elements. Avoid strong coincidences whenever possible.
Player: Ok, I cast my fly spell and attack from above.
GM: Suddenly the storm strengthens and all flying creatures are grounded.
Player: Wow, what incredibly believable timing. [Grumble.]
- Use Weather During Wilderness Treks ============================================================ Perhaps an obvious tip, but for the record, supernatural weather makes for great wilderness encounters. Use sparingly though, else the PCs won’t leave the city. :)
Mix things up by having the PCs encounter pre- or post-event conditions. Characters don’t need to always have weather happen to them as they travel. Perhaps stormy days preceding their trip caused swollen rivers or difficult road debris. Maybe strange weather, such as sun spots or moon conditions, stirred monsters and other threats, making travel more dangerous than usual. The PCs might get involved in encounters dealing with preparation, helping victims, or stumbling upon uncovered caves and other formerly hidden location entrances.