Sunday, 5 February 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #36: Flying Camels!

 Two hexes northwest and one north of Alakran.


The stylus of Hanthu has recorded many things that have been called lies, fancies, and figments. One tale of Hanthu that is proven beyond doubt, though, tells what happened when the holy woman Namirra saw that her faithful camel was growing old, and that it was right to release it from service.

They were at rest under a low tree, by a lake in a plain among the Dhuga Hills, close by to the Scarp.  Namirra spoke to the camel in its own language (such wisdom had Namirra!) and said,

"As thou hast carried me from place to place in conformity with the will of Mitra, so now mayest thou petition Mitra, whose grace is unbounded, and ask for a great boon."

"My aunt," for so the camel had come to address his rider, "I know not what manner of boon I may wish for. Tell me of others of your kind, and the boons they have petitioned Great Mitra for."

And so she told him of men who asked for the boon of eternal life, and women who asked for the gift of speaking all languages, and others who asked for gifts to help others. But the camel, stubborn as always, had his own ideas. He asked,

"O auntie, as long and patiently as I walk, there is no denying that my feet are slow, and the parts of this great earth which I have seen are as small as the steps of a water-insect on a mighty seas. Let me soar as the swallow soars, and see all of great Mitra's land with the eyes of its Protector."

And the next morning, through Namirra's intercession, the camel awoke to find plumed wings sprouting from its shoulders, the size and color of the giant condor's own span. And with some practice, he flew high, and though his years of life were few remaining, he in his far journeys sired thirty winged camels who bred true. 

The members of this breed eventually found each other, and decided to make their home far away from the haunts of man. They pride themselves that never more shall they carry a rider or a burden, for Namirra has set them free.

And the proof of Hanthu's tale is that the descendants of Namirra's camel, winged and proud as he was, numbering forty, have come to dwell by this very lake where their forefather awoke with plumage. And though they resist being ridden, they need help. Alas, the river that feeds the lake no longer flows as it once did. In their flight the camels have seen that further upstream, the flow has been diverted into a cave by a mortared dam that they have not the strength or tools to knock down. But that cave holds tales for another time, tales that certainly would not be believed any more than if they came from the stylus of Hanthu.

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #35: Flat Valley with Weather System and Spring Weather Report

Three hexes northwest of Alakran.

In this dull stretch of land between the low, eroded ridges that mark the beginning of the Dhuga range, let's talk about the weather.

I realize I never updated my old post about weather dice to discuss the dice system I have ended up using in actual play for many years. It relies on normal d6, not the Chessex weather d8, and has been fairly successful across a few campaigns.

Weather for the day (or a 12 hour or 6 hour period) is determined by a roll of 3d6, which are looked at separately for a combined weather picture. The overall impression comes form the following icon table, which somewhat corresponds to the standard arrangement of pips on the die:

Temperature is determined by the preponderance of 1's to 5's. The two cancel each other out; each 1 not matched by a 5 correspond to warmer temperatures of +10F/5C, and each 5 not matched by a 1 to colder temperatures of -10F/5C, compared to the average for the climate and season. The average temperature in Spring in the region is 75F/22C by day and 60F/15C by night.

Wind is determined by the preponderance of 3's compared to 1's. The typical climate norm, observed in the region, is for light breeze (1-2 on the Beaufort scale); if 3's outnumber 1's by 1 it means light wind (3-4), by 2 it means strong wind (5-6), and three 3's means a dangerous wind (7+). More 1's than 3's means dead calm. The Scarp means that winds from the east in East Wahattu, and from the west in west Dulsharna, are not often seen. Dangerous winds from the south will be sandstorms in the second and third months of spring.

Clouds and precipitation depend on climate, which determines how much 4 and 6 results are cancelled out in general or by other die results. A 6 result always comes with clouds.

The first month of Spring, called Nisannu throughout the region, comes after the rainy winter and is a "very dry" climate. One 6 is automatically cancelled, and 1-2 cancels 4-6. This means that light rain requires two 6'es with no 1-2's to be rolled, and moderate rain is only had once every other season (3 6's, 1/216 days).

The other two months, Iyarru and Simannu, are "arid." In the daytime, one 4 and two 6's are automatically cancelled out, and 1-2 cancels 4. This means cloud cover is rare and light rain very rare. In the night, clouds and rain occur as in Nisannu.

In the war between sun and clouds, throughout Spring, 1 (no clouds) will always win over 2 (partly cloudy).

Continuing weather: If you want to simulate consistent weather day to day, roll 3 dice in order and one extra,  and if the extra rolls a number you saw the previous day, swap it in for the first number rolled you did not see the previous day.

You can also do this for 12 hour (3+2 dice) or 6 hour (3+3 dice) periods.

Example: Weather covering the days 4 through 6 Nisannu is rolled.

4 Nisannu: 5-1-1 means it is hot and cloudless (one more 1 than 5); 27C by day and 20C by night.

5 Nisannu: 4-5-4 + 5. We drop the 4 and substitute the 5, making 5-5-4. Ironically this means a sudden change to cold, cloudy weather, only 12C by day and overcast!

6 Nisannu: 5-6-5 + 6. The added 6 does not match the previous day so it is dropped. The cold weather continues, so does the cloud cover (a cancelled 6 still means some cloud), and it seems it is trying to rain -- but does not succeed because one 6 is cancelled.

Daily weather gives texture to travel and activities outdoors, and sometimes can throw challenges of extreme heat, wind, and precipitation at the players -- which will be detailed more in a later post.