Saturday 1 September 2012

Weather Dice

Today's topic is the eight-sided weather die from Chessex, produced in 2007 and still available from dice dealers at various cons - but not, apparently, online.

Alas, I had high hopes for this little guy, but he turns out to be a precipitous type. Fully half his sides have some kind of precipitation on them, three rain and one snow. Even Seattle only has 153 precipitation days a year, coming out to 42% (New York has 103, or 36%, which is more typical of a temperate climate.)

Even if you take "snow" as just "cold," rolling one of these leaves a lot of questions open. Is it windy? How can it be hot and cloudy at the same time? When does it actually snow?

Fortunately (for dice vendors that is) rolling three of these gives a pretty good spread of results, if a little system is applied. You can also use normal eight sided dice, with some mnemonic help.

We start out assuming the temperature is average for the month, there is a light breeze and no clouds overhead.

WEATHER DICE TABLE: Roll 3d8 and apply each effect rolled.

1. "Sunny/Warm" = Warm (mnemonic: One is the Sun.)
  • Add 10 degrees F/ 5 degrees C to the temperature. 
  • This die has a big sun, so it cancels out one rain or drizzle result - rain first, then drizzle. 
  • If it cancels one die and the remaining die says rain or drizzle, there is sunlight through the rain; a roll of sunny-raining-raining gives a rainbow. 
  • If there is no wind result, this die means there is calm air instead of the default breeze.
2. "Moderately Cloudy" (mnemonic: Just 2 clouds)
  • Raise the cloud cover to "Some clouds." 
  • This die has a big sun, so it cancels out one rain or drizzle result, except in a wet climate.
3. "Partially Cloudy" (mnemonic: One more than moderately cloudy)
  • Raise or the cloud cover level to "Many clouds." 
  • In a dry climate, this die cancels out one rain result, like the previous two.
4. "Overcast" (mnemonic: Clouds to all 4 directions)
  • Raise the cloud cover level to "Overcast."
5. "Light drizzle" (mnemonic: Rain snaking down like the figure 5)
  • Cloud cover level, if uncancelled, is "Overcast."
  • One of these, uncancelled, means drizzle, light snow if below freezing, or light sleet if near freezing.
  • Two or three of these, uncancelled, make heavy fog.
6. "Raining" (mnemonic: Rain coming down into a puddle like the figure 6)
  • Cloud cover level, if uncancelled, is "Overcast."
  • One, uncancelled, means rain, snow if below freezing, and sleet if near freezing.
  • Two uncancelled "raining" results are heavy precipitation. 
  • Three means very heavy precipitation.
  • If both "drizzle" and "raining" are rolled without being cancelled, and it is below or close to freezing, there is hail.
7. "Stormy" (mnemonic: Flag flying in the wind like the figure 7)
  • Wind result: Increase wind speed by 30 mph/50 kmph. 
  • Two of these means a gale, with overcast sky.
  • Two "stormy" and an "overcast" on a large plain means a tornado.
  • Three "stormy" means a hurricane, with overcast sky and heavy rain.
8. "Cold/snowing" (mnemonic: 8 is a snowman).
  • Subtract 10 degrees F/ 5 degrees C from the temperature.
Example 1: Rolling 2-5-7 gives a bright day with some clouds overhead; drizzle from the "5" is cancelled by the "2" unless the climate is wet, and the wind blows briskly at 30 mph.

Example 2: Rolling 7-7-6 gives an overcast day with gale force winds and lashing rain.

Example 3: Rolling 1-1-8 gives a warm, sunny, becalmed day with +10 degrees F to the temperature; the other warm and cold results cancel each other out in effect.

To get the weather on consecutive days, roll d6: on a 6 the weather is the same as the previous day, on a 4-5 reroll one die, and on a 1-3 reroll two dice. This roll can also be used to see if the weather changes during the day, but adding 2 to the result.

It feels good to finally figure out how to use these dice effectively...


  1. I have d6 with weather effects...

  2. I've seen those, and they pretty much fit the table if you take away the "Partly cloudy" and "Drizzle" results, making the "windy/cloud" equal Overcast and the "storm" equal wind. The mnemonic for a regular d6 would be:

    1=sun; 2=some clouds (half of 4); 3=wind blowing in a line; 4=clouds in all four directions; 5=cold snowflake; 6=two rows of raindrops coming down.