Salutations, nerds! We play fifth edition Dungeon & Dragons, and a lot of the settings we spend our time in come equipped with intense magical nonsense that permeates almost everything from wizards to weapons to other odds and ends. Depending on the kind of campaign you’re playing, the weather can sometimes be overlooked unless the Dungeon Master is specifically trying to drive characters someplace to take shelter, and honestly that’s okay. We drop details to enhance play, not to get in the way of it.
Even the weather in D&D is magical
That said? There’s magic everywhere. If it’s a part of the world, why not a part of the weather, too? So today, I give to you five magical weather phenomena you can use to spice up your game. (They’re all puns and I’m not sorry.) [NERDITOR’S NOTE: Chapter 5 in the D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide has material on using weather effects in your game, and in the video below Nerdarchists Dave and Ted discuss effective ways to use weather in your campaign.]
This psionic (or mystic if you’re inclined that way) weather event looks like your average run-of-the-mill downpour until you’re actually standing in it. After a round in the brainstorm, its true nature becomes apparent as you begin to hear the indistinguishable echoes of the thoughts of the creatures around you. While in the brainstorm, any creature with an Intelligence score lower than 10 cannot be heard echoing and gains advantage on Stealth checks.
Every round, there is a 10 percent chance of a thought clash. Should this happen, a random creature on the field is hit by a random effect. Roll on the table below:
|1-5||Bolt of Inspiration. The affected creature gains a point of inspiration|
|6-7||Thought Projection. At the beginning of their turn, the affected creature must succeed on a DC 12 Intelligence saving throw or their current surface thoughts are projected to everyone within 30 feet of them. Enemies in that area have advantage against the affected creature, but allies adjacent have advantage as well as they enter perfect synergy with their comrade. This effect ends at the end of the affected creature's next turn.|
|8-9||Lovestruck. At the beginning of their turn, the affected creature must succeed on a DC 12 Intelligence saving throw or become charmed by the creature they are looking at until the beginning of their next turn.|
|10||Sudden Realization. The affected creature suddenly realizes somthing they have been missing. At the DM's discretion this could be a plot point, something they have previously not realized about an NPC, or even simply that they left the stove lit at home.|
|11-12||Deja Vu. The affected creature is braced by the unshakable feeling that this has happened to them before, and with that feeling comes the insight of what will happen next. Until the beginning of their next turn, enemy attacks made against them have disadvantage as they see them coming.|
|13||Blink Bolt. The affected creature must succeed on a DC 12 Intelligence saving throw or blink into the ethereal plane until the beginning of their next turn. On a successful save the creature is under the effect of the blink spell for 1d4 +1 rounds.|
|14-15||Lapse of Anxiety. The affected creature must succeed on a DC 12 Intelligence saving throw or take 7 (2d6) psychic damage, or half as much on a successful save.|
|16-17||Resonating Note. The affected creature hears a harmonic chord being struck in their thoughts that leaves them feeling inspired. They gain a d6 bardic inspiration die.|
|18-19||Blinded by the Light. The affected creature must succeed on a DC 12 Intelligence saving throw or be blinded until the start of their next turn.|
|20||Stunning Charm. The affected creature is surrounded by a beautiful corona of light, making them take on the beauty of an angel and furthermore making it impossible for other creatures to target them with harmful effects until the start of their next turn.|
A whispering wind cannot be discerned by the eye unless you are detecting magic or have true sight. To those privy to such things, the wind appears a pale purple with little arcane sparks peppered throughout.
Roll on the table below:
|1||The whispering wind is a helpful one. Characters caught in the wind gain advantage on Intelligence-based checks as the wind whispers helpful information to them. For example, a character attempting to pick a lock with thieves tools could be told, "Torque a little to the right" at just the proper moment.|
|2||The whispering wind is a mischievous one. Have each player whose character is caught in the wind write down a secret their character is keeping. Write down the secrets of at least 3 NPCs as well. Randomly select one secret to tell each player, that the wind has whispered to them. Do not tell them whose secret it is.|
|3||The whispering wind is a lazy one. Characters caught in the wind may use the message cantrip with a 10 percent change of their words being carried to the wrong target.|
|4||The whispering wind is a spiteful one. Characters caught in the wind are mercilessly insulted as the wind assails them with the vicious mockery cantrip.|
Rain of Cats and Dogs
This magical storm is immediately apparent as something out of the ordinary as figures of wildcats and direwolves appear as translucent visions in the mist that accompanies it. Any canine or feline creatures (including tabaxi) have advantage on attack rolls made within the deluge. All creatures that spend more than 3 rounds in the rain gain advantage on Perception checks, as well as darkvision 60 ft. if they do not already have it, for the next 24 hours as their senses are supernaturally enhanced.
The rain can be bottled as a potion, but only one per creature. This is a magical storm with its own form of awareness and if a creature attempts to fill more than one flask with the water, the rain will simply refuse to go into the container.
Rays of Hope
Sometimes, on a particularly bright and sunny day, a bit of illusionary magic will creep into the sun’s rays. This kind of weather is colloquially called “the rays of hope.” Patterns of things that creatures most desire will be seen like a mirage in the rays. As with most other illusions, attempting to directly interact with these visions will reveal them for what they are.
A clever creature can attempt to manipulate the rays into showing them good paths to take to acquire what they want. If a character succeeds on a DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion), Charisma (Performance) or Wisdom (Insight) check, the rays will reveal some hidden wisdom to the character that will aid them in their effort to acquire one of the things they desire, as if under the effects of the augury spell but not limited to actions taken within the next 30 minutes.
This storm is eerily silent. Lightning flashes in the clouds overhead but no thunder can be heard. Spellcasters that spend more than three rounds in the storm may roll a d10 and regain spell slots of that equivalent value. For example, on a roll of a 5, they may regain a 5th-level spell slot, or a 2nd and 3rd level spell slot. All characters that spend more than three rounds in the storm, including the aforementioned spellcasters, feel energized and gain the benefits of a short rest. These benefits can only be gained once per storm.
No thunder damage may occur beneath a cloud of Stolen Thunder. Any damage of that subtype is negated by default. Contrastly, any lightning damage is doubled.
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Speculative fiction writer and part-time Dungeon Master Megan R. Miller lives in southern Ohio where she keeps mostly nocturnal hours and enjoys life’s quiet moments. She has a deep love for occult things, antiques, herbalism, big floppy hats and the wonders of the small world (such as insects and arachnids), and she is happy to be owned by the beloved ghost of a black cat. Her fiction, such as The Chronicles of Drasule and the Nimbus Mysteries, can be found on Amazon.