Storm Combat

12 posts / 0 new
Last post

Hello!
My PCs will be having a battle outdoors on land during a storm -- with rain, lightning, and strong winds. But the DMG and Control Weather ritual don't elaborate on the effects of a storm, except to say that rain grants concealment to all in the area, and there can be gusts of wind, and to make an Endurance check if exposed for several hours.


But how do you deal with the effects on a combat encounter in a storm (other than the rain's concealment)?

The probability of getting struck by lightning is so minimal that it's scarcely worth fussing over (576,000 to 1, to be exact).  You might put an additional penalty on light ranged weapons and ammunition if the wind is strong (if the wind is strong enough to divert, say, a thrown hammer, you probably can't fight at all).  Muddy ground might count as difficult terrain.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
So should I just go with lightly obscured from the heavy rain, -4 penalty to attack rolls with ranged weapons (except 2-h crossbows) from strong winds, and all ground is difficult terrain from mud? Perhaps the strong wind also reduces speed by 1 square?
I'd pull the penalty down to -2 (which would be -4 combined with the concealment) ... reducing speed on top of the difficult terrain seems excessive.

I'd think crossbows would still be affected by the wind, since their projectile is so light.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Cool. Sounds good. So: lightly obscured; difficult terrain; and -2 penalty (-4 total if within 5 squares, -7 if past 5 squares) to attack with ranged, except those with the 'heavy thrown' property.

I shall go with that, then. Thanks!
The rules for Wind (DMG p.48) and Whirlwind (DMG p.69) can cause slide effects, if desired. Difficult terrain (for both flying and on the ground) would probably be easier (but as mentioned below, possibly less interesting). fwiw: Sudden Storm (PHB p.170) "creates a zone of wind and rain... Squares in the zone are difficult terrain and are lightly obscured."
One problem with passive effects like difficult terrain and obscured terrain is that the players essentially have no way to mitigate or ignore the effects. Consequently these effects add no strategy or interest to the fight (beyond the obvious role playing advantages).

You may want to consider the following modifications.
1. The wind is directional. This could make it harder to move or shoot in one direction (adding interesting positioning mechanics).
2. Areas of the map (trees, hills) provide cover from the wind allowing people there to ignore the effects.
3. Lightning. People rarely get struck by lightning in part because they rarely stand in the middle of open fields in a storm while wearing a bunch of metal. Parts of the map might be vulnerable to lightning strikes.
4. Muddy areas. Instead of unavoidable omnipresent difficult terrain consider limiting the areas so a smart player can avoid them.
One problem with passive effects like difficult terrain and obscured terrain is that the players essentially have no way to mitigate or ignore the effects. Consequently these effects add no strategy or interest to the fight (beyond the obvious role playing advantages). You may want to consider the following modifications. 1. The wind is directional. This could make it harder to move or shoot in one direction (adding interesting positioning mechanics). 2. Areas of the map (trees, hills) provide cover from the wind allowing people there to ignore the effects. 3. Lightning. People rarely get struck by lightning in part because they rarely stand in the middle of open fields in a storm while wearing a bunch of metal. Parts of the map might be vulnerable to lightning strikes. 4. Muddy areas. Instead of unavoidable omnipresent difficult terrain consider limiting the areas so a smart player can avoid them.



Agree with this. Imposing a bunch of permenant penalties and difficult terrain will just make the combat slow and frustrating. Use limits creativly and allow pc's to come up with smart methods of negating them. This makes a combat much more fun and PC's feel awesome :-)
The probability of getting struck by lightning is so minimal that it's scarcely worth fussing over (576,000 to 1, to be exact).

In real life certainly. In a D&D fantasy combat though, I could see the odds approaching 100% ;)

For the OP (if desired): The Arcane Tempest Hazard has one lightning attack each round, and "Until the storm passes, all squares inside it are lightly obscured by heavy rain".
You could also have the storm affect the way that certain powers work. Thunder and lightning effects could be enhanced, gaining a bonus to attack or dealing additional damage, whilst fire effects are inhibited by the wind and rain. Forced movement effects gain an extra square of distance if applied with the wind, and lose a square if going against it.
Thanks guys. You gave me lots to consider. I think I'll end up doing it the following way.

- lightly obscured
- difficult terrain on the areas off the stone pathway
- enhanced thunder and lightning effects
- a set wind direction; forced movement effects gain +1 square with the wind, -1 square against it

The PCs also have a few miscellaneous battlefield features to use tactically.
I'm also considering having a lightning attack (with a low attack roll) strike at a random combatant once every 10 rds; more frequent than that would be little too unrealistic
What do you think of all those above effects for a rain storm during an outdoor battle?
The probability of getting struck by lightning is so minimal that it's scarcely worth fussing over (576,000 to 1, to be exact).

In real life certainly. In a D&D fantasy combat though, I could see the odds approaching 100% ;) 



Ha! Agreed. Make the lightning storm seem "somewhat enhanced"...
Put into the battlefield something like 8 or 10 trees that can provide cover. At the beginning of each round, roll a d8 (or d10 if 10 trees used) to determine which tree acts like the level 1 Wizard spell Lightning Pillar for that round.