[Environmental Stunts] The Swordstorm


In the previous post I outlined some general thoughts on creating environmental Stunts that take advantage of specific types of adverse weather or interesting locations. In this post I present a more fleshed out example of an adverse weather system that should be generic enough to show up in most fantasy campaign world, a terrible system called the Swordstorm.


The dark clouds rolled in a few hours ago and churned incessantly in the sky until they disgorged their fury upon the land. The rain fell hard right from the start, driving at the earth with angry force, creating rivers of mud in seconds. The gray-blue twilight that had descended with the storm was only broken by the regular flashes of lightning cutting an electric swath across the skies and down to the ground. Wind blew from all sides, howling, tearing up the landscape. The booming sound of thunder seconds later shook everything to its core. This was no mere storm; this was one of the legendary Swordstorms that rolled in every few years down the mountains and across the plains. It would last for days and it would sow destruction that would take years to recover from.

Of course the enemy would choose this time to make their attack…



Environmental Stunts


With Hurricane Irene churning away in the Atlantic Ocean this week, my thoughts turned to adverse weather and its effects. The scene of a battle in the midst of pouring rain, say like the Battle of Helms Deep in the Lord of the Rings movies, is one of those atmospheric pieces (no pun intended) that amp up the drama of any situation and that, by all means, should be brought to a game. But how exactly? It could be done entirely in description, with the weather simply being there for mood. It could be done with pages and pages of weather-specific rules that detail every single possible effect of rain on the field of battle. Or it could be done with a combination of the two that brings mood into the scene and adds some rules for that extra effect borne out of the specific environmental situation. In short, Environmental Stunts.

These kinds of Stunts were introduced in an adventure in the Blood in Ferelden sourcebook (I won’t say where or in what context to avoid spoilers) to great effect. During the battle in which they are relevant, these specially available Stunts offer players specific neat effects that enhance the drama of the combat in ways which make sense given where/what they are fighting. The idea is a fantastic one and worthy of extrapolating to other areas.


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