Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tornado Warning Issued For Your Area!!!

This is not a gaming post, but I should try to find a way to turn it INTO one... hmmm...

We had storms go through the Atlanta area last night. Some pretty nasty ones too. I believe that an EF0 Tornado passed just to the northwest of where we live. I'll look into that, to see if it is confirmed by the National Weather Service. (UPDATE: Although storm-relative motion radar views did show rotation for this storm cell, a tornado was not confirmed by NWS. So, it is likely that the rotation within the cloud did not develop into a funnel touching down.)

In the mean time, I took some really cool pictures of the hail that fell. I went outside and used a small plastic bowl to scoop up a bunch of hail stones from this "drift" that had formed in front of our building.

Here are some nice ones from the top of the bowl.

A particularly nice example:

Some internal structure images:

This stuff is particularly relevant to me because I'm a meteorologist. Weather fascinates me.

Oh, I know how to relate this to gaming... last year, I ran an encounter that, personally, I deemed to be a failure. Granted, I had some high expectations of myself, but ultimately the effect I was going for failed... fell flat... whatever... and really only served to piss off one of the players, and I think the others were just unimpressed. That might not be the case, but that's how I read it from my end of the table.

The encounter itself was fairly normal... 4 hobgoblins and a bugbear are guarding a bridge that the PCs have to cross. Fight ensues.

But then I threw in this:

This is a natural tornado that was ripping through the area. As a little background info, the encounter took place in a ruined Dragonborn city that had a perpetual storm churning in the skies over it. So, it was constantly raining, and I thought I'd throw this in to make an encounter a bit more interesting.

The tornado's effects are all based on progressively-smaller auras. From 6 to 10 squares away from the tornado, anyone who entered that area or started their turn there would be subject to the Microburst attack, which was just a slide effect. I just noticed a typo in there too... I called the aura "gusting winds" in the Traits block, but "driving winds" in the power block. Oh well. heh. Anyway, as you got closer, you passed in to the Blasting Winds aura at 5 squares away, and then into the Shredding Winds aura at 2 squares away, each adding damage to the attack and a stronger slide effect.

This was an example of a "directional slide" too. A push effect wouldn't work, because a tornado wouldn't push you away from it. A pull effect wouldn't work, because a tornado doesn't pull you towards it. Only a slide worked, but it had to be in a specific direction only, as the winds would be swirling around the tornado in a counterclockwise direction. That's not ALWAYS the case in reality, but it is statistically the most likely.

The encounter fell short of expectations, and was deemed a failure (by me) because I was stressed, I didn't eat before the session (bad move since I'm hypoglycemic), and this all exacerbated my ADHD, causing me to forget some important details until it was too late to implement them. Only one character was affected by the tornado, and it only served to piss off the player, as the "slide" slid her character right off the bridge into the raging waters of the canal below. She was playing an Eladrin, though, so that was easily solved.

I still like the idea, though. I hope to use it again at some point.

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