Environment as Foe

Do you want a system for making the environment the baddie for a few sessions? That's exactly what we will be doing today in this post. Hell yes!

First, to make the environment a foe we created a number of tables. Let's call them Environmental Penalties Tables (EPT) and Weather Severity Tables (WST). The EPT is a collection of climates with all the seasons relevant to the environment. Each season had different penalties, sometimes multiples. Here is an example:








Penalties to Movement

Penalties to Sleep

Penalties to movement

Penalties to finding food



Short Spring, Penalties as Winter

Penalties to Sleep, Penalties to Finding food

Penalties to movement, penalties to finding food (more severe)

Extreme penalties to finding food, and Movement

Sometimes these penalties are never met because the players are prepared for them. However, having a party member die from starvation because they got lost during a blizzard is great. That is where the WST comes into play. They function more as sliders from 1-6, or 1-12, depending on the stability of the weather. With the 1-6 slider being more predictable and the 1-12 slider less so. The referee rolls on the slider when players land on a planet. After the initial roll, roll a d6, everytime it results in a 6 go one up the slider. If it lands on a 1, go one down. An example of a WST:

Arctic (Autumn weather cycle)

  1. Calm, little windy, bright sun. No disasters.
  2. Stroming winds. 1-in-6 of disasters.
  3. Strong winds, mild blizzard. Low visibility, 1-in-6 chance of getting lost. 3-in-6 chance of disasters.
  4. Storm, severe blizzard. No visibility, 5-in-6 chance of getting lost. 5-in-6 chance of disasters.
  5. Peak blizzard weather, extreme minus degrees. 5-in-6 chance for severe damage on character if exposed to weather. Disaster ensured.
  6. Calm no wind, cloudy. No disasters.

Disasters can be breakdown tables for equipment and dismemberment tables for player characters.

You can make folders of these tables with at least a few for each season for almost all the climates. My advice is to make them as your players are moving forward in the campaign, instead of all at once.

[This post has been rewritten and modified. See the original text here.]

This article was updated on 24/09/2019

A 'Fungi & Weirdness' enthusiast. I enjoy writing about everybodies most disliked dice, my game ideas, and GM tools and tips.