Castles and Ruins

Author Topic: Natural disasters in your game  (Read 172 times)

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Offline Colin-ICE

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Natural disasters in your game
« on: August 10, 2017, 02:06:51 AM »
To what extent do you use natural disasters in your game?

I've done a few 'there's been an earthquake...' and similar but never had players live through a natural disaster and have to react to it and roleplay their way out of danger.

Anyone got any ideas or tips?

Offline Dunadan

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Re: Natural disasters in your game
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2017, 06:23:44 PM »
Many years ago I used a plague. Borrowed the idea from a Dragon Magazine I think.

The campaign had run it's course and was winding down. So I introduced a plague. 67% fatality rate... I wanted it to be REALLY bad! One of the PC' succumbed (he wanted to leave the game anyway). 2 out of every 3 people died, including most of the NPC's/henchman (many who had been with the party for years). All of the carefully crated relationships the PC's had created with the important NPC's died (along with the important NPC's!).

Several kingdoms collapsed.  Rule of law ceased. Gave rise to complete lawlessness across nearly all regions.

Eventually the PC's worked with a religious order (their seclusion made them 90% unaffected) to reestablish a new government (run by the Church who took the opportunity to establish a theocracy).

Reinvigorated the campaign... mainly by destroying everything that they had become familiar with...

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” - J. R. R. Tolkien

Offline Jengada

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Re: Natural disasters in your game
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 07:21:53 PM »
I've had floods, fires, storms, disease outbreaks, and earthquakes. The floods and earthquakes were off-screen, things that affected the societies directly, but the players only indirectly. The storms and fires, I've used very directly to drive characters's actions. One player was shipwrecked by a storm, losing her mentor in the process. Another was thrown from his horse in a heavy storm, and left to travel on foot. Another player had to flee a running prairie fire, swimming a river to escape it. The disease outbreak set context, but the players learned there was a region to avoid.

I try to make sure the player has a reasonable chance to survive the disaster. The shipwreck required a number of swim rolls, but I only did it because I knew swimming was the character's forte. For the disease outbreak, they had a choice and forewarning. They opted to avoid, but could easily have taken precautions and cut right through the region. And for the prairie fire, he was on horseback, and smelled smoke and saw fleeing wildlife far enough in advance that he could get to the river. (His character was local, so I granted some knowledge of survival options.)

Offline munchy

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Re: Natural disasters in your game
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 01:22:31 PM »
We had a volcano erupt on us once. It was partly our fault because the had been an evil wizard's lair below ... the usual story. So, we had to evacuate a nearby village. It was quite stressfull and interesting as situation and had some unusual use of magic in it, e.g. several flying disc as a shield to stop the hot ash to drop on the people or to divert the lava from catching up with the slow ones.
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Offline Peter R

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Re: Natural disasters in your game
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 11:04:19 AM »
I have run an adventure where a small fire in the temple district of a town has grown out of control. The players were given hints that something was happening on the street and slowly the cottoned on the the rising sense of urgency. From people heading towards the fire to help fight it to people running away from it as it grew out of control. At the city gates an idiot of a captain refused to open the gates to allow people to flee and then himself became fearful of the growing mob.

The adventure started with the players in the tavern and I just let events unfold until they realised something was happening. Once they chose to act I picked out their story so a party that chose to flee would have encountered to mob at the gates, one that headed towards the fire would have met those fighting it, the injured and may have become surrounded and cut off as the fire leaped from street to street.
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