Tuesday, November 15, 2011
In any event, issue #68 included an article by a writer called David Axler entitled "Weather in the World of Greyhawk." Though presented as an unofficial supplement to The World of Greyhawk, the article was eventually canonized by being included in the 1983 boxed set version of the setting. Axler's article was a well-done early example of what would become a staple of Silver Age Dragon articles: a system for introducing "realism" into one's campaign. In this case, it was weather that got the "realistic" treatment, with tables for determining temperature, precipitation, and cloudiness, in addition to discussions of lunar phases, high winds, and "special weather phenomena," such as wind storms and tsunamis.
In truth, Axler's rules are pretty simple to use and presented intelligibly so that even my 13 year-old self could use them with relative ease. And use them I did. Back in 1982, I was all about adding doses of "realism" into my AD&D campaign where I could and, since this article had done all the hard work for me, why wouldn't I use it? Eventually, though, I stopped doing so, because, easy though it might have been to use, I rarely found that knowing just how much rain had fallen or the effects of high humidity added much to my adventures. The extra "realism" serve no purpose other than satisfying my adolescent sense that a good DM should know these sorts of things about his campaign setting. I abandoned that way of thinking a long time ago and I don't think my campaigns have suffered for it.