World Building: Seasons

With the weather patterns starting to change, and much to my relief beginning to cool down, a thought dawned on me that I hope is food for thought for other creators. How often when playing TTRPGs do the seasons change? Sure the game may start with everything being nice and sunny, but how long does the area we are traversing realistically stay like that?

For a little bit of context, seasons on Earth are based on the rotation of the planet around the Sun, the tilt of the poles, and what side of the planet is facing away from the sun at any given moment. Most people are familiar with this, but may not have thought about how their homebrew setting may differ. In the Forgotten Realms, for example, Icewind Dale on the Sword Coast is a frosty, winter wonderland, but only a relatively short distance is the desert of Anauroch, hot, with blistering winds. This really shouldn’t be possible, precluding the use of magic.

Some things to consider when making the seasons of a fantasy world include the number of moons, suns, and magic prominence. Another great example comes from Star Wars, with the planet Tatooine. The planet features four prominent suns, two of which are almost constantly exposing all of the planet’s surface to sunlight at any given moment. Not only does this mean there are little to no bodies of water, but the planet is a vast desert, as it should be. Multiple suns, moons, or other celestial bodies may change the way weather and seasons work on your world. Tides may be different, bringing warm or cool waters and winds at different times of the year. Or Perhaps your world is tidally locked to its sun, with one side constantly exposed to the sun and a blistering desert, the other a land of eternal night, with only a thin strip of livable land between them.

This is all without taking magic from a fantasy setting into account. Who is to say a powerful wizard or druid has not changed the weather patterns so their dwelling is always sunny? A monarch may use magic to have a new moon on their birthday every year, or wish away a rainstorm to help a military expedition. And magical weather could also affect the seasons of your world. Perhaps your world does not experience winter because the planet moved away from the sun, but because there is a widening portal to the elemental plane of water? There are also a plethora of magical creatures who can affect the weather near them, so why couldn’t an extremely powerful dragon change the weather of an entire world if it wants to?

Most players will never notice if their adventuring days are always sunny with a few clouds here or there. But every once in a while it is fun to change things up, and adding seasonal change to your fantasy world can bring an added element of realism.

Tell us about your TTRPG world and its seasonal or elemental changes in the comments!

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