Ritualistically Speaking: Control Weather

There are things that make a wizard a wizard. No practitioner of magic can truly call them selves a wizard until they have a mastery over nature it’s self. It’s classic wizarding 101, bend the forces of nature to your will to show all that a big gray beard demands some respect. Control over the forces of nature allows a wizard to show the world his/her place in the grand scheme of things. An evil mage might seek to drown out a village that is refusing to pay tribute, or wither their crops with lasting drought. A good wizard might seek to end a constant drought by bringing rain to those in need, or by calming a raging blizzard to allow supplies and medicine into town. A wizard seeking to instill fear or add mystery to his or her name might always roll into town preceded by lighting or heavy fog.  Young wizards learn to bend arcane energies to conjure and control small spurts of nature such as a fire ball or a blast of lighting, but a seasoned wizard creates whole storms and calls on the sun it’s self.

“Are you sure it’s them?”
Walking up to the crest of the hill, Ory regarded the older gentleman stretched out behind the ridge. Holding a spyglass in one hand, the older gentleman grabbed Ory by the pant leg with the other to pull him down to the ground.
“Get down, you idiot! Do you want them to see you? And yes, it’s them. Do you know anyone else that routinely exercises five hundred head of cattle in the middle of a hidden valley?”
“I…uh…no?” Ory squinted in the late afternoon light, trying to catch more of the action below.
Shifting his gaze, once again to the older gentleman, Ory continued, “Morbus, I don’t get why we had to follow them out here this far? Won’t the King’s constables be able to catch the thieves?”
Setting the spyglass down, Morbus eyed his younger companion, “Ory, you remember as well as I do, that the these cattle thieves disguise the cattle by dyeing them. Right now, those very thieves are trying to negotiate a deal with the King’s half-brother, the Duke. The Duke doesn’t know these are the
King’s cattle. While the Duke doesn’t care where the cows come from, he will care if he finds out the cattle belong to the King.
The pained looked of trying to understand a simple concept persisted on Ory’s face. Morbus waited patiently for the inevitable next question. “But…Morbus…if the cattle are dyed, how will the Duke find out before the thieves make their escape? The Duke’s not gonna think to wash the cattle, is he?”
Morbus chuckled at his young companion, “No, Ory…he’s not. That’s where we come in. The King’s security officer commissioned me to uncover the thieves and expose their treachery. Now, if you’ll give me two shakes, I intend to do just that.”
Ory opened his mouth to ask how, but was silenced by a single familiar gesture from Morbus. As his young companion continued to look on curiously, Morbus removed a small glass orb from his vest pocket and shook it gently. The green liquid swirled within, almost as if a small storm were brewing within
the glass. Setting the orb on a flat rock in front of him, Morbus knelt before it, speaking a language that Ory was only beginning to understand. Inching away from Morbus and the orb, Ory was fascinated with the display, but wouldn’t dare run from his master.
Speaking to no one specifically, Morbus continued to focus on the globe. “This is the part that’s going to hurt.”
With a sudden movement, Morbus raised a fist and brought it smashing down onto the globe. Shattering with a bright tinkling sound, the now thoroughly broken globe released a puff of vapor and moisture into the air. Wincing, Morbus stood up, picking shards of glass out of his hand. As he discarded the first piece, a distant thunder rolled through the valley.
“Morbus, wasn’t that a weather ritual? How are we going to stop thieves with a rainstorm?” Ory drew his cape over his head in order to avoid the first drops of rain.
Handing his apprentice his spyglass, Morbus gestured toward the cattle below, “take a look at the cattle, Ory”.
Ory peered through the spyglass, as the first big drops of rain made their appearance. Large blobs of brownish red dripped from the various cattle. Looking over to his master in alarm, Ory
commented nervously, “Master, it looks like the cattle are bleeding. I thought you cast a weather ritual?”
Morbus looked at his apprentice with near contempt. Why the boy was referred to as a magical genius was beyond him. Nevertheless, he tried to explain again. “Look again, Ory. Focus on the hind quarters of one of the cows.”
Peering more carefully this time, Ory watched as the rain beat down on the backs of the cows. The brownish red stuff still dripped off the cattle, but now he could see the glaring white marks of the King’s brand showing on the rump of each cow. Suddenly, his master’s plan began to dawn on him.
“Morbus, I can see the King’s brand on each of the cows! The rain has washed the dye away!”
“Yes, Ory. Now take a look over by the tents.” Morbus adjusted his own cloak to cover his head, and began to move over to where the horses were tied up. Ory once again looked through the spyglass. While he couldn’t here it up here on the valley ridge, he could see the angry shouting faces of the Duke’s
men. Crossbows drawn, the Duke’s men quickly rounded up the would be cattle thieves. Mounting their horses, Ory looked at his master.
“Morbus, how long will the rain last?”
Morbus shivered slightly in the rain, and sighed, “About four hours, give or take. Which reminds me. Did you pack the umbrellas, Ory?”
Ory shrugged, frustrated, “But Master, it was bright and sunny out this morning, why would I…?”
Morbus shook his head.
“And that is why you’re still an apprentice, Ory.

Flavor text by Randall Walker – Initiative or what


Control Weather

Component Cost: 1,800 gp Market Price: 4,500 gp Key Skill: Nature
Level: 14 Category: Exploration   Time: 1 hour  Duration: Special

You change the weather outside in a 2-mile radius centered on you. The change is limited by the current season. Choose from the options below based on the season.

Season Weather Results
Spring Heat wave, sleet storm, or thunderstorm
Summer Hailstorm, heat wave, or rainstorm
Autumn Cold snap, fog, sleet, or windstorm
Winter Blizzard, windstorm, or thaw

You control the weather’s general tendencies, such as the direction and intensity of the wind or the degree of obscurity from fog, hail, rain, and snow. You cannot control specific applications of the weather, such as where lightning strikes. You can alter the weather among the available options as a standard action for the duration of the ritual, which is determined by your Nature check. Each time you choose to change the weather result, the new weather conditions take 10 minutes to manifest.

Nature Check Result Duration
19 or lower 2 hours
20—29 4 hours
30—39 16 hours
40 or higher 24 hours

Published in Player’s Handbook 2, page(s) 214.


Making it accessible: Wizards of the Coast took the first step in this process they made a second ritual in the same line called  “Snowstorm Summons”. They made this break off ritual focused on the Winter Staff; making it more potent by allowing it to be cast at any time of year instead of just during the season in which it is appropriate.  A player or DM could follow this lead and break off each extreme weather system and bind it to a specific foci.

As an example I would create a focus for this ritual called a Water Globe Creating one of these would require the caster to cast the Control Weather ritual as normal but also he/she must spend an extra amount of gold to create a perfectly round crystal ball to contain the magic. The caster must specify a rain storm or fog as the weather effect they desire. Once the ritual has been cast the crystal globe fills with either mist or water.

To activate the Water Globe the user must spend a healing surge either their own or from a willing ally by having them place their hand over the globe and concentrating and pushing some of their life force into the globe to reactivate the dormant spell. Once this is done the user must smash the globe onto the ground and release the spell. The mist or water then evaporates quickly into the air as the sky begins to darken. The magical mist or water then seeds the new clouds and begins a magical down pour or fog bank to settle.

Allowing players to break the constriction of the seasons by making them chose up front which weather system they want to create adds a bit more power to the ritual while giving it some balance.

DMs: Bringing weather into your game can add flair and depth to your story. If you make a habit of telling players about the current weather and how it affects the NPCs in your game might be enough to get your more story driven players to bust out a little Control Weather. Harassing your players from time to time with a bit of bad weather might also be the card you need to play. Putting NPCs and towns in situations where they are adversely affected by weather and require aid can be a way for a kind or heroic wizard to gain fame or win the hearts of NPCs thus opening up quests or information to them.

Allowing Travel benefits or the regaining of healing surges for proper use of Control Weather is a fun way to reward players for using this ritual in a story driven way. If a group is traveling and the ritual caster in the group decides to lighten the weather and make it more preferable to the group they might all gain a healing surge on the trip because it became so enjoyable.

To add story flavor never be afraid to throw in negative effects for miss use or over use of Control Weather. If a mage decides to continually make it snow, rain or be sunny and nice bring that into the story. Did the mage hit their enemies camp with a huge rain storm? Perhaps it hurt the town less than a mile away by washing away their crops. Did the party call down a blizzard to freez a bandit out of hiding? Perhaps they killed the cattle of the near by residents. Does your wizard enjoy making every day sunny with a nice cool breeze? Perhaps the crops of the local farmers have begun to wither due to lack of rain.

Bringing in even higher powers for mistreatment of weather can lead to huge story arcs. Perhaps your groups wizard has made a few sunny days in the winter. This could bring him into conflict with the church of the Raven Queen, or the Raven Queen her self! Perhaps reprisals must be made in the form of a quest or an offering for meddling with the seasons and disturbing the balance. No player enjoys being the pocket of a god and they might work extra hard to get out, with fun results.

Players: Messing with the game world is fun, and often fruitful. At the paragon tier your group might chose to build a kingdom or acquire land. A quick thinking wizard might use the weather to make his land more fruitful and habitable drawing more people into his service. Flavoring your characters actions with brutal storms is also a fun way to add reputation to your wizard and make him the fear of the people of the land. The effect you can have on the story is up to you and creative thinking with something like control over weather is a great way to break the game world and bend it more to your will. Go mad with power and enjoy it.

In Combat: DMs might allow a caster to significantly decrease the area of effect of Control Weather to gain greater potency.  Allowing the battle field to be affected in wondrous and helpful ways. Sending a driving wind across the board might hamper movement in one direction and give a speed bonus in the other. Calling down fog or sleet or fog can obscure the battle field and a give players partial cover. Snow might make difficult terrain in random spots on the battle field. Calling a lighting storm or a heat wave might add damage to fire and lightning/thunder spells. All of these could be effects which work both for and against the party. A DM might put a dry ravine on the battle map and allow it to fill with rain after a few turns creating a deep difficult to pass boundary.  Weather can be so powerful in combat it only takes a bit of imagination and creativity to do.


“Are you sure it’s them?”

Walking up to the crest of the hill, Ory regarded the older gentleman stretched out behind the

ridge. Holding a spyglass in one hand, the older gentleman grabbed Ory by the pant leg with the other to

pull him down to the ground.

“Get down, you idiot! Do you want them to see you? And yes, it’s them. Do you know anyone

else that routinely exercises five hundred head of cattle in the middle of a hidden valley?”

“I…uh…no?” Ory squinted in the late afternoon light, trying to catch more of the action below.

Shifting his gaze, once again to the older gentleman, Ory continued,

“Morbus, I don’t get why we had to follow them out here this far? Won’t the King’s constables be

able to catch the thieves?”

Setting the spyglass down, Morbus eyed his younger companion, “Ory, you remember as well as I

do, that the these cattle thieves disguise the cattle by dyeing them. Right now, those very thieves are

trying to negotiate a deal with the King’s half-brother, the Duke. The Duke doesn’t know these are the

King’s cattle. While the Duke doesn’t care where the cows come from, he will care if he finds out the

cattle belong to the King.

The pained looked of trying to understand a simple concept persisted on Ory’s face. Morbus

waited patiently for the inevitable next question.

“But…Morbus…if the cattle are dyed, how will the Duke find out before the thieves make their

escape? The Duke’s not gonna think to wash the cattle, is he?”

Morbus chuckled at his young companion, “No, Ory…he’s not. That’s where we come in. The

King’s security officer commissioned me to uncover the thieves and expose their treachery. Now, if you’ll

give me two shakes, I intend to do just that.”

Ory opened his mouth to ask how, but was silenced by a single familiar gesture from Morbus. As

his young companion continued to look on curiously, Morbus removed a small glass orb from his vest

pocket and shook it gently. The green liquid swirled within, almost as if a small storm were brewing within

the glass. Setting the orb on a flat rock in front of him, Morbus knelt before it, speaking a language that

Ory was only beginning to understand. Inching away from Morbus and the orb, Ory was fascinated with

the display, but wouldn’t dare run from his master.

Speaking to no one specifically, Morbus continued to focus on the globe.
“This is the part that’s going to hurt.”

With a sudden movement, Morbus raised a fist and brought it smashing down onto the globe.

Shattering with a bright tinkling sound, the now thoroughly broken globe released a puff of vapor and

moisture into the air. Wincing, Morbus stood up, picking shards of glass out of his hand. As he discarded

the first piece, a distant thunder rolled through the valley.

“Morbus, wasn’t that a weather ritual? How are we going to stop thieves with a rainstorm?” Ory

drew his cape over his head in order to avoid the first drops of rain.

Handing his apprentice his spyglass, Morbus gestured toward the cattle below, “take a look at the

cattle, Ory”.

Ory peered through the spyglass, as the first big drops of rain made their appearance. Large

blobs of brownish red dripped from the various cattle. Looking over to his master in alarm, Ory

commented nervously,

“Master, it looks like the cattle are bleeding. I thought you cast a weather ritual?”

Morbus looked at his apprentice with near contempt. Why the boy was referred to as a magical

genius was beyond him. Nevertheless, he tried to explain again.

“Look again, Ory. Focus on the hind quarters of one of the cows.”

Peering more carefully this time, Ory watched as the rain beat down on the backs of the cows.

The brownish red stuff still dripped off the cattle, but now he could see the glaring white marks of the

King’s brand showing on the rump of each cow. Suddenly, his master’s plan began to dawn on him.

“Morbus, I can see the King’s brand on each of the cows! The rain has washed the dye away!”

“Yes, Ory. Now take a look over by the tents.” Morbus adjusted his own cloak to cover his head,

and began to move over to where the horses were tied up. Ory once again looked through the spyglass.

While he couldn’t here it up here on the valley ridge, he could see the angry shouting faces of the Duke’s

men. Crossbows drawn, the Duke’s men quickly rounded up the would be cattle thieves.

Mounting their horses, Ory looked at his master.

“Morbus, how long will the rain last?”

Morbus shivered slightly in the rain, and sighed, “About four hours, give or take. Which reminds

me. Did you pack the umbrellas, Ory?”

Ory shrugged, frustrated, “But Master, it was bright and sunny out this morning, why would I…?”

Morbus shook his head.

“And that is why you’re still an apprentice, Ory.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Ritualistically Speaking: Control Weather”
  1. Rob says:

    How do you feel about PCs writing their own rituals?

    • thadeousc says:

      Good as long as they understand that I have final say for the purpose of balance. I think it would be cool for a player to create magic as if their character were experimenting with magic in new ways. It’s very wizard like.

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