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    Weather in Greyhawk
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 09, 2005
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    Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:04 pm  
    Weather in Greyhawk

    I saw "weather generator" model in Greyhawk World box set and simplified variant in "The adventure begin". Any other official variants?
    Which model you are using?
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 11, 2001
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    Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:44 am  
    The Climate of the Oerth

    Well funny you should mention that, since my worktime displacement activity yesterday was a bit of research in to climate regions, winds and the like.
    My bright idea was to try to get an idea of the climate in different areas of Oerik and the Oerth and see what those regions (and the realms that occupy those regions) would be like.

    And my biggest finding? The canon weather in the Flanaess makes no sense whatsoever. Big surprise. :)

    Case in point: given Oerth's 30 degree axial tilt, the equivalent of the Tropic of Cancer is at 30 degrees north, which the Glossography tells us runs in and around the Azure Sea.

    So far so what you say. Well - just north of the tropics on Earth, you run into the Horse Latitudes - a peristant band of high pressure from which issue the Trade Winds (blowing towards the equator) and the mid latitude westerlies towards the poles. The HL and the trade winds are also closely associated with the location of deserts (since the winds tend to be very dry and the high pressure tends to produce clear skies and hot weather - the Sahara and Arabian deserts are classic examples). So, instead of being an anomaly, the Bright Desert should be what most of the southern Flanaess should be like (with NE trade winds as the prevailing wind type. Meanwhile the northern Flanaess should have south westerly prevailing winds, which collide with the polar easterlies at the low pressure polar front about 55 or so north (or around the latitude of Stonehold), giving a very wet temperate climate to that area.

    Obviously this is waaaay off what canon says (northerly winds in winter with lots of rain and southerly and easterly winds in summer with little rain (which makes little sense).

    This is where the magic influences the weather in greyhawk thing comes in. Obviously in winter, the polar front is displaced south bringing the polar easterlies and north easterlies over the Flanaess along with a fair amount of frontal, cyclonic rain. Then in summer, the polar front move back north, bringing the westerlies and south westeries in over the Flanaess. The thing is, at the same time, it's likely that the HLat highs don't move north or do so tranisently so as not to cause significant desertification. Now while, the high pressure and low pressure bands on Earth do shift latitude like this (it's why we get the Monsoon in SE Asia), I don't think the shifts are as extreme as the ones that have to occuer to match this model with the canon weather patterns in the Flanaess. It also doesn't explain why summer is so long as compared to winter.

    Of course there are a few problems applying Earth climate models to the Oerth. For a start, the Oerth system is geocentric and not heliocentric. If the Oerth doesn't spin, then it doesn't have a coriolis effect to deflect the winds east and west in the various pressure bands (they'd run straight north/south instead).

    All the same, if you do try to map out the pressure abd climate bands to the Gary Holian map of the Oerth and assume, all else being equal, something like the Land of Black Ice is causing anomalies in the claiamte around the Flanaess, but not elsewhere, you can find out a few interesting tid-bits.

    1: The Suel Imperium
    It's surrounded by mountains and it should lie smack in the NE trade wind zone. It should have been Tibet without the high altitude, unless the southern mountains aren't high enough to create a significant rain shadow and there's some sort of monsoon season rainfall caused by the Intertropical convergence zone (which causes heavy equitorial rainfall) moving north in summer. So, we have to assume then that the mountains separating the SI and Zahind are low and that there is a monsoon type climate in that area. Or at least there was until the Rain of Colourless Fire.

    2: Erypt.
    The region known as Erpyt on the Dragon Annual 1 map should indeed have a desert. It's smack in the souther Horse Latitude region, which should make the entire region of Oerik south of the that big mountain range that seperates the Celestial Imperium from the Empire of Lynn arid.

    3: Northern "Anakeri"
    The same goes for the nothern half of the unnamed southern continent, which some maps call Anakeri. The HL runs right through that. Interestingly, the Anatarctic circle cuts through the southern part of the continent, meaning that it'd have a very extreme range of climates, and not be the nicest of places to live, (though the far western tip and pards of the eastern coasts might be pleasent enough). For example, the southern coast would be swept with howling Antarctic easterly gales, not unlike the roaring 40's on earth. Another interesting thang is that SE trade winds blow from Anakeri towards southern Hepmonaland and the Pearl Sea - so in theory a sea faring people on Anakeri couldride the trades right to the Touv lands of Hepmonaland and into the Pearl Sea. So here's a thought - what if the Touv came from Anakeri (or whatever you want to call it) originally?

    4:The Oerik Equitorial zone - as discussed, Zanhind probbaly has a Monsoon or even plain equitoral climate, as would "Nippon" or Kalaraja as I call it. So instead of being like Japan, it's more like Sri Lanka. It's possible that large sections of the Celestial Empire have monsoon rains as well. The southern provinces are probably equitorial as well (not unlike SE Asia - think of southern celestial cities and think of Ankor Wat). The Empire of Lynn is smack in the middle of the Intertropical convergence zone and so there should be a broad band of equitorial rain forest streching from the Celestial mountains to the western coast of the continent (again parallels to Ankor and the Khmer perhaps).

    5: North Central Oerik: This should have a region of Trade wind desert or arid/semi-arid lands in a strip roughly from the Dry Steppes west over the mountains through "Orcreich" and the Low and High Khanates. and beyond the Celestial mountains to the Solnor. This might manifest itself as semi arid steppes, savanas or grasslands (which would fit with the apparent nomad feel of the area). Perhaps the reason why the Celestial Imperium hasn't overrun these areas is that they're too marginal and arid to support intensive agriculture (not unlike Mongolia).

    6: Southern Hyperbora. The polar front runds rough through the southern part of Hyperbora, suggesting it might not be as uninhabited or hostile as previously thought.

    7: Fireland too lies snack between the Polar front and the HL, sqaure in the westerlines band of winds. This would suggest a climate not unlike Ireland or Britain. However, we know that the Solnor has a huge colckwise current, meaning that it's likely that a cold polar current (like the Labrador current), is sweeping down it's western coast. So Fireland might be more like Norway. With volcanos.

    Now I'm sure these suppositions are sketchy to the point where they'd reduce a climatologist to tears and/or laughter, but it does give an interesting basis to start theorising about cultures and realms beyond the Flanaess.

    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
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    Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:08 am  

    Woesinger: “sketchy to the point where they’d reduce a climatologist to tears and/or laughter ….”

    Maybe, but I have not studied climatology and so was mostly confused. That is my ignorance, not your fault.

    If I have it right, and I am not saying I do, you started out trying to apply principles of earth climatology, found out that they could not work for the Flanaess and then applied them to the rest of Oerth anyway.

    That sounds to me almost guaranteed to end up with the wrong results for what Oerth’s climate should be like (but then Erypt should be dry). Even if the Flanaess is uniquely divergent, its climate would impact the rest of Oerth in any earth like system.

    Woesinger: “it does given an interesting basis to start theorizing about cultures and realms beyond the Flanaess.”


    I guess the way to go would be to use the way weather works on earth, which you did, and change it for Oerth to account for geocentricity and other “natural” characteristic, magic and divine intervention and any dictates of creative inspiration. The last, I think would be the most important, where thing are undefined, need not come first.

    Principles of climatology that can account for the differences in the Flanaess should be developed, which could then be applied to the rest of Oerth.

    It is my understanding that playability was Gygax’s main principle. The Flanaess needed a long summer and mild climate so PCs could adventure. Well, the game has changed quite a bit since then, and there are now rules and magic to allow playability in any climate. I have no problem saying the Flanaess has the most favorable climate on Oerth; it is after all the chosen land, its peripheries are extreme – the sea of dust, to a lesser degree the Baklunish west, Black Ice, the Amedio and Hepmonaland.

    Perhaps “the chosen lands” surrounded by the marginal, should be one such principle of Oerth. The wind and rain would bend to their purpose for whatever reason. The Flanaess could be only one of a few such areas, including perhaps Nippon, the Celestial Imperium, Lynn and Gigantea. Everything else would be marginal or extreme. Wind and weather would have to be formulized to fit into that, which could be easier where the areas are not defined explicitly or by implication, such as Erypt.

    Just a though.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 11, 2001
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    Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:57 am  

    If I have it right, and I am not saying I do, you started out trying to apply principles of earth climatology, found out that they could not work for the Flanaess and then applied them to the rest of Oerth anyway.

    Yep. It's called covering all bases - point out the flaws in your model and then push it anyway. :)

    I don't know how useful trying modeling things in this way is, but if it gives a springboard for developing cultures outside the Flanaess, then it's gotta be good. If you want to learn more about climate and stuff - wikipedia is your friend - it's where I looked up all this stuff in the first place! Smile
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
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    Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:46 am  

    Here is something useful for the not too far extra-Flanaess. BASTARD GREYHAWK MAPS,, has one map in particular showing some climate:
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 15, 2002
    Posts: 165
    From: Seattle

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    Fri Sep 02, 2005 8:06 am  

    I have no idea how it would affect this discussion, but don't forget that Oerth is huge compared to Earth. See Roger Moore's article in OJ3 for details.

    I didn't design the world,
    I merely facilitated its creation
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 18, 2001
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    Fri Sep 02, 2005 8:11 am

    I use this incredibly handy and very cool little app.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
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    From: Woonsocket, RI, USA

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    Fri Sep 02, 2005 12:37 pm  

    Phoebus wrote:

    I use this incredibly handy and very cool little app.

    I was very excited about this tool initially, but disappointed to discover that it doesn't determine wind speed, and doesn't allow for special weather. It's still easier to roll it up myself.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 30, 2004
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    Fri Sep 02, 2005 5:00 pm  
    Re: The Climate of the Oerth

    Woesinger wrote:

    And my biggest finding? The canon weather in the Flanaess makes no sense whatsoever. Big surprise. :)

    Even the basic temperature is messed up.

    From the 1983 Glossography:
    Baseline data is for 40 degrees North latitude.
    Base Temperature for the month of Reaping: 77 degrees F.
    Each degree of latitude South of Baseline increases temperature by 2 degrees F.

    So the average temperature at the Equator during Reaping is 157 degrees F!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 01, 2004
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    From: Lost in the Sea of Dust

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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:20 pm  

    Probably my first post...

    I use this program:

    It generates far more information than most people need, but can that be all bad? There is a seperate DB for Oerth available for download at thier site

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