Hitchhiker's Guide to the Planes
“So that is how it’s all going to end”, I thought. It’s odd how you just calmly realize that you are about to die; I always expected you’d be gripped by a wave of panic or something, but in the end it was just more of a matter-of-fact statement. Still, we were done. Our plan backfired spectacularly, and now we were cornered in some remote fortress with half an army of very angry Hobgoblins hitting us with everything they had.
Things actually went really well up until about thirty seconds earlier. We managed to infiltrate the fortress without being spotted and cleared the gatehouse of Hobgoblins and even a Wraith without making a sound. Maybe we got too cocky, but somehow we decided to just go into the courtyard and see if we couldn’t get rid of more of them. They had a few Sentinels posted around the walls, sure, but we thought that if we’d stay clear of their darkvision range we’d be fine. That was until the big oaf in his plate armor stumbled. The screeching of the metal-on-metal has to have been to loudest sound I have ever heard in my life. Unsurprisingly the Goblins heard it too and they are smart enough to check the noise. We got spotted and again unsurprisingly all hell broke loose.
“There’s more coming in from the right!”, Azza yelled at the top of his lungs. He was barely audible over the noise of battle but that was the point where I knew we were screwed. Pouring out of the watchtower on our left were a dozen Hobgoblins including one of their commanders, their archers on top of the tower had us pinned, Bells was already down, our spellcasters were running low and now we had another platoon from the right on our heels. We might have been able to take the commander and his men but there was no way in the nine hells we could survive another two dozen soldiers pelting us with arrows.
I still remember him tapping me on the shoulder. “I got this”, Darras said, calmly. “Take care of the ones from the watchtower, I’ll delay the others. Be quick”. It looked like our scrawny soothsayer had one more trick up his sleeve. I don’t remember exactly what he did on account of almost getting my head split by a Hobgoblin axe but in an instant, the central courtyard was just gone. Not in a literal sense. It was the worst blizzard I ever saw and it appeared out of nowhere. Hail as big as your fist slamming to the frozen ground, rain and sleet mixed in an almost impenetrable curtain, falling from thin air and obscuring the entire area. It was a blessing from the heavens.
Even over the sound of battle we could hear the angry screams of the Goblins caught in the storm, them slipping and falling over and over, but we couldn’t see them. Neither could they see us, though. The hail of arrows from our right stopped and we suddenly had the opportunity to focus on our original targets. We weren’t gonna let it pass.
Did we win the battle, you ask? I wouldn’t be talking to you if we didn’t. As for Darras… well, they got him. Nothing we could do about it. But one thing is for sure – his spell, whatever that was? It saved my life, all our lives. And I’ll be eternally grateful to that weird little bastard.
- Eyewitness account of Leothras Stillwater, professional adventurer.
Wanting to control the weather has been a desire ever since the first civilizations started to settle down. Crops need sunlight and rain and getting too much or too little of either can be devastating and lead to widespread famine. And while heavily localized hail storms aren’t aren’t exactly beneficial to agriculture they are much easier to pull off than a large scale manipulation of the climate.
Every early culture had their specialists in dealing with the antics of the local weather, be it witch doctors performing ritualistic rain dances, priests praying to the gods of storms or mages working tirelessly to learn how to manipulate the weave in the right places. The first ones to succeed, however, were druids. Their special connection to the spirits of the nature gave them ways to at least partially control local conditions. One of the easier, because less subtle, ways to manipulate the weather was to create localized torrents of rain. They only cover a comparatively small area but in the end it is just a lot of conjured water. While this spell was useful for watering fields during times of drought over time the druids also gained knowledge to change the temperature of the water. By just dropping it down enough they could create an excellent defensive spell, causing almost instantaneous freezing torrents, covering entire areas in slick ice and completely obscuring vision.
As time grew by several more powerful version of Sleet Storm (like Ice Storm or Control Weather) have been developed, but the basic version is still put to good use as an area denial or interruption tool by druids, mages and certain priests alike.
Casting the Spell
Sleet Storm only needs a moderate amount of experience from the caster, being one of the basic weather manipulation spells. It has verbal as well as somatic components and requires a sprinkle of dust as well as a few drops of water to cast. The caster blows the dust from an open palm in the direction he wants to aim the spell and throws the water drops into the air after it, speaking a basic phrase in druidic. As soon as the water droplets hit the ground the storm takes immediate effect in the area the caster intends it to.
Maintaining the spell is taxing and requires full concentration. Breaking concentration or letting one minute pass by will instantly end the spell with no lingering effects.
Wild Magic and Sleet Storm
Casting weather manipulation spells in a Wild Magic zone is dangerous and prone to backfiring. Aside from being in danger of not getting the spell into the intended position a possible consequence might also be releasing the entire frozen hell at once. Treat the effect as a 3rd level Fireball on a random location within range that deals half cold and half bludgeoning damage, with a Dexterity save for half damage.
Losing concentration on the spell is unproblematic, as it just ends with no consequences.