World Building 101 for Writers and Game Devs – Lesson 3 – Atmosphere and Weather

Hello World!

This is Mark from Amazing Gaming Productions. I’m the creator of Tales from Trinity City, a dark sci-fi Tabletop RPG. You can download the lore book, rulebook, and character sheet for free.

Today’s blog is all about atmosphere and weather and how they can change your stories.

Breathing is an important of biology, so the atmosphere of your world is important. With speculative fiction, you need to think outside the box. For example, the Volus live in a world whose atmosphere is so dense, they would explode in normal pressure. So they create environment suits that keep them under high pressures.

The Volus are perfect examples of why you need to think about atmosphere for your world building – in a normal pressurized environment, they would explode.

Even in our own solar system, we have so many different worlds with so many atmospheres. Venus with it’s crushing carbon dioxide atmosphere. Earth with it’s temperate-life-encouraging atmosphere, ensuring we can have this conversation. Mars with it’s minimal atmosphere layer, which would suffocate you in seconds. The gas giants which are 99% atmosphere. and Titan with a thick methane atmosphere – it’s so cold, you’d die in seconds without proper protection. There’s so much out there and you need to think about how that will affect your world?

You also have weather patterns created by these atmospheric conditions. Mars’ atmosphere is so thin the winds are often 100s of miles/hour, making the hurricane winds on Earth seem slow. And what about weather patterns on Earth.

Best worst movie ever!

I have a Battle Royale game idea called Hurrpocalpyse. As the tornado/hurricane gets more powerful, the area you fight shrinks more and more. Add to the fact, more and more dangerous animals show up the faster the winds get. Every so often, the winds blow so hard the area get smaller much faster. Getting to that cave might give you some protection, except a Bear lives there.

While you are creating your world, important weather and atmospheric conditions are important. And that requires researching. You should learn the basics of meteorology so you can make informed decisions for your world. What if magic in the faery realm travelled like winds? What about the rain and flood seasons so many areas in the world experience?

You also need to start getting a basic astronomy book to learn what helps create atmospheres. What makes atmospheres thick or thin? What would that do for life on that world? What do the sapients who leave their world have to do to survive?


Air is a fundamental need for all living creatures. Even Bacteria take in gases for biological processes. An atmosphere is important, life can’t survive without an exchange of materials.

If your planet has run out of air, would you construct a mega sucking robot maid to get some fresh air, like in Space Balls?

Do you want her to blow your atmosphere?

There are so many things that can affect the atmosphere, so go wild.

Let’s use our previous example of the human and faery realm. The human world was about to invade the faery land because a volcano was about to destroy their kingdom. Thousands were able to make their way to the faery realm, but millions had to endure the destruction.

When the Volcano went, those closest to it almost died immediately. The cities outside the devastation were dying much slower than that. Their crops were failing because the ash was taking away the sunlight. The inhabitants found it hard to breathe, the volcanic ash made it harder to breath.

This released a magical adaptation amongst hybrid humans. Those with faery magic in their blood started to adapt to their new conditions. They started to have bigger chests and lungs, more red blood cells, stronger muscles. The Orc was born.

A little magic, a little change in the environment and we have the Orc, ready to live in the harsh conditions of breathing volcanic ash to get the oxygen they needed.

They were much more carnivorous than average humans. Some even more aggressive ones became cannibalistic towards their human neighbours. They have ravaged the world for hundreds of years as the Orc Tribes.

The Volcano activated an evolutionary step for those humans. The world demanded a more adapted life form to survive more harsh conditions, and the Orc was the result. As you can see, add a little science and a little magic and you can start writing interesting concepts. Latent magic in hybrid humans change them into Orcs because volcanic ash made it hard to breathe.

What is going to happen once the Orcs start interacting with the Faery realms?


Weather patterns can have a profound impact on stories. In the third Riddick movie, the creators tried to capture the imagination of the first movie. Riddick is on a desert planet that only rains once every cycle. The problem is there is a venomous predator species that can’t exist in the dry dessert and must stay in water. When the rain storm goes over the region, the predators seek to enjoy the bounty of life around them.

And when we are dealing with speculative fiction, we need to think outside the box.

One of my favourite series of novels when I was growing up was the Amber novels by Roger Zelazny. The premise of the story was reality was malleable. Immortals could travel to ‘all possible worlds’. But because there was certain events happening damaging the delicate ‘reality’. It was creating storms that travelled from one of these worlds to another.

While there is a direct portal between the human and faery world, can weather leak between the worlds? Has this had consequences between either world?

If magic either makes or dissipates this, where does all that energy go?

Here’s another bunch of questions about magic and weather. We only need to look to folklore about witches and storms to ask this important question. If wizards, druids and witches change the weather, does it unbalance the weather? What if they are destroying their environment through magic? What if twisters and severe thunder storms are targeting wizards from their ignorance?

All weather is energy from the sun affecting the elements of the atmosphere. You can’t get rid of that energy to prevent a storm, the energy goes somewhere, because energy – E=MC2 – can only change. So, what these wizards and magicians are doing is changing the location of where this energy is going. That will disrupt everything and could destroy the environment.

In speculative fiction, using atmospheric conditions and weather cycles can be fun. Every region in our world has a variety of conditions all based on weather, go nuts. Floods during rain season. Droughts that starve the populace. Regions starving invading regions with plenty.

And when you add weather magic into the mix – remember weather is an equation. If a wizard is adding or taking away energy, is that going to affect the weather of the entire world? And weather technology may also have the same affects.

Can other things like volcanic eruptions lead to new developments? How did volcanic eruptions in Earth’s past changed our world? How could they change your world?

Thank you for reading my blog.

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Have a great day guys!

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