Poor DM’s Almanac

Gerrit Dou - Astronomer by Candlelight (1650s)

In my last post Fair-Weather Friends, I talked about my love of weather in D&D.  To that end, I created a 1-page sheet to generate weather for a D&D 5e game.

This time, I will tie that into my session Daily Almanac which I use to keep track of certain world aspects: calendar, holidays, moon phases, celestial events, weather, and event tracking.

I will reiterate, if you are not a DM who keeps track of detailed minutiae, stop reading. You will probably only frustrate yourself.

Here is a PDF copy: D&D Daily Almanac

Design Requirements

I admit that I prepare quite a bit before each session.  I am not a DM who runs a game from a 3×5 card or just “wings it”.  I have played in those games before, and the results were not good or satisfying. To that end there are world aspects I would probably overlook if I did not religiously keep track of them.  My players know this is how I DM, and they also know they can depend on that data if they want or need it in game.

I wanted a 1 or 2-page sheet that I use to summarize the “almanac” data, that I would hang onto per session of our ongoing campaigns.   The elements listed could have mechanical impact to the players, or might just be description to have at hand when needed.  I want to be ready for questions like:

– What is the date?
– Are there any holidays for my Deity coming up?
– Is there a full moon that will provide good light & werewolves?
– What is the weather today?
– What is that object in the sky?
– What is the visibility for the fight?
– What time of day is it?

Sure, I could just make things up right there on-the-fly.  It is just my process, I suppose.

D&D Daily Almanac - Page 1  D&D Daily Almanac - Page 2

1. Calendar Year & Date

I always try to make sure I have a world or at least a regional calendar for most ongoing campaigns.  My players really enjoy knowing.  I do admit, I use elements of the main calendars from Forgotten Realms, but pretty straightforward.

Fill in data and circle the date:

D&D Daily Almanac - Calendar Year and Date

2. Moon Phases & Celestial Events

The next section tracks the lunar calendar, which I use to track for both night visibility and for possible were-shifting plots.  I also like to know when the sun rises & sets,

Circle the the moon phase, enter Sunrise/Sunset data. Then roll 1d100, if 100, circle appropriate Celestial Event, else circle None.  There are no direct mechanical complications usually, but the world may have an opinion about the event.  I would not have an asteroid event destroy the world for example.

I use fairly precise sunrise, sunset, and civil twilights, but you may find just rounding off to simple round numbers perfectly fine: Sunrise 7am, Sunset 7pm, Dawn 6am, Dusk 7pm.

D&D Daily Almanac - Moon Phases

3. Weather

To complete this section, I recommend completing the Weather Worksheet on page 2, then enter the Temperature, Type and % Chance of Precipitation, Wind Factor, and Wind Direction.  Optionally, you could just fill in the data without determining anything.

Finish this section by rolling 1d100, on 100 circle the Severe Weather.  Detailed explanations of each type is on Weather Worksheet.

D&D Daily Almanac - Weather

4. Encounter Tracking

Finally, use each box to record specific encounter information.  First enter the location.  Roll 1d10% Precipitation challenge versus % Chance.  If less than chance, then the Precipitation Type occurs, which could have character complications.  Then roll the Wind Speed (d12s for MPH or d20s for KPH), and determine Wind Direction (direction die or 1d8).  Lastly, provide the visibility for all normal creatures.  For example, depending on cloud cover and moon, the night may be low-lit or bright.  Heavy rain or snow may have Light Obscurity.

D&D Daily Almanac - Encounter Tracking

Feel free to try it out.  Again, here is the PDF: D&D Daily Almanac

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