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So last night while I was trying to do some all important blogging and writing, I got quite a shock when a sudden massive sound – rather like an explosion – happened somewhere near by. It was so loud that it drowned out the music I was listening to and I could even feel the shockwave. Initially I thought that a transformer or something similar had exploded, but it turns out the explosion wasn’t really an explosion, but lightning hitting a tree just across the road from where I live. This is the aftermath of the tree in the light of day today:

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After a few seconds the lights flickered and then the power went out, plunging us and the entire residential area around us into pure darkness. This at least managed to get all of the neighbours out and about, so I got to meet them. A considerable chunk of the tree had been taken out, with some very large braches perched precariously on top of the power pole and lines outside. On thinking about things, it was incredibly fortunate that the branches managed to hit the top of the pole, as opposed to falling directly on the lines. It could have been far worse and more dangerous, especially as our road is fairly busy so several motorists were going by.

Watching some people swerve around the debris and other things left in the road, somewhat chaotically at that, was quite a sight. Thankfully someone pulled up with a fluro vest and was able to direct traffic a bit and the police and fire department were on the scene pretty quickly as well. The most interesting thing by far was how the tree was actually still semi-on fire from the lightning strike. Smouldering embers were coming off it rather consistently through the evening, but thankfully it was wet enough not to immediately explode into flames (a good thing!).

Looking at it today and the amazing sound the lightning strike produced has really got me thinking. It’s easy in games featuring magic, monsters or similar things to forget just how powerful nature in our own reality actually is. That tree took an absolute hammering from the lightning strike, spraying bits of branch and tree just about everywhere. Not to mention how intimidating that sound was when it actually hit the tree as well. Now that this has happened to me, I’m already thinking about how to use this experience to add flavor and verisimilitude to my own games in future. Weather can be an overlooked, but essential part of atmosphere and mood for a roleplaying game, so while it did delay my blogging and writing for a while – I’m somewhat appreciative of this experience.