7 Tips to Battling in the Rain


I’m going to do three ‘7 Tips’ posts this week.  Each one is going to touch on a specific weather pattern and how it influences battles in fiction.  Many authors go for one of these three, but they don’t always factor in the effects.  Weather typically is done for atmosphere instead of influence.  So, let’s get started with:


  1. Visibility is hindered by rain.  Not only the pouring rain and darkness caused by the clouds, but wet hair and drops getting in the eyes.  You can’t turn on windshield wipers like when driving too.  Now, you can get around this a little by having it be a drizzle during the day, but we’re talking about storms.  Without spells, racial abilities, and magical devices, a character can’t see their usual distance.  This is very important for archers.
  2. Rain greatly affects the ground, especially if there’s a lot of it.  Fighting in the wilderness means the ground will become muddy, which hampers movement.  It becomes more difficult to walk, run, and get up if you’ve fallen.  In a city, the stones can become slippery and increase the risk of losing your balance.  Warriors will typically be aware of this danger, so adjust without much issue.  At least with the slippery stones because you can only do so much with mud.
  3. Anything made of cloth will become drenched and weigh a person down.  This includes anything worn under armor because water may be able to get in.  It may just be some areas like the joints, but it’s enough to add weight.  Like the mud and slippery stones, this can reduce mobility.  More importantly, it creates discomfort, which can have a psychological impact on the warrior.
  4. With rain, one typically gets a lot of wind.  This makes talking very difficult, but, more importantly, messes with hearing.  Listening for enemies coming or orders being shouted becomes a challenge.  Even without the wind, the battering of rain on armor and bodies can cause enough of a din to be a problem.  This is why many rain battles are depicted as descending into chaos.
  5. Any weapons with fire need to have an explanation of why they aren’t put out by the rain.  If everyone is launching fire arrows then there has to be a mention of how that’s possible.  Many eagle-eyed readers will pick up on the potential issue and be drawn out of the events.  Oils and other flammable materials can be shown even in passing as a single line.
  6. Flooding is a potential danger if the raining is strong enough.  This becomes a bigger issue if there’s a river nearby.  Think about the storm being so much that the fighting area may gradually be submerged.  Even if full flooding isn’t a possibility, you will have puddles that may be deeper than they look.  Ever drive through a puddle that ended up being bigger than you expected?  Imagine doing that with a battle horse or in the midst of a battle.  You’d be a little shocked and disoriented for a bit.
  7. If the rain is cool enough then it can help with overheating.  Unlike a hot day, a warrior who is getting hot in their armor may be able to rest for less time.  The rain will cool them down and provide a quick drink.  Look, I’m trying to find a positive on this one, so it’s the best I’ve got.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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20 Responses to 7 Tips to Battling in the Rain

  1. L. Marie says:

    This is a great post and great tips. I’d like to see some non-climactic battles taking place in the rain for a change though. I have read books or seen so many movies (looking at you especially, The Matrix: Revolutions) where the final battle takes place during a rainstorm (like every graveside funeral happening during a rainstorm). (There are number of sites that discuss the final battle in the rain trope, so I’m glad I’m not making this up.)


    • I think there’s a symbolic reason for rain being a common final battle setting. Rain is seen as a purifying symbol, so it shows that a big change is about to happen. It also acts as an environmental challenge without the high risk of snow, sleet, etc. Rain just makes one wet and can hinder visibility. I think there’s also this idea that a storm can really tear apart an area, so the idea of heroes standing victorious in the aftermath has that symbolism too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. Marie says:

        And that is a viable reason to have it. I’d just like to see something different–like the old fight with Anakin and Obi-Wan that took place on Mustafar back in Revenge of the Sith. (I haven’t seen the Obi-Wan show, so I can’t comment on any recent fights.)


      • Funny thing about volcano fights is that you really need to work hard at making it a plausible setting. That might be another reason rain is used. It’s the most common environmental factor that nobody would question it.


  2. L. Marie says:

    And of course Lord of the Rings: Two Towers!


  3. You have a lot of good points here. As writers, we have to put ourselves into the situation with all the senses, and rain would definitely give lots of opportunity for using things like touch. You also can build telling details into all the factors you mention here.


  4. I think in some ways your suggestions are good even if not in battle. If it’s raining there will be some effect on the characters caught in the rain. It can’t be ignored. Good post, Charles.


  5. L. Marie says:

    Charles, I was not enamored with the decision to include the elves in a scene in which they did not appear in the book. However, I still love the battle.


  6. noelleg44 says:

    Reminds me of the battle of Culloden (no, I wasn;t there!).


  7. V.M.Sang says:

    Not much positive about fighting in the rain, I would have thought. Still, you did find one.
    Thinking of #6, if your horse steps in a puddle deeper than either of you thought, then, not only is it disorientating for the rider, but there would be a very real chance the horse would stumble, or even fall.


  8. I love it. I can see the advantage to those helmets with brims. Rain on a metal hat would be deafening. I included rain as a central theme in my upcoming hat story. No armor or horses though.


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