With the new season of D&D Encounters starting up, Wizards put out a call for “twitter buffs–“ buffs which would be tweeted during game sessions and affect the game. I found one of the buffs very inspiring, the very first one posted in fact by a user named Atras.
Sand flies harshly to the South, right into your eyes. All attacks made to the North are made with major concealment (-5) #dndenc
The idea of a directional bonus is absolutely awesome, because it strongly encourages movement. You’re constantly fighting to be in the favorable position. It can give an edge to ambushers or be used to balance out a tougher encounter.
Further, it encourages movement in a specific direction, which opens up more possibilities. Imagine, for example, fighting along an east-facing cliff right as the sun is rising. Characters attacking towards the cliff will have the sun in their eyes, giving them a penalty, but if the combatants keep running around to get behind each other then they’re going to be up against the cliff very quickly… A raging wall of hellfire could have the same effect, blinding those facing it and encouraging movement towards it.
The direction needn’t be consistent, either. Imagine fighting during a driving rainstorm, and at the top of each initiative round rolling a d8 to determine the direction of the winds.
Another idea to encourage movement would be moving zones. Poisonous gas clouds could waft along with the winds, or balls of crackling electricity might move quickly, but predictably, bouncing off the walls of the room. They needn’t be harmful, either. A statue of Pelor could shoot a beam of positive energy which heals whoever was within it, circling around the room like a lighthouse.