I'm creating a world for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and it takes place on an endless plane of water. A single continent, maybe the size of Africa, sticks out in this endless sea. The sea always tends to flow from west to east, as does the wind, and in the north-south direction are regular bands of hot and cold temperatures. All of these constants are maintained by some sort of divine means, so long-term change is not a concern.

Given that the ocean is endless, how would storms be affected? Would there be massive storms that rival the size of continents because there's no land to stop them from absorbing moisture? How would navigation be affected by the prospect of constant wind direction; would it encourage the development of powered boats a lot sooner than they were on Earth?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm just asking how such a world would differ from that of earth climate-wise. Would the endless ocean actually affect the climate in any meaningful way? $\endgroup$ Dec 18, 2019 at 18:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Since there is no planetary rotation. axial tilt, nor orbit, there is no day-night cycle and no seasons. The endless burning sun will dry out the center of the continent into an enormous hellish desert...or trigger an endless conveyor-belt of thunderstorms that keep it soggy. Depends upon where you put your mountains. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Dec 18, 2019 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ @user535733 - I like that. Flesh it out for him, how about? Pictures! A continent with mountains closer to the east coast, big storms just west of them, rivers flowing back to the west, and an eastern coastal desert. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 18, 2019 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ You also don't get a lot of storms, especially ones like hurricanes that depend on the Coriolis Effect scijinks.gov/coriolis of a rotating planet. (It actually affects pretty much all weather systems, since they're moving masses of air, but the effect is most obvious in hurricanes.) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Dec 18, 2019 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


One big driver for climate is the fact that the equator is rotating at around 1000mph whereas the poles are stationary. This causes a large amount of instability and eddies in the atmosphere forming large circulating storm systems. Without that effect storm activity would be much reduced so there would not be any massive continental sized storm systems.

Depending on the variability and strength of the wind and current (how often the wind blew from the east and the speed of the water flow) it might be possible to sail the sea or it might be impossible. Navigation could be very difficult to the east where ships would be blown out to sea and in the west where they would be blown onto the shore. To the north and south navigation might be possible with the prevailing wind but ships might not be able to safety navigate from the north to the south or vice versa.

I doubt powered boats would be developed any sooner. The sea would simply be used less, but it would be revolutionized when steam power arrived. In the meantime and again subject to the strength of wind and current, oar power might be sufficient to make sea travel a viable possibility in areas where sail alone was incapable (think Roman triremes and similar).


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