I've been trying to make a tornado with Particular but i can't seem to get it to spin around it's axis - i'm fairly new to all this and i'm not even sure it's the right plugin to use - it just looked like somthing that could solve my problems. So i turn to the experts - is there a setting that i've so far not found that will make my colum of particles rotate in a tornado like fashion?
No, not really. The only emitter types that really rotate are box and layers, but even then it does not look real. If you can, try to use other tools - it's simpler and will render faster. It's not impossible to create a funnel with Particular, though. The key to success is to keyframe the emitter position to form a crossection of the funnel and then play with Air resistance, Spin and Turbulence to deform it and make particles move.