Bitterly Cold Conditions
- The land is a great, desolate world, where nights are clear and the moon glows with awful luminosity. The icy world is silent, as every living thing goes to ground and nothing moves; the land is locked tight as a drum. The silence bludgeons you dumb. And every movement is stiff and numb, as you lumber along in heavy dun.
These harsh, biting temperatures range between -29° to -34° celsius (-20° to -29° F), but to the fantasy mindset they are known only as bitterly cold.
Safety requires a minimum of 25 lbs. of clothing. Exposed skin will freeze in 2-3 minutes and become frostbitten within 15. Suggested clothing includes linen breeches, gabardine trousers and fur boots, with boot covers for the lower body; woolen shirt, doublet, robe, gabardine jacket and mantle above the waist. Inner and outer mittens provide two very much needed layers, with wool hat and fur hat giving two layers atop the head. A scarf is needed to protect the face. If extra weight is needed, a full woollen jumper and heavy fur coat can be added.
Effects & Limitations
Any amount of wind will drastically reduce conditions, with a light breeze causing Arctic Conditions and a gentle breeze bringing Polar Conditions. As such, travelling or working in these conditions is dangerous except when the air is still or nearly so. Most times, these temperatures will occur in places where long nights and darkness exists for a good part of the year. The presence of snow is almost assured and storms will become blizzards with white-out conditions. Becoming lost in these conditions will almost certainly mean death. If the character fails to contract hypothermia, after 2½ hours in bitterly cold weather the character will begin to suffer 1 hit point of damage per level, per 15 minutes, until finding shelter or dying.
Because so much clothing must be worn to keep warm, there is danger of sweating inside one's clothes. The danger is that once this inner wet permeates to the outside, the clothes will freeze through and affect the body's health. When performing heavy activity, such as chopping wood, construction or digging, the character must make a constitution check every 6 minutes against hypothermia. If engaging in combat in these conditions, a check must be made in the 8th round, and every 8 rounds thereafter.
A failed roll indicates the character has caught a chill. Within 5-20 rounds, they will begin to shiver uncontrollably; once this stage occurs, the character will become -4 to hit and suffer a temporary loss of 'two levels. They will not be able to cast spells. Five rounds later, they won't be able to fight at all, and will drop their weapons and feel dizzy. At this time, they have 8-20 minutes in bitterly cold conditions to find shelter, or else they will become delirious and incapable of saving themselves. Death from the cold will follow in 1-4 minutes per point of constitution.
If exposed to a fire, the wet clothes removed and at least 12½ lbs. of clothes worn while remaining next to a fire, the character can be made partially sensible again; however, they will not be able to cast spells or take part in combat, due to weariness, until a full day's rest can be had inside a sustainable shelter.
Building a Fire
If a strong fire can be built in these conditions, it will double the survival time of those who cannot find or make shelter of any kind. However, often it is hard to find sufficient fuel to maintain a fire, and impossible if there is more than an inch of snow covering on the ground. Therefore, fuel must be conjured by magical means or brought along with the character.