Weather was a serious concern when travelling in the medieval/renaissance period. Lack of enclosed vehicles with conditioning, and limitations on speed of travel all contributed to the difficulty of long trips. These rules are meant to reflect the effect on the efficiency and durability of the human frame which occurs in adverse weather.
This scale represents the relative classifications of ambient temperature. Fighting in extreme heat or extreme cold will have implications (potentially severe) on the abilities of all involved. Heat, particularly, saps the efficiency and will of anyone out in it for a long period. Festival performers, more than most, should be able to recognize what toll performing strenuous actions has on the human body.
Thus, the rules for fighting in extreme heat. Obviously, armor can be worn comfortably for only short periods on very warm days, however, before that time it has little effect on the ambient temperature. Combat, once it commences, will slowly raise the effective temperature and lower effective ability scores. 8 rounds of combat will raise the effective ambient temperature by 1 category, reducing ability scores to the penalty indicated on the table below. After another 8 rounds (total of 16 rounds), the effective temperature will rise again. And so forth and so on. To cool down and regain ability scores, three rounds must be taken to rest for each round spent fighting. Thus it will take 24 rounds (or just less than two and a half minutes) to cool one category, 48 rounds to cool down two categories, and so on. Removing armor and clothing will speed the process. Also, certain spells may influence effective ambient temperature.
Cold spells will lower the effective ambient temperature for all who are affected by them for a number of rounds equal to the spell’s level. Fire spells will have the opposite effect. Soaking in water (via Create Water, for example) will lower the effective ambient temperature of a character by 1 category immediately, 2 categories if there is a stiff breeze.
Cold weather works in a slightly different manner. To remain comfortable in cold weather, protective clothing must be worn. Certain items of outer- and under-wear have different insulating ability.
As per the table below, more or better clothing must be worn to protect adequately from the cold. Many items may be layered, additional items may be added to the list at the player’s request, though I believe that I have accounted for most of the available options. Leather armor counts for 1 point total, metal armors do not insulate from cold, though chausses and hauberk do, for a total of 1 point of protection.
While wearing adequate protection, the effective ambient temperature is “Cool.” Fighting for 20 rounds, again, raises the effective ambient temperature, though to cool down, a layer of clothing may be shed to compensate for the rise in heat. After a battle which lasted more than 20 rounds, however, cooling off happens much more rapidly, due to the fact that a sweat was worked up. Cooling will occur at the same rate as heating, and the effective ambient temperature will drop below the actual ambient temperature, by the same number of categories as it was heated.
For example, if the ambient temperature is Chilly, and Torvold is wearing the appropriate protective clothing (6 clothing points, in this case) and fights for 21 rounds, his effective ambient temperature will rise from Cool (the effective temperature for the cold weather gear he is wearing) to Pleasant. This poses no problems. If he fights for an additional 19 rounds (totaling 40 rounds), his effective ambient temperature will rise to Warm and drop his stats by 1 point each. At this point he may shuck his coat, dropping two clothing points and bringing his effective ambient temperature back down to Cool. He then fights for two more rounds before slaying his enemy. At the moment he stops fighting, his ambient temperature starts dropping at the rate of one category every two minutes until it has dropped twice the number of categories it raised. Now he is sweaty, and his effective ambient temperature will drop 4 levels (from Cool down to Icy). Replacing his coat will prevent the ambient temperature from dropping the full 4 categories, but the experienced temperature outside his clothing is now considered two levels down from Chilly into Icy, which his coat is not sufficient for.
As long as he remains sweaty (and unless he changes clothes or finds some other way to dry off he will) and unprotected, his abilities are reduced by two. Further, he must now make a Constitution check every 5 minutes until he is dry and warmed to at least Cool to avoid hypothermia. For every failed check, each subsequent check is made at a cumulative -1 penalty, until the point where the penalty is more than the original Constitution score of the victim. At that point Death occurs. Checks must be made until the effective ambient temperature is at least Cool.
Building a fire will raise the ambient temperature in the immediate vicinity, and therefore aid in the return to Cool. Bigger fires, or fires in enclosures will raise the ambient temperature more.
Other Weather Hazards
Thunderstorms present a unique hazard: Lightning. Lightning is incredibly dangerous, dealing 36d6 damage to the first object it strikes, and the damage continues along the path of least resistance until it finds ground, but even then a ground arc will damage those standing nearby. Any 6’s rolled are set aside and not counted in the damage for the next 5’, continuing on until 6 dice remain, after which one is dropped each hex regardless of whether a 6 was rolled. Fortunately, the likelihood of any particular 50’ diameter campsite being struck during a typical 30 minute storm is 1 in 65,610.
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