Cold Dangers

For game purposes, air temperature falls into one of the following nine temperature bands. These ranges describe the conditions whether or not creatures are subject to cold dangers or heat dangers, replacing the ranges described on page 302 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.

  • Temperature Band Range
  • Extreme heat 140° F or more
  • Severe heat 110° F to 140° F
  • Hot 90° F to 110° F
  • Warm 60° F to 90° F
  • Moderate 40° F to 60° F
  • Cold 40° F to 0° F
  • Severe cold –20° F to 0° F
  • Extreme cold –50° F to –20° F
  • Unearthly cold –50° F or less

Temperatures in the cold band or lower can be hazardous to unprepared characters. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on his saving throws against cold and exposure damage, and may be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well. For more information on the Survival skill, see page 83 of the Player’s Handbook. The levels of protection described here refer to a character’s protective measures against cold (see Protection Against Cold, below).

  • Cold: Unprotected characters must make a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Characters whose protection against cold is at least level 1 or higher (cold weather outfi t, Cold Endurance feat) are safe at this temperature range.
  • Severe Cold: Unprotected characters must make a Fortitude save every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check), taking 1d6 points of nonlethal damage on each failed save. A partially protected character need only check once per hour. For complete protection against severe cold, a character must have a level of protection of 2 or higher (for example, wearing a cold weather outfit and fur clothing). A character whose level of protection is only 1 is considered partially protected.
  • Extreme Cold: Unprotected characters take 1d6 points of cold damage per 10 minutes (no save). In addition, an unprotected character must make a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Those wearing metal armor or coming into contact with very cold metal are affected as if by a chill metal spell. A partially protected character takes damage and makes saving throws once per hour instead of once per 10 minutes. A character must have a level of protection of 3 or higher to be protected against extreme cold. Level 2 is considered partial protection; level 1 is considered unprotected.
  • Unearthly Cold: Unprotected characters take 1d6 points of cold damage and 1d4 points of nonlethal damage per minute (no save). Partially protected characters take damage once per 10 minutes instead of once per minute. For complete protection against the effects of unearthly cold, a character must have a level of protection of 4 or higher. Level 2 or 3 is considered partial protection, and level 1 is no protection at all.Temperature Variations Temperatures vary signifi cantly with an increase in elevation or the onset of night. A character might require no special precautions during day or at low elevations, but with nightfall or high altitude otherwise tolerable conditions may become dangerously cold.
  • Altitude: Temperatures drop by one band in low peak or high pass elevations (5,000 feet to 15,000 feet) and two bands in high peak elevations (15,000 feet or more). For example, a day that is otherwise moderate temperature at low elevation is cold at medium elevation and severe cold at high elevation.
  • Nightfall: In many areas, temperatures usually drop one band after the sun goes down. In exceptionally arid areas, the drop may be even more pronounced, reducing the temperature by two steps.
  • Wind Chill: A strong wind does not actually lower the air temperature, but it increases the rate at which characters lose heat, and therefore appears to decrease the temperature. Winds that are strong or greater in strength (see Table 3–24: Wind Effects, page 95 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide) reduce the effective temperature band by one step.

Cold Dangers

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