Dungeons & Dragons Online

Making the Environment Deadly Again

So we all know the rules on extreme cold and heat from the DMG. I find this is okay but not great. So let's expand upon it.

So let's start with heat. My players are currently in a volcano so I've worked on these, and it doesn't have other outside sources to pull from like Icewind Dale.

So let's start by splitting "heat" into multiple categories that correspond to temperature but are easier to implement than having to determine the temperature of each location. To keep it simple I'll say only two although you might break this down further if you desired. Let's just say Desert Heat and Volcanic Heat.

So while in Desert Heat they make Con Saves every hour they don't have water against exhaustion beginning at DC 5 and increasing by 5 for every hour they don't have water. They require twice the daily amount of water, as do their mounts and beasts of burden except for camels and other creatures native to desert environs.

Now for the fun one: Volcanic Heat.

While in Volcanic Heat every hour they must make a DC 10 Constitution Save against exhaustion regardless of if they have water or not. This increases by 5 every hour they don't have water. They require triple the amount water as normal and water that isn't within a closed container evaporates after 1 minute.

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I'm not gonna bore you with the science and math of water's phase changes because it's fairly complicated but suffice to say that when in a volcano all water in an open container will evaporate in under a minute when under typical atmospheric pressure. Magma is roughly 1/5th the temperature of the surface of the sun.

When long resting in Volcanic Heat they must make a DC 15 Con Save against exhaustion.

Creatures with resistance to fire make their Con Saves against Volcanic Heat at advantage and ignore saves against Desert Heat. Creatures with immunity to fire are immune to the effects of Extreme Heat. Creatures wearing metal armour or who are made predominantly of metal have disadvantage on the save.

This incentives players to bring methods of cooling their rest location, such as Tiny Hut, or leaving to come back another day. Don't punish players for circumventing the Rest Exhaustion with Tiny Hut. A 3rd level spell at level 5 makes needing to save that slot for survival a massive expenditure of resources.

The point is to reward players for saving a resource to protect them while they rest.

Falling into lava instantly kills any creature that is not immune to fire damage.

Now for Cold.

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We'll split Cold into two types but if you wanted to use the split found in Icewind Dale (or just those rules entirely) go ahead. We'll keep it simple and say Arctic Cold and Tundra Cold.

Arctic Cold is any temperature below 0° C but above -50° C. Essentially, anything that a Ring of Warmth protects you from.

Tundra Cold is anything below -50° C.

While in Arctic Cold you must make a Con Save against Hypothermia starting at DC 10 and increasing by 5 for every hour without a source of warmth.

While afflicted by Hypothermia you can no longer use your reaction and you have disadvantage on Stealth, Perception, Athletics, and Acrobatics.

When long resting, if you are afflicted by Hypothermia you gain the Frostbitten conditioned.

While afflicted by the Frostbitten condition you act as if under the effects of a Slow spell. This is nonmagical. You also retain all the penalties of Hypothermia and become vulnerable to cold damage.

When long resting, if afflicted by the Frostbitten condition you gain a point of exhaustion.

Frostbitten ends when you lose all points of exhaustion and are no longer in any cold environ. You cannot lose exhaustion by long resting while in either Arctic or Tundra Cold.

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While in Tundra Cold the DC begins at 15 and increases by 10 each hour. You also immediately become Frostbitten instead of gaining Hypothermia.

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