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Created On 1 May 2000
Last Updated On 1 May 2000
Copyright (c) 2000 Simon E.Phipp

Protection from the Elements One of the areas of the RuneQuest rules that is lacking is the effects of the weather on people. This is very briefly mentioned when dealing with Agimori, but that is all we have. This is a pity as there are many times when characters are exposed to extremes of temperature and we have no way of determining the probable effects of such exposure. What I am trying to do here is to outline some rules for exposure to the elements and what harm it does to people. These rules are not based on any knowledge of anatomy or physiology but are extensions of the rules on Agimori. If anyone can think of any better rules then I would be very interested to hear them.

 The major cause of damage to people from the weather is the effect of heat and cold. The following are rules to model the effects of extreme heat and extreme cold on various types of people. They are simple to use and seem reasonably consistent and accurate.

 Each species or race has an optimal temperature range and a survivable temperature range. Within the Optimal Range, the person will not feel ill effects from the temperature. Within the Survivable Range, the person will be uncomfortable and will suffer some ill effects. Outside the Survivable Range, the person will suffer damage and will eventually die if not removed from the situation.

 For every degree Celsius above or below the Optimum Temperature Range, the person will lose 1 fatigue point per hour of exposure. Such fatigue loss is not regained by simple rest, but instead is regained by resting in a temperature within the Optimum Range and will regain 1D3 -1 fatigue per hour of resting at a safe temperature.

 For each degree Celsius above or below the Survivable Temperature Range, the person will lose 1D6 Fatigue Points and 1D3 - 1 general hit points per hour of exposure. Fatigue points may be regained as above, but the hit point loss must be healed by magic or by normal and natural healing.

 Several factors affect the actual temperature, changing the effective temperature of the person.

 Wind causes a Wind-chill Factor, reducing the effective temperature by 1 degree Celsius per 5 points of wind strength.

 Fires increase the effective temperature. When outside, a fire will increase the effective temperature by 1D3 degrees Celsius per level of intensity of the fire. When indoors, a fire will increase the effective temperature by 1D3 degrees per hour, with a maximum increase of Intensity x 5 degrees.

 Clothing changes the effective temperature by different amounts, depending on the clothing in question. Most clothing increases the effective temperature, but some protect against high temperatures.
Clothing Cold Protection Warm Protection
Warm Clothes 5 -10
Cool Clothing 0 5
Furs 15 -30
Parasol 0 5
Lead Armour 5 -15
Gold Armour -15 5
Bronze Armour -5 -5
Fan -5 5
Soaked Clothing -10 5
Blubber 20 -40

As an example, imagine a human wandering on Valind's Glacier wearing blubber and fur clothing. The temperature is -45 degrees Celsius but there is a STR 50 wind blowing. The Wind gives a Wind-chill of -10, so the effective temperature is -45 -10 + 15 + 20 = -20. His low survivable temperature is -15 and his low optimal temperature is 0, so for every hour he is in these temperatures he loses 5D6 fatigue and 5D3 - 5 hit points because he is outside the survivable temperature and 15 fatigue points because he is outside the optimum temperature range, losing a total of 5D6 + 15 fatigue points and 5D3 - 5 hit points per hour, but what do you expect in temperatures that would freeze flesh? If he manages to move out of the wind, the effective temperature becomes -10, so he would only lose 10 fatigue points per hour. If he moves into a cave and lights a medium fire, the temperature rises by 2D3 degree per hour, with a maximum of 10 degrees, increasing the temperature to 0 degrees which is at the edge of his optimal range, so he can sit and wait out the storm.
Species Low Survivable Low Optimal High Optimal High Survivable
Human -15 0 30 49
Agimori -5 10 50 75
Dark Troll -40 -6 10 29
Snow Troll -50 -20 5 15
Mistress Race Troll -50 -15 15 35
Mountain Troll -45 -10 10 20
Cave Troll -45 -10 10 20
Trollkin -20 0 15 20
Hot Troll -15 0 30 49
Dwarf -40  -20 20 40
Black Elves -20 -10 5 10
Red Elves -5 0 30 60
Brown Elves -10 0 20 40
Green Elves -20 -10 15 35
Yellow Elves 0 5 40 60

These figures may seem limited, but bear in mind that wearing clothing or using fans etc. will change the effective temperature and so extend the temperature ranges.

 Various magics can also affect temperatures, several cults grant salamanders, sylphs and shades, all of which change the temperature, Warm Earth is granted by Lodril and Caladra & Aurelion and Himile grants Decrease Temperature. A well prepared person can also decrease the effects of extreme temperatures.

 During my campaign, I used these rules as guidelines to what effects extreme temperatures had. I did not slavishly keep to these rules and often ignored them for minor temperature changes, but they were useful in Deserts, near Lava Pools and on Valind's Glacier and within Pools of Darkness.

Jason Brownlee has a simpler idea that could easily work. Here is his idea:

Something we've always done is assign the weather a number. For instance: weather from 50-70 degrees is a 0. Warmer weather would be a 1,2,or a 3. Colder weather would be a -1,-2,or a -3. When you bought clothing for cold weather, you would for example buy a "1" cloak, which would be enough to counteract the effects of -1 weather. Fatigue would be affected fairly similar to the way it is affected in your system with the difference between your clothing and the weather making the effects more or less severe.