Every now and then I have an idea for a table or something that I loathe to bring out on the net, partly because of its density and partly because of the difficulty in the explanation. This is one such case.
Let me start by saying that if you don't like it, don't use it. Don't waste time explaining to me how its too involved or too much trouble or how math makes the gentle reader ill. I know all that. I'm also well aware of how difficult it will be to implement this, how much the players will probably hate it, etc., etc. It absolutely flies in the face of all that is fantasy, where the cloak swirls incessantly because there is a set-fan just off screen that keeps it moving. Yes, I know you're all heroes, I know you all sleep in your armor and that it is always southern California where your world takes place.
Yes, most parties I expect want nothing to do with this. And yet it addresses something that has bothered me for a long, long time ... how to express, in a practical manner, the effects of a change in weather upon party habits and expectations.
There are a number of nuances here to discuss, but first, let me admit that it is almost all invented material. Some information was gleaned from the net, but for the most part everything on this table, and about this table, does not exist in any form I was able to find. IF anyone out there would care to point me to a website that has PRACTICAL information on how many hours you can remain in armor at a temperature of 90 degrees, I'm certainly ready to read it. On the other hand, if someone is only going to point me to another roleplaying game's rules, and how someone else pulled this information out of their ass, I'm not interested. I want hard data. Please send me hard data.
Lacking such data, however, I've decided to plunge forward anyway. This is an adaptation of an earlier table I created about ten years ago for offline use, that simply failed to measure up. I've never mentioned it; I always expected one day I would tackle it and put the refurbishment on the net ... no one was more surprised than I to find myself suddenly in the mood to do it starting last Thursday.
To begin, temperature is divided into orders of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm a Canadian, so I'm well used to the metric system, but divisions of 5 degrees Celsius seemed too small, and 6 degrees too much, so 10 degrees of Fahrenheit were 'just right.' Frankly, it doesn't matter which I use. The reality is that no person living in a pre-Enlightenment world would have any idea of 'degrees' at all ... thus my attempt to establish a description system for temperature.
In the past, I haven't had any arguments about it, since its based on my geographical experience ... it was funny to shoot it at the online players, who live all over, because of course they view 65 degrees very differently than I. For anyone living in the deep south, 65 is anything but 'pleasant.' But I have an answer to that.
On this table, 'cool' is a relative mid-point ... a nice working temperature, where naturally someone could wear armor and light clothing while travelling/working without much worry of overheating. It is why construction work is best in the Spring/Fall.
However, it is based on the mean temperature of the individual character. Because I operate a world based on the real Earth, I have mean temperature figures for everywhere. So, if you were born and trained in a place where the mean temperature was about 53, like Seattle Washington, then this table would suit your character. But if your mean temperature were 62, like Little Rock Arkansas, then the whole table would be misplaced up one level for you in particular. For you, the 60s would be 'cool,' the 70s would be 'pleasant,' the 80s would be 'warm' and so on.
Thus, where a person is from is suddenly very important. While one person in the party is quite comfortable, another is somewhat the worse for wear and a third, from way down south, is positively freezing. Thus the descriptions for climate are relative.
So, the fighter from Little Rock can wear full banded armor for six hours in that same weather that only allows the fighter from Seattle to wear it for three.
How does the armor time work, exactly?
I see it as a simple roll. I presume the character will want to wear their armor as much as possible, so when an encounter occurs, a d6 is rolled. The number indicated as the maximum comfortable hours indicates the result or lower that must be obtained in order for that player to be in armor.
Yes, I know it takes time to get in and out of armor. I have decided not to worry about that overmuch. Perhaps with a little time I may fix some period of slowing movement rate per day based on whether or not the party is waiting for someone to get in or out of the plate mail. For the time being, I'm prepared to consider it the time equivalent to hammerspace and let it slide. See? I can be about the fantasy.
If a player insists on wearing their armor all the time, regardless, they suffer damage. Minimum damage across the board is 1 point ... even if 1/3 of a point is indicated. For instance, the most damage you can take for wearing your armor in pleasant circumstances for the whole six hours is 1 point (I could have indicated that by a different table, but ... well, this retains a certain pattern in the amount of damage and saves on table size).
If a person chooses to wear their scale mail for six hours, when it is indicated by the weather that two is the maximum ('balmy'), then the total damage taken over those six hours is 4. The reader might be surprised to learn that many players will refuse to take damage for any reason ... but if I had 80 hit points, and I felt it mattered enough, I'd just leave the armor on.
Some will ask if there's a difference for magical armor. Personally, I would say no ... and since I'm the only one whose ever going to use this table in all the universe, then I guess that's the final word.
For the moment, let's leave off the column for clothing points. That is addressed by a second table that is described further down. Before that, we can move to general effects.
This is quite a tiresome thing to explain. Basically, IF you're wearing enough clothing to protect yourself, then the green columns apply to you and you're not affected by any of the salmon columns. However, if you're not wearing sufficient clothing, then it gets harder for you. The salmon columns also address the issue of hypothermia and dehydration. If you are damp or wet, then you're not wearing proper clothing; if you haven't taken in enough water, then it doesn't matter how you're dressed in the desert or jungle, you're still going to suffer the worst effects.
Right now, I don't have good numbers for how much you should drink at what temperatures, and I wanted to do more research; for the present, I'm going to hold off on including that column.
Some would say the effects are overly harsh, but personally I feel it should be possible for the environment to kill you if you're not dressed or if you haven't enough to drink. Remember that these are damages taken over hours, and not days ... so that potentially, a very bad day could easily kill a first level character.
For the record, ability penalties are not cumulative. However, they are rerolled and readjusted every six hours. So, you may have periods of lucidity followed by the reverse. Overall, the worst effects will be on combat and very much on spellcasting. If you're less intelligence or less wise, you may not have all the spells you have, you may have spell failure and you may forget how to cast spells you've cast your whole life. Such is the nature of a very dangerous environment.
Note the nature of some of those additional effects. Where it says 'apart from combat' that was simply because I wanted players to be able to still fight - whatever other disabilities they have - for the sake of the GAME, not reality. I could make the combat slowed too, but I think probably that would be going too far towards making the players unhappy.
Okay, that's probably not enough explanation, but clothing:
I'm sorry if this is more complicated than it needed to be. I can tell this is a table I will be upgrading in the future, particularly after a few parties have ripped it to shreds. I was trying to find the best language to use to describe some difficult aspects of this, but sadly I feel I failed all over the place.
The primary issue is that for some clothes to work, you have to be wearing other clothes first. If you have no coat (overwear designation) then you're not going to get a lot of help from scarf, furry leather gauntlets, hat and muffler. I can tell you from experience that is the case. You simply have too much exposed skin to argue that you are getting 7 points of protection. So, 'requirements to gain benefit' means that until you have this, you get no benefit from that. IF you want your fur trimmed gloves to give you benefit, you had better be wearing a cloak, a jacket or a coat.
The second thing was trying to get across the idea that the material improved multiple types of clothing without having to write it all out again and make multiple entries. I suppose that would have been clearer. The idea is that fur with lining will triple the protection normally offered by gloves (not gauntlets) or overwear.
Thus, a full body coat made of wool will give you a protection of 3. A leather full body coat, lined in wool or other heavy cloth, will give you a protection of 4 (see improvement/leather with lining). And finally, a fur full body coat will give you 3x the protection of a wool coat (not a leather coat, fur IS leather), or 9 points. Please note that the fur bonus to leather gauntlets is +1, not x3.
The idea is supposed to be that if you are wearing a full body coat made of fur (9), a scarf (1), a cap (3), fur gauntlets (4), a wool cloak (1), breeches (1), shirt (1), loin cloth (1) and hard boots (3) would give you a total protection of 24 ... the exact protection you need to survive a 'polar' climate as comfortably as possible - see that clothing column we skipped before.
At the same time, body oil, a cloth headgear like a turban, and loose fitting clothing will make you reasonably comfortable up to 'baking' heat.
For context, I see 'baking' as the temperature for those scenes in Lawrence of Arabia where they are at first journeying to find Prince Faisal. It's not pleasant, but they can endure the circumstances well enough to travel each day. However, where they plan to cross the Nefud, even the Arabs are like, "Screw that!" ... which would be the equivalent to 'scorching.' In short, a temperature you can't fully dress for.
Naturally, there are magical alternatives.
Okay, to anyone of course, and to the party especially, are we prepared for the inclusion of these tables?