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5E My house-rules for extreme weather and sleeping in armor

machineelf

Explorer
I feel like the rules in the DMG about extreme weather are somewhat lacking. For example, with extreme cold, it's only a problem if you don't have cold-weather gear. But if you just spend a couple of minutes and a few gold to get cold-weather gear, you have nothing to worry about (and thus no conflict to add to or drive the story related to the brutal environment). I wanted to add to the rules in my own house-rules. I also wanted to make sleeping in heavy armor a consideration, as well as make certain items like tents and sleeping pads actually useful in terms of crunch. So here are my house-rules. Feel free to tell me what you think.

Sleeping: A character cannot easily sleep outdoors in armor and get a good night’s rest. Sleeping outdoors in cloth or no armor requires a DC 5 con saving throw. light armor requires a DC 10 con saving throw. Medium armor requires a DC 12 con saving throw. Heavy armor requires a DC 15 con saving throw. Failing the save results in a fitful night and waking up with a level of exhaustion. A tent or some kind of shelter from the elements gives you a +2 to the saving throw. A bedroll gives you a +3 to the saving throw.


Extreme Cold: Surviving in extremely cold or hot places, like arctic or desert climates, can be a challenge. If you are in an arctic climate and have no cold-weather gear on, you are going to slowly freeze to death. You must succeed on a DC 10 Con saving throw each hour or suffer a level of exhaustion. At nighttime it becomes a DC 15 Con saving throw every hour. If you have cold weather gear on (thick coat, gloves, boots, head covering), then you automatically succeed on the saving throw during the daytime. But at nighttime, you make a single DC 15 Con saving throw for the whole night if you don’t have shelter. If you do have shelter (a tent, or using your survival skill to make a snow shelter), it becomes a DC 10 Con saving throw. If you can make a campfire near where you are sleeping, you get a +3 to the saving throw. And of course if you can use magic to keep yourself and your co-adventurers warm, you can bypass the problem.

You can decrease your exhaustion level from the cold by one level for every 4 hours you spend completely warmed by being out of the elements or warmed through magical means.


Extreme Heat: If you are in an extremely hot place, like a desert, you will need to consume twice the amount of water that you normally require. If you don’t have access to drinkable water, you must make a DC 5 Con saving throw for the first hour, or suffer a level of exhaustion. The DC increases by 1 every additional hour. Characters who are wearing medium or heavy armor have disadvantage on the roll. Characters who have drinkable water but are wearing medium or heavy armor must still make a DC 5 Con saving throw, increasing by 1 every hour, but they don’t have to make it with disadvantage if they have sufficient water. If you only have half the needed water, you start making saving throws after four hours of being in the heat.
 
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machineelf

Explorer
Before anyone brings it up (though you are still welcome to if you want, of course), I have heard arguments that sleeping in armor isn't all that uncomfortable. But even still, I've decided that in my world it would be. It presents some interesting choices for the characters about whether they will risk trying to sleep in armor, or sleep without it but risk fighting in the middle of the night with a lower AC.
 



LapBandit

First Post

You've heard all the arguments before about verisimilitude sleeping in armor so I won't retread old ground. Adventures should be used to camping, it shouldn't be an unusual circumstance. If anything, the wizard being so used to the accoutrements of his life of study is the least ready to tough it camping, not the fighter who is tougher than nails. I think your idea has merit but it's too quick to penalize. An escalating DC starting at 5 for sleeping in armor and going up by 5 each night seems a lot more reasonable. The fighter is sure to make it the first night, but becomes increasingly more likely to get that level of Exhaustion. Unless of course they do not ever travel long distances in dangerous territory requiring sleeping in armor.
 

machineelf

Explorer
You've heard all the arguments before about verisimilitude sleeping in armor so I won't retread old ground. Adventures should be used to camping, it shouldn't be an unusual circumstance. If anything, the wizard being so used to the accoutrements of his life of study is the least ready to tough it camping, not the fighter who is tougher than nails. I think your idea has merit but it's too quick to penalize. An escalating DC starting at 5 for sleeping in armor and going up by 5 each night seems a lot more reasonable. The fighter is sure to make it the first night, but becomes increasingly more likely to get that level of Exhaustion. Unless of course they do not ever travel long distances in dangerous territory requiring sleeping in armor.

Ah. It's interesting to me that some people really dislike the idea of sleeping in armor being a difficulty. Not that you're wrong for disliking it, just that the idea has never bothered me, but it bothers some people.

Part of my motivation for the rule is that I wanted to make certain items like tents and sleeping pads more meaningful, as well as making the survival check a bit more meaningful (i.e., with a successful check, you can make a natural shelter that protects you from the elements just as well as a tent would). If everyone sleeps just fine in the wilderness, then who ever needs a tent or sleeping pad? Another part of my motivation was to give players an interesting decision: Do I sleep with armor on and chance it, or sleep without armor and chance that we won't be attacked? The fights in the middle of the night where the paladin or fighter have to get up and fight in their skivvies with a lower AC sound kind of fun with the extra challenge.

I am still definitely willing to give more thought to this rule before I implement it, but I thought it was somewhat elegant: A fighter or Paladin will likely have a high con, so with the +5 they get from having a sleeping pad and a tent, they still stand a good chance of being OK if they decide to sleep in full armor. And as they gain levels they may eventually have no problem sleeping in full armor at higher levels when they factor in their Con ST proficiency.

Wizards and other types who have a low Con saving through may still struggle to sleep comfortable even in cloth robes, if they didn't bother to bring a tent or sleeping pad. Anyway, I'll still give it some more thought.
 

Sleeping in rigid armour is pretty hard, since you'll often wake yourself up when you change position as you do naturally when asleep. However most suits of metal armour will incorporate what is to all intents and purposes a suit of padded armour, which will be fine to sleep in.

The hygiene and olfactory issues caused by wearing the same gambeson for three weeks running without taking it off are another matter. Probably one best not covered by the rules though.
 

TallIan

Explorer
I think your weather rules are reasonable and armor rules unreasonable.

I'm inclined to mostly agree with this:

Sleeping: Getting a good night's sleep is more dependant on the weather than the armour you are wearing. Sleeping outdoors in cloth armour is probably helpful, if anything. I used to be reluctant to take my body armour* off (I only took the solid plates out) in training unless I knew I was going to get a good long sleep.

I would do something like this for sleeping:

Extreme cold: DC18
Cold: DC 15
Temperate: DC 10
Warm: DC 5
Hot: DC 0

Rain: -5 (or 0 in hot conditions)
Bed roll: +8
Tent: negates rain penalty and +2
Cloth armour, heavy clothing or cloak: +2 (-2 in hot conditions)
Metal Armour: -8

*Modern combat armour without the plates is similar to a thick synthetic coat in feel.

Extreme Cold
I would add a +2/+5 bonus for light/heavy activity and maybe allow for +3 for a small cooking fire and advantage on the roll for a large fire. It's hard to overstate the real and psychological advantage fire (or indeed just light) offers in the cold.

Extreme Heat
I would link the rolls more to levels of activity, sitting in the sun in armour with adequate drinking water is not fun, but not exhausting. Exposure is a bigger problem (sun burn and blistering), that I would model as mild HP loss rather than fatigue.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
...The hygiene and olfactory issues caused by wearing the same gambeson for three weeks running ...
I let one little gambeson rust a hole in the trunk and it's gripe gripe gripe.
The extreme cold sounds like it was taken from a Ravenloft module and some tweets added. The armour check should be dc 5 or 10 advantage for no armour, straight roll with light. disadvantage with the other two. But I do not like the armour check.
 




Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'll pipe up as one of those people who dislike the "sleeping in armor sucks" rule.

Have you ever slept in armor? I know I haven't so I have no clue how hard it would be. However, I have done a lot of backpacking and occasionally slept on hard, uneven rock (awesome trip BTW). I slept fine, and was OK after a couple of minutes working the kinks out.

Second, it really penalizes one subset of characters. High dex characters already have many, many advantages. Why pile on?

Last, but not least, heavy armor in D&D is not realistic. Nobody would wear it all day, every day, yet we assume they do. Get over it. :)

As far as sleeping without a tent, etc that's easy enough to do. It's called rain and bugs. People have to make con saves or suffer a level of exhaustion. Easy, simple and realistic.
 


I think the best rules for this is to simply make players roll exhaustion checks whenever it seems appropriate with a reasonable DC for the situation. I guess you would call that "eyeballing" it but it's simple.

Sent from my LG-D852 using EN World mobile app
 

machineelf

Explorer
Thank you all for input and thoughts. Yeah I might ditch the penalty to sleeping in armor. I still want to add a bit to the extreme weather rules because I plan to be running some some campaigns soon in desert and arctic climates, and I want there to be a challenge. I also want tents and sleeping pads to be meaningful, so that the players have to choose gear carefully.
 

machineelf

Explorer
I think the best rules for this is to simply make players roll exhaustion checks whenever it seems appropriate with a reasonable DC for the situation. I guess you would call that "eyeballing" it but it's simple.

Sent from my LG-D852 using EN World mobile app

I like it. Also seems to be in the spirit of 5e, as other people have mentioned. I still think I'll give tents and bedrolls and campfires some kind of plus to the check, so they will still be meaningful items and players will be motivated to bring appropriate gear.
 

TallIan

Explorer
After thinking on this a bit (taking into account KahlessNestor's comment about 5e simplicity), how about:

Extreme Cold

While sleeping or resting in extreme cold make a CON check every 2 hours* or suffer 1 level of exhaustion. The DC equals 15. Add +2 to the roll if you have a tent. Roll with advantage if you have appropriate bedroll. No need to test if you have a large fire.

Extreme Heat

While active in extreme heat make a CON save every 2 hours** or suffer 1 level of exhaustion. The DC equals 10 for moderate activity or 15 for heavy activity. Roll with advantage if this is your first test since your last rest. Add +2 to the roll if at least half the time you are in the shade. Roll with disadvantage of you are in heavy armour.

*This is rounded up from a normal human cycle of 90 mins - just easier maths.
**Just to keep the timing the same as cold
 

machineelf

Explorer
Thanks, TallIan, I'll give some thoughts to your suggestion. I've made some changes to my original proposal. This is what I have now:

Extreme Cold: Surviving in extremely cold or hot places, like arctic or desert climates, can be a challenge. If you are in an arctic climate and have no cold-weather gear on, you are going to slowly freeze to death. You must succeed on a DC 10 Con saving throw each hour or suffer a level of exhaustion. At nighttime it becomes a DC 15 Con saving throw every hour. If you have cold weather gear on (thick coat, gloves, boots, head covering), then you automatically succeed on the saving throw while traveling (the physical exercise from moving also keeps you warm).

But at nighttime when you are camping, you will have to succeed on a Con saving throw to survive the cold weather. In cold weather, the DC is 10. In very cold weather, the DC is 15. And in extremely cold weather, the DC is 20. Having a tent or some other form of shelter gives you a +5. Having cold-weather gear gives you a + 3. And having a bedroll (which in our game is a thick, wool blanket) gives you a +2.

Extreme Heat: If you are in an extremely hot place, like a desert, you will need to consume twice the amount of water that you normally require. If you don’t have access to drinkable water, you must make a DC 5 Con saving throw for the first hour, or suffer a level of exhaustion. The DC increases by 1 every additional hour. Characters who are wearing medium or heavy armor have disadvantage on the roll. Character who have drinkable water but are wearing medium or heavy armor must still make a DC 5 Con saving throw, increasing by 1 every hour, but they don’t have to make it with disadvantage if they are drinking water.
 


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