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

Ahrimon

Bourbon and Dice
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.

I won't go into the realism of it either, but have you considered that you are making Dex even more of the ultra stat by doing this? Knowing that they'll be likely to go without armor more players will be inclined to use dex than heavy 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.

Those fights can be fun for the first few times. But eventually your players will get frustrated by "another night encounter where I can't use my armor."

Making tents and sleeping bags and bedrolls more useful is something I can get behind. I like having all of the necessities on my character. Of course, I'm a huge fan of Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue too.


Something you may want to consider for cold weather is the amount of activity that someone is performing. I recall a fable where two people are climbing the trail up a mountain in the biting cold of winter. They come accross a man who is injured and can't walk. One of the two travelers leaves him behind because he is concerned that he'll get slowed down and won't make it before he freezes. The other picks the man up and carries him. Once near the top the 2nd traveler comes across the frozen body of the first. Turns out the extra body heat from the exertion of carrying the injured man helped keep him warm while the other guy succumbed to the cold.

There was a culture of nordic style sorcerers in the 3e Scarred Lands campaign setting that when they casted spells it generated body heat so they could run around the frozen north with almost nothing on
 

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machineelf

Explorer
I like your general thinking. I'd probably simplify this to a single roll for sleeping in armour a few nights running. And I'd cap it at a maximum of one level of fatigue (that can still stack with levels from other sources).


Every hour feels too frequent. Rather than making checks every hour I might suggest making a single check every 8 hours. Less granular but the odds can be worked out to amount to the same thing.


I'd probably tie this to a short or long rest rather than to 4 hours.


Same as above, I feel like this could be fewer checks at a higher DC.

I guess it depends how you envision the adventure going. I think if I had my players in a frozen waste or a desert, I'd expect they'd be travelling in it for some days so would be looking for checks at a frequency mapped to that.
Thanks for the thoughts. You might notice that the times where I have characters make checks every hour is directly from the DMG. I'm not changing the rules there at all. If you're caught out in the extreme cold with no clothes on, you will make a check every hour until you freeze to death. Same idea if you are out in the extreme heat with no water.

The only thing I added is a rule where you do have proper cold weather gear and enough water, you still may make one check (not every hour) at night time when camping to see if you resist the cold.

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D

dco

Guest
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.
Leather perhaps, but try to sleep with 25-30kg armor that impedes natural movement you could have in your sleep, makes noise, gets cold and makes you cold, etc.
 


Caliban

Rules Monkey
Leather perhaps, but try to sleep with 25-30kg armor that impedes natural movement you could have in your sleep, makes noise, gets cold and makes you cold, etc.

It doesn't impede your movement any more than a heavy sleeping bag, and doesn't make much noise unless you are thrashing around, and doesn't get cold if you wear proper padding underneath, and if you have a heavy cloak or blanket over the top it won't make you any colder than anything else. If it's well fitted it can be more comfortable than a bedroll as you don't feel any rocks or twigs that may be on the ground (but not more comfortable than a sleeping bag on a prepared surface).

Now if you are soaked in sweat and don't have a fire or blanket to help you warm up, and it's a cold night - then yes you will be chilled to the bone. But you would be in normal clothes in those circumstances.
 

Oofta

Legend
It doesn't impede your movement any more than a heavy sleeping bag, and doesn't make much noise unless you are thrashing around, and doesn't get cold if you wear proper padding underneath, and if you have a heavy cloak or blanket over the top it won't make you any colder than anything else. If it's well fitted it can be more comfortable than a bedroll as you don't feel any rocks or twigs that may be on the ground (but not more comfortable than a sleeping bag on a prepared surface).

Now if you are soaked in sweat and don't have a fire or blanket to help you warm up, and it's a cold night - then yes you will be chilled to the bone. But you would be in normal clothes in those circumstances.

I will agree that there is an issue with wearing armor (or any heavy clothing) 24X7 in real life. How often do you ask the wizard if he's sleeping while wearing his shoes and make everything difficult terrain until he takes a few rounds to put them on?

Armor is padded, well fitting armor doesn't restrict movement all that much.

Besides, until quite recently (from a historical perspective) most people slept on the floor or at best a rope mattress unless they were wealthy. how humans slept throughout history hint it mostly sucked

Just because you are a coddled first world denizen, don't make the assumption that you can't get a good nights sleep unless it's on a down mattress. Someone sleeping in armor might need to work out a few kinks in the morning, that's all.

From a game perspective, why penalize the handful of characters that rely on heavy armor? All that means is that the one guy playing the tank as opposed to the barbarian/monk/dex based fighter/wizard/etc is penalized by a rule that no one else is affected by.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
All us modern people are the Princess and the Pea.

I once wore a suit of european style chainmail while doing a 2-hour japanese martial arts class. It was heavy and I wouldn't call myself proficient, but it was comfortable and I could dive, roll, jump, and otherwise move pretty close to normal. I expect I could have slept in it. In fact, I think it would be slightly MORE comfortable than bare ground in a case where a rock is jamming you in the back.

A little slow to get up, though. But not much.

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clearstream

(He, Him)
Thanks for the thoughts. You might notice that the times where I have characters make checks every hour is directly from the DMG. I'm not changing the rules there at all. If you're caught out in the extreme cold with no clothes on, you will make a check every hour until you freeze to death. Same idea if you are out in the extreme heat with no water.

The only thing I added is a rule where you do have proper cold weather gear and enough water, you still may make one check (not every hour) at night time when camping to see if you resist the cold.

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Thanks. I didn't notice that those rules called for hourly checks. Maybe they were envisioning more an icy part of a dungeon, than an open wilderness that you will be walking through for days?! Or maybe they figured if you entered such a wilderness ill-prepared, then you'd die after a few rolls so it wouldn't be an issue?

Why add the check at night for those properly prepared?
 

machineelf

Explorer
Thanks. I didn't notice that those rules called for hourly checks. Maybe they were envisioning more an icy part of a dungeon, than an open wilderness that you will be walking through for days?! Or maybe they figured if you entered such a wilderness ill-prepared, then you'd die after a few rolls so it wouldn't be an issue?

Why add the check at night for those properly prepared?
The rules in the DMG say that if you don't have cold weather gear, you have to make the checks hourly. But if you do have cold weather gear, you automatically succeed every check.

So basically the idea is if you are not prepared, you will freeze to death eventually, and must make a check every hour. But if the players just say they want to buy cold weather gear, it becomes a complete non-issue.

There seemed to me to be a need for middle ground, where being prepared helps and you don't have to make the hourly checks, but extreme weather is still a challenge of some kind. And it seems to me that the DMG rules are kind of a placeholder where perhaps the designers planned to give more specific rules for weather in the future.

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Iry

Hero
What does it actually feel like to sleep in armor?

Padded, Leather, Studded Leather: More comfortable than sleeping in straight clothing. Even kept me warm. I enjoyed this! The studs could scrape on rocks, but this was negligible.

Hide: Starting to get stiff, if we're assuming tough hide made to soak attacks and not supple hide. Got a little hot for comfort, but otherwise no big deal. Still better than sleeping on the ground!

Chain Shirt, Scale Mail: Had padding underneath, so better than sleeping on the ground with normal clothes. You're probably starting to see a trend. Woke up due to scraping the ground whenever I would roll over, but it didn't really bother me.

Breastplate, Half Plate: First sets of armor that felt weird to me because it was so stiff. But I got used to it pretty quickly. Might have counted as only light sleep, and could add up to exhaustion over several days. But no big deal for one night, and definitely better than sleeping on the ground! The armor looked like :):):):) afterwards, but it was completely functional and so was I.

Ring Mail, Chain Mail: Really comfortable. Warm and toasty with padding. Might have been miserable if I was also sleeping out in the rain, but I think exposure to the elements is the biggest negative for everyone, not sleeping in your armor. It's consistently been easier to sleep in a variety of armors than the ground, unless that ground was a really comfortable bed of grass (and then that gets itchy).

Splint, Full Plate: Sorry, have not tried sleeping in these armors yet.
 
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icedrake

Explorer
I would consider making travel in extreme weather a scaling skill challenge using inspiration from 4e rules. As a part of the consequences for failing rolls, you can inflict levels of exhaustion as the party travels. Carrying the gear appropriate for the locale can provide advantage on their chosen rolls when trying to make the skill challenge.

On the upside, it rewards preparation on the players part, as the GM it gives you a replacement for random encounters, and lets the players feel engaged with their characters by taking advantage of their skill proficiencies.
 

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