Cold Weather Terrain

Everfrost Terrain
Everfrost consists of barren, desolate plains of lichen-covered rock and rubble. Unlike tundra, everfrost is not boggy or wet in warm months, nor does it ever bloom; it is simply a frozen desert, completely inhospitable to all but the simplest plant life and most resourceful of animals.

Desolate mountain plateaus in high-elevation cold areas are commonly everfrost terrain, as are high-latitude deserts, arid regions of the poles, and portions of the outer planes. Snow covers most everfrost regions for at least part of the year. Refer to the Snow Field Terrain entry below for information on snow-covered everfrost.

The two types of everfrost terrain are patchy and solid. The table below describes in general terms how likely it is that a given square has a terrain element in it.

Patchy Solid
Crevasse 10% 20%
Gradual slope 15% 25%
Light rubble 20% 10%
Light undergrowth 10% 5%
Scree - 10%

Crevasse: Crevasses function like pits in a dungeon setting. A typical crevasse is 2d4xl0 feet deep, at least 30 feet long, and anywhere from 5 to 40 feet wide. Crusts of snow sometimes hide crevasses.

Gradual Slope: This incline isn’t steep enough to affect movement, but characters gain a +1 bonus on melee attacks against foes downhill from them.

Light Rubble: Small frost-covered rocks and chunks of frozen soil are strewn across the ground, making nimble movement more difficult. The DC of Acrobatics checks increases by 2.

Light Undergrowth: Frozen stumps of hardy plants that grow only during the few scant weeks of the summer season cover the ground. A space covered with light undergrowth provides concealment, costs 2 squares of movement to move into, and increases the DC of Acrobatics checks by 2. Creatures take a -2 penalty on Stealth checks in light undergrowth.

Scree: A field of shifting frozen soil pellets, scree doesn’t affect speed, but it can be treacherous on a slope. The DC of Acrobatics checks increases by 2 and creatures take a -2 penalty on Stealth checks if there’s scree on a gradual slope.

Cold Marsh Terrain
Cold marsh terrain can vary greatly, from relatively dry moors to slushy swamps. Both are often bordered by lakes in subarctic regions or hot springs in colder locales. The table below describes terrain elements found in each of the two cold marsh categories.

Moor Swamp
Light undergrowth 20% 30%
Snow dusting 10% 20%
Quickslush 5% 10%
Deep slush bog 10% 25%
Shallow slush bog 25% 45%

Light Undergrowth: The evergreen bushes and other tall grasses in cold swamps obstruct movement. A space covered with light undergrowth provides concealment costs 2 squares of movement to move into, and increases the DC of Acrobatics checks by -2. Creatures take a -2 penalty on Stealth checks in light undergrowth.

Snow Dusting: The ground is covered by ld4 inches of snow that has yet to melt into slush, making the area slippery and covering any bogs or undergrowth that exist in the same square. The DC of Acrobatics checks in the area are increased by 2 due to the slipperiness.

Quickslush: Patches of quickslush present the appearance of a shallow slush bog that may trap careless characters (see below).

Slush Bogs: If a square is part of a shallow slush bog, it has slush about 1 foot in depth. It costs 2 squares of movement to move mro a square wirh a shallow slush bog, and the DC of Acrobatics checks in such a square increases by 2.

A square that is part of a deep slush bog has roughly 4 feet of slush. It costs Medium or larger creatures 4 squares of movement to move into a square with a deep slush bog, or characters can swim if they wish, taking a -4 penalty on the Swim check for the slush’s soupy consistency. Small or smaller creatures must swim to move through a deep bog.

Acrobatics is impossible in a deep slush bog.

The slush in a deep slush bog provides cover for Medium or larger creatures. Smaller creatures gain improved cover (+8 bonus to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves). Medium or larger creatures can crouch as a move action to gain this improved cover. Creatures with this improved cover take a -10 penalty on attacks against creatures that aren’t in the slush.

Characters entering the slush of a bog are susceptible to hypothermia.

Deep slush bog squares are usually clustered together and surrounded by an irregular ring of shallow slush bog squares.

Both shallow and deep slush bogs impose a -4 penalty on Stealth checks.

Ice Field Terrain
Natural ice sheet terrain consists of slippery ice. It costs 2 squares of movement to enter a square covered by an ice sheet and the DC of Acrobatics checks increases by 5. A DC 10 Acrobatics check is required to run or charge across an ice sheet.

Druids, rangers, and other wilderness types know of other, supernatural types of ice sheets such as ebony ice, faerie frost, lightning ice pillars, and razor ice. The vast majority of those venturing into winter weather will never encounter such hazards.

Snow Field Terrain
Fields of deep snow can impede the movement of creatures who must be in contact with the ground to move. Most creatures do not automatically sink all the way through a deep snow cover. Sometimes a hard, icy crust prevents a creature’s feet from sinking into the snow at all. In other cases, layers of old snow a few inches or feet below the loose surface on top may be icy enough to prevent travelers from breaking through.

The table below indicates the degree of impediment caused by various depths of loose, uncrusted snow. The “Small” category includes Small and smaller creatures while the “Large” category includes Large and Larger creatures.

Snow Depth Small Medium Large
Up to 6 inches Minor None None
7-12 inches Minor Minor None
13-24 inches Major Minor Minor
25-36 inches Major Major Minor
37-60 inches Total Major Major
61+ inches Total Total Major

None: The snow does not cause any significant impediment to the creature’s movement.

Minor: The creature must pay 2 squares of movement to enter each square of the snow field. The DC of Acrobatics checks increases by 2.

Major: The creature must pay 4 squares of movement to enter each square of the snow field. The DC of Acrobatics checks increases by 8.

Total: The creature cannot move unless it succeeds on a DC 5 Strength or Acrobatics check (creature’s choice). Moving a creature’s speed requires a full-round action. The creature must pay 4 squares of movement to enter each square of the snow field. The DC of Acrobatics checks (other than the above listed check to move) increases by 20 and the creature loses its Dexterity modifier to AC.

Natural snow field hazards include slush bogs and quickslush. Scholars of the wilderness may have heard of supernatural hazards such as acid slush, blood snow, negation snow, rust snow, or even snow geysers.

Taiga Forest Terrain
A taiga forest stands along the warmer border of a treeless tundra and has long, severe winters lasting up to 7 months, with night frosts even in the short summer season. Taiga forests are dominated by pines and other evergreens such as cedar, spruce, and larch trees.

A taiga forest can contain bogs as well as the trees and undergrowth found in typical forests.

Tundra Terrain
The tundra is a barren, lifeless desert of cold, ice, and snow, with a foundation of everfrost beneath. The two types of tundra terrain are alpine and arctic, with those venturing toward the polar regions first encountering alpine tundra as they leave the taiga forest and then finding the harsher arctic tundra as they near the pole.

Both types of tundra are dominated by extreme cold, simple forms of vegetation, limited means of drainage (causing sections of tundra to turn into Everfrost marshes during natural or magical bouts of warmth), a short growing season of only a few weeks per year, and tremendous oscillations in both the animal and humanoid population.

Cold Weather Terrain

Into the Wild (KingMaker AP) karlprosek