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Why is extremely cold so dangerous?


Rules Questions

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UltimaGabe wrote:
deusvult wrote:
you 'only' take 10d6 damage for being buried in lava? Really? It's not automatic, instant death but 10d6 instead? An utterly unprotected character is taking on average 35 points of damage per round..

Sorry to derail the thread, but I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE this reaction. It is completely and utterly ridiculous.

"Only" 10d6 damage IS INSTANT DEATH for 99.999999999 percent of the Earth's population. Name a single human being in the entire world that can survive 35 points of damage and you've got yourself a superhero.

Just because a 20th-level D&D character can survive a hazard does NOT mean the hazard is unrealistic. If anything, the 20th-level D&D character is what's unrealistic.

heck, anything over about 8-10th level and you start getting into the "You just did WHAT??!?" stage.

If I remember right, the current long jump world record is just about 30 ft. A level 10 character specialized in acrobatics would jump a minimum of 15 (10 ranks, +2 acrobatic feat, +3 skill focus) and would max out at 35 feet (this does not take into account attributes). Remember, this 30+ score is to match a world record, so an exceptionally good long jumper. another thought, heaviest Raw (unequipped) Squat (no additional equipment except knee wraps) is 1000 lbs. Going by the rules, this is a person with a str score of 21-22 points.

PC's are fantasy super heroes on average.


Quote:


If I remember right, the current long jump world record is just about 30 ft. A level 10 character specialized in acrobatics would jump a minimum of 15 (10 ranks, +2 acrobatic feat, +3 skill focus) and would max out at 35 feet (this does not take into account attributes). Remember, this 30+ score is to match a world record, so an exceptionally good long jumper. another thought, heaviest Raw (unequipped) Squat (no additional equipment except knee wraps) is 1000 lbs. Going by the rules, this is a person with a str score of 21-22 points.

Don't forget, that at 10 ranks in the skill the +3 bonus from Skill Focus increases to +6, and the +2 bonus from Acrobatic increases to +4. So with 10 ranks and those feats, thats a +20 on the check.

That character is jumping 21 feet when he rolls a 1. His average jumps (rolling a 10) gets him 30 feet, and his maximum distance is 40 feet.

The distance would be father, as those numbers are assuming a +0 ability modifier.

Spoiler:
For jump, the character doesn't even need to be 10th level.

5th level character
5 ranks in Acrobatics (+5)
Class skill (+3)
Acrobatic feat (+2)
Skill Focus (+3)
Dexterity 18 (+4)

Thats +17 on the check. Average jumps are 27 feet, maximum are 37 feet. Long jump competitions aren't 1 jump though, but usually the best of 3, so assume that a 15 is rolled. Thats 32 feet, beating the record.

Star Voter 2013

I lived in northern British Columbia for 6 years, and schools didn't close until -32c, many a day I had to trudge down my quarter mile driveway in -34c weather at my place in the country, but it was a balmy -30c in town so "it was ok". I moved back to southern BC, and I discovered something. The phrase: "It's not the heat, it's the humidity" applies to cold as well. -10c near the ocean is just as friggin cold as -30c inland. The coldest I've seen, -48c, we were still able to bundle up and take some tiger torches to the tractor to unthaw it so we could feed the cows, but man, -10 here and its a death zone.


UltimaGabe wrote:
deusvult wrote:
you 'only' take 10d6 damage for being buried in lava? Really? It's not automatic, instant death but 10d6 instead? An utterly unprotected character is taking on average 35 points of damage per round..

Sorry to derail the thread, but I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE this reaction. It is completely and utterly ridiculous.

"Only" 10d6 damage IS INSTANT DEATH for 99.999999999 percent of the Earth's population. Name a single human being in the entire world that can survive 35 points of damage and you've got yourself a superhero.

Just because a 20th-level D&D character can survive a hazard does NOT mean the hazard is unrealistic. If anything, the 20th-level D&D character is what's unrealistic.

An elephant has 93 HP. In Pathfinder, a normal adult elephant is guaranteed to survive six seconds of total immersion in lava and is likely to survive twelve seconds.

What all of this comes down to is that D&D/Pathfinder HP and damage values are built around modeling guys with knives, swords and cudgels swinging at each other, and are built to model it in a narratively exciting rather than remotely realistic way. The further you go from the knife-fight basis in either direction, whether it's elephants submerged in lava or commoners being slaughtered by housecats, the more you'll strain what little realism was there in the first place.


Benly wrote:
An elephant has 93 HP. In Pathfinder, a normal adult elephant is guaranteed to survive six seconds of total immersion in lava and is likely to survive twelve seconds.

While I admit that there are certain amounts of skew in the rules (particularly when dealing with larger or smaller creatures), I do pose one question: Does anyone know, for a fact, exactly how long an elephant CAN survive immersed in lava? (I know it's far from illustrating my earlier point, but I would be willing to bet an elephant could survive longer than, say, a human.)


UltimaGabe wrote:
Benly wrote:
An elephant has 93 HP. In Pathfinder, a normal adult elephant is guaranteed to survive six seconds of total immersion in lava and is likely to survive twelve seconds.
While I admit that there are certain amounts of skew in the rules (particularly when dealing with larger or smaller creatures), I do pose one question: Does anyone know, for a fact, exactly how long an elephant CAN survive immersed in lava? (I know it's far from illustrating my earlier point, but I would be willing to bet an elephant could survive longer than, say, a human.)

Probably not by enough to make a difference in terms of rounds. Within an amount of time less than a D&D/PF combat round a human in lava would be cooked through and the exterior burned away. The elephant's internal organs would take longer, but that doesn't matter because it only has to take long enough to destroy the brain's function, which would probably not be much longer.

I am not thrilled by the Google search history that answering this question has given me.


I don't know about elephants, but I think humans would actually float in lava. Lava is fairly dense, though the warmer it is, the lower the density. 2.5g per cubic cm wouldn't be a bad approximation though, which compared to the human body of around 1.01g per cubic cm is a lot higher. Therefore unless something is actually pushing you under the lava, in a prone position you won't be submerged completely. I have no idea what the density of an elephant is, but they might sink slightly further than a human.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
petoah wrote:

The rules say "Extreme cold (below –20° F) deals 1d6 points of lethal

damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must
make a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take
1d4 points of nonlethal damage.".
But I've had more than five minutes, completely naked -30c degrees, (which is-22F) and no damage has occurred. I have also worked with below 20f 4 hours whit my cold weather outfit and again no damage has occurred.

I call bullocks. As to a demonstration why, look at this clip from BBC Nature

Also the 30-30-30 rule, Exposed flesh in -30F air with a 30 MPH wind will freeze solid in 30 seconds.

Remember your body is made of 80 percent water. If the water in your cells freezes, your cells rupture.

I live in Canada where we have -30 or colder.

Exposed flesh will not freeze solid at all unless you were severely under-dressed. For frost bite to occur you need to reduce you core temperature which cuts off blood flow to you extremities like the skin in particularly around fingers and toes. If you are dressed right exposed flesh will not freeze at all. I've walked to to work, 1/2 hour walk, in -44 F with 26 mhp winds that gust up to 50 mph. I hardly notice the cold, the key is wind resistant clothing a lots of layers. My face was exposed though.


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Feel free to adopt the "chunky salsa" rule re: lava.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
ReckNBall wrote:

Concur with Tels and KaeYoss.

Anecdotal evidence#1:I've lived in Alaska and northern midwest most of my youth. Coldest I've experienced was -60F and I was in a dangerous situ with a hoodie and a light wind breaker which was adequate for -20F (daytime temps) and no wind. I was acclimated until nightfall plunged those temps and picked up the wind. Still made it home, with no frostbite and mild hyperthermia. Failed wisdom save, several successful Fortitude saves. Would I do that again? No.

Anecdotal #2: Was stationed at a mild winter area (~25-32F avg temps). Typical winter gear. 2-week orders to -20F (not including windchill) location, no additional gear "required". I froze my butt. Upon return, I was roasting in the 28F temps. I shed the coats, long johns and went to short sleeves with light gloves for a couple of weeks until I acclimated to current temps. And, no I did not suffer from frostbite, hyperthermia or even get goosebumps despite my peers attempts to assign me as much outside work as possible. It was still 40 degrees warmer comparatively speaking.

Two weeks was enough to adjust fortitude, cold weather tolerance.

So no lies but perhaps outside your experience does not make it untrue.

Maybe you guys are super adapted. But actually we do get cases of people freezing to death right here in the New York City area itself.

Sir Robert Scott who was considerably trained in exploration froze to death along with his entire South Pole expedition, after being beaten in the race by Roald Amundsen, who would himself be lost trying to rescue an Arctic explorer years later.

Extreme cold is not a joke.


LazarX wrote:


Maybe you guys are super adapted. But actually we do get cases of people freezing to death right here in the New York City area itself.

Sir Robert Scott who was considerably trained in exploration froze to death along with his entire South Pole expedition, after being beaten in the race by Roald Amundsen, who would himself be lost trying to rescue an Arctic explorer years later.

Extreme cold is not a joke.

There is a fairly big difference between being outside in extreme weather for a few days and spending months in it while suffering from starvation and malnutrition as Scott did…

I dislike the term “freeze to death” as that implies that it has to be very cold. In fact it is perfectly possible to die from hypothermia even in +15C if you are wet or lacking clothing.

All extreme weather can be dangerous if one do not know how to act, and here in Scandinavia long periods of heat kills allot more people then long periods of cold weather.

Personally, when I did my conscription up north (pretty much on the artic circle) it happened that one took a walk from the gym to the barracks (about 1km, so about five minutes) in temperatures as low as -30 in just short and t-shirt, without any harm whatsoever. Cold is not a quick killer unless you do something damn right suicidal.


meatrace wrote:

Assuming you're an Expert 3 with a Con of 12, max HP at level 1 and favored class bonus, that's 19 HP. If you have a Fort save of +4, you could probably shrug off a few of the saves to nonlethal. Let's say 3. The rest of the time you take 3.5 dmg/minute or (HP=19+Con 12=31/3.5) you last 12 minutes in that level of cold before dying outright.

I still seriously doubt your claims however.
-20 F is 53 degrees below the freezing point of water. As others have said, with a slight breeze you'll be experiencing hypothermia within minutes, assuming no clothes. I've wandered outside, in just jeans and a t-shirt, in about 5 degree above weather, for about 1 minute (just long enough to get the mail) and came back with all of my exposed flesh feeling completely numb.

As long as you aren't WET, it takes a good deal longer than that to go hypothermic.

I've lived half my life in Alaska, btw, and been in the -20 to -30 (F) range quite a bit... in shorts and a t-shirt. Some people can handle it. I suspect something on the order of an instinctive reaction like unto the practiced skills of some monastic orders: the human body is capable of producing some astonishing feats of self-heating.

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