Altitude Rules


Rules Questions


I saw a reference to the altitude rules in the flaming sphere thread (see below).

I hadn't seen these rules, and I know from personal experience (I do a lot of high altitude trekking in the himalayas and elsewhere) that they're kindof silly.

In general, you can go to about 9000 feet without experiencing significant altitude sickness.
If you go higher, you might a headache, but you'll acclimatize at a rate of 1000-2000 feet per day. I've spent weeks at above 12000 feet, and I've slept at around 19,000 feet (crater of kilimanjaro). I've flown from sea level right to 12,000 feet (Lhasa, Tibet, and also La Paz, Bolivia). I did feel pretty bad that evening, but was absolutely fine the next morning.

I personally would have the 'High pass' category kick in no lower than 10,000 feet. And the fort saves shouldn't scale past a point... it should actually get easier to pass them, as your body acclimatizes.

The high peak category should probably be somewhere above 20,000 feet, given that they affect even acclimatized characters. I believe there are military bases in India/Pakistan where people permanently live at this altitude. There is certainly an altitude that people cannot acclimatize to, but I am not sure what it is.

Stefan Hill wrote:
Fergie wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:

On the other end of the scale...

Also can I have rules on altitude sickness please, when exactly does my character loose consciousness or have his blood boil if I fly my broom of flying straight up?

Straight up what?


PRD wrote:

"Altitude Zones: In general, mountains present three possible altitude bands: low pass, low peak/high pass, and high peak.

Low Pass (lower than 5,000 feet): Most travel in low mountains takes place in low passes, a zone consisting largely of alpine meadows and forests. Travelers might find the going difficult (which is reflected in the movement modifiers for traveling through mountains), but the altitude itself has no game effect.

Low Peak or High Pass (5,000 to 15,000 feet): Ascending to the highest slopes of low mountains, or most normal travel through high mountains, falls into this category. All non-acclimated creatures labor to breathe in the thin air at this altitude. Characters must succeed on a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or be fatigued. The fatigue ends when the character descends to an altitude with more air. Acclimated characters do not have to attempt the Fortitude save.

High Peak (more than 15,000 feet): The highest mountains exceed 15,000 feet in height. At these elevations, creatures are subject to both high altitude fatigue (as described above) and altitude sickness, whether or not they're acclimated to high altitudes. Altitude sickness represents long-term oxygen deprivation, and affects mental and physical ability scores. After each 6-hour period a character spends at an altitude of over 15,000 feet, he must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1 point of damage to all ability scores. Creatures acclimated to high altitude receive a +4 competence bonus on their saving throws to resist high altitude effects and altitude sickness, but eventually even seasoned mountaineers must abandon these dangerous elevations.

...


Here is a really good guide on acclimatization, written by a himalayan mountaineering guide whom I respect:

http://projecthimalaya.com/info-ams.html


kenmckinney wrote:

I saw a reference to the altitude rules in the flaming sphere thread (see below).

I hadn't seen these rules, and I know from personal experience (I do a lot of high altitude trekking in the himalayas and elsewhere) that they're kindof silly.

In general, you can go to about 9000 feet without experiencing significant altitude sickness.
If you go higher, you might a headache, but you'll acclimatize at a rate of 1000-2000 feet per day. I've spent weeks at above 12000 feet, and I've slept at around 19,000 feet (crater of kilimanjaro). I've flown from sea level right to 12,000 feet (Lhasa, Tibet, and also La Paz, Bolivia). I did feel pretty bad that evening, but was absolutely fine the next morning.

I personally would have the 'High pass' category kick in no lower than 10,000 feet. And the fort saves shouldn't scale past a point... it should actually get easier to pass them, as your body acclimatizes.

The high peak category should probably be somewhere above 20,000 feet, given that they affect even acclimatized characters. I believe there are military bases in India/Pakistan where people permanently live at this altitude. There is certainly an altitude that people cannot acclimatize to, but I am not sure what it is.

Stefan Hill wrote:
Fergie wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:

On the other end of the scale...

Also can I have rules on altitude sickness please, when exactly does my character loose consciousness or have his blood boil if I fly my broom of flying straight up?

Straight up what?


PRD wrote:

"Altitude Zones: In general, mountains present three possible altitude bands: low pass, low peak/high pass, and high peak.

Low Pass (lower than 5,000 feet): Most travel in low mountains takes place in low passes, a zone consisting largely of alpine meadows and forests. Travelers might find the going difficult (which is reflected in the movement modifiers for traveling through mountains), but the altitude itself has no game effect.

Low

...

I think the altitude rules were created primarily for Pathfinder #6, where scaling a particular mountain of great height became necessary. If how you describe it is how it works in real life, though, then you should house-rule it as such in your games if necessary. After all, Golarion tends to pretty analogous to Earth when it comes to gravity, atmosphere composition, etc and many of the rules are more about the game experience / balance than about perfectly mimicing physics.

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