Elemental Resistance and Weather


Rules Questions


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If someone has, say 5 fire resistance, would that make them any better at resisting high temperatures? Would they still sweat enough to dehydrate? And same with Cold Resistance and sub-zero temperatures


Not unless the environment is causing Lethal Damage of its type. I can't find anywhere where Energy Resistance alludes to alleviating Non-lethal Damage.

That being said, as a House Rule, I don't think it would be out of line for Energy Resistance to grant a bonus on saves due to extreme heat and cold. Perhaps equal to half the resistance value.


I don't know about official rules, but I rule that if you have energy resistance, you aren't bothered by stuff that isn't even severe enough to cause damage.

So if you have fire resistance, you can frolic around in the desert without problems, and cold resistance lets you do the same in extremely cold environs.


Cool, thanks, that's basically what I was thinking

Sovereign Court

IIRC, resistances don't specify lethal or non-lethal damage, just damage in general. So, you would be saved from taking non-lethal damage as well up to your resistance. If you start taking d6 damage per hour and you only have fire resistance of 5, you may be dinged for a point every once in a while due to how well the dice roll.


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It doesn't spell it out, but i think it would be kind of odd that a red dragon who liked to bathe in lava would wind up in the desert saying "Whoo boy its hot out here"


BigNorseWolf wrote:
It doesn't spell it out, but i think it would be kind of odd that a red dragon who liked to bathe in lava would wind up in the desert saying "Whoo boy its hot out here"

Point for the Wolf... LOL

I hereby retract my previous comment and go with what Nebel said... hehehe


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
It doesn't spell it out, but i think it would be kind of odd that a red dragon who liked to bathe in lava would wind up in the desert saying "Whoo boy its hot out here"

lol

I could just see it, the red dragon fanning himself with his wings, emptying the oasis. :)


Now, I know the old 3.5 books Frostburn and Sandstorm did cover these issues in more depth. One could always default back to those until PF expounds more on this area.


By RAW, the nonlethal damage dealt by exposure to cold or heat environments is untyped. Let's look at the rules.

Cold Dangers wrote:

Cold and exposure deal nonlethal damage to the victim. A character cannot recover from the damage dealt by a cold environment until she gets out of the cold and warms up again. Once a character has taken an amount of nonlethal damage equal to her total hit points, any further damage from a cold environment is lethal damage.

An unprotected character in cold weather (below 40° F) must make a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description).

In conditions of severe cold or exposure (below 0° F), an unprotected character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check), taking 1d6 points of nonlethal damage on each failed save. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well. Characters wearing a cold weather outfit only need check once per hour for cold and exposure damage.

A character who takes any nonlethal damage from cold or exposure is beset by frostbite or hypothermia (treat her as fatigued). These penalties end when the character recovers the nonlethal damage she took from the cold and exposure.

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.

Heat Dangers wrote:

Heat deals nonlethal damage that cannot be recovered from until the character gets cooled off (reaches shade, survives until nightfall, gets doused in water, is targeted by endure elements, and so forth). Once a character has taken an amount of nonlethal damage equal to her total hit points, any further damage from a hot environment is lethal damage.

A character in very hot conditions (above 90° F) must make a Fortitude saving throw each hour (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description). Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per hour).

In severe heat (above 110° F), a character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and might be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the Survival skill in Using Skills). Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per each 10-minute period).

A character who takes any nonlethal damage from heat exposure now suffers from heatstroke and is fatigued. These penalties end when the character recovers from the nonlethal damage she took from the heat.

Extreme heat (air temperature over 140° F, fire, boiling water, lava) deals lethal damage. Breathing air in these temperatures deals 1d6 points of fire damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save every 5 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Those wearing heavy clothing or any sort of armor take a –4 penalty on their saves.

Boiling water deals 1d6 points of scalding damage, unless the character is fully immersed, in which case it deals 10d6 points of damage per round of exposure.

So "extreme heat" deals fire damage, but boiling water deals "scalding damage" and other damage, lethal and nonlethal, is untyped.

Resist energy says specifically that it prevents the appropriate energy damage only, not "unfortunate side effects". So it seems like, at least by RAW, you need that level 1 endure elements in addition to whatever you use to gain fire/cold resistence or immunity.
In my own game, I would probably rule all the damage in the "Cold Dangers" entry to be cold damage, and all the damage in the "Heat Dangers" entry to be fire damage. But that's not RAW.

As for monsters, it's not clear to me that the "environmental dangers" rules should always apply to all NPCs regardless of their environment. Those rules are for characters, which are assumed to be Small or Medium air-breathing Material Plane corporeal living humanoids. Even RAW I don't believe the "Heat Dangers" rules apply to all monsters living under those conditions, and I wouldn't apply them to Desert terrain creatures whether they have fire resistance/immunity or not.


There definitely should be monsters that are immune to the effects of that environment, damage or otherwise, but I would reserve that to creatures who are actually immune to the type of damage the terrain would suggest.. desert = fire, tundra = cold. Just because a monster is from a region doesn't mean they are immune to it's effects, only better suited to handle them. Lots of creatures still die from exposure in the environments they live.. and just because you have fire resistance doesn't mean you don't sweat and become dehydrated or fatigued, you just won't get sunburned. That doesn't, however, mean they won't tan... as that is your bodies natural reation to UV rays hitting you, not your bodies natural reaction to the oven :)


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I have 3 phrases for this issue:

Frostburn.

Sandstorm.

Common sense.

To wit, while Frostburn and Sandstorm are not Pathfinder material, they are 3.5 WotC material, which makes them, in the spirit (although not the letter) of backwards compatibility, the closest thing to an official ruling. In those, there are "bands" of bad temperature extremes. Resist 5 made you immune to the lightest band (40-20 degrees or such, for cold), with further resistances making you immune to worse bands (sub zero, etc.).

Finally, common sense. If we assume that resistance does not make you immune (full or partially) to detrimental temperature effects due to a strict reading of what resist energy does, then we must likewise assume that energy immunity provides no protection either. Ergo: fire elementals can get sunburned, white dragons have toes fall off from frostbite, etc, etc.

Granted, the idea of a red dragon panting and sweating as it flies through the desert is funny...but I don't find it fitting. Others are free to disagree.

Edit: I checked the SRD, and whilt the wording is funky (might be a leftover from a copy paste) it states that immunity provides protection against "secondary effects". Hmmm.

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