Polar Hazards

Polar Hazards

Dehydration and Warmth

Polar air sucks moisture from the body like a desert, so drinking the right amount of liquid is important. Proper clothing is important not just to keep warm, but also to keep the body from sweating during exertion since the sweat freezes. The GameMaster should feel free to inflict Stun Damage who are improperly clothed (too little or too much), or who don't drink enough water. Cold characters quickly become numb, which hinders manual dexterity. Likewise, thick cold weather gear can impede a character's movement and agility. In either case, the GameMaster can impose Target Number Modifiers of +1 or +2 to represent this difficulty.

Sunburn and Glare

Snow and ice reflect sunlight and UV radiation. Characters outdoors during the day will suffer glare penalties without vision protection; extended exposure may result in temporary snow blindness. GameMasters may also inflict 4L sunburn damage on characters whose skin is exposed for long periods. Characters who spend time outdoors in Antarctica gain 1 rad each month.


In the extreme cold and biting winds of the Polar areas, exposed skin can succumb to frostbite (tissue death due to extreme cold) in a matter of seconds. Whenever a character suffers a Serious or Deadly wound from extreme cold, make a separate Body Test to determine if the character suffers permanent damage from frostbite. The Target Number for this test is 4 for Serious wounds, 6 for Deadly. If 0 successes are acheived, one of the character's limbs has succumed tp frostbite and will require amputation. If only 1 success is achieved, the character has lost an extremity (toe, finger, tip of nose, ear) to frostbite. If 2 or more successes are achieved, frostbite did not affect the character.

Foot Travel

Snow and ice can make travel difficult and dangerous. At best, snowy and icy terrain should be considered Difficult Ground. Depending on the terrain, the GameMaster can reduce movement rates by half or more. Icy ground can also be slippery, requiring Quickness (6) Tests to prevent falling. Crevasses are common on Polar ice sheets, requiring characters to jump, climb, or circumvent them. Some crevasses are concealed by snow, requiring a Perception (8) Test to be noticed before a character falls in. Snow bridges sometimes span crevasses, though these are risky to cross, especially for trolls or burdened characters.


Snowstorms can severely reduce visibility, especially when accompanied by strong winds. Apply the modifiers for Light or Heavy rain from the Perception Test Modifiers Table as appropriate to the storm. Severe "white outs" may reduce visibility all together (+8 to Perception Tests). Ultrasound vision reduces this modifier by half, as normal. Snow storms also affect Astral Perception by clouding the astral plane; apply half the Visibility Modifier (round down) to Astral Perception Tests. Strong Polar winds may inhibit hearing and movement; apply a +2 to +4 modifier for all hearing based Perception Tests. If appropriate, the GameMaster can reduce movement rates by half or more. Major wind gusts may even knock characters down if they fail a Body (8) Test.

Endless Days and Nights

Characters in the Arctic or Antarctic circles may have to deal with the long days and nights of the "White Nights." This phenomenon may throw off a character's sleep patterns. The GameMaster should monitor the number of hours characters stay awake and apply Target Number Modifiers for lack of sleep and exhaustion.

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