A Song of Snow and Ice – How Do You Deal With Arctic Conditions in Dungeons and Dragons?

GameMasters here and how do you deal with cold and snow in your Dungeons and Dragons campaign?

I want to present to you a series of questions and I’d love to know your answers, down in the comments below.. While my adventures take my players into
the colder areas of my campaign world and I know how I handle it, I’d love to know how you, either as a dungeon master, or as a player, deal with this…


in your game. Do you actually account for cold weather and have it effect your players, or is it just something that is there (kinda like how a lot treat gold – I have 50,000 gold pieces, but don’t apply a penalty to weight), so does snow and cold exist but it doesn’t negatively impact the characters?

Right now it’s the middle of the winter for me, ice and snow are on the ground, a little bit of frozen stuff is falling, and my feet are going numb!

does your setting adhear to a calendar system? Do you play your game to coincide with our real world seasons? Do your settings move from warm or hot areas of your world into cooler to down right frozen areas as we transition from summer to fall to winter in our world?

Down in Florida right now, the news is warning some residents to be wary of igaunas falling from trees because they go into a cold shock.
Do characters that hail from the frozen plains gain an advantage, while lizard folk in your game that travel to wintery frozen areas gain a disadvantage?

What kind of monsters and cold weather encounters do you throw at your players?
Yetis? Frost Giants? Winter Wolves?
What about a white dragon, something that can blend in easily in the snow and ice?
Ice Mephits? They almost always make an appearance in my winter bound settings.

What about Blizzards and Ice storms?

What type of fire gear do your characters bring with them?

A pinch of saw dust to help start a fire?
Flint and steel? some tree bark?
Or do you go with the assumed “My character just knows how to start a fire” or “our mage can cast fireball, we don’t need flint and steel!”

What type of armour and blankets do you bring with you? I just can’t see your average chain mail, padded armor, or plate bringing much warmth to your bones as you trek 2 miles through knee high mounds of snow.

And what food and drink do you pack? Or do you just melt the snow and drink that?

Do you ever do a one shot that is centered around a major ice storm or say.. a blizzard that lasts for 6 months?

What kind of in jokes do you include in your winter themed Dungeons and Dragons game? Like, when a bad guy goes to attack, does the cold and frost ever make his sword’s blade stick? Do your characters ever.. wanna… build.. a… snowman?

What overall plot hooks have you used in your games to transition your game from it’s main setting to one that takes place in or around colder climates?

What about familiars or pack animals, how do you care for them along that 2 or 3 mile hike in the ice and snow?

Do you do half speed travels through snow?

Do you include cold weather to help mold and craft the game’s atmosphere, or is it just what it is, cold weather?

Do you allow the snow and ice to drive the campaign’s story to something specific or is it simply there to be seen as a challenge that the players have to overcome?

How often do you have to stop and rest and stomp your feet and build a fire or cast fireball to avoid exhaustion?

What all kinds of checks do you have players do in order to survive in the snow?

What kind of winter or cold themed puzzles have you included in your game?

How thankful are the characters when they stumble across an inn with a blazing hot hearth to belly up to and a plate of warm mutton to scarf down?

Backing out of the game itself for a moment, when it IS cold outside and your game group is in session, what’s your go to drink to keep warm? Hot coffee? Hot chocolate? (for those of you over 21, something a bit more.. adult?)

Until next our paths cross, and you know that this was coming… don’t eat yellow snow…!