The Wasted Plain and beyond, continued.
Tundra and sub-glacial areas are often exceedingly dry; however, the same process* that results in the drainage which fills Lake Brood and, in turn feeds the River Sphere, holds the Würm in check and results in a fairly constant level of humidity and precipitation in the region surrounding Ssaur.
Note: The Rüinlands calendar is a simple affair. There are 10 months each of 35 days. A buffer period of roughly 15 days (taken up by The Festival of Promadealus**) is situated between the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Years are not numbered or otherwise counted, but named after animals. The months are numerically named thus: Onemonth, Twomonth and so on through Tenmonth. The first day of Onemonth is coincident with the spring equinox. However, aside from the gradually lengthening days, the true effects of spring are not felt, during most years, until towards end of Twomonth. Summer is in full swing by the second or third week of Threemonth. The weather turns cold near the end of Fivemonth or the beginning of Sixmonth. Winter begins a month earlier and ends approximately half month later in the mountains.
There are only two discernible seasons in the Ssaur region, summer and winter. Spring and autumn come and goes so quickly that they are hardly noticeable. The soil of the wasted plain never thaws beyond a depth of 6-8 inches even in the hottest years.
* the exact nature of the process is unknown. Some scholars postulate that the heat from a natural magma vent, contained somewhere within the vast expanse of the Würm, erodes the glacier at about the same rate that it grows. Others believe that an ancient weather control station (similarly located) performs an identical function.
** This is basically a winter festival, characterized by overeating/drinking and gift giving; the significance of the name is unknown.
Summer (Check twice daily) 1d6: 1-2 rain. 3: Cool and dry. 4-5: Warm and dry. 6: Hot and dry.
Winter (Check three times daily) 1d6- 1-2: clear & cold; 3: cold & snowing (1/2 move). 4: Really cold & snowing (1/3 move). 5: Blizzard- (1/4-0 move) characters may be snowbound. 6. Freak weather (referee’s discretion).
Note: blizzard conditions should continue for 1d4 days, obviating the need for further weather checks during this time.
Insect bites: All living creatures crossing through the Dire hills or the Wasted Plain during the summer months are accompanied by a personal cloud of biting, stinging, feeding and breeding insects. Characters without adequate protection, during summer will lose 1d3 hit points a day to insects bites.
Bugway Grease, is a foul smelling, bug repellant salve for sale in Ssaur (and it can sometimes be found in Shards as well). A supply sufficient to protect an individual for one week costs roughly 10gp in Ssaur and twice that in Shards. A character with the forage proficiency, access to a forest and a supply of animal grease can gather the materials to make four times this amount for 1gp in 1d3+1 days. The grease itself takes four days to cook. This process is extremely odiferous, and if done anywhere within the walls Ssaur, besides the Horn, it will result in an arrest and a level 1 punishment.
Boilfly Fever: Many species of biting insects lay eggs in the soil, just above the permafrost layer, prior to the onset of winter. These eggs hatch in the early spring, inflicting three months of stinging agony upon the inhabitants of the plain and any other creatures unfortunate enough to find themselves there.
Successful boilflies, however, lay their eggs within the body of a living host during the final weeks of summer. The host then contracts boilfly fever. If the fever is fatal, and it often is, the corpse of the host usually freezes with the onset of winter. When the thaw comes in the spring the boilfly larva eat their way out of the host, and spend their summer much like the other insects of the tundra, feeding on aurochs and other beasts. Despite the fact that only eggs lain at the end of summer are likely to survive the winter intact, boilflies mate constantly and are always on the look out for a living host in which to deposit their eggs.
For every day spent on the plain, without being smeared in bugway grease, characters have a 2 in 6 chance of being bitten by a pregnant boilfly. Characters bitten must make a saving throw. Failure results in coming down with boilfly fever in 1d4 days, at which point another saving throw can be made. Failure of the second saving throw results in a coma and death in 1d6+1 days. The disease can be cured by a cure disease spell any time after the first failed ST. If the second ST is successful, the character must make one further ST in order to successfully fight off the disease; otherwise they will fall into a coma and die in 1d6+1 days.
Due to their scales Lizardmen receive a +5 to all initial Saving Throws vs. boilfly fever. the second saving throw, however, is made as normal.
Freezing to death: Each day that a character spends out in the harsh conditions of the tundra or high country winter, they run the risk of freezing to death. The weather attacks the character, treating their constitution as armor class (ascending). If the attack is successful, the character must make a ST. A failed ST results in a temporary loss of 1 pt of constitution. The next day the weather attack will be against this lowered number. Three successful attacks and the character falls in to a incoherent state and dies in 1d10 hours- if not gotten to shelter. Sufficiently warm cloths provide a +4 to ST vs. Freezing. Due to their thick coats, Sasquatch characters receive a +5 to all STs vs. Freezing.
All lost Constitution points can be regained (1d6 hours per point) once the character gain access to a sheltered environment.
Well, we’ll get to those Mammoths and mammoth men (and some other critters) next time. This one went off in an unforeseen direction...