As a Goliath has cold resistance, what would happen if they entered a freezing lake and then got out?

Would they then have to sit shivering around a fire like any normal character without cold resistance? Or would they be able to somehow shrug it off and continue as normal in dripping clothes in freezing conditions?


2 Answers 2


They will be just fine.

The adventure Icewind Dale:Rime of the Frostmaiden put rules for cold weather conveniently in the introduction (originally in the DMG ch. 5). They are:

A creature exposed to the cold must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw at the end of each hour or gain one level of exhaustion. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw, as do creatures wearing cold weather clothing (thick coats, gloves, and the like) and creatures naturally adapted to cold climates, such as reindeer and snowy owlbears.

A creature can be immersed in frigid water for a number of minutes equal to its Constitution score before suffering any ill effects. Each additional minute spent in frigid water requires the creature to succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or gain one level of exhaustion. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw, as do creatures that are naturally adapted to living in ice-cold water.

A creature with cold resistance succeeds on these saving throws automatically, so they suffer no negative effects, even from extreme cold.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Upvoted because this is a complete and correct answer, despite my belief that it’s a bad rule. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 17:40

Figure Out What Tone You Want

Thomas Markov's answer correctly identifies that the DMG and specifically Rime of the Icemaiden included rules for this.

I am at the tail end of running that campaign, and I can unequivocally say that those rules suck.

At no point was hypothermia an interesting part of the game. Everyone got the idea (correctly) early on that cold was dangerous, and took steps to avoid it. Mostly by finding ways to get cold resistance. At that point, that aspect of the game went from tedious to irrelevant. Hooray?

What’s worse from the GM side is that one player didn’t have resistance. So, the whole party would have had to care about the Stay Warm! minigame (which they despised), if I hadn’t quietly stopped enforcing it. Even if I had decided to continue, it would have been equivalent to just punishing one player, over and over again.

Bottom line, those rules have only two modes: tedious or irrelevant. So you should absolutely not use them. If the next release has detailed rules for bowel movements, you should avoid using those too, for exactly the same reasons.

Instead, think about the tone of your game and what parts your players find enjoyable. If this is a gritty game and they enjoy role playing the desperate struggle for survival, your Goliath should be huddling around a fire regardless of mechanics. If they enjoy heroics and fighting, you can gloss over the aftermath (whether or not he feels cold or sits around the fire is a bit of background detail, not a real plot element). If they like physical comedy, do whatever seems funniest. Etc.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Notably, RotF copies the rules from chapter 5 of the DMG. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov it’s not that simple. It copies some, and extends some, and creates some new. But yes. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a DM from Rime, I definitely agree. But the cold resistance rules are from the DMG, they're just repeated in this adventure. Making sure everyone is on board with any of D&D mini games is always super important. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Fair. And it’s possible that those rules in isolation wouldn’t be as bad; I don’t have as good a sense of that. Overall, I think my answer stands. I don’t see much benefit to noting that this ruleset came by way of the DMG, but I’ll explicitly invite you to make any changes you think will improve this, especially WRT accuracy. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can see where you're coming from in the context of Rime, for sure. I've used the rules in games that didn't take place in a frozen wasteland to great success; they're great for raising the stakes in a dungeon crawl. I see them more as a set piece that can be helpful for bringing into certain challenges, not as a useful feature for an entire campaign. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 17:56

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