Imperial Ban on writing
The Salassian Empire has limited writing to only priests of Sala. As a result, all characters are illiterate by default. Nonetheless, many backstories (and an entire race) will provide literacy.
Arcane Power Surplus
The ban on writing, and the severe imperial prejudice against most practitioners of arcane magic has left the world with a surplus of untapped arcane energy.
All arcane spell-casters (bard, sorcerer, warlock, wizard) as well has hybrid arcane spell-casters (Eldritch Knight, Arcane Trickster) can tap into this wellspring. When casting an arcane spell, you may roll a DC 20 Int-Arcana check. On a success, the spell slot is not expended. You can make this check later, any time before your next long rest, if you forget to make it during combat.
Baby, it’s cold outside
The climate for the majority of the Grey Empire is sub arctic, with variations obviously getting colder as one heads north towards the Great Glacier, and warmer towards The Clockwork Kingdom of Mechanus.
Much of the industry and effort in the Grey Empire is surviving the brutal winters as best one can.
Severity of Cold Environments:
40 to 0 degrees
Every ten minutes, DC 5 Constitution-Survival check, or suffer a level of exhaustion.
- Severe Cold
-20 to 0 degrees
- Extreme Cold
-50 to -20 degrees
- Supernatural Cold
under -50 degrees
note: Wind chill may change the effective temperature, so lack of shelter from the wind may dramatically change the difficulty of cold environments.
The following modify the Constitution check
+2 Armor Insulation
+5 Cold Weather Outfit
+5 Fur Clothing
+2 Improvised Shelter*
+5 Resistance to Cold
(advantage) dose of Bloodsalt in the last 24 hours, or a heat source (near a fire)
(advantage) huddling with another character (this cannot be done while moving)
*Having shelter and staying put changes the rate of checks from once every 10 minutes to once every hour.
Armor Insulation: a special alchemical treatment for armor [50 gp]
Blood Salt: Blood Salt is mixed into food, and grants advantage on saving throws against cold, and disadvantage on saving throws against fire. A dose lasts 24 hours and costs 1gp.
Cold Weather Outfit: A wool coat, linen shirt, wool cap, heavy cloak, thick pants/skirt and boots. [10gp]
Fur Clothing: Heavy furs that can be worn in addition to a cold weather outfit. Heavy Furs operate as Hide Armor when worn without armor (including any penalties for non-proficiency). [10 gp, 12 lb.]
Improvised Shelter: A snow cave, den, or lean-to.
Snowshoes [2gp]: While wearing snowshoes, deep snow is only difficult terrain. Normally deep snow is difficult terrain that requires an Athletics check to traverse. Donning showshoes takes one minute, and an action to remove.
Snow goggle [2gp]: Snow goggles grant advantage against the effects of blinding effects, and disadvantage of visual perception checks.
Death and Replacement Characters
New characters start at level 1. A new character is required to have a positive relationship with one or more of the remaining PCs, but you do still get the bonus hit points for having a relationship.
By default, no rule/feat/class/spell/item/background/etc. is available for characters unless it is found in the 5e Player’s Handbook.