[RPG] Do desert heat hazards actually pose a threat to a Pathfinder party


I am about to bring my characters into the desert in my campaign, so I decided to read up on desert rules. From the Pathfinder SRD:

Heat deals nonlethal damage that cannot be recovered from until the character gets cooled off (reaches shade, survives until nightfall, gets doused in water, is targeted by endure elements, and so forth). Once a character has taken an amount of nonlethal damage equal to her total hit points, any further damage from a hot environment is lethal damage.

I am primarily used to 3.5e rules, so I didn't think much of this, until someone had reminded me that in Pathfinder, 0th-level spells work differently (emphasis mine):

Clerics can prepare a number of orisons, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: Cleric under “Spells per day.” These spells are treated like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.

Since create water is a 0th level spell, doesn't this mean that the characters can just be doused with water as often as needed, without penalty? As well, doesn't this mean that, despite requiring more water in the desert, it is still irrelevant because a cleric (for example), can just continually cast 'create water'?


As a GM, is there anyway to make the desert dangerous in light of this? It's not very exciting to throw the PCs in a 'dangerous' area like a desert and have them avoid the hazards of the desert effortlessly. It also defeats the purpose of having extreme heat rules somewhat.

Best Answer


You're correct. Due to the way orisons work a cleric or druid could alleviate the dangers of heat in the desert by casting "Create Water" repeatedly.

Just another reason to have one in your party!

Editing to take into account the question edit...

Heat isn't the only issue in the desert. The party could run into a sandstorm that could cause damage (and which also might even ruin the water from "create water" by essentially making it "create mud").

They are also sandpits/quicksand which could suck in party members who aren't careful.

Hostile local wildlife can be an issue. A highly venomous snake may decide to nest in the PC's gear overnight since it's warmer then the surrounding sand. Quite a surprise when they reach into their backpack to retrieve their map and get a snake bite.

It's also worth noting it gets very cold at night so a party may be geared up to handle the dry heat of a desert only to be surprised by the below freezing temps at night.

Mirages could disorient/deceive the party. It's also fair to note that deserts can be relatively featureless meaning it's much easier to get lost in the first place (tho this can depend greatly on your desert and its surroundings).

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