What is Exposure?

"Cold is the enemy. It is as dangerous as a seasoned fighter with a honed blade and a score to settle."

Exposure is the way that your condition is measured in Frostfall. Heat makes your exposure go back toward zero, and being in cold environments and icy water will increase your exposure (-1 to -100). Staying dry keeps your rate of exposure low.

You will occasionally receive periodic, non-invasive messages related to your status (getting warmer, colder, wet, being near a fire) as you travel throughout Skyrim.

Use the Weathersense power to check your current exposure, and the temperature of the surrounding area at any time. If you are a SkyUI user, you will see an on-screen indicator (called the Weathersense Gem) that changes colors depending on the surrounding temperature, ranging from bright yellow (warm) to dark blue (frigid).

SKSE Users: You will not gain exposure when in a conversation with an NPC. You can talk to the denizens of Winterhold or Windhelm as long as you like. This option, like many other features, can be toggled.

Increasing Exposure (Getting Colder)

Location - Where you are in Skyrim greatly affects heat loss due to exposure. Frostfall keeps track of where you are, and what the temperature in the area is. In general, the areas from warmest to coldest are:

Falkreath Hold (warmest)
The Rift
The Reach
Whiterun Hold
The Northern Coast

The Pale, and Mountains (High Hrothgar, etc) (coldest)

Weather - Paying attention to the weather can save your life. You will receive automatic messages about changing weather conditions so that you can react accordingly. Your survival time in a blizzard is measured in minutes. Rain and swimming will make you wet and cause you to increase exposure more quickly; dry off near a fire, or wait awhile (about 10 minutes) to dry off slowly over time.

Staying dry -
Getting wet will cause you to lose heat much more rapidly. The wetter you are, the more rapidly your exposure will increase. Wetness occurs in 3 stages: Damp, Wet, and Drenched. You stay wet for a time after swimming, or getting rained on. You can take shelter from rain and dry off under any ledge, porch, or outcropping. Fires will dry you off quickly, and cloaks will keep you dryer, longer when traveling in the rain.

Time of day - Skyrim's nights are more unforgiving than her days. You will lose heat faster at night.

Decreasing Exposure (Warming Up)

"If cold is an agent of darkness and death, fire is the sentinel of light and life."

Find or build a source of heat!

This is the primary way to reduce Exposure. Proximity to heat sources like campfires and steam from broken Dwemer pipes will reduce your exposure rather quickly. Use Survival Skills, Build Campfire while traveling to build a campfire. You'll have to gather wood first, though.  Standing near fires long enough also provides you with the "Warm" condition, which provides you with a mild benefit. Torches do not count as a heat source; see Staying Warm, below.

Frostfall 2.5: You can now build a campfire using 10 ruined books.

Frostfall 2.5: You can now light any unlit campfire that you come across in Skyrim. This includes Giant campfires.

Find or build shelter!

Tents can warm you up slowly by themselves. Hide tents are great in cold, snowy areas, and allow you to reduce more of your exposure than a Leather tent. Leather tents are waterproof, which makes them ideal when camping in the southern Holds where it can rain frequently. If you are using a Large tent, just standing inside is all that is needed to begin warming up and drying off; you do not have to sit or lie down.

TIP - Campfires and Bad Weather

During bad weather conditions campfires become less effective at keeping you warm, especially in the snow. A campfire will not be able to dry you off if standing in the rain. A campfire placed next to an appropriate tent and getting inside the tent is the only way to reduce your exposure to 0! Plan ahead!

TIP - Warming your Tent

When placing an item, the graphic will glow when it is near enough a heat source to be warmed up by it. Use this to determine how far away to place your campfire from your tent!

TIP - Taking Shelter

If no tent is available, you can take shelter by standing under any awning, structure, or cave in Skyrim. This will keep the rain off your head and the wind off your back.


Alcohol - Alcohol temporarily decreases 10-20 exposure (non-stacking), depending on the quality and rarity of the brew, and lasts for 3 minutes. After this effect wears off, you will gain 15-25 exposure (5 more than you lost!). So, a swig of ale might be good to produce that warm feeling down south when you're away from a fire, or save your life in the frozen north. It's up to you to decide if the short-term benefit is worth the long-term cost.

Interiors - Exposure will not be increased in interiors, so taking shelter can be a good idea in some circumstances. Water in interiors will not harm you, either, in the instance that water is used for a thematic or gameplay reason in a dungeon.

Effects of Exposure

Increasing exposure will cause your character's condition to gradually worsen. You will be automatically notified if your condition changes.

  • +20 to +1: Warm: You gain +10 to your maximum Health, Magicka, and Stamina.
  • 0 to -19: Comfortable: No penalties or bonuses.
  • -20 to -39: Chilly: -10% Health, Stamina, and Magicka Regeneration.
  • -40 to -59: Very Cold: -25% Health, Magicka, and Stamina Regeneration; -10 Archery, One-handed, Two-handed, Block, and all Magicka skills; -30 Pickpocket and Lockpicking.
  • -60 to -79: Freezing: -50% Health, Magicka, and Stamina Regeneration; -30 Archery, One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Sneak, Speech, and all Magicka skills; -60 Pickpocket and Lockpicking. Slight movement penalty.
  • -80 to -99: Freezing to Death: -75% Health, Magicka, and Stamina Regeneration; -60 Archery, One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Sneak, Speech, and all Magicka skills; -100 Pickpocket and Lockpicking. Significant movement penalty.
  • -100: You succumb to exposure. You do not take damage that you can heal or resist; you simply collapse and may die, unless rescued by a follower, pet, or passerby. This option can be turned off.

Staying Warm

Wear clothing - You will receive a bonus to Exposure Protection for each piece of equipment you wear (Hands, Feet, Head, Body). Running around naked spells death for the foolish. What kind of clothing or armor does not matter. In general, equipment added by mods is supported.

Exposure Protection Values by Gear Type

 Gear Type
Exposure Protection
 Helms and Hats
 Body Armor and Clothing
 Gauntlets and Gloves
 Boots and Shoes
Total Exposure Protection

If you're looking for an increased level of depth for your gear choices, check out the W.E.A.R. system.

Frost resistance - Something Nords are born with. Frost resistance will help reduce heat loss.

Torches, Cloaks, and Food - These items grant a special Exposure Resistance buff, which can significantly help extend your survival time.
  • Torches - While equipped, grants a 10% Resist Exposure bonus.
  • Food - All soups and stews in Skyim grant between +5% and +15% Resist Exposure (non-stacking). Compatible with all food mods.

Adaptation - You will adapt to Skyrim's environment naturally over time. Every 5 levels, you will gain a permanent +1% to Exposure Resistance, up to level 50 (+10% total). This does not give high-level players a significant advantage, but will give you an extra minute or two of survival time in a blizzard. Adaptation will also increase the amount of time you can spend swimming in frigid water (+5 sec every 5 levels, up to level 50; +50 sec total). SkyRe Users:  Please see the SkyRe information page about important changes to this skill when playing with SkyRe.

Note that none of these items will entirely stop the increase of exposure, only give you more time. Cold weather survival is a war of a thousand cuts; no one thing will give you a significant advantage, but together, they add up quickly.

Special Note: Vampires and Werewolves

Vampires, due to their undead nature, shrug off all of the effects of the cold. A vampire is not harmed by hypothermia or swimming in frigid water. If you would like to play with normal exposure effects as a vampire, go to Survival Settings, Advanced, Immersion, Vampires. SkyUI 4.1+ Users: Navigate to the Gameplay page to toggle this option.

Werewolves will restore 20 exposure when transforming, and 15 exposure each time they feed. Their fur is also well-suited to the cold and provides 600 Exposure Protection (well above the maximum normally allowed). Werewolves are not immune to exposure, however, so care should be taken to feed as often as necessary to keep exposure low