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.
"Cold is the enemy. It is as dangerous as a seasoned fighter with a honed blade and a score to settle."
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.
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:
Increasing Exposure (Getting Colder)
Falkreath Hold (warmest)
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.
"If cold is an agent of darkness and death, fire is the sentinel of light and life."
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.
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.
| Gear Type||Exposure Protection|
| Helms and Hats||50|
| Body Armor and Clothing||125|
| Gauntlets and Gloves||25|
| Boots and Shoes||25|
|Total Exposure Protection||225|
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.
- Cloaks - If you use Cloaks of Skyrim, Winter is Coming, or Black Sacrament, your cloak will grant you a 10% Resist Exposure bonus.
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.
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.