7 Tips to Writing a Snow Battle

Kenshin Snow Fight

On the surface, a battle in the snow isn’t different from one in the rain.  Yet, there is enough of a difference to force a change of focus.  Let’s get right into the tips and you’ll see what I mean.

  1. Snow means that it’s really cold.  While rain can be during a variety of temperatures, snow can only be around when it’s cold.  This means that the warriors’ bodies will suffer the effects of low temperatures.  There’s a risk of hypothermia if they aren’t properly insulted.  Metal armor can be an issue because it will get cold even with moving around.  Muscles cramp, noses run, and the list of detrimental responses goes on.  Just think discomfort, especially if the fight wasn’t planned.
  2. Snow builds up over time instead of spreading out or getting absorbed by the dirt.  If the storm started prior to the fight then things begin with at least a few inches for warriors to move through.  Similar to the mud issue, this will impede movement and slow everyone down.  As the battle progresses, this problem may go away, but it depends on the strength of the storm.  It could even be that snow builds up on people and their steeds.
  3. We have that visibility problem again, but this is actually worse than rain.  You can still usually see through rain even if you have to shield your eyes.  Snow is white and can get thick enough in the air to block the view of everything.  Helmets can be covered by snow to make it even worse.  Even without a helmet, snow can stick to the face and freeze the skin to force a person to keep their head down.
  4. Avalanches.  This is really area specific, but we all know this is a tried and true threat to fighting in the snow.  Do I really have to explain it?
  5. Ice and slippery ground are common with snow, but it depends on the terrain.  If the battle is happening around a place that had a lot of water then it makes sense to hit some ice.  Some areas may be prone to having really hard ground.  While rain makes sticky mud, snow/cold can freeze the earth.  A person falling down would find that it doesn’t give as much as softer ground.  This can have a major effect during a battle where the person can be stunned or hurt by the landing.
  6. Snow gives an advantage for anyone who is planning attack.  It can be shifted and moved to create ambush points.  Some areas may have a natural abundance of hiding places.  This doesn’t help when two armies are on the move towards each other, but helps with smaller skirmishes and adventuring parties.
  7. I already mentioned the effects on the body, but I want to end on one that is very important.  BREATHING!  It is harder to breathe in colder temperatures, which is what you have when snow is whirling around.  Not to mention breathing in the snow can cause some issue.  Characters may take precautions like having clothes or something over the lower part of their faces to keep that area warm.  It won’t be perfect, but it could help a little.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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13 Responses to 7 Tips to Writing a Snow Battle

  1. Those of us who live in snow country are definitely familiar with all these factors! Even a small amount of snow is chancy to walk on. It changes your stride. Ice under snow is especially fun.


  2. L. Marie says:

    Great tips! Of course I think of the first animated Mulan movie because of the avalanche tip and House of Flying Daggers because of the snow fight. And I think of LoTR as they trudged through the snow. I also think of how much I need these tips since I started a sequel to a book that takes place during the winter and spring. 😄


  3. More good advice, Charles.


  4. Great post. I’m thinking of stiff leather armor, brittle straps on saddles, even someone’s breath giving them away in close quarters while hiding.


  5. Also my favorite typo of the year under number one. Apparently insults can prevent hypothermia. Who knew. Ha Ha!


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