Excerpts 09/11/2004


Frostburn
By Wolfgang Baur, James Jacobs, George Strayton



Winter's chill can be lethal. Explorers of frostfell environments face deadly hazards, from icy terrain to cold-thriving monsters to the lung-freezing air itself.

So of course you want to send your PCs there.

Frostburn, the new supplement for the D&D game, explores the impact of arctic conditions and extreme cold-weather environments on every aspect of game play, from natural challenges to magic. It's a subzero survival manual for adapting to, navigating through, and enduring hazardous cold-weather conditions and foes. Our sneak peak offers a look at new races, feats, prestige classes, monsters, and other essentials of adventuring in icy realms.

Frostburn: New Prestige Class

Frostrager

Many barbarian tribes have members whose ferocity and rage impress and terrify even their fellow barbarians, and the tribes of the frostfell are no different. The frostragers are powerful and dangerous warriors believed by some to be gifted from (and others cursed by) the frost giant deity Thrym with an unstable but powerful supernatural battle rage. This terrible fury not only causes the frostrager to increase in size when he enters his battle rage, but infuses his fists and weapons with cold shards of ice. Those tribes that view a frostrager's prowess as a gift point to the fact that their skills in battle can be matched by few, while those that view these abilities as a curse point to the fact that while in a rage, frostragers tend to revel in destruction and slaughter a little too much to make them trustworthy. In truth, frostragers retain control of their actions while in a frostrage . . . the simple fact is that most frostragers enjoy causing mayhem and destruction.

All frostragers are barbarians to some degree, although many are multiclass barbarian/druids. Stories of such characters who activate their frostrage and wild shape abilities in succession abound in the frostfell; a frostraging character in the shape of a dire bear is a terrible opponent indeed. Other barbarians pick up some levels of fighter or ranger to further focus their combat prowess before becoming frostragers, and a rare few barbarian/sorcerer frostragers exist in some tribes that embrace arcane magic, but other combinations are virtually unknown.

Hit Die: d12.

Requirements

To qualify to become a frostrager, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +6.

Skills: Intimidate 4 ranks, Survival 4 ranks.

Feats: Frozen Berserker, Improved Unarmed Strike, Power Attack.

Special: Rage as a class ability.

Special: The character must have been reduced to fewer than 0 hit points by cold damage (either from magical cold attacks or by taking enough damage from exposure to extreme cold environments). Whether or not this trauma is what allows the frostrage to take root in the character's soul, or if the trauma merely unhinges the character's mind enough that he decides to become a frostrager, is unknown.

Class Skills

The frostrager's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Listen (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4 of the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table 3-6: The Frostrager

Class
Level
Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1st 1 2 0 0 Frostrage, freezing blood
2nd 2 3 0 0 One-two punch
3rd 3 3 1 1 Absorb cold
4th 4 4 1 1 Improved frostrage
5th 5 4 1 1 Rend

Class Features

All the following are class features of the frostrager prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Frostragers gain no proficiency with any weapon, armor, or shields.

Frostrage (Su): While raging, the character grows larger and more massive, and his freezing sweat forms icicles as it streams out of his pores, coating his body in a glittering crust of ice. The frostrager's actual size category does not change (nor does his space/reach), but he does gain a +4 natural armor bonus to Armor Class from the sheets of ice that form over his body. In addition, a frostrager's unarmed attacks deal 1d6 points of damage plus 1d4 points of cold damage on a successful hit. If the frostrager is Small, his unarmed attack deals 1d4 points of damage, and if the frostrager is Large, his unarmed attack deals 1d8 points of damage.

Freezing Blood (Su): At 1st level, a frostrager's blood becomes freezing cold. His wounds instantly freeze over and stop bleeding; he is immune to attacks that cause wounding effects. If reduced to negative hit points, he automatically stabilizes. He still takes 1 point of damage if he takes any actions while at 0 or negative hit points, however.

One-Two Punch (Ex): At 2nd level, while making an unarmed attack, the frostrager may make one extra attack in a round at his highest base attack bonus, but each attack made in that round (the extra one and the normal ones) take a -2 penalty.

Absorb Cold (Su): At 3rd level, while raging, the frostrager not only gains immunity to cold, but it heals him. For every 2 points of cold damage that would have otherwise have been dealt by an attack, the frostrager heals 1 point of damage.

Improved Frostrage (Su): At 4th level while raging, the frostrager's natural armor bonus increases to +6. His unarmed attacks deal 1d8 points of damage plus 1d6 points of cold damage on a successful hit. If the frostrager is Small, his unarmed attack deals 1d6 points of damage, and if the frostrager is Large, his unarmed attack deals 2d6 points of damage.

Rend (Ex): At 5th level, a frostrager gains the ability to rend a target. In any round that the frostrager hits the same foe with two or more unarmed attacks, he immediately deals an additional 2d8 points of damage (plus 1-1/2 times his Strength bonus), plus an additional 1d6 points of cold damage. If he is Small, his rend deals 2d6 points of damage; if he is Large, his rend deals 3d8 points of damage.

Sample Frostrager

Korrek Neversleep is a frostrager who roams the frostfell, selling his services as a mercenary. Over the years he's spent time leading the orc hordes of the north, acted as a bodyguard for a frost mage, and even raided human villages in the company of frost giants. He places a high value on his independence and prefers jobs that let him be a one-man wrecking crew.

Korrek Neversleep: Half-orc barbarian 6/frostrager 5; CR 11; Medium humanoid (orc); HD 9d12+18; hp 76; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 16, touch 11, flat-footed 15; Base Atk +11; Grp +15; Atk +15 melee (1d3+4, unarmed strike); Full Atk +15/+10 melee (1d3+4, unarmed strike); SA frostrage, improved frostrage, one-two punch, rage 2/day, rend; SQ absorb cold, freezing blood, improved uncanny dodge, trap sense +2, uncanny dodge; AL CN; SV Fort +11, Ref +4, Will +3; Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Climb +11, Intimidate +12, Jump +11, Listen +14, Survival +14; Cold Endurance, Frozen Berserker, Improved Unarmed Strike, Power Attack.

Rage (Ex): Twice per day, Korrek can enter a state of fierce rage that lasts for 7 rounds. The following changes are in effect as long as he rages: hp 98; AC 20, touch 9, flat-footed 19; Grp +17; Atk +17melee (1d8+6 plus 1d6 cold); Full Atk +17/+12/+7 melee (1d8+6 plus 1d6 cold) or +15/+15/+10/+5 melee (1d8+6 plus 1d6 cold); rend 2d8+9; SV Fort +13, Will +5; Str 22, Con 18; Climb +13, Jump 13. At the end of his rage, Korrek is fatigued for the duration of the encounter.

Improved Frostrage (Su): While raging, Korrek gains a +6 natural armor bonus to Armor Class from sheets of ice that form over his body. His unarmed attacks deal 1d8 points of damage plus 1d6 points of cold damage on a successful hit. These changes have already been added to his rage statistics above.

Rend (Ex): In any round that Korrek hits the same foe with two or more unarmed attacks, he immediately deals an additional 2d8+6 points of damage, plus an additional 1d6 points of cold damage.

Absorb Cold (Su): While raging, Korrek gains immunity to cold and it heals him. For every 2 points of cold damage that would have otherwise have been dealt by an attack, Korrek heals 1 point of damage.

Freezing Blood (Su): Korrek's wounds instantly freeze over and stop bleeding; he is immune to attacks that cause wounding effects. If reduced to negative hit points, he automatically stabilizes. He still takes 1 point of damage if he takes any actions while at 0 or negative hit points.

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Cannot be flanked and can only be sneak attacked by a character who has at least 10 levels of rogue.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Korrek retains his Dexterity bonus to AC even when flat-footed or targeted by an unseen foe (he still loses his Dexterity bonus if paralyzed or otherwise immobile).

Possessions: +2 hide armor, gauntlets of ogre power +2, boots of speed, potion of cure serious wounds.

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