Excerpts 09/11/2004

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 Substance

Blue Ice

Blue Ice: Found only in the depths of the most ancient glaciers, veins of blue ice are often sought out by glacier dwarves. It appears as dark blue, opaque ice that sparkles in light as if it were coated with a tiny film of gemstones; this is merely a thin layer of frost that forms over its surface when exposed to air. The material is cold and feels identical to regular ice upon casual observation, but blue ice only melts under intense and direct application of heat, similar to iron. Those who mine this material from the ancient glaciers often do so simply by melting away the surrounding ice; this is a dangerous procedure, though, since it can rapidly destabilize the surrounding ice. As a result, only the most gifted miners attempt to mine blue ice.

Blue ice can be forged, shaped, and utilized as if it were iron. Blue ice is much lighter than iron, and when forged into a slashing weapon it keeps its edge much longer and is much sharper than an equally forged iron weapon. Slashing weapons made of blue ice have a +1 enhancement bonus on damage. Bludgeoning or piercing weapons can be made of blue ice, but they gain no bonuses to damage. All weapons made of blue ice weigh half as much as normal.

Blue ice isn't just useful to make slashing weapons, though; it can be used to build anything that is normally built of iron. Many dwarven fortresses in the frostfell make heavy use of blue ice for metal components such as nails, tools, door hinges, utensils, and pretty much anything else they can think of; blue ice goblets and mugs are especially popular for export to warmer climates since they keep their contents chilled. A room lined with sheets of blue ice remains at a constant temperature of about freezing, making for an effective way to create refrigerated chambers for food storage. Items made out of blue ice weigh half as much as normal.

Blue ice armor is much lighter than normal armor, although it can be uncomfortable to wear for creatures not immune or resistant to cold. Only armor normally fashioned of metal can be made from blue ice. Most blue ice armors are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations, so that medium armor counts as light armor, and heavy armor counts as medium armor. Light armor remains light armor. Spell failure chances for arcane spells remains unchanged, with the exception of spells with the cold descriptor, which can be cast while wearing blue ice armor with no chance of spell failure. Maximum Dexterity bonus is increased by 1, and armor check penalties are lessened by 2. If the creature wearing the armor is not resistant or immune to cold, he takes a -1 penalty on Reflex saving throws and initiative checks from the general numbness caused by the armor. The Cold Endurance feat is enough to prevent this effect.

Blue ice has 20 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 10.

Type of Blue Ice Item Item Cost Modifier
Light armor +750 gp
Medium armor +3,000 gp
Heavy armor +7,000 gp
Shield +750 gp
Slashing weapon +500 gp
Other items +400 gp/lb.

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