The remote mountaintops of the world represent one of the harshest incarnations of the frostfell, for in these locations not only does one struggle for shelter, food, and warmth, but also for the air itself. Yet for many, the isolation and beauty of the tallest mountains is an irresistible draw, especially to those who seek to hone and perfect their own bodies and minds far from the busy distractions of civilization. The cloud anchorites are just such an order of monastic recluses who have established monasteries on the slopes of many high mountains.
DISCIPLE OF THYRM
Aside from predictions of Ragnarok, disciples of Thrym spend a large portion of their time undermining those who serve Thor and Loki, the deities who conspired against Thrym, thwarting his efforts to win the goddess Freya as his bride. This ancient grudge still stands, and all who venerate Thrym take every opportunity to settle the score against the enemies of the Lord of the Frost Giants.
Alignment: Any nongood. Skills: Intimidate 4 ranks, Survival 8 ranks. Base Attack Bonus: +4. Feat: Weapon Focus (greataxe). Special: Cold Endurance feat or cold subtype.
Frost mages usually hail from lands of cold, snow, and ice: tundra, glaciers, even outer planes perpetually shrouded in winter. Others become obsessed with the power of glacial cold and focus all their energy into discovering the mysteries of the frostfell and its magic. All frost mages, however, eventually become adapted to cold environments as their skin slowly turns to frost. They learn to take advantage of the natural or magically enhanced frostfell environment, harnessing the existing cold to further empower their own spells.
Feats: Frozen Magic. Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 8 ranks. Spells: Able to cast 1st-level arcane spells. Special: The character must spend 24 hours unprotected in a blizzard.
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 fi sts 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.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.
The primeval is a warrior who has tapped into his racial memories to fi nd and forge a bond with an ancient creature. He draws incredible power and strength from this bond, and fi nds that he can change his form into this creature with increasing skill. Many neanderthal tribes count primevals among their strongest warriors.
Alignment: Any nonlawful. Base Attack Bonus: +8. Skills: Handle Animal 5 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks. Feats: Endurance, Self-Suffi cient, Toughness.
Untold ages ago, a powerful uldra deity of the frostfell by the name of Hleid was defeated by her nemeses Iborighu. But Iborighu failed to destroy her existence completely, and the last fragments of her being scattered into the polar seas in a desperate attempt to escape destruction. These spheres of magical cold energy were the fi rst rimefi re eidolons, and as they struck the seas they manifested great icebergs to further hide and protect themselves from Iborighu and his minions. They waited, patient but potent, for the time to come when Hleid could be reborn and vengeance against Iborighu could be realized. The rimefi re eidolons strive to achieve this goal by sending out hidden signals to touch the last few devoted worshipers of Hleid in hope of recruiting their aid.
Skills: Concentration 6 ranks, Knowledge (history) 6 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 9 ranks, Spellcraft 6 ranks. Feats: Iron Will, Mark of Hleid. Spells: Able to cast 1st-level divine spells. Patron Deity: Hleid. This will be a different god Special: Once a character meets all the requirements listed above, she soon has a vivid dream in which she receives a call from a rimefire eidolon. Once she wakes from the dream, she knows the most direct route to the rimefi re eidolon’s iceberg, as if she had cast discern location to fi nd it. This call does not force the character to answer, but until she travels to the iceberg and accepts the bond of the rimefi re eidolon that dwells within, she cannot take any levels of rimefi re witch. The journey to the iceberg should be played out as a minor quest, perhaps with some encounters with Iborighu cultists bent on preventing the rise of a new rimefi re witch.
The stormsingers have learned secret methods of harnessing the magic powers of music to infl uence and control the weather. These songs seem to have greater effects and potency in the frostfell than in more temperate or tropical regions, so most stormsingers prefer to dwell in the frostfell so they can practice their special form of magic. Ships that ply the seas of the frostfell often hire on a stormsinger partially to serve as entertainment for long sea voyages, but mostly so
Skills: Concentration 8 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 8 ranks, Knowledge (geography) 4 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 4 ranks, Perform (sing) 8 ranks, Spellcraft 4 ranks. Feats: Magical Aptitude, Storm Magic. Special: The stormsinger must have the bardic music class ability.
WINTERHAUNT OF IBORIGHU
The cult of Iborighu is a menace not only in the frostfell, but in any region they target with their cold desires. As minions of the Frozen King, the winterhaunts of Iborighu lust for nothing less than eternal winter; they aim to bring down upon the world an eternal ice age, a never-ending winter ruled and maintained by their dread deity. While such grand designs might make one dismiss the cult of Iborighu as a collection of harmless lunatics, the terrible truth is that they have made signifi cant strides in the frostfell areas of the world . . . many of which were actually created by the cult. Winterhaunts are especially feared in the frostfell for their ability to wield cold magic so powerful in nature that it can even harm creatures normally immune to cold.
Alignment: Chaotic neutral, chaotic evil, or neutral evil. Skills: Concentration 8 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 5 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 8 ranks. Feats: Chosen of Iborighu, Craft Wondrous Item, Piercing Cold. Spells: Able to cast 1st-level divine spells. Patron Deity: Iborighu. This will be a different god Special: The character must successfully create an iceheart. This can be either a minor iceheart or a major iceheart; most prospective cultists opt to create a minor iceheart, naturally. The iceheart, once created, serves as the winterhaunt’s badge of offi ce in the cult; if it is lost or destroyed, he must replace it with a new one within a week. Failure to do so results in the loss of all spellcasting and supernatural abilities granted by this prestige class. Regaining these abilities is possible only if the winterhaunt gains a new iceheart and then receives an atonement spell.
A passion for the narrow, dim ways of the world burns in the breast of the cavelord. Born with an ache to learn about the roots of the mountains, the sunless seas, and the hidden ways filled with darkness that will never be illuminated, the cavelord roams the tunnel and cave systems of the Underdark. He takes it upon himself to protect the Realms Below, uprooting foul and disruptive things as he comes upon them.
Skills: Knowledge (Underdark local) 8 ranks, Search 2 ranks, Spot 2 ranks, Survival 4 ranks. Feat: Track.
Deep diviners are intimates of the earth and all that it hides. A deep diviner knows the stones, structures, faults, hot spots, and mineral types of the Underdark, and they know her. She uses her earthborn power to locate fluxes of energy, especially earth nodes, with which she can recharge and augment her own arcane might. Some deep diviners can even call elemental spirits of the earth to do their bidding.
Skills: Knowledge (Underdark local) 8 ranks, Survival 2 ranks. Feat: Spell Focus (Divination). Spells: Ability to cast 2nd-level arcane spells.
PRIME UNDERDARK GUIDE
Traveling in the Underdark is dangerous, especially for those unaccustomed to its labyrinthine passages. Wise travelers try to hire a skilled guide who not only knows how to overcome the physical challenges, but also can help them over the social and cultural hurdles they are sure to face.
Alignment: Any nonevil. Skills: Balance 2 ranks, Climb 8 ranks, Diplomacy 5 ranks, Gather Information 5 ranks, Knowledge (Underdark local) 5 ranks, Survival 5 ranks, Use Rope 2 ranks. Feats: Alertness, Track. Special: Must know at least four languages.
Shadowcrafters long ago mastered illusions and glamers. They specialize in forming their own reality out of nothingness. Sorcerers and wizards who specialize in illusions, particularly those who worship Shar, often find the shadowcrafter class attractive. Occasionally, even bards adopt this prestige class.
Feats: Greater Spell Focus (Illusion), Spell Focus (Illusion). Skill: Disguise 4 ranks. Spells: Able to cast any 3rd-level or higher spell with the illusion (shadow) descriptor.
Most creatures view creepy, crawly insects with revulsion. To a vermin keeper, however, they’re perfect killers—creatures whose supreme adaptations to their environs inspire a sense of awe.
Skills: Handle Animal 8 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks. Feat: Iron Will. Special: Wild shape ability.
Races of Stone
A battlesmith is a skilled dwarf armorer and weaponsmith who uses her experience in battle, as well as her masterful weaponsmithing and armorsmithing abilities, to create deadly items for her kinsmen to wield in defense of their homes. While typically only spellcasters can craft magic items, dwarven ingenuity has found a number of ways to make skill serve where nondwarves must rely on magic.
- BLADE BRAVO
Younger gnomes consider it fashionable to engage in rapier duels for honor and glory. These duels are typically fought more for sport than anger, and after a few drubbings, most youths tire of the game and move on to less dangerous pursuits. A few, however, possess a real talent for fencing and develop a love of the blade and battle. They become addicted to the rush of combat and devote themselves to studying its many strategies. Their obsession transforms the sport, elevating the sometimes inelegant cut and thrust of battle into an art form that can leave observers breathless and opponents bloody. These blade bravos also specialize in techniques to battle creatures larger than they are—a necessity for any gnome interested in pursuing the arts of war.
- CRAGTOP ARCHER
In times of peace, the cragtop archer hunts across the deep mountain canyons, felling animals too canny for other hunters to approach. In times of war, the cragtop archer fi ghts from a ridgeline, raining arrows down on her foes from hundreds of yards away and winning battles from seemingly impossible distances.
Dawncallers are goliath bards responsible for guarding their tribe throughout the night. They patrol the darkness at the edge of a sleeping goliath camp, keeping the many monsters of the mountains away while the other goliaths rest. In the morning, they awaken the rest of the tribe with stirring songs of goliath bravery.
While clanwardens guard dwarf cities and clanholds as a last line of defense, deepwardens serve as a living early warning system against threats from both the environment and other creatures. Deepwardens are typically adventurers or retired dwarf militia members who wish to explore the depths of the earth. They travel deep underground and survive on their own, far from civilization. There they search for new resources, threats, or other interesting fi ndings, and send reports back to their city comrades.
- DIVINE PRANKSTER
While many gnome clerics follow the teachings of Garl Glitter gold, a few have such great devotion to the Prankster God that they stand apart from others among his clergy. These individuals embrace Garl’s methods of teaching through harmless object lessons and dedicate their lives to acting as his agents in the world. While some wonder whether devotion to the Prankster God or a wicked sense of humor actually drives these self-titled “pranksters,” none can deny the potent abilities they exercise in their quest for the perfect educational prank.
- EARTH DREAMER
Deep are the dreams of mountains, and the earth trembles with the power of their dreaming. Earth dreamers move within these ancient dreams, attuning themselves to their power and mastering strange abilities over the earth. Many other characters and creatures consider earth dreamers to be a strange lot, partly because these exotic spellcasters are liable to remain silent for years at a time, contemplating the power and beauty of the earth dream.
- GOLIATH LIBERATOR
Giants—especially frost and hill giants—sometimes kidnap and enslave goliaths, putting them to work performing menial labor in their mines or camps. Particularly evil giants might even capture goliaths for the cook-pot or the sacrifi cial altar. When goliaths don’t return to camp, the entire tribe mobilizes to fi nd them. If the tribe is fortunate, it has one or more goliath liberators among its members to lead the rescue.
- IRON MIND
Elite warriors trained to resist mental compulsions of all kinds, members of the iron mind prestige class defend dwarf and gnome kingdoms against intrusions by mind fl ayers, dark elf enchanters, and the like. An iron mind becomes one with her armor, and its presence protects her from mental assault as thoroughly as it wards against physical blows. Iron minds combine the protection and assurance that their armor provides with rigorous training to overcome physical injury through mental power into one seamless fi ghting technique.
- PEREGRINE RUNNER
While goliath tribes are largely self-sufficient, they sometimes need to get a message to another tribe quickly, often because they’re under attack or in some other danger. When such a need arises, the goliaths send an elite, fl eet-of-foot warrior known as a peregrine runner. Peregrine runners also serve as long-range scouts for their tribe, checking a far-off valley to see whether game is plentiful before the entire tribe breaks camp and travels there. When a goliath tribe needs to send an envoy to lowlanders far below their lofty camps, it often sends a peregrine runner.
While nearly any member of dwarf society can learn a little bit of arcane magic, becoming a runesmith requires a whole different level of dedication. Runesmiths are respected members of dwarf society, always in high demand before any sort of athletic competition, expedition, or battle. A runesmith has learned to harness the power of runes and can fl ing fi reballs and other staple arcane spells even while encased in full plate armor. As his power increases, he can inscribe runes that even nonspellcasters can use. At the height of his powers, he can use himself as the surface for a powerful, permanent rune.
- SHADOWCRAFT MAGE
Illusionist is one of the most popular spellcasting classes among gnomes due to their natural affi nity for illusions. Some gnomes have an even greater affi nity for illusions than the average representative of their race, resulting in the prestige class known as the shadowcraft mage.
A stoneblessed bonds to the stone of the mountains, blending into a dwarf, gnome, or goliath community and making it her home. A stoneblessed character usually lives with her chosen race for several years, learning customs and building solid bonds of friendship and trust. At the end of this period, the potential stoneblessed is invited into the tribe, clan, or community and is forever after considered a member of her chosen people. Once this ceremony is fi nished, the members of the adopted community expect the stoneblessed to put her interests above even those of the individual’s native race— they consider their home to be the stoneblessed’s home, and they expect the stoneblessed to feel the same.
- STONEDEATH ASSASSIN
For as long as the two ancient races have existed, dwarves and goblins have fought. They share an affi nity for underground living, but dwarves live for honor and craft, while goblins and their kin practice brutality and spread strife. Through the many wars that the two races have waged against one another, their stone citadels and underground strongholds have given the stout and honorable dwarves a tremendous advantage. Although the goblinoids easily outnumber the dwarves, their swarming hordes cannot overcome strong stone walls and carefully trapped corridors. Through the years, the smartest and cruelest among the goblinkin began to train in earnest to overcome these strongholds, striving to turn the dwarves’ affi nity for stone into a weakness rather than a strength. The best of these creatures developed their own affi nity with stone, and they began to infi ltrate dwarf strongholds, disarming traps, weakening gates, and assassinating dwarf leaders just as they were trying to organize their people to repel a goblin invasion.
- STONESPEAKER GUARDIAN
The stonespeaker guardian taps into the divine power of the earth itself to defend her fellow stonespeakers, as well as other goliaths and friendly races, from their enemies. Equally adept at spellcasting and melee combat, the stonespeaker guardian is a terror to behold for the giant, orc, or other marauder who has aroused the stonespeaker’s ire. Stonespeaker guardians typically come from the ranks of goliath druids of the stonespeakers (see page 82). Some multiclass as barbarians, rangers, or fi ghters to improve their martial abilities.
Though originally developed by the dwarves and giants, the ability to create runes of power has spread far beyond the hills and mountains. Those who choose to master this ability, known as runecasters, can create incredibly potent symbols that last for multiple uses and can be triggered without so much as a touch. An established runecaster’s belongings are usually adorned with many runes, which make them not only impressive-looking items, but also true threats to thieves.
Skills: Spellcraft 8 ranks, Craft (calligraphy, gemcutting, metalworking, stonecarving, or woodcarving) 8 ranks. Feat: Inscribe Rune. Spells: Able to cast 3rd-level divine spells.