The frozen taiga exhibited its splendor and beauty, the air was crisp but not overbearing, a touch of sunlight peeked through the gray storm clouds above. You could feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins, your blood veins constricting to keep you warm against the frigid temperatures. This sensation feels enticing as you begin to focusing on the raging storm deep within your soul, channeling its fury and malice outward with gracious accuracy as you hurdle a shard of ice at your foe.
Out of the four elements: air, earth, fire, and water; many players and DMs enjoy the notion of bring some adventure or campaigns up to the frozen regions of their settings. Whether it be the frontier of the Savage North in the Forgotten Realms or Eberron’s infamous and strange Frostfell. In the latest adventure module by Wizards of the Coast, the plotline continues with giants running amok in Storm King’s Thunder. The adventure deals with a large portion of ice and winter regions, which provides ample opportunity for some homebrew ideas.
So today’s article has a new Cold Domain for the Cleric class, and we’ll look at a Frostborn Sorcerer bloodline.
New Cleric Domain – Cold Domain
Author’s Note: There are a lot of ice and cold related themes here, most of it’s geared for a domain that benefits in cold environments.
Cold Domain Spells
1st – fog cloud, ice knife (Elemental Evil)
3rd – misty step, phantasmal force
5th – create food and water, sleet storm
7th – hallucinatory terrain, ice storm
9th – cone of cold, scrying
Winter’s Heart: Starting at 1st level, you gain the chill touch cantrip. In addition, are considered proficient with Intelligence (Nature) and Wisdom (Survival) checks in snow-covered or ice-covered regions.
Bonus Proficiency: Also at 1st level, you gain proficiency with martial weapons and heavy armor.
Channel Divinity – Winter’s Kiss: Starting at 2nd level, you can chill your foes to the bone. When you roll cold damage, you can use your Channel Divinity to deal maximum damage instead of rolling. Additionally, the creature must make a Constitution saving throw or be slowed for 1 minute.
Channel Divinity – Winter’s Aura: Starting at 6th level, you can channel your power to have an area become full of snow and ice. As an action, you can make a 20-foot radius area centered on you become difficult terrain as it becomes covered in ice and snow. You are not affected by this feature, but other creatures must make a Dexterity saving throw whenever they enter or start their turn in the area. On a failed save they fall prone.
Divine Strike: At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with ice and frost. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 cold damage to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.
Champion of Ice: At 17th level, you gain resistance to Cold damage. You ignore difficult terrain created by ice or snow. You also can tolerate temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit without any additional protection. If you wear heavy clothes, you can tolerate temperatures as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alright, while we have a cleric that seems to fit the visage of a champion of some frost deity there can still be room for improvement and perhaps some more flavor installation down the road. As for our Sorcerer bloodline, while the endgame is something akin to a being unphased by the harshness of cold environments, we wanted to separate them from just another individual gifted with ice magic. Due to the lack of cold spells (even with the inclusion of Elemental Evil supplements), as a temporary compromise I will adjust the features of this bloodline to accommodate the lack of cold spells.
Frostborn Sorcerer Bloodline
Frost Walker: Starting at 1st level, you can endure colder temperatures than normal people, additionally you seemed unphased traversing through the snow-covered wilds fending for yourself. You can tolerate temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit without any additional protection. If you wear heavy clothes, you can tolerate temperatures as low as -100 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, you ignore difficult terrain created by ice or snow.
Iceborn: The arcane magic you command is infused with the para-elemental cold, which is a mix of air and water elements. You can speak, read, and write Primordial. You also have advantage on Charisma checks when dealing with creatures that naturally live in cold, snowy, or icy environments.
Artic Heart: Starting at 6th level, you can channel your frozen bloodline into your spells, changing their nature into that of ice and snow. Whenever you cast a spell that deals damage type other than cold, you may change the damage type of the spell to cold damage by spending sorcery points equal to the spell slot expended.
Armor of Ice: At 14th level, you can use the elemental cold to form an impenetrable armor to protect yourself against your foes. As a bonus action, you surround yourself with a flexible armor made of arcane ice, protecting you against attacks. You are considered proficient with this armor, your Armor Class becomes 18, and you’re considered concentrating on a spell when using this feature.
A Soul as Cold as Ice: At 18th level, you gain immunity to cold damage. You emit an aura of cold air up to a 20-foot radius that moves with you. Creatures in this aura have disadvantage on saving throws against spells you cast that deal cold damage. As an action, you may impart a greater chill within your aura which causes creatures to become covered in permafrost, creatures must make a Constitution saving throw or be slowed for 1 minute. Creatures make subsequent saving throws until they succeed at the end of their turns. Once you channel this greater cold air, your aura dissipates within 1 minute and will not reform until after you finish a short or long rest.
Additional Ideas/House Rules
The one thing that sometimes we try not to do is impart realism to a fantasy game, but often times we naturally do what makes sense in our framework of reality, so if you consider that ice can stack over time or even melt than these are some ideas for house rules you may wish to impart. It works for both environmental hazards and spell effects.
1st Instance of Cold Damage – Normal damage.
2nd Instance of Cold Damage (within 1d6 rounds) – Affected creature makes a Constitution saving throw, takes additional cold damage equal to their Constitution modifier on a failed save.
3rd Instance of Cold Damage (within 1d4 rounds) – Afflicted creature makes a Constitution saving throw, becomes slowed on a failed save and takes additional cold damage.
4th Instance of Cold Damage (within 1 round) – Afflicted creature makes a Constitution saving throw, becomes frozen in ice on a failed save.
The idea is that the more frequent the cold damage becomes stacked, the likelihood of it slowing the body down and clinging to it as well. It’s a not perfect idea but it’s an idea that maybe extrapolated and expanded on a later date. This is more of a discussion starter if anything else.
Thanks for reading along, hope this article helped inspire you on some frozen adventures thanks to Wizards’ new Adventure in Storm King’s Thunder. Please like, comment, and share. If you want to stay updated with us, please follow our Facebook and Twitter. We have an Instagram for behind-the-scenes Team BAJA D&D campaign stuff and board game goodies. If you want to help us out, we have a donate button, every little bit helps. If you want to contact me, please email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again and we’ll see you soon!