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3 November 2004page first published

Areas of Interest


12,956 hits since 2 Nov 2004
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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You might gather from the name Frostburn that the latest D&D supplement was about some new realm far to the north. That would be half right - the new supplement is indeed about ice and snow, but it covers no specific territory. Instead, it provides game resources for the Frostfell, which is defined as any cold environment - whether in the arctic, on a snowy mountaintop, or just some subterranean lair.


Curiously, though Frostburn is essentially the generic supplement for any ice/snow environment, the small print says that none of its content falls within the Open Gaming License.

This 224-page hardbound book essentially falls into three sections:

The Frostfell

1st page of the Frostfell chapter

These 25 pages provide brief descriptions of various frostfell environments (natural, supernatural, subterranean) and their consequences, as well as a wide variety of miscellaneous rules and rules modifications.

For instance, the rules cover:

  • staying warm, frostbite, and hypothermia
  • breaking through the ice
  • getting lost
  • normal and supernatural weather
  • frostfell diseases (including cabin fever!)
  • poisons
  • traps
  • extensive list of normal and supernatural terrain

New Game Resources

The bulk of the book - the next five chapters - consists basically of lists of new character classes and races, new spells, new monsters, and new equipment.

Two new PC races are introduced. The Neanderthals are barbarians, strong and hardy but slow of mind and reaction. The Uldras are a race of fey which seek to protect the frostfell from intruders, and are wise but weak.

Also introduced are four new sub-races (Glacier Dwarves, Snow Elves, Ice Gnomes, and Tundra Halflings), and four new human cultures (cold seafarers, everfrost barbarians, ice folk, and mountain folk). The standard character classes also have a few new options (i.e., frostfell Druids do not need a patron deity, frostfell Rogues may gain frostfell terrain mastery). Some new deities are briefly introduced, as well as about 30 new Feats.

Four new Human cultures

There are ten new Prestige Classes: Cloud Anchorite (monks), Cryokineticist (cold psionics), Disciple of Thrym (clergy of the Frost Giants), Frost Mage, Frostrager (barbarian), Knight of the Iron Glacier (mercenary), Primeval (shapechanging warrior), Rimefire Witch (witch cultist), Stormsinger (multiclass bard), Winterhaunt of Iborighu (Frozen King cultist).

New equipment ranges from the mundane (harpoons, bone bows) to the clever (for instance, glots - metal balls thrown to skip along the ice) to the exotic (three new types of magical ice).

Nearly everyone gets a few new spells, including Conjure Ice Beast (in 9 varieties), Ice Rift (tremor in the ice), and Heartfreeze (encase someone's heart in ice). There are about a hundred spells, as well as a few Epic Spells,, some new psionics, and some magic items.

Rimefire Eidolin - a powerful magical source

There are over 40 new monsters, although the book uses that term loosely - including player races (mentioned above), snow goblins and orc shamans, for instance. Some beasts are rather ordinary (giant ravens, ice toads), while others are of more interest - the Rusalka, alluring female aquatic spirits; and the dreaded White Pudding. Plus a few mundane animals.

Adventuring Aids

The final chapter in the book - Adventure Sites - spends 30+ pages to detail two environments.

  • Delzomen's Iceforge is a small frozen dungeon intended for 5th-level characters, and provides an introduction to many frostfell creatures and concepts. It can easily be dropped into almost any campaign.
  • Icerazor - The Iceberg City also provides a setting that can be transported into many locales (since it's on an iceberg). This devil-inhabited city contains thousands of inhabitants in a frostfell environment. The background material provides a history of the city, a description of its major citizens, and a detailed map of its chief palace. Low-level characters could visit the city, but only high-level characters should consider tackling the city's secrets.
Icerazor - The Iceberg City

Also of use for adventuring are 25-or-so pages of encounter charts in an appendix.

At the back of the book are four cardstock terrain tiles, with rules on the backside for both D&D and D&D Miniatures.