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Fear in Frost Icy Monsters Banner - Sized 2

A set of 5 ice elemental and undead creatures, with stat blocks for use in D&D 5E.

In regions of blistering fire, sparks of life may ignite. Where storms rage, whispers may drift amidst howling winds. And in the most frigid of tundras, where the cold suffocates and snuffs life itself, one might feel the piercing gaze of eyes within the ice.

The Icy Battle Site

Ahead of you, your eyes are quickly drawn to an aberration in the landscape: a jagged barrier of white-blue splits the otherwise untouched dunes of fresh snow, a glistening wall between the sparse pine trees. You see two more of these formations close behind the first as you draw closer. They are shattered and crumbled in places, and the closest has toppled a tree where the ice seems to have cleaved through its roots.

The air grows colder still as you step towards the walls of ice. It bites at your lungs and stings your skin. Your footsteps advance from softer snow and begin crunching through denser, frozen slush. And amidst the bristling, aching temperature, you catch your hair tingling with the static of ambient energy.

The icy battle site is, as the name suggests, the remnants of a skirmish involving icy elemental creatures and their presumed victims. Walls of solid ice have been left behind where they were cast, damaging trees and then being shattered themselves. These walls are thick and clouded enough to obscure vision through them, though basic shapes are visible. 

How long ago the combat took place is unknown. A fresh layer of snow has fallen since then, hiding any semblance of tracks, marks, or bodies, though some may still be found if one were to begin digging. Yet the lingering, freezing magical energy suggests that it has not been long. But is it simply residue left behind on the battlefield, or does it drift from the very creatures responsible for the carnage, who may still be present and waiting?

Maps and Assets Downloads

In addition to the Icy Battle Site, we have a list of other wintery maps and assets that would be perfect for encounters with ice elementals. We even have a handbook of 20 unique snow encounters…

Ice Creatures

The four primary elements are commonly represented amongst elementals. Adventurers and powerful mages may come across all manner of beings born of fire, air, earth, and water. But there are other, rarer varieties. One such example is those who embody ice. With abilities that focus the choking, unforgiving cold, and a propensity for stalking tundras and frozen landscapes, these creatures hold natural dominion over territories where most others are already at a disadvantage. Even the most prepared travelers are weakened by the climate and can quickly become victims of the purest expressions of winter.

Ice elemental

A form of solid ice emerges as the blanket of snow breaks and falls from its shoulders. The large, hunched humanoid shape of jagged blue pushes itself up with thick limbs, a basic interpretation of a face turning to inspect its surroundings. Instantly, the air around it chills. Mist drips from the creature as its presence alone crystalizes the nearby moisture. It moves, its joints grinding with a sound that develops into a low roar.

The ice elemental is a close relative to its earthen cousin and shares many of its traits. Where they differ is in the ice elemental’s ability to manipulate its eponymous element. The elemental’s aura of frost drains heat from the air around it, protecting it from what one might assume to be the creature’s weakness: fire. It can also cast this icy energy forward to flash freeze lines of moisture, instantly erecting walls of ice and potentially trapping targets within them. These barriers pose no obstacle to the elemental itself, of course, as it can easily glide through them.

Ice Elemental monster token

The existing earth elemental could easily be turned into an ice elemental with only minor changes, but it would lack the distinct identity of the other elemental variants. As such, the ice elemental was given a Stifling Frost aura that exudes its eponymous element. It also possesses a Flash Freeze action, based on other creatures’ Web attacks and the wall of ice spell.

Frostmin

A child-sized humanoid of cracked ice and snow that exudes a blue glow from within. It darts around with erratic energy, investigating, scratching, and biting at anything it can find, each time leaving behind a gathering layer of ice.

Chaotic, mischievous, and destructive, the frostmin is the elemental reversal of a magmin. Its first origins are unknown, though some attribute it to a mage who passed through the area some years ago. Whether they attempted a summoning of magmins that went wrong, succeeded but left the elementals to change in the cold, or if they simply grew bored and experimented, no one is sure. Regardless, the result was a curious new strain of magmin with different abilities but sharing all of the many dangerous, explosive drawbacks of the original.

Rather than setting its enemies alight, the frostmin’s Touch action is able to stun creatures by temporarily freezing them. It doesn’t last long but makes frostmins exponentially more dangerous as their numbers increase.

Frostbite Zombie

The head flicks with a sharp snapping sound. Its eyes twitch frantically, frozen orbs backlit with the same pale blue that shines from the back of its open, jerking jaw. Its spine releases a similar crack as it straightens to its feet. Upright, the creature appears otherwise human, with pale grey skin that blackens at exposed extremities and clusters of ice crystals that breach and coat the skin, glowing with the same blue light. Its movements are abrupt and unnatural, each accompanied by a breaking sound that would sicken weaker stomachs. Mist falls from its mouth and nostrils as it stiffs at the air.

The creature’s hand whips to the handle of a weapon, clasping with an iron grip. You see a shock of blue from within the monster’s closed palm that then spreads out, coating its weapon in a layer of frost.

Fallen travelers, traders, and other unfortunate victims of the winter may become sustenance for the area’s elementals. As their bodies are drained of any warmth and life, the magical cold that fills this void may reanimate them as frostbite zombies. These are similar to undead, though they are driven to consume heat, potentially passing the same magic into their victims.

The frostbite zombie is a slight advancement over the regular zombie, with its cold magic suffusing all of its attacks and granting it additional protection.

Snowy Winter battle maps - Banner
The frostbite zombie isn’t our only icy undead creature. ‘The Frigid Feeding Ground’ includes an encounter, descriptions, stats for our own custom winter ghast and winter ghoul. Take a closer look here!

Chill-o’-Wisp

A mote of blue energy hangs in the air, shards of ice floating gently in its orbit. Mist and snowflakes fall from the central light. It bobs slightly as it seems to notice you and the icicles adjust to face their points outwards. Slowly, silently, yet threateningly, it moves towards you.

While the bodies of the winter’s victims may rise as frostbite zombies, the nourishing energy of their souls may grant a facsimile of life to the very cold that claimed them. Named for their visual similarity to the ghostly will-o’-wisp, these elementals also share a similar demeanor and abilities. Perhaps their most distinct difference is the icicles that they control. The chill-o’-wisps wield the spikes as a defensive measure but can also violently launch them, though doing so reduces their own defenses.

Chill-o-wisp monster token

Chill-o’-wisps wander the tundra and are often encountered alongside frostbite zombies. This has led many to believe that the elementals instinctively follow the body that held the soul they consumed, perhaps still driven by some remnant of their will. Regardless of the truth of this theory, the creatures make for a dangerous pairing, as the wisps and zombies feed on the etherial and physical, respectively.

As a way to differentiate it beyond simply being a will-o’-wisp with cold damage, the chill-o’-wisp was given its signature ice crystals. These grant it additional offensive and defensive abilities at the start of a battle. To balance this, the limited ammunition also degrades the wisp’s AC, making it easier to deal with as it uses them and therefore giving the wisp a reason to not front-load combat with a barrage of deadly attacks.

Glacial Ghost

Something in the ice draws your eyes back to it. Once again, you see nothing but your own distorted image; anything else is lost in the form and color of the ice. But still, an instinct deep in your mind tells you not to look away. And as you move to resist it, you notice something: another person, one you do not recognize, standing behind your own reflection. It lurches forward, hand outstretched.

The details of the creature are indistinct in the waves and crystals within the ice. You can make out that it is humanoid, possibly even human, yet it moves like an untethered reflection. It is only when it reaches out from the surface of the ice, its arm a blurred, translucent projection, that you can see its face locked in an expression of sunken, hollow agony.

Frozen tundras and snowy wastelands are home to a variety of dangers, many of which could be described as ‘horrors’. These tend to be born of people who met their ends in the unforgiving landscape and often reflect the method of their demise. Of these creatures, none earn the title of ‘horror’ more than the ‘ghosts of the glaciers’.

Cautionary tales of unwary adventurers tell of those who were encased in ice by other local creatures, or who fell through the ice and into bodies of water, their bodies later rising back to the frozen surface. These people’s spirits are supposedly trapped in the ice, forever unable to communicate and desperately reaching out for help, safety, and warmth. Whether these stories are true or the creatures are just another form of elemental, none are sure. Yet those who have encountered them swear that a single look is enough to see the terrified humanity that curses them.

The glacial ghost’s function is very dependent on where it is encountered, due to its limited ability to leave the ice in which it exists. This makes it important to remember the creature’s two defining factors: it lives in the ice and seeks to drag others to the same fate. Remembering these should help explain its abilities and adapt them depending on the location. If they are attacking from the surface of a frozen lake, a second use of their Drag Below action may be able to pull creatures below the ice, for example. Conversely, characters may be able to isolate and deal with the ghosts simply by destroying the ice they inhabit.

Despite its name, the stat block for the glacial ghost actually began as a thug, to replicate the victims that become the ghosts, before being given modified versions of several of the ghost creature’s abilities. Glacier Sense is a slightly altered Web Sense, while the Drag Below action is loosely based on other creatures’ Reel, though with changes to explain their ability to pull creatures into the ice.

Frozen Forge battle map - Banner 2
We also have an NPC and a list of icy items as part of our ‘Forge at the Frozen End’. You can read more about Stalvus Weissbjorn and his ‘rime-forged steel’ here.

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About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink. You can support my writing efforts on Patreon.

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