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Monsters for an arctic campaign

Tyler Dunn

Villager
I love the idea of a campaign set mostly in the arctic, but I feel that there are not enough arctic monsters for a full 1-20 arctic campaign. How would you deal with this lack of arctic monsters?
 

iserith

Explorer
Stick the words "frost" or "ice" in front of monsters in the Monster Manual, give them resistance or immunity to cold sometimes, and call it good.
 

aco175

Explorer
Following up on what [MENTION=97077]iserith[/MENTION] said- it is rather easy to re-skin monsters to make frost trolls and ice goblins.

Some other things to think about is how magic will affect the game. Resistance to cold is a big deal to get from rings and cloaks. Some things such as lack of food sources to forage or hunt and lack of firewood. It could be more Game of Thrones where above the wall is ok, but you could have barren tundra. Also, underground in the underdark may be all the same.
 
Searching for "Arctic" in the D&D Beyond list of monsters (including all official products) pulled up 4 pages of creatures. Notably kobolds, orcs, gnolls, and trolls were all listed, and they do make sense for an arctic setting. It wouldn't be much of a push to add goblins in there as well. And quite a few NPC types would make sense as members of the various tribes of humans and other races in that environment (Arctic Dwarves are a thing in several settings, notably in the Forgotten Realms). Pickings do get a bit slim above CR 10, though, but you can probably make variant frost giants or other similar creatures...
 
Most races can aclimatize themselves to cold weather so goblins, orcs and all the regular races could live there and face the same environmental challenges that humans do.

I can think of quite a few ice creatures and winter beasts. I’m not sure if you are looking for a list. Also, regular beasts can live there:
-Polar bears.
-Giant polar bears.
-Dire polar bears.
-Giant dire polar bears.
-Baby seals. (Have innate charm person gaze attack and are immune to all but bludgeoning damage.)

Many fairies are associated with Winter if you wanted to pull from that. Also hombrew/reskin stuff. Wendigo (use troll istats)and things from Inuit Mythology. The Qallupilluit are a water creature that pull children under the ice if the children get too close to the ocean.

In that kind of campaign, the environment should be a major factor. Winter camping(especially arctic camping)is no joke and camping without a shelter could mean death. Leomands tiny hut will be a must have spell.
 
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Mistwell

Adventurer
Abominable Yeti, White Dragons, Bheur Hags, Boneclaws, Bears, Trolls, Frost Giants, Frost Salamanders, Gnolls, Griffons, Ogres, Ice Mephits, Kobolds, Mammoths, Manticores, Nightwalkers, Orcs, Remorhaz, Werebears, Wolves, Sharks, Whales, Krakens, Merfolk, Marrow, Sea Hags, Storm Giants, Water Elementals, NPCs, etc..
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Minnesotans, Giant Lumberjacks, Giant Blue Oxen.
Icicle Piercer
Ice Mite Swarm
Giant Moose (though even a normal moose is pretty darn formidable)
Two mimics in the form of snow shoes
Wendigo (I believe this was stated up in a thread on this site
Thunderbird (stat a roc with natural spell casting allowing it to cast lightning, thunderwave, etc.)
Stone golums, stone giants, galeb dur, and other stone/earth creatures should be fine
Ice Elemental - I would take the earth elemental, give it ice glide allowing it to move through ice and snow. Make it immune to cold damage. Vulnerable to fire damage and thunder damage.
Undead should be unaffected by the cold

woolly mammoths, just restate an elephant. Make it resistant to cold damage.

Oh, don't forget walrus. Both the normal animal and giant walrus. Google walrus attacks. In real life they are known to attack humans and boat, including breaking through ice to attack.
Same with sea lions and leopard seals. I doubt that they can break through ice, but it may wait to ambush any creature at the edge of the ice.
The bowhead whale could be a hazzard. While they are baleen whales they are adapted to break through the ice to breath. It would be a bad day for anyone walking on that ice.


Qalupalik (https://www.adn.com/features/article/alaska-folklore-five-mythical-creatures-last-frontier/2012/06/13/)
I would stat up using sea hag stats and add appropriate resistances and abilities but also add the harpy's luring song ability

Adlet (same link as Qalupalik) - basically an arctic werewolf. Just take the werewolf and add cold resistance. Or even immunity from cold damage. Perhaps add some cold damage to its natural bite and claw attacks.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Cold
Wind Chill
Soft Ground
Icy Water
Bog
Avalanche
Snowdrifts
Thin Ice
Blizzards
White Outs

- the weather becomes a huge factor in true arctic campaigns and is often far more dangerous than any monster. When night falls the wind chill alone makes getting rest near impossible without the PCs having really good shelter. The cold kills, but also remember that areas of melt can result in boggy ground and icy water that acts as a trap to the unwary.

Snow drifts also make the ground soft and difficult to walk on, leading to greater likelihood of falls.

Then of course there is the dreaded blizzard, the whiteout and the rush of the avalanche.
 

Imaculata

Explorer
Just convert a bunch of monsters from older editions. 3rd edition has the Frostburn book which is entirely focused on cold climates. I'm sure you'll find plenty of arctic monsters in it too.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Stick the words "frost" or "ice" in front of monsters in the Monster Manual, give them resistance or immunity to cold sometimes, and call it good.
Exception!

Instead of tacking the word "frost" onto a girallon, you gotta rename it "Bonerfart."
 

Galendril

Registered User
Cold
Wind Chill
Soft Ground
Icy Water
Bog
Avalanche
Snowdrifts
Thin Ice
Blizzards
White Outs

- the weather becomes a huge factor in true arctic campaigns and is often far more dangerous than any monster. When night falls the wind chill alone makes getting rest near impossible without the PCs having really good shelter. The cold kills, but also remember that areas of melt can result in boggy ground and icy water that acts as a trap to the unwary.

Snow drifts also make the ground soft and difficult to walk on, leading to greater likelihood of falls.

Then of course there is the dreaded blizzard, the whiteout and the rush of the avalanche.
I love these ideas. They could become skill challenges.
 
Depending where in the artic you are, a lot of aquatic monsters work well. The PC's walking across the ice are potential good prey for something that can break the ice, grab them, and take them under (very cold) water. I would imagine ice gives the critter at least partial cover*, but likely no cover for the PC's (shadows in the surface of the ice as the PC's walk across it should be pretty visible to underwater predators).

* of course, a good (evil) DM will have the PC see a shadow of something swim underneath them and disappear before attacking. I am also pretty sure fire or thunder damage spells and being on the ice are bad ideas....as I always say, you know you are ice fishing with the wrong guy when he pulls out a stick of dynamite.
 

cmad1977

Explorer
Stick the words "frost" or "ice" in front of monsters in the Monster Manual, give them resistance or immunity to cold sometimes, and call it good.
Yeah. I add fur to things and suddenly you have a ‘wooly Bulette’. Which I haven’t used.... but........
 

77IM

The Grand Druid (level 22)
Most undead and constructs work just fine in frigid weather.

You could probably also hand-wave that most fiends, celestials, elementals and aberrations are unaffected by cold weather too. Just on account of sheer weirdness and/or magicalness. I guess the water elementals would freeze and become ice elementals, though. Do we have stats for that yet?
 

Eltab

Villager
The first level of an underground dungeon in the arctic will be embedded in permafrost, and should be described to match. Explore another layer or two down and it gets … warmer?! … when you hit rock.
If you want to do glaciers, the whole dungeon could be carved out of ice. And it might feel much warmer than the windy outdoors. The firepit would be sunk waaaay low in the floor.
One of the 3e DMGs had a stat section on 'fantastic dungeons', including things like ice doors and frost windows.

The 4e Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide talks about Narfell undergoing the cooldown leading into an Ice Age. This may help you with descriptive text, and provide ideas.

+1 for Frostburn. It inspired me to add a mountain peak environment to a campaign that otherwise used The Trackless Sand Desert as 'one edge of the map'.
 

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