View Full Version : 3.5 Player Race - Frostkin Dwarves [PEACH]

2010-07-23, 08:54 AM
The Arctic Dwarves from RoF never quite did it for me, and I've been kicking this idea around in my head for a while, figured I'd see what ya'll thought:

Frostkin Dwarf:

Dwarven blood is strong, as is its seed. However, after a hundred generations in servitude to Frost Giants upon (and deep within) the mountains and glaciers of the far and forsaken north these children spawned from thousands of unsavory Giant and Dwarf unions have become something that is neither-and yet possibly greater. Throwing off the bridle of a thousand years of slavery at long last, this young race calling themselves the Inskaatorak or 'Frostkin' seek their own place amongst the harsh arctic environment, with the strength and will to see it through by nearly any means.

Appearance: Standing over 5 feet tall, with a build nearly as wide and a weight nearly twice that of the average human, the Frostkin Dwarves are frightfully imposing to even their far taller Frost Giant forefathers. Their skin is chalk white or ruddy and burns easily to a painful-looking (but harmless) red, with hair ranging from ashy blonde to white and occasionally icy blue. Their pinched features are primarily inherited from their Dwarven parentage, with bold noses, heavy brows, full and thick beards on both genders and sparkling deep-set eyes of blue, grey or black. Both men and women of the Frostkin are well-muscled and heavyset as a rule, with the men more likely than not to have thick fur-like hair covering much of their arms, legs and torso. Most races find them overly grim faced as well as intimidating due to their size and appearance and it is rare for a Frostkin to be welcomed anywhere outside their own cities for purposes other than trade.

Frostkin Society: The Frostkin have inherited a strange amalgam of Giant and Dwarven culture and forged it to suit their own uses. With the benefit of Dwarven lifespans, they build great fortresses of stone and ice atop vast underground cities where they might seek out the heat of the earth.Though they do not consider themselves within the dominion of any deity, they often pray for guidance from the spirits of the very animals they hunt for food. Frostkin who journey to visit other Dwarven peoples often return converts to Moradin, but these followers find little support within their frosty home cities where they are commonly seen as having abandoned them in their time of need. Magic is nearly unheard of within their young society, and is usually related to the divine interest of one or another god seeking to claim this young people for their own. More rare, but also more celebrated, are those born with the gift to tap into the magics of nature. Druids, Shamans, Rangers and their like are given a hero's welcome in any Frostkin city.

Having little other reference point than the Giants who enslaved them for so long, the Frostkin Dwarves have a one-man leadership much like that of their past overlords. Unlike the Giants though, a Frostkin Jarl is determined annually(on the longest 'day' of the year, which lasts nearly a month where most Frostkin make their home) by a contest of strength, merit and support for them amongst their people. The first through unarmed combat, the second through a hunting expedition and the third with a direct vote from the heads of each family. Though each is given the lip service of equal worth, their strong dependence on hunting for survival means that the most successful in the second trial will almost always receive support from the entire tribe. Because of the dangers of leading their people through all of their challenges, and the constant need to defend their title, it is rare for a Jarl to sit longer than a few years. Overtaken Jarls most often retire to craftsmanship and comparable leisure deep within the under-city so that they may not be seen to influence any former supporters.

The Jarl is advised by a council of 7 archivists, who continue the oral tradition of passing on knowledge that their enslaved ancestors began. The entire history and knowledge of their people is passed on word-for-word to the brightest of their youth to safeguard for the next generation until they pass it on. Thousands can recite the story of their people from enslavement through rebellion to the creation of their civilization in their ancient Dwarven tongue without one misplaced word.

The average Frostkin has little patience for dalliance when work is to be done, but with a full belly and a head full of ale their warmer side shows through clearly with eager smiles and open arms. Those rebellious few who eek out a place in the southern lands can often fall into a wildly hedonistic lifestyle, finding so few of the hardships they thought facts of life back home. Even in these rare cases though, most Frostkin will always feel like outsiders and have difficulty forming relationships with anyone but their own peoples.

Language and Literacy: Most Frostkin speak their own dialect of Giant which is heavily influenced by the Dwarven tongue their enslaved ancestors brought with them, and most can understand both languages (Int 6 or more) as well as common. Few Frostkin place much worth upon written language, and only scholars and those who have retired from hunting and other more physical pursuits generally have much skill at reading or writing (Int 12).

Abilities and Racial Features: Because of their mixed blood, Frostkin Dwarves do not share many of their pureblood cousins' traits or features. They are essentially an entirely new race.

+4 Str, -2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Int.

Frostkin are incredibly strong and hardy, but suffer their Giant heritage of less impressive dexterity and intelligence.

Resistance to Cold: A Frostkin Dwarf feels only a fraction of the results of cold that other creatures do. Frostkin feel no negative effects from cold environments and have a natural frost resistance of 25. Frost Resistance enhancements through any physical or magical means are twice as effective on a Frostkin Dwarf.

Vulnerability to Fire: Heat is a necessity in the frozen world of the Frostkin, but their Frost Giant heritage makes excessive exposure dangerous. All Frostkin suffer a minor vulnerability to fire spells and effects. Excessively warm environments also wear them out far faster than most races, giving them a -5 to all fortitude saves for as long as they remain.

Powerful Build: Though slightly shorter than the average Human, a Frostkin Dwarf is considerably stronger. This powerful physical stature allows them to function in many ways as if they were one size category larger. Whenever a Frostkin Dwarf is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), they are treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous. A Frostkin is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect them, they can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, their space and reach remain those of a creature of medium size. The benefits of this feat stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.

Darkvision: Though not as keen as their full-Dwarf cousins, Frostkin have Darkvision up to 40 feet as well as low light vision.

Frostkin Stability: Due to their wide build, Frostkin Dwarves are very stable on their feet. A Frostkin Dwarf gains a +2 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground. They can also run at full speed on ice or deep snow as if on stable ground.

+2 racial bonus to attack rolls and +4 dodge bonus to armor class against monsters of the giant type: Frostkin Dwarves are trained in special combat techniques that allow them to fight their former overlords more effectively.

+2 Racial bonus to intimidation. Due to their fearsome size and reputation, Frostkin are especially intimidating when making physical threats. This bonus does not count toward social or political intimidation attempts.

+4 racial bonus to survival in environments where snow or ice are naturally present. The Frostkin develop keen tracking, hunting and survival abilities in their natural environment due to their reliance on hunting.

Favored Class: Barbarian. A multiclass Frostkin's Barbarian Class does not count toward any experience point penalty for multiclassing.

Frostkin raised in an outside city may choose Fighter as their favored class instead.

LA +1

Thoughts, Comments, Critique?

- Vin

EDIT 2-14-11:
Revisiting the region where these were originally going to show up in my campaign, and so the Frostkin are being revisited as well. I would appreciate any feedback. You'll also find a related class popping up here sometime in the near future. I fixed a few typos and adjusted the LA to +1, might add a racial HD as well.

2010-07-23, 10:42 PM
Does anyone know of an Arctic variant for the Ranger? That seems like it would suit this fellow well.

Andion Isurand
2010-07-24, 05:38 PM
Low-light vision doesn't have a listed range... it simply allows you to see as though the radius of bright illumination and shadowy illumination coming from a given source were doubled.

2010-07-24, 05:57 PM
Fixed, thanks. I'm a noob at this, so I appreciate pointing out mistakes like that.

2010-07-24, 07:34 PM
Personally I'd go with one racial hit die and 1 LA, or maybe even just two racial hit die and no LA (though I've been told that's somewhat radical in the past).

Given what people will care about, you're giving up two class levels for +4 Strength and Powerful Build. The cold resistance is too situational, except in an arctic campaign, to merit consideration. +4 Strength is more or less the equivalent of the +2 BAB you could have gotten with those class levels. Powerful Build is nice, but nothing world-shattering (i.e. not worth LA).

Provided that these are humanoids (rather than monstrous humanoids), the net +3 to hit (from racial hit dice and Strength) is equivalent to the half-orc with two levels in a full BAB class, so it works out alright.

2010-07-24, 09:03 PM
Looks good, and quite balanced.

I mostly agree with Jota, though would favour the LA +1 with 1 Racial Hit Die over LA +0. While the cold resistance is situational, so is the fire weakness, and the cold resistance is sufficiently more impressive than the weakness that it probably needs at least a small LA when combined with the strength bonus.

Andion Isurand
2010-07-25, 01:10 AM
You should check out Arctic Dwarves in Races of Faerun.

All the normal dwarf traits except for:

+4 str, -2 dex, +2 con, -2 cha
small size
immunity to cold
favored class: ranger
+2 LA

2010-07-25, 01:37 AM
The Arctic Dwarves from RoF never quite did it for me, and I've been kicking this idea around in my head for a while, figured I'd see what ya'll thought:

I drew from them in places, but as a whole they're. . . underwhelming, especially from a flavor/lore point of view.

Andion Isurand
2010-07-25, 01:52 AM
Man, epic fail on my spot check...

2010-07-25, 03:25 PM
No worries.

I'm currently crafting a 'Totemic Ranger' to go with these guys. Should be a pretty cool mix of spirit shaman, ranger and druid, with a bit of a psychic warrior feel to its functionality. If anyone has any ideas for it I would be happy for the help. Mostly, what I should avoid would be the best help.

2010-07-25, 03:56 PM
Hmm- sounds almost like arctic goliaths.

Glacier Dwarves in Frostburn were a bit more like traditional dwarves than RoF Aractic dwarves were, Midgard Dwarves (same book) were more like the Norse mythic ones- dying curse, masters of magic items, etc.

Frost Dwarves in Planar Handbook were exceptionally evil- and were a bit like azers, only nastier.

2010-07-25, 10:33 PM
Goliaths? Don't they have to be a little... bigger than 5 feet? :P

I love it; the flavor (fluff, if you like) is what really adds to this race, and to be frank, I'm very happy to see a Dwarven (Half-Dwarven?) race that admits its gender-neutral facial-hair.

Again, to make most people willing to play it, make it come down to the +1 LA (I don't usually have that much trouble playing +2, especially if we can actually take advantage of the first couple of levels).