This strange material, found only at the frigid peaks of the highest mountains on the Material Plane, gets its name from its appearance - solid chunks are transparent with a slight silver tinge, and in powdered form it takes on a silver-white color, making it easy to mistake for regular ice and snow. False Snow is not known to melt, leading many a foolhardy mage to trigger an avalanche by wantonly slinging fireballs in search of the material. Discerning False Snow from simple frozen water requires a DC 20 Knowledge (The Planes) check to notice the presence of False Snow in the surrounding area, and Search checks (of varying difficulty depending on the conditions) assisted with the carefully application of heat to find and isolate the material from the surrounding ice and snow. Most deposits of False Snow contain approximately enough of the substance to fill a 5-foot cube, spread out in a small area in a mix of powder and small chunks usually no larger than a foot across each. Rumors persist of far larger quantities of the material hidden away in the farthest reaches of the Elemental Planes of Water and Air (and the Para-Elemental Plane of Ice), but none who have tried to confirm or dispel such speculation have returned from their journeys.
False Snow can be worked by carving it with tools of adamantine or similarly hard materials into the desired shapes, and then arranging them as if they were any other material (for example, False Snow plate armor would still contain leather straps holding the plates and bands together). Working False Snow into a certain shape takes as long as it would to do the same with an equivalent amount of stone, but interestingly enough False Snow cannot be shaped into finished goods by magical effects such as Fabricate. Powdered False Snow can be agglomerated into chunks of equivalent mass by packing it in snow frozen from thrice-distilled water and storing it in an airtight container at a temperature below -50º Farenheit for at least 1 day per pound of False Snow. After the proper amount of time has passed, the False Snow will have collected into a single roughly-spherical cluster. Opening the container before that time means the process must be restarted, as does melting the snow within the container; exposing the container's contents to temperatures above -50º but still below freezing merely halts the process, which may be resumed by reducing the temperature again. This process can also be used to combine chunks into larger pieces; already-solid False Snow retains its general shape throughout the agglomeration process, so large objects (such as sword blades) may be created by carving smaller chunks into parts of the whole, arranging them properly, freezing them together, and then finally working the resulting chunk into the finished product.
Items crafted from False Snow provide a variety of benefits, depending on the form they take. Lenses ground from False Snow provide a +4 circumstance bonus to skill checks involving reading, allow a wearer to automatically succeed on the Knowledge check to determine whether there is other False Snow nearby, and provide a +10 bonus to Search checks to pick out False Snow from frozen water. Footwear with soles carved from False Snow allows the wearer to walk on icy surfaces as the Spider Climb spell, except it is an extraordinary ability and is always active. Spellbooks with both front and back covers carved from False Snow can have spells scribed in them for half the normal price in materials (the ink seems to simply not get used up as quickly), and checks made to decipher and/or copy spells from such books are made at a +5 bonus. Armor, weapons, and shields crafted from False Snow have one-third more hit points than normal, and such items take half damage from magical effects (this is applied in addition to and after the normal reductions for damage to objects, and applies even to damage that ignores hardness). Bottles, vials, jars, and other containers carved from False Snow do not transfer heat from the environment to their contents, allowing easy storage of materials that must be kept cold. False Snow has 35 hit points per inch of thickness and hardness 18. An item of agglomerated False Snow that is reduced to 0 hit points can be repaired by combining and reshaping the broken pieces, but 10d4 percent of a False Snow item's mass is reduced to powder when it breaks. Solid False Snow has the same density as iron.
Powdered False Snow exhibits a curious property not possessed by larger pieces of the substance. Scattering the powder on surfaces that once contained text but that are no longer legible (such as scoured stone tablets or erased pages) renders the writings visible once more. If an object has been written on and cleared multiple times, only the most recent writings can be read. One pound of False Snow powder is enough to affect a 5-foot square of material, and the powder can be gathered and reused. However, erased or obscured pictures are unaffected by powdered False Snow, which may result in the powder showing blank spaces in illustrated books or labels arranged around a diagram that is not itself visible.
Immoths (MM2 p. 127) have a strange obsession with False Snow. The intensity of this fascination is such that they automatically recognize the material when they see it, with no need to make Knowledge or Search checks to detect its presence. In addition, they covet False Snow greatly, offering a high price (in goods, knowledge, or both) for items crafted from the material and often resort to attempts at theft if such trades are refused.
Spoiler: Knowledge (The Planes) or Bardic Knowledge DC 30A legend passed down among travelers of the planes tells a story of the Immoths' origin. The story tells of a mad sorcerer in ages past who demanded servitude from the inhabitants of the Plane of Ice. They refused his commands, and so he placed them under a mighty and dreadful curse. The elementals were forced to wander the planes in search of the words of his curse, and return them to the Mountain of Ultimate Winter - a place said to be so cold that words spoken at its peak freeze and fall to the ground. The Immoths' fascination with False Snow has led some to speculate that the material may be the form taken by the words of the sorcerer's curse, a theory supported by False Snow's strange connection to language.
Spoiler: Spellcraft DC 30The idea of trapping words in ice is a curious one - and one that you may be able to put to great use. After some research into the properties of False Snow and the nature of other language-related magic, you think you have discovered a means of creating new False Snow. Infusing a solid mass of ice with a Power Word spell should allow you to trap the magical essence, but great care and expense will need to be taken lest instabilities in the ritual cause it to backfire.
Infusing new False Snow takes one hour, and requires the casting of a Power Word spell in the presence of a large volume of ice - at least 125 cubic feet (one 5-foot cube) of ice per level of the Power Word spell. The ritual takes one hour of concentration on the part of the caster (who must remain within 15 feet of the ice for the full duration of the infusion), and consumes magical components with a total value of 1,000 GP per level of the Power Word spell. If the ritual is halted for two or more consecutive rounds (or more than once in a ten-minute period), the ice and magical components are lost and the ritual must be restarted. After the hour has passed, the ice is transformed into one pound of powdered False Snow per level of the Power Word spell.