While we’ve talked a bit about Icewind Dale, it’s not the only chilly locale in the Forgotten Realms. Frostburn, a supplementary sourcebook for DnD 3.5e, delved into the dangers of the cold and frosty winter. It included information on the cold areas of the Abyss, the deadly ice plane Frostfell, and introduced rules for survival in sub-zero conditions.
And like most 3.5e supplements, it's also got prestige classes, which can be used in 3.5e, or adapted into subclasses to use in 5e games. These prestige classes are perfect for using in a winter oneshot, a holiday module, or simply a dark, dangerous campaign set in a frozen wasteland.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Knight of the Iron Glacier
Dedicated to the memory of a powerful knight-turned-lesser-deity, Aengrist, the Knights of the Iron Glacier are a group of warriors dedicated to protecting those who survive in dangerous, wintry environments. These knights represent true endurance against the dangerous, cold environments of the Forgotten Realms.
At low levels, Knights of the Iron Glacier gain war mounts, special awareness of cold-environment dangers, and the ability to rally their allies in dangerous situations. As they level, not only does their danger sense evolve, but they can also swear oaths against enemies in combat, and mitigate the damage they take with their overwhelming endurance.
In a 5e campaign, this prestige class fits well as a fighter subclass, with small steps into divine power but not a full paladin skill set. Of course, you could also go all the way into paladin.
Far in the north of Faerun rests a strange power, trapped in a great iceberg. If you hear its call, you may be sworn to follow the mostly dead goddess Hleid whose remains reside there. Followers of Hleid seek to defeat the cult of Iborighu, who destroyed her, or find a way to revive her to her proper place among the deities of Faerun.
Low level Rimefire Witches are bound to eidolons of their goddess (undead constructs meant to guard sacred items and locations), and a boosted by their presence. They can also detect cultists of Iborighu, and fire bolts of their goddess’ magical energy, called Rimefire. At higher levels, they strengthen their bond with their eidolon, cast powerful ice spells, and eventually transform into a frozen fey creature altogether.
In a 5e campaign, Rimefire Witch fits perfectly as a warlock subclass. Since Hleid is not technically a goddess anymore (she is, in fact, fully dead, it's simply her lingering power that imbues her followers), they probably aren’t technically clerics. With some flavoring, they might also make a passable sorcerer subclass.
Winterhaunt of Iborighu
In direct opposition to the Rimefire Witches are the Winterhaunts of Iborighu. These cultists serve the deadly winter god Iborighu, who seeks to bring about endless winter not only in already-frosty areas, but throughout the Forgotten Realms. Not only are they powerful ice mages, but they are also deadly warriors.
Winterhaunt powers focus mainly on cold magic and protection, gaining various ice magics and protections as they gain levels, which can eventually damage even the creatures who are normally immune. As they reach their ultimate power, they become immune to the cold themselves, and eventually transform altogether into a powerful creature of ice and wintry wrath.
In a 5e campaign, a Winterhaunt of Iborighu would undoubtedly be a cleric. There really is no better choice.
Elemental mages are common, but Frost Mages take this devotion to a whole separate level. Whether they are the descendants of a white or silver dragon, have given frost magic endless study, or listen to the whistling air in the tundra for inspiration, their devotion to magic mimicking the might of glaciers, and all the magic to be found in frozen wastelands, is something to be feared and admired in equal amounts.
Frost Mages’ use of magic grants them a number of chilly powers, including natural defenses against both their enemies and the natural cold, and a wide number of ice spells. Ultimately, they come to channel cold energy almost perfectly, becoming immune to cold the vulnerable to fire.
Sorcerers and wizards are the best subtype fit for a 5e campaign. Bards might also work, but not quite so well under 5e descriptions.
While many prestige classes in Frostburn focus on icy frost and winter gods, Cloud Anchorites have a slightly different focus – elevation. These monks build monasteries high in the mountains, where the cold, thin air is thought to help practitioners focus on their own awareness and lifespan, even to the extent of immortality.
Cloud Anchorites are attuned to and travel naturally across high mountain peaks and valleys, granting them climbing speeds and cold resistances at lower levels, as well as improved balancing and acrobatics. Their breath also slows to nearly unheard-of speeds, and they move near-weightlessly, allowing them to walk across snow and water, and even charge into combat in precarious situations. At the apex of their abilities, a Cloud Anchorite truly does achieve immortality.
In a 5e campaign, a Cloud Anchorite would naturally be a monk. The prestige class specifically requires the player to have levels in monk to take the class, even if the character is not currently associated with a monastery. A druid might conceivably also become a Cloud Anchorite (leaning into association with high-elevation animals), but monk is ultimately the best choice, here.
Have you ever played in a cold-weather campaign? What kind of character did you build? Have you ever played a character using any of these prestige classes, or would you adapt them into subclasses for a 5e campaign? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!