Kobold Press

Blood-Stained Ice: Monsters of the Arctic

An Arctic Image
The world’s arctic region is both a place of great natural beauty and an inherently deadly environment. Freezing waters can turn blood to ice in mere minutes. Avalanches can bury entire parties, hiding their bodies forever under a mountainside’s worth of snow.

As deadly as the arctic is, a wide variety of monsters call it home. Having survived and evolved in one of the world’s harshest environments, these humans and beasts are deadly threats to any adventurers that intrude on their frozen domains.

Arctic Barbarians

Many tribes of barbarians inhabit the arctic. The average size of a tribe is seventy individuals, though some number over two hundred. Such large tribes are rare due to the immense quantities of food needed to support them, however. Each tribe is led by an elder, who is invariably a potent shaman. This elder is assisted by several less-powerful shamans who serve as both military leaders and spiritual guides.

Arctic barbarian tribes are not nomadic, since the deadly cold of the arctic makes travel dangerous for all but the most well-prepared hunting parties, even among these hardy people. For this reason, as well as the considerable distance that typically separates tribal villages, wars of conquest and assimilation between tribes are rare. Indeed, most intertribal conflicts are minor skirmishes sparked by disputes over rights to the best hunting grounds.

Although no two tribes are exactly alike, they all loathe frailty and weakness. If a tribal member cannot contribute to the tribe because of terminal illness or a permanent and debilitating wound, fellow members will not hesitate to kill him or her, often with this member’s blessing. This philosophy extends to novice tribe members, with younglings that fail the tribe’s initiation rituals invariably dying of wounds, starvation, or exposure.

Arctic barbarians are viciously territorial. They particularly despise “outsiders”—those not native to the arctic—as universally weak and inherently corrupt, and they kill outsiders on sight as a result. Such attacks are made even deadlier by their extraordinary aptitude for stealth, which allows them to blend into the white desert of the arctic so seamlessly that many intruding outsiders don’t realize they’ve been discovered until they’re impaled by arrows.

Arctic Barbarian Archer (Human)     Level 4 Artillery
Medium natural humanoid     XP 175
HP 44; Bloodied 22; Initiative +5
AC 17, Fortitude 16, Reflex 17, Will 16; Perception +9
Speed 6
Resist 5 cold
Standard Actions
[mba] Short Sword (weapon) * At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit: 1d6 + 3 damage.
 [rba] Longbow (weapon) * At-Will
Attack: Ranged 20/40 (one creature); +12 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 + 3 damage.
Skills Athletics +9, Endurance +9, Nature +9, Stealth +10
Str 14 (+4); Dex 17 (+5); Wis 14 (+4)
Con 14 (+4); Int 12 (+3); Cha 10 (+2)
Alignment unaligned; Languages Common
Equipment short sword, longbow

Arctic Barbarian War Shaman (Human)     Level 6 Artillery
Medium natural humanoid     XP 250
HP 56; Bloodied 28; Initiative +5
AC 17, Fortitude 17, Reflex 18, Will 19; Perception +12
Speed 6
Resist 5 cold
Standard Actions
[rba] Ice Bolt (cold) * At-Will
Attack: Ranged 20 (one creature); +13 vs. AC
Hit: 1d10 + 4 cold damage.
[c] Blizzard Wave (cold) * Encounter
Attack: Close blast 5 (enemies in the blast); +11 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 3d8 + 4 cold damage.
Skills Athletics +4, Endurance +10, Insight +12, Nature +12, Religion +11, Stealth +5
Str 12 (+4); Dex 14 (+5); Wis 18 (+7)
Con 14 (+5); Int 16 (+6); Cha 15 (+5)
Alignment unaligned; Languages Common, Dwarven, Primordial

Arctic Barbarian Tactics
An arctic barbarian assault begins with an ambush by several archers, who concentrate their fire on one enemy. After this, the archers press the attack, constantly firing arrows while moving around as much as possible.  Meanwhile, an accompanying war shaman provides magical support with ice bolt. If the shaman is attacked, the archers move to defend the shaman, fighting to the death. The barbarians retreat if over half their party is killed.

Encounter Groups
Level 6 Encounter (1,300 XP)

  • 1 arctic barbarian war shaman (Level 6 Artillery)
  • 6 arctic barbarian archers (Level 4 Artillery)