This week on the Campaign Trail I wanted to share some monster stats for a Frost Witch Queen, that my players just battled against and won. If you’re looking for a powerful final boss witch or fey with lots of ice and snow powers, this might work for your game.

My current 5th edition D&D campaign is set in 4th edition’s default setting, the Nentir Vale. I like how this frontier realm provides civilized points of light against the dangerous wilderness. For me, it’s a Goldilocks setting with just enough detail to provide an interesting locale without getting buried under a massive pile of lore. One of the factions of the Vale that I have thrown at my players are the Frost Witches.

About the Nentir Vale’s Frost Witches

The evil Frost Witches of the Winterbole Forest wield powerful winter magic. While the witches are relatively few in number, they use cold-based magic to frighten, fight, and manipulate anyone they come in contact with. They are ruled by the powerful elf witch Clenderi, but all Frost Witches are servants of Cryonax, the elemental prince of cold.

Most Frost Witches are female and come from a variety of races including elves, humans, harpies, and gnomes. While a new witch is born into the group from time to time, the majority come from like-minded individuals they recruit or by kidnapping young females who have shown an aptitude for magic. The witches’ bodies radiate an unnatural iciness, their skin glistens like a light morning frost, their breath can be seen as if on a cold day, and their touch is frigid.

The residents of Nenlast and others who reside near the Winterbole Forest live in fear of the Frost Witches and the horrifying thought of their children being snatched away in the middle of the night.

 

About this Homebrew Monster

  • This homebrew monster is inspired by the 4th edition stats for the frost witch Clenderi from Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale (2011) and Bhuer Hag from Volo’s Guide to Monsters (2016)
  • Like all hags, you can send it against your players alone or as part of a coven with shared spell slots for a higher Difficulty Challenge.
  • Adding regional and/or lair effects powered by the cold are a must have as well such as slippery terrain and blinding blizzards.
  • The witches in my campaign were freezing people to turn them into a frozen army of the undead, so Icy Tomb worked pretty well thematically and I was able to trap 2 PCs with it.
  • This frost witch queen’s body radiates an unnatural iciness. If you wanted to make it a little tougher for PCs to make melee attacks, you might want to add a 5′ radius cold aura that deals like 2d6 cold damage to anyone who ends their turn in the aura.

FROST WITCH QUEEN
Medium Fey, chaotic evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points  130 (20d8+48)
Speed 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
14 (+2) 16 (+3) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 13 (+1) 18 (+4)
Saving Throws Wisdom +4
Skills
Nature+7, Perception+7, Stealth+9, Survival+7
Damage Immunities
cold
Senses
darkvision 60′, passive Perception 17
Languages Common, Elven, Primordial
Challenge 13 (10000 XP)
  • Ice Walk. The witch can move across and climb icy surfaces without needing to make an ability check. Additionally, difficult terrain composed of ice or snow doesn’t cost it extra moment.
  • Legendary Resistance (3/Day). If the witch fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
  • Magic Weapons: Attacks made by the witch’s frost staff are considered magical.
  • Innate Spellcasting: The witch’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18, +8 to hit with spell attacks). She can innately cast the following Spells, requiring no material components:
    At will: hold person, ray of frost
    3/day each: cone of cold, ice storm, wall of ice
    1/day each:  control weather, horrid freezing, ice storm

Actions:

  • Multiattack. The witch makes three melee attacks with its frost staff.
  • Frost Staff. Melee Weapon Attack +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
    Hit: 11 (2d8+2) bludgeoning damage and 7 (2d6) cold damage.
  • Icy Tomb (Recharge 5-6). When you hit a creature with a melee attack, you encase that creature in ice. The creature becomes petrified by ice for 1 minute, after which the ice melts and breaks up. At the start of each of their turns, the petrified creature can make a Constitution saving throw DC 16. On a failure, they take 7 (2d6) cold damage. The block of ice has AC 12 and 30 hit points.

Legendary Actions:

The witch can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The witch regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

  • Attack. The witch can make one frost staff attack.
  • Move. The witch can move up to half its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.
  • Cast a Spell (Costs 3 Actions). The witch casts a spell from its list of spells.

This monster isn’t perfect, but it has been playtested. It was a good challenge for my group of five level 10 PCs, when she was combined with significant lair effects and two other witches to make a coven.

Let me know what you think of this monster and how you’d make it better in the comments below.

I’m hoping to get back to the random dice and improvisation series next week.

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  • MTi

    Cool stuff!!! (yes, intended pun)

    She reminds me a bit the Japanese Yuki-onna (more about them in Colin’s piece here: http://www.tribality.com/2016/12/21/6-wintery-mythological-creatures-that-arent-yetis-and-giants/).

  • yama

    Cool monster! Could you share the lair effects you used?

    • For regional, I had them travel through a blizzard with an exhaustion check. Then they had to cross a frozen and slippery lake, filled with remorhazes hiding under the surface and jagged ice spines above.

      For lair, I went with a hazard vs. something that goes off in initiative, which is why I did not include it. I had the witches protected by an energy field that blocked ranged spells. The barrier required a strength save to pass through, taking half lightning damage on success or full damage and restraining the PC on a fail. The barrier was powered by the lightning from a snowicane above the spire. I think watching Sharknado 3 before my session influenced me a bit 🙂

    • Tim Baker

      I was going to ask the same thing. I’m glad I checked the comments, first. 🙂

  • Colin McLaughlin

    I really like legendary creatures and lairs. I’ve been wanting to do a right up of some Dark Souls/Bloodborne bosses as legendary encounters. With only a bit of tweaking, this is a solid Crossbreed Priscilla, in a lot of ways. She just needs Greater Invis, and for players to be required to use survival to track her footprint in the blizzard so they can hit her 🙂

  • Wyvern

    When I saw this, I thought “I’d really like to see him write up the Snow Queen as an Archfey.” So I looked back at your Archfey articles and found that one of them was the Winter Lord. Would you change anything to make the Winter Lord into a Snow Queen? And why do the frost witches serve Cryonax instead of the Winter Lord?

    • Shawn Ellsworth and I are not the same writer. 😉

    • Wyvern

      Oops! Should’ve paid closer attention. My question still stands, though: would you use the Winter Lord’s patron abilities as-is for a Snow Queen, or would you tweak it?

    • For my money, the Winter Lord features I created are suitable for Snow Queens as well. But I don’t speak for Shawn, and I won’t take it personally if he had something else in mind. =)

    • Works for me. I’ve throw the Queen of Air and Darkness at my players in a previous campaign too.

      My goal was to recreate the final boss witch from the Nentir Vale for 5e blending the 4e stats with the 5e bhuer hag. This build is heavy on elemental stuff, so if you really want to go fey, Brandes’ stuff is worth a look for sure.

    • Wyvern

      When you say “the final boss witch”, are you referring to something from a home campaign you ran in 4e, or something from a published adventure?

    • I run a 5e campaign using what I have gathered about 4e’s Nentir Vale as the setting. One of the factions in that campaign setting are the Frost Witches. The frost witches are led by Clenderi, but her 4e stats from Monster Vault: Threats to the Nentir Vale are really tough to map to 5e.

      So my adventure finished off with the players facing off against a coven of 2 frost witches (Volo’s Bhuer Hag) and the Frost Witch Queen.

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