Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Phryx and the Queen of Winter

"Ice Woman," by Tim Emrick, Copyright 1992
The realm of Faerie is found partly in the Ethereal Plane, in areas co-existent with natural forests and plains in the Material Plane, and partly in the plane of Espral (Elysium, CG). Portals between these planes are numerous, but most are known only to the fey and the azata. The elves and gnomes were once natives of this highly magical realm, but they lost the means of returning after settling in Udara (the Material Plane) for too long.

The Seelie Court is composed of good-aligned creatures (mainly fey, but including many other magical beings) who serve the Summer King, Vanatar, a massive divine unicorn. Opposing this very loose alliance is the Unseelie Court, ruled by Maridor, the Winter Queen; many of the Unseelie are openly monstrous beings, and all are evil. (See the Seelie Creature and Unseelie Creature templates in Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary.)

Maridor herself is the oldest and most powerful of a family of winter spirits known as phryxes. The Winter Queen resembles a majestic elf woman shaped out of living ice or snow. When she chooses to wear clothing, it is made of white fur, crystal the color of ice, or black leaves. She tempted the first fey to evil, creating the cursed Unseelie, who cannot return to the realm of Faerie. Maridor can still do so herself, but prefers to wander the forsaken wastes of the Material Plane. Her children, the phryxes, have inherited both her aloof, perfect beauty and her icy, pitiless heart.


This unearthly beautiful creature looks like an elf with snow-white skin, long white hair, and piercing ice-blue eyes. In spite of its gossamer garments, it does not appear to feel the wind or the cold.


XP 2,400
CE Medium fey (cold)
Init +5; Senses low-light vision; Perception +14
AC 20, touch 16, flat-footed 14 (+5 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural)
hp 44 (8d6+16)
Fort +4, Ref +11, Will +9
DR 10/cold iron; Immune cold
Weakness vulnerability to fire
Speed 30 ft.; icewalking
Melee freezing touch +9 (1d6 cold) or sickle +9 (1d6+1) or unarmed strike +9 (1d3+1 plus 1d6 cold)
Ranged mwk composite longbow +10 (1d8+1/x3)
Special Attacks freezing touch
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th; concentration +13)
At will--gaseous form, obscuring mist
3/day--charm monster (DC 19), chill metal (DC 17), gust of wind (DC 17), sleet storm (DC 18)
1/day--ice storm (DC 19)
Str 12, Dex 20, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 20
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 20
Feats Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike, Persuasive, Weapon Finesse
Skills Bluff +16, Diplomacy +18, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (nature) +13, Perception +14, Stealth +16 (+20 in ice and snow), Survival +11, Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth in ice or snow
Languages Common, Giant, Sylvan
SQ wild empathy
Environment cold forest, hills, or mountains
Organization solitary, pair, hunting party (3-6), or family (5-8 plus leader of 3rd-6th level; 10% chance of 1 noncombatant)
Treasure standard (sickle, mwk composite longbow [+1 Str] with 20 arrows, other treasure)
Special Abilities
Freezing Touch (Su) A phryx's body continually radiates cold. It can inflict 1d6 cold damage with a melee touch attack, or as bonus damage on an unarmed strike or grapple. Any creature that strikes the phryx with a natural weapon takes 1d6 points of cold damage, or 1d6 per round if grappling.
Icewalking (Su) A phryx can move at normal speed over snow and ice as if using a water walking spell, and never leaves tracks on ice or snow. It cannot, however, walk over the other terrain types that spell normally allows.
Wild Empathy (Su) This works like the druid's wild empathy class feature, except that the phryx has a +4 racial bonus on the check. Phryxes with druid or ranger levels add this racial modifier to their wild empathy checks.

A phryx is almost indistinguishable from an elf except for its snow-white coloring and the look of fey wildness in its expression. These creatures are the embodiment of winter's freezing cold, potent blizzards, and bitter famine into a deceptively attractive form. These fey are distantly related to dryads and nymphs, but unlike those two races, may be either male or female. A phryx is the same height and weight as an elf of its gender, and like many fey, look youthful and beautiful throughout their entire lives.

Phryxes live in cold climates, typically in forests or mountains, but may also be encountered in hills or plains that provide substantial cover. They are omnivores, but mostly subsist on the meat of animals and humanoids who are too weak to escape their hunting parties. (These cruel creatures consider the flesh of a good-aligned fey to be a delicacy.) They are unrepentantly evil, and seek to destroy or enslave nearly every other creature that they meet.

Most phryxes are nomadic, as they continually need to find new places to hunt when game grows scarce. They often travel in extended family groups. Phryx births are widely spaced over the mother's lifetime, and offspring mature to adulthood in the space of a single winter, so juveniles are very rarely encountered (10% chance for one noncombatant in any family). The more ambitious and daring leaders might ally their family with a frost giant tribe, but such agreements rarely last long due to both races' treacherous natures. Similarly, an experienced phryx might acquire a young white dragon as a cohort.

Phryxes commonly use gaseous form and obscuring mist to ambush prey and to escape battles that turn against them. They prefer to fight most battles from a distance, using their bows and spell-like abilities. If forced into melee, a phryx fights with its freezing touch attack or a weapon. When encountered in groups, phryxes make intelligent use of their numbers and supernatural powers, often using multiple charm monster spells at once to nullify opposition prior to combat.

Elder Phryx

A phryx advances by gaining levels in a character class. Leaders are almost always bards, rangers, or sorcerers, and the majority are female. Clerics worship Maridor, the Winter Queen, and may choose from the Animal, Death, Madness, Plant, and Water domains (and the Decay, Fur, Ice, Murder, Nightmare, and Undead subdomains).


XP 6,400
Phryx bard 7
CE Medium fey (cold)
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +21
AC 29, touch 18, flat-footed 22 (+7 armor, +1 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural)
hp 103 (15 HD; 8d6+7d8+45)
Fort +7, Ref +17, Will +14; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependent, and sonic
Defensive Abilities gloves of arrow snaring; Immune cold
Weakness vulnerability to fire
Speed 40 ft. (base 30 ft.); icewalking
Melee +1 keen shortsword +14/+9 (1d6+3/17-20), or +1 defending sickle +16/+11 (1d6+3), or freezing touch +15/+10 (1d6 cold), or unarmed strike +15/+10 (1d3+2 plus 1d6 cold)
Ranged +1 frost composite longbow +16/+11 (1d8+3/x3 plus 1d6 cold)
Special Attacks bardic performance 23 rounds/day (countersong, distraction, fascinate [DC 20], inspire competence +3, inspire courage +2, suggestion [DC 20]), freezing touch
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 15th; concentration +22 [+26 casting defensively])
At will--gaseous form, obscuring mist
3/day--charm monster (DC 21), chill metal (DC 19), gust of wind (DC 19), sleet storm (DC 20)
1/day--ice storm (DC 21)
Bard Spells Known (CL 7th; concentration +14 [+18 casting defensively])
3rd (3/day)--confusion (DC 21), haste
2nd (5/day)--cure moderate wounds, detect thoughts (DC 19), enthrall (DC 20), hold person (DC 20)
1st (6/day)--comprehend languages, disguise self, grease (DC 18), identify, ventriloquism (DC 18)
0 (at will)--detect magic, lullaby (DC 18), mage hand, message, prestidigitation, read magic
Str 14, Dex 23, Con 16, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 24
Base Atk +9; CMB +11; CMD 27
Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Improved Unarmed Strike, Persuasive, Point-Blank Shot, Skill Focus (Perform [sing]), Spell Focus (enchantment), Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +17, Bluff +28, Diplomacy +27, Fly +17, Intimidate +28, Knowledge (arcana) +19, Knowledge (nature) +19, Knowledge (other) +6, Perception +21, Perform (dance) +17, Perform (sing) +28, Sense Motive +28, Spellcraft +16, Stealth +21 (+25 in ice and snow), Swim +18; Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth in ice or snow
Languages Abyssal, Common, Giant, Sylvan
SQ lore master 1/day, versatile performance (dance, sing), wild empathy
Combat Gear potion of jump; Other Gear +2 elven chain, ring of protection +1, +1 keen shortsword, +1 defending sickle, +1 frost composite longbow (+2 Str), 20 arrows, 3 adamantine arrows, 17 silver arrows, boots of striding and springing, efficient quiver, feather token (swan boat), gloves of arrow snaring, silver holy symbol (Maridor), traveler's outfit, 234 gp in coins and jewelry

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